JUSTICE D. V. Agishi of Federal High Court, Enugu, Biafraland has ordered the management of Enugu State Waste Management Authority, ESWAMA, to pay N500,000 to one Miss Nma Ukonu, as damages, following the torture she suffered in the hands of the officials.
Ukonu, a programme officer with Enugu-based non-governmental organisation, South Saharan Social Development Organisation, had dragged the agency to court, seeking N50 million as damages and a declaration that her arrest and detention for eight hours on August 29, 2012, was illegal. She told the court through her counsel, Mr. Olu Omotayo, that "having committed no offence known to law, thereby subjecting the applicant to physical and psychological torture, constitutes a flagrant violation of her fundamental rights, guaranteed under Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Article 5, of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, (Ratification and Enforcement Act) Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria." The suit was filed against Enugu State Waste Management Authority, ESWAMA, its Director, Mrs. Chinyere Ogaukwu, and her Assistant Mr. Nnamani. Delivering judgment, the judge stated that "the fact that ESWAMA officials are agents and workers of the Enugu State government did not justify their actions in slapping, kicking, dragging and further ordering the detention of the applicant, on the ground that the organization she works with has not paid waste management fee." It said the argument of ESWAMA’s lawyer that "the agency was acting under Section 28(1) of ESWAMA Law, Cap 75, of the Revised Law of Enugu State 2004, cannot justify the infringement."