The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded N1million against the Federal Government over the disruption of August 5, 2019 #RevolutionNow protest, by security agents.
The court while hearing the case on Monday, May 4, awarded the N1million in favour of a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, who said he participated in the #RevolutionNow protest and was among those tear-gassed by security agents.
The judge agreed with Ogungbeje, who sued on behalf of himself and other participants in the protest, that the Federal Government deprived them of their right to peaceful assembly and association, in violation of sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Maureen Onyetenu while delivering the judgment held that the disruption of the peaceful protest by the Federal Government, through the police, was “illegal, oppressive, undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
The judge also condemned “the mass arrest, harassment, tear-gassing, and clamping into detention” of the protesters.
Apart from the N1million awarded against the Federal Government, the court also ordered the Federal Government to tender a public apology to the lawyer in three national daily newspapers.
The judge, however, upheld the defence of the DSS that it was not involved in the disruption of the protest.
The RevolutionNow Protest was convened by a presidential candidate and the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, who was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on August 3.
Ogungbeje had urged the court to award N500m as general and exemplary damages against the Federal Government, DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation, but the court only awarded N1m.
In the affidavit, which he filed in support of the suit, Ogungbeje said when he was co-opted into the #RevolutionNow protest, as a lawyer, he checked the constitution and found that it was lawful.