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Benue: Activist drags Gov Alia, police, others to court over ‘illegal arrest, detention’

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A Benue social media activist, Mr Gyenyer Paul Terhemba, has sued Governor Hyacinth Alia, police officials and the Attorney General of Benue State.

Terhemba said he was wrongfully arrested over a story on his Facebook page about a N200 million fundamental rights suit.

Gyenger said the governor and law enforcement officers wrongfully arrested him and has been in custody unjustly.

Gyenger was arrested last 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 of Benue State has allegedly diverted N2 billion sent to the state by the federal government out of the N5 billion palliatives meant for the people.

He also alleged that the governor used part of the money to complete his Guzape Abuja mansion.

In the suit filed by his counsel, Barrister Clement Mue, Gyenger is seeking a declaration that his arrest, harassment, humiliation and continuous detention till date by men of the Nigeria Police over a pure civil matter are unwarranted, unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires.

Bar Mue said his arrest constitutes a gross violation of his right to personal liberty, freedom of speech, right to dignity of human person, and privacy provided, protected and guaranteed under sections 34, 35, and 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.

Mr Gyenger is seeking an order compelling the Governor of Benue State, the Benue State Government, Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, and the Attorney General of Benue State to pay him the sum of N200 million as compensation and damages for the illegal arrest and continuous detention.

He is also seeking an order directing the Nigeria 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 a bad light before members of the public.

The activist is further seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, officers, servants and cronies from further threatening to arrest, detain, intimidate and harass him.

The arrest of Paul Gyenger has sparked widespread reactions from the public, especially on social media, in the last week.

In a related development, Gov Hyacinth Alia cautioned Benue youths against using the opportunity created by cyberspace for negativity, blackmail and mischief against the government.

Gov Alia said his administration will provide an opportunity for those who make unjustifiable claims about personalities and government programmes to prove their assertions in competent law courts.

He made this known while speaking at a public function in Makurdi, dispelling malicious media report from the opposition that he misappropriated palliatives funds meant to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on citizens.





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