Respite has finally come the way of the alleged Maiduguri-based Boko Haram suspects following their release on Tuesday in Abuja after spending over three years in police detention.
The seven detainees were set free on the order of a Federal High Court in Abuja issued on December 1 by Justice Modupe Olajuwon.
Their release comes exactly seven days after the court order was issued.
Their lawyer, Peter Abbo, who filed and argued a fundamental human rights enforcement suit on their behalf, confirmed their release to our correspondent.
Justice Olajuwon had on December 1 in a judgment ordered police to pay the sum of N15 million to the seven over their unlawful detention for three years without trial.
The suspects, who were said to have been arrested inside a Maiduguri market, were allegedly dumped at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention facility at Abbatoir in Abuja.
Justice Olajuwon, in the judgment on their fundamental human rights enforcement suit, had held that the detention of the men for three years without trial contravened the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The judge had said that the police acted in bad faith in keeping the detainees beyond the period required by law especially when there was no cogent and verifiable ground of indictment of the applicants for any offence.
Justice Olajuwon, while holding that the detention was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, consequently ordered that the seven applicants be released forthwith to their families.
The judge ordered that each applicant be paid a sum of N2 million as damages for their unlawful detention and another N1 million as the cost of litigation that brought about the judgment.
Counsel to the applicants, Aboh, while confirming the release, told our correspondent that the detainees have just been handed over to him and that they are eager to go back to Maiduguri to reunite with their families after three years of separation.
“As I am talking to you, the seven detainees are here with me having just been released on the order of the federal high court in Abuja issued on December 1.
“Though their detention is arbitrary, unjust and unlawful, they are still happy that police complied with the order of the court and they are in high spirits seeking to travel immediately to Maiduguri where they were arrested,” he said.
He insisted that the detainees were unjustly labelled as Boko Haram suspects by police to justify the unlawful detention.
The lawyer had earlier told journalists that an Abuja based non-governmental organization, Dayspring Life Foundation, stumbled on the detainees and took over the sponsorship of the litigation to rescue them from the claws of police and unlawful detention.
The applicants are Ajiri Bulama Dungus, Gudja Giddah, Adam Mohammed, Wardi Dungus, Fanami Mustapha, Mohammed Abba and Makinka Alhaji Dungus.