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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Nigerian loses $100m Deportation suit against united Airlines

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Nigerian loses $100m Deportation suit against united Airlines

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According to +The Punch Newspapers a Federal High Court in Lagos has today struck out a suit filed by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), to challenge the alleged unlawful deportation and inhuman treatment of a Nigerian, Jacob Ajomale, by officials of the United States of America in 2010.
In addition to the Attorney General of the Federation sued as the third respondent, Falana also sued United Airlines and the Ministry of Internal Affairs from which he sought compensation for Ajomale in sums of $100m and N100m respectfully.

Ajomale claimed to have been unlawfully arrested, detained and deported in handcuffs from the US to Nigeria aboard a United Airlines aircraft in 2010 despite having become a permanent resident in the US in February 2008 and having no criminal records.

He claimed to have been carrying in his body, since 2010, a tracking device, in form of a micro chip, allegedly inserted into his body, through his anus, by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement prior to his deportation.

He claimed to have been put onboard United Airlines aircraft without his travelling papers.

But in a judgment on Thursday, Justice Mohammed Idris struck out the suit, after holding that there was a major defect in the supporting affidavit.

Idris said since there was no oral evidence before the court, the affidavit was the only evidence the court could have relied on, but he noted that there was a major defect in the said affidavit.

“Without a supporting affidavit, this application cannot stand.

“It cannot stand because the affidavit in support constitutes the evidence, since no oral evidence was called.

“Without an affidavit, there is no evidence to support this application and the application has failed.

“It failed and it is hereby struck out,” Idris held.

The judge awarded a cost of N5, 000 against Ajomale after striking out the suit.

Falana had sought a declaration that the alleged unlawful deportation and inhuman treatment of Ajomale in the US was a violation of his fundamental human rights and right to mental and physical health as preserved by sections 35 and 41 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

He urged the court to hold United Airlines liable for what he termed his “illegal transportation without his passport and in handcuffs like a criminal aboard the airline from the US to Nigeria.”

He accused the United Airlines of conniving with or aiding the US authorities to carry out what he claimed to be his unlawful deportation.

But in opposition to Falana, United Airlines, through its lawyer, Mr. F.A. Daniel, challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the Nigerian court to adjudicate over issues which he said transpired in the US.

Dayo submitted that all the inhuman treatment alleged by Ajomale were not in the knowledge of the airline, saying the airline could not be held liable.

“There is absolutely no cause of action against the 1st respondent.

“The first respondent was only obeying the law of the land from where it took off. The idea being touted by the applicant that the 1st respondent should disobey the US authorities is reprehensible,” Dayo argued.

“Your Lordship has no power, whatsoever, to adjudicate over this matter. A Nigerian court cannot question the action of a foreign country,” Dayo added.
Ajomale alleged that he was wrongfully arrested at BWI Airport in Baltimore, Maryland in 2009, detained and transported in handcuffs from the US to Nigeria aboard an aircraft belonging to United Airlines.

He claimed to have been locked up in a cold room for nine hours by a certain officer Derrick, in an effort to extract an incriminating statement from him to the effect that he was an illegal immigrant.

He claimed to have been subsequently arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment at the DC jail and Rivers Correction Centre, all in North Carolina before he eventually gained his freedom on August 11, 2009 at 7pm.

He, however, added shortly after his release from prison and cleared by ICE, he was re-arrested on August 15, 2009 by Derrick, who claimed that his release was a mistake.

He was then handcuffed and deported to Nigeria aboard United Airlines.

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