One Desmond Utonwen, a Senior Correspondent with The News Magazine has been awarded N100 million as damages by an Abuja High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja. Utonwen was on December 11, 2009, brutalised by men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.
The court which was presided over by Justice U. P. Kekemeke, maintained that the attack, the beating to unconsciousness, bundling into Police vehicle and detention of the applicant for many hours without access to medical treatment, was inhuman and degrading and thus amounted to a violation of his right as enshrined in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Utonwen had gone before the court to enforce his fundamental human right, after he was severely beaten by policemen when he attempted to cover a protest that broke out at Garki Area 3, Abuja, in 2009. Though Justice Kekemeke concluded hearing on the matter on July 12, the judgment was handed down on October 4.
The Court ordered Police to pay N100 million as special damages for their wrongful act, as well as, immediately return all the items seized from the journalist.