Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu as ruled that the Nigerian army has no power nor authority to declare any citizen wanted.
The Court ruled in favour of one Issa Perry Brimah, a Nigerian activist in the diaspora.
Brimah filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian Army in January 2019, ”on behalf of millions of disenfranchised citizens of the state who have often been intimidated and terrorized by the Nigerian army in flaunting of the constitution by act of willfully declaring citizens wanted and making arrests within the democratic space in the stead of the police, the formal law enforcers”.
The Nigerian Army working in partnership with interpol had declared him wanted for raising funds for troops and vigilantes fighting Bokoharam insurgents in the North-East of Nigeria. Brima launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to provide food for the soldiers fighting the wars against Insurgency in the North-East.
The Nigerian Army however did not appreciate his gesture, as it described it as a fraudulent venture, which intent is to defrauded members of the public, especially the international communities.
Delivering judgement in the case, Justice Ojukwu held that the army had no right to declare the plaintiff wanted without making a formal report to law enforcement agencies who enforce law and order.
“The army or defendant has no vires to declare the plaintiff wanted without due process of law. However, it must be stated here without equivocation that the defendant has no right to declare the plaintiff wanted without following the appropriate procedure.
The defendant cannot arrest the plaintiff arbitrarily without making a formal report to law enforcement agency with the mandate to enforce law and order, otherwise it would transmute to self-help. The duty of the defendant is to make a formal report to the appropriate authority like the police and await the outcome.” she said.