Martin Gegenheimer & 4 Ors. v. The Republic of Nigeria & Anor. (Application No. ECW/CCJ/APP/23/20)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


84. So it stands to reason that “reasonable suspicion” means the existence of facts or information which would satisfy an objective observer that a person concerned might have committed the offence. Again, it is a general consensus in international law that the respect for legal channels in cases of arrest and detention, presupposes that the denial of a freedom must have a legal basis in the domestic law of the State.

101. What would make the arrest, detention and seizure of any documents of the Applicant unlawful is whether the suspicion upon which he was arrested was not reasonably grounded in law or fact or any given activity pursuant to the arrest exceeded the prescribed period of the exercise of the said discretion.

105. This Court has ruled that “Arbitrary detention is a detention not in conformity with the national or international law and which occurs without a legitimate or reasonable ground.”

126. Again, the Applicant’s complaint for his inappropriate placement in the overcrowded cells in a single shirt where he slept on the bare floor for days coupled with lack of requisite sanitary facilities in the face of highly infectious Covid-19 pandemic at the time clearly amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment that led to the psychological trauma he experienced therein.

127. It is on the basis of the aforementioned reasons that as already indicated, the Court considers and holds that the Applicant’s right to dignity inherent in his human being, provided for under Article 5 of the Charter, was violated by the Respondent when he was arrested and detained both at the MMIA office in Lagos and the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Abuja.


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