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Social media activist slams N200m suit against gov Alia

A social media activist, Terhemba Paul Gyenger, has filed an N200 million fundamental rights suit against the Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia.

Also joined in the suit are the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, and the Attorney General of the State.

The plaintiff was arrested on Friday, August 25, 2023, at his residence in Gyado Villa, Makurdi over his Facebook post of August 18, 2023, where he wrote that the governor had allegedly diverted N2 billion sent to the state by the federal government out of the N5 billion palliatives meant for the people.

His counsel, Barrister Clement Mue, in the suit, sought a declaration that Gyenger’s arrest, harassment, humiliation, and continuous detention to date by men of the Nigerian police over a civil matter was unwarranted, unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vires, and constitutes a gross violation of his right to personal liberty, freedom of speech, right to dignity of the human person and right to privacy.

He based his argument on sections 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and Articles 5, 6, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Gyenger is also seeking an order compelling the governor, the state government, the commissioner of police, and the Attorney General of the state to pay him the sum of N200 million as compensation and damages for the illegal arrest and continuous detention.

He further requested an order directing the Nigerian Police to release him forthwith on liberal terms and an order compelling the respondents to tender an unreserved apology before members of the public in two national dailies for painting him in bad light before members of the public.

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