N500m damages: Court dismisses Konduga’s suit against DSS

The Federal High Court, Abuja, Tuesday, dismissed a 500 million damages suit filed by convicted former Spokesman of Boko Haram, Ali Konduga against the Department of Services(DSS).

Delivering judgment, Justice Anwuli Chikere, who struck out the suit, held  the ex-convict, Konduga, did not overstay in the DSS custody.

Konduga was, Dec. 6, 2011, convicted a crime bordering terrorism by the Chief Magistrate Court, FCT, Abuja, and sentenced to three years imprisonment without an option of fine.

He alleged he was kept in for an extra three years after serving his three-year jail term before he was released in 2016.

Konduga was convicted by a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Abuja and sentenced to three years imprisonment for criminal intimidation in 2011.

Justice Chikere did not grant Konduga’s prayers.

The judge, who looked at paragraphs like 9, 23, 24, among others, of the witness’s statement oath, said the applicant was aware why he was detained.

She, therefore, said the could not be declared as or unconstitutional; that his fundamental right had not been infringed upon. 

The judge said Konduga could appeal the ruling if he so wished.

In the suit, Konduga claimed that he was kept in the custody of the DSS instead of the conventional prison to serve his term because the government wanted him to serve as a key witness to prove a terrorism charge against a senator in a Federal High Court in Abuja.

However, in the application filed by Konduga on Oct. 3, 2019, the Director General of the DSS and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) were 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.

According to the application suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1171/19, the 1st respondent applied for the applicant to be kept at the instance of government of the federation and the applicant kept in the custody of the 1st respondent, ostensibly for him to be a witness in the criminal matters filed by the respondents.

 “The applicant’s terms of imprisonment ended  on Dec 6, 2013, but the applicant was not discharged from custody till Sept. 9, 2016 when the applicant was finally discharged from custody by the 1st respondent.

 “That the respondents have no right whatsoever to compulsorily detain the applicant without obtaining court order to that effect.  

“That there is no law which that the applicant must testify in a matter whether he likes it or not,” it read. 

Konduga prayed the court to declare that his beyond the expiration if his jail terms was and unconstitutional, and an infringement on his fundamental rights of freedom of movement and personal liberty. 

The applicant, who sought that the respondents should tender unreserved public apology in three national newspapers, also urged the court to direct them to pay him the sum of 500 million as aggravated damages for the illegal detention. 

Speaking to journalists after the sitting, Emmanuel Edu, who was counsel to Konduga, said the intricacies of the ruling be studied to know the next line of action. (NAN)