A court has mandated the police to pay N50 million in damages for the arrest of Abiola’s widow in her nightgown.


The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu, Abuja, has directed the Inspector-General of Police to pay N50 million in damages to Prof. Zainab Abiola, the widow of the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola. The court’s decision, delivered on Thursday, January 18, by Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, stems from the arrest and public parading of Prof. Zainab Abiola while she was attired in a nightgown.

The court also mandated the police to issue a public apology to Prof. Zainab Abiola in two national newspapers. The legal action followed accusations by the police that Abiola had assaulted Inspector Teju Moses, a female police officer, along with her domestic staff, Rebecca Enechido, at her residence in the Garki area of the Federal Capital Territory on September 20, 2022.

In response, Prof. Zainab Abiola filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit against the Inspector-General of Police, the Nigeria Police Force, Inspector Teju Moses, and Engineer Ibrahim (son of former IGP Usman Alkali Baba).

She recounted that in 2022, police officers invaded her Abuja residence, arresting her while she was in her nightgown, and subsequently detained and tortured her for three days without a trial. The respondents, disputing her claims, argued that they were not acquainted with her and labeled the allegations as false.

Justice Osho-Adebiyi, in delivering the judgment, declared that the detention of Prof. Zainab Abiola without presenting her before a court of competent jurisdiction violated her right to personal liberty. The court further ruled that her arrest in a nightgown without allowing her to dress decently infringed upon her right to personal dignity. As compensation, the court awarded N50,000,000.00 against the first, second, and fourth respondents jointly.

The court ordered the respondents to issue a public apology to Prof. Zainab Abiola in two national daily newspapers, in accordance with the provisions of Section 35 (6) I of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

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