A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Nigeria Police Force to pay damages worth N40m to Audu Maikori, the President of Chocolate City Group.
They are also to pay him N1,430; the cost he incurred while instituting the suit.
The ruling, given on Friday, was on the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Maikori on May 5, 2017 against the Inspector-General of Police, the Kaduna state governor, Commissioner of Police and Attorney-General.
Maikori had been arrested and detained unlawfully between February 17 and 18, 2017 and again on March 10 and 13, 2017.
In February of this year, Maikori was arrested for posting what was termed “inciting” tweets during the height of the Southern Kaduna killings.
The tweets, which alleged that a group of travellers were murdered by Fulani herdsmen, later turned out to be false.
Confronted with this, Audu claimed he got the information from his driver, apologised and retracted the posts.
This, however, proved too little too late as a Magistrate Court in Kaduna gave the order for his arrest which was effected in Lagos on February 17.
Delivering judgement, Justice John Tsoho pointed out that his judgement has no bearing nor does it interfere with the ongoing trial of Maikori in Kaduna.
He also ruled that the police could justifiably arrest suspects for allegedly violating the law and order on the cyberspace.
However, in the case of Maikori, the law enforcement agency erred. He held that “the arrest was improper, irregular and wrongful.
“By necessary implication, the arrest was unlawful despite being released after 24 hours.”
This is because the police did not register the arrest warrant with any court of competent jurisdiction in Lagos before making the arrest.