Rights Violation: Court Orders Police To Pay N50 Million Damages To Abiola’s Wife



An Abuja High Court sitting in Gudu has ordered The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to pay N50 million to Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola, the wife of the late Chief MKO Abiola, for violating her fundamental rights.

Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, presiding over the court, additionally directed the police to issue an apology to Abiola’s wife in two national newspapers.

The ruling stems from a human rights enforcement lawsuit initiated by Prof. Abiola against the Inspector General of Police, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Inspector Teju Moses, and Engineer Ibrahim, the son of former IGP Usman Akali Baba.

In 2022, Prof. Abiola claimed that police officers unlawfully entered her Abuja home, apprehending her while she was in her night attire and holding her in custody for three days without a trial.

She asserted being held captive and subjected to torture, emphasizing a severe infringement of her constitutional rights. In her legal action, Prof. Abiola sought N500 million in compensation. Nevertheless, the respondents disputed the lawsuit’s legitimacy, asserting unfamiliarity with Prof. Abiola and denouncing her accusations as untrue.

Despite these challenges, Prof. Abiola presented documentary evidence to the court, including her appointment as a Chief Legal Consultant (CLC) by the police.

Justice Osho-Adebiyi, in her judgment, affirmed that Prof. Abiola’s rights had been infringed upon by the police, leading to the court’s decision to award her N50 million and demand a public apology.

This ruling marks a significant acknowledgement of the violation of fundamental human rights and serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding legal and ethical standards in law enforcement practices.

Justice Osho-Adebiyi held, “It is hereby declared that the detention of the Applicant from the 20th day of September, 2022 to 23rd September, 2022, without arraigning her before a court of competent jurisdiction is a violation of the Applicant’s right to personal liberty under section 35 of the constitution and is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.

“It is further declared that the arrest of the Applicant by the Defendants in her nightgown without giving her the opportunity to dress decently is an Infringement of her right to personal dignity it is more debasing and a further Infringement of her right to personal dignity when Applicant was paraded in her nightgown. In the circumstances, the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) only is awarded to the Applicant as compensation against the 1st, 2nd and 4th Respondents, jointly.


“The Respondents are hereby ordered to tender a public apology to the Applicant in two of the National Daily Newspapers in pursuance of the provisions of section 35 (6) I of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

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