An American lady, Kari Ann R’ouke has sued the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, for allegedly detaining her unjustly.
R’ouke filed the suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Odumosu, asking the court to order her release from police custody.
She is also demanding an award of N100 million in damages for what she termed as illegal arrest and detention.
In the suit marked No.FHC/L/CS/434/2021 filed at the Registry of the Court on Thursday, R’ouke is asking for a declaration that the police had no right to arrest and detain her for an indefinite period over a matter she considered as unreasonable.
The suit was filed by her lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), naming the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, DCP Adegoke Fayoade, as respondents.
She also stated that her continued detention without being remanded is illegal and unconstitutional, therefore asking the court to free her from the custody of the police.
The suit sighted by SaharaReporters said, “In the affidavit in support of the case, it is stated that Kari Ann is a certified nurse in America, who came to Nigeria sometime in or about January 21, 2021, to partner with someone she met online to establish a humanitarian outfit. Upon completing her assignment in Nigeria, she departed for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on August 8, 2021, en route to America.
“She was however stopped by the Immigration Department on the grounds that her COVID-19 test result had expired, whereupon she was made to sleep at the airport purportedly for a new COVID-19 test. It was later the following day that she was informed that she was being arrested because her friend had passed on, unknown to her. She has been in police custody ever since.
“The CCTV footage of the hotel showed clearly that Kari Ann left her friend in the hotel room in good health in the company of his friends and relatives, all of whom were initially arrested but have now been released upon the autopsy report which showed that he died of cardiac arrest, without any foul play.
“The suit further stated that K’oure has been extorted by the men of the Lagos State Police Command since she has been in their custody illegally.
“Kari Ann has been a subject of extortion ever since, even though no prima facie case has been established against her. Since her incarceration, Kari Ann has lost about 23 pounds in weight, she has emaciated tremendously, she has suffered bouts of malaria, dysentery and she is going through extreme emotional and mental stress, without any link to her family or relatives.
“It is further stated in the case that she has a delicate medical condition, she is anaemic and thus requires constant medical check-up and treatment. She claimed that she is entitled to be released on bail in the same way that the principal suspects have been released and that she is only being persecuted because of her status as a foreign citizen, even when responsible entities and individuals have volunteered to take her on bail. She, therefore, wants the court to order her release so that she could take care of her delicate health condition and go back to America to join her family.”
No date has been assigned for the hearing of the suit.
The reliefs being sought in the case include: “A declaration that the respondents are not entitled to detain or in any other manner restrict the liberty of the Applicant in flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights, guaranteed under sections 34 & 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“A declaration that the continued detention of the Applicant by the respondents from February 9, 2021, constitute a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 34, 35, 36, and 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
“A declaration that the incarceration and continued confinement of the Applicant in perpetuity by the Respondents constitutes a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under section 34, 35, 36 & 46(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.”
The suit is seeking among others, an “order directing the Respondents to forthwith cease and abstain from applying for a remand order against the Applicant over matters pertaining to financial crimes to which the Applicant has been in detention since February 9, 2021.
“An order directing the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever to forthwith release the Applicant from unlawful custody.
“An injunction restraining the Respondents whether themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from applying for a remand order against the Applicant in respect of the allegation of any criminal offence to which the Applicant has been in detention since February 9, 2021, all in violation of the Applicant’s fundamental right.
“An injunction restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further violating the fundamental rights of the Applicant through unlawful arrest and detention.”
She is also demanding an award of “one hundred million naira (N100 million) being general, aggravated, special and exceptional damages against the Respondents, jointly and/or severally for the violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicant”.