SAN FRANCISCO, September 13, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court has ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to pay the sum of N10.5 million as compensation to journalist, Jones Abiri, over his illegal detention for two years by the security agency.
Abiri, publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper, was in July 2016 arrested by the DSS.
He was accused of heading the joint revolutionary council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, threatening oil companies and demanding money from them.
Abiri was arraigned for the first time in July 2018 following public outcry, and was granted bail in August.
He then asked the court to compel the federal government to pay him N200 million as compensation for spending two years in detention saying the DSS violated his rights and tortured him.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba stated that the DSS did not deny arresting and detaining him since July 2016, denying him access to his doctors, family and friends.
He further stated that when Abiri was eventually charged to court earlier this year, he was not charged with the crimes for which he was arrested.
The judge then ruled that the DSS acted outside the provisions of the law regarding the Terrorism Prevention Act, and therefore, ordered the agency to pay the sum.
“Having taken his statement, the applicant should have been arraigned,” Dimgba said.
The judge said the federal government’s claim that Abiri was detained in national interest was baseless.