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Court Orders DSS to Pay N20 Billion to Sunday Igboho; AGF to Appeal Decision

The High Court of Justice in Oyo State has awarded N20 billion against the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in favour of Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, Punch reported.

Justice Ladiran Akintola ruled that the award is an exemplary and aggravated damages for the destruction of property and loss of lives committed by the DSS when they invaded the Ibadan residence of Sunday Igboho on July 1.

Akintola said the DSS’ action is a demonstration of “arbitrary aggression and prejudices” against the Yoruba Nation agitator. DSS operators on the said date invaded the Soka residence of Igboho and killed two people, destroyed his house and several cars, arrested 12 aides, and reportedly carted away jewelry and other personal valuables.

In a lawsuit filed against the DSS, the AGF, and the Oyo State government, Igboho through his lead lawyer, Yomi Aliyi, demanded that the respondents pay him N500 billion for the breach of his fundamental human rights. He also wanted N500 million for aggravated damages to his house and cars as well as public apology from the government in two national newspapers.

According to Igboho, the DSS took N2 million and €1,000 cash from his house during the night raid. They also took international passports and other travel documents, two mobile phones, gold wristwatches and other jewelry, as well as several other valuables.

AGF Abubakar Malami said his office has initiated proceedings to appeal the decision. His lawyer, Abdullah Abubakar, said there is no proof that the volume of blood captured on camera during the night invasion of Igboho’s house belonged to a human being. He also argued that there is no evidence that the raided house belonged to Igboho or that the AGF had anything to do with the action.

Lawyer to the DSS, also argued the same thing before the court. However, Justice Akintola berated the DSS for invading the house of the pan-Yoruba activist, saying they acted extrajudicially. Apart from the N20 billion, he awarded another N2 million as legal fees in favour of Igboho against the accused.

“This is succour and an assurance that Nigerians can return to court to seek justice,” Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of Igboho’s lawyers stated. “With this judgement, the system has built confidence. This is also a strong warning to DSS that they are not bigger than the law. It is a signal that it is not good to take laws into their hands and jeopardise the interest of citizens. Igboho will also be glad about this. It is a confidence-building judgement for us.”