The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Itu, has given the Chief of Army Staff, 20 days to write an apology letter to the Clan Head of Oku Iboku, Etebom Ubong Essien Edet Okokon, over the gross infringement on his fundamental rights by officers of the Nigerian Army in Akwa Ibom State.
The Court, presided over by Justice Ntong Ntong also ordered the indicted soldiers, Captain Ibrahim and Brigadier T.A. Lagbaja, of the Two Brigade Headquarters of the Nigerian Army, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo, to jointly pay N1 million to the monarch for the aggravated breach of his fundamental rights between August 6 and 13, 2019. In a one-hour judgment, Justice Ntong held that the two soldiers humiliated and tortured the clan head in the course of interviewing him over allegation that he was involved in the missing of four boats in his domain.
The court described Akwa Ibom State Government as responsible and responsive, stressing that although the officers were engaged in the investigation of the missing boats, it is not the government that asked them to maltreat the traditional ruler. The judge noted that the two indicted officers were overzealous in the course of carrying out their lawful duties.
Justice Ntong said the soldiers ought to have shown respect and dignity to the person of the applicant, not because he is a traditional ruler, but because he is a citizen of the Federal Republic, who is entitled to the respect of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution.