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Akwa Ibom gov’t to pay trader wrongfully jailed for 8 years N2m

The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene has ordered the State Government to pay N2million for the wrongful incarceration of a trader,…

The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene has ordered the State Government to pay N2million for the wrongful incarceration of a trader, Idaraobong Sunday Dickson.

Justice Ntong Ntong ordered that 28-year-old Dickson be paid N2million for his rehabilitation after suffering in prison for eight years over allegations of armed robbery and rape, which he knew nothing about.

The case was between the state against Idaraobong Sunday Dickson and three others standing trial since 2015 on a six-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, robbery, armed robbery and rape.

In his judgment, Justice Ntong who discharged and acquitted Dickson, having found him not guilty, however convicted and sentenced the two other defendants, Nsikak Godwin to 20 years in prison and Christopher Sunday, to 16 years in prison, with jail terms to run concurrently from June 22, 2015.

Justice Ntong said the evidence before the court showed that Dickson, a native of Ikot Ada Utor in Midim, Abak Local Government Area, had no case to answer, as there was no evidence linking him with the commission of the alleged offences.

The court ordered the “Nigeria Police Force to apologise to Idaraobong Sunday Dickson either in a national newspaper or privately in a special letter addressed to the defendant for unlawful arrest.

“Akwa Ibom State Government, particularly the Attorney General of the State and the Director of Public Prosecutions, should always supervise the activities of lawyers in the Attorney General’s Office and the Nigeria Police Force to caution its officers to treat civil populace with dignity and respect.

“The police or the state prosecuting a person suspected of committing a crime ought to be diligent and sure of their facts, before charging the person to court.

“The life of Idaraobong Sunday Dickson, a phone battery charger (sic) and recharge card seller in Ikot Ekpene, who was toiling day and night to make ends meet, is truncated by police shoddy investigation.

“If the state officials and officers of the Nigeria Police Force had done due diligence in their investigation, the ugly situation would have been duly averted.”

Justice Ntong decried the situation whereby the accused was made to suffer unjustly, saying it was tantamount to unjust treatment of an innocent citizen who has wasted his youthful years in prison for an offence he did not know, adding that his judgment was by virtue of his inherent powers pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution.