Premium Times reports that Justice Ibrahim Bature Gafai, who delivered the judgment on Monday in Awka, also directed the security agency to apologise in two national dailies for the unlawful and unconstitutional violation of the former minister’s liberty.
It would be recalled that on November 15 and 16 2013, El-Rufai, was detained and harassed by SSS officials while at the Finotel in Awka, during last year governorship election in Anambra State.
The former minister, who was angered by the development, approached the court for redress on the ground that the conduct of the SSS had no basis in law. The case was listed as FHC/AWK/CS/310/13, with the SSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation as respondents.
Justice Gafai while giving his verdict held that the SSS has no statutory powers under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or under any Nigerian law to detain the former minister without showing cause to a court of competent jurisdiction.
The court aside apology and monetary damages slammed on the security outfit further made other pronouncement on the restriction of movement during elections.
It stated that the Respondents have no powers under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or under any Nigerian law to either impose a general restriction on movement or restrict the applicant’s constitutional right of freedom of movement as stated in Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 on account of the Anambra State Gubernatorial election that took place on the 16th day of November, 2013 or any other election.
Meanwhile, the court’s ruling has a vital implication on the manner government agencies usually attempt to restrict people’s movement during elections.
It would be recalled that after the incident, El-Rufai, blasted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claiming he has no confidence in INEC’s ability to conduct free and fair elections in Nigeria.