Journalism of Courage

Detention: Kefas Sues el-Rufai, Others For Rights Violation

…Claiming N20m as damages

Social Media Activist, Steven Kefas has dragged Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state to a Federal High Court in Abuja over violation of his fundamental human rights and illegal arrest and detention without bail since May 8, 2019.

Kefas is claiming damages of N20 million in the suit whose hearing is expected to commence on August 14, 2019.

The court papers filed at the Federal High Court, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/737/2019, Kefas also joined Aisha Dikko, who is now the Kaduna State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Chairman, Kajuru Local Government Area, Cafra Boaz Caino, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police and the Inspector General of Police as defendants.

Based on the court papers filed by his lawyers, led by Barr. Vembe Terence Terfa, Kefas is seeking the sum of N20 million on the footing of exemplary and aggravated damages for unlawful violation of the applicant’s rights, his arrest, detention, and interference with privacy being oppressive, arbitrary capricious, and unconstitutional.

The legal team of Kefas also sued for injuring the dignity and pride of the applicant and for causing him great psychological trauma.

The lawyer states; “We submit My Lord that, where agents of the Government breach the constitutional rights of a citizen, there is need to award aggravated and exemplary damages to serve as a deterrent.”

Kefas was arrested on May 8, 2019 in Port Harcourt and moved to Kaduna where he was arraigned before a Magistrate Court that granted him bail on May 13, 2019 but was again re-arrested and placed in prison remand.

Three weeks ago, Justice Mairo Mohammed of the Kaduna High Court 2 refused to grant Kefas bail and fixed September 26, 2019 for his bail hearing.

Justice Mohammed while refusing his bail application, said it was hinged on Kefas’ social media activities when he was granted bail in the first instance even as the prosecuting team could not produce proof of any social media activity they alleged was carried out by the accused.

Kefas has so far spent about three months in Kaduna Prisons over social media postings which the Chairman of Kajuru Local Government Area, Cafra Boaz Caino alleged was injurious to his person.

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