High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State has fined Kenneth Gbagi, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate N1 million for violating the fundamental human rights of one Mr Victor Ephraim.
While giving the verdict, the presiding judge Vera Agbodje gave the order in a judgment on Monday in Warri.
Kunle Edun, on behalf of the claimant, (Mr Ephraim) had filed a lawsuit No. EHC/FHR/80/2020 against Mr Gbagi and his hotel, Signatious Hotel and Suites Limited as respondents. The claimant, an employee of Gbagi, had alleged that between September 17 and 18, 2020, Mr Gbagi used mobile policemen attached to him to forcibly strip him naked and dump him inside the booth of his car.
Mr Ephraim said while under the unlawful custody of the respondent, he was tortured and dehumanised alongside three other female staff of the hotel. He disclosed that the female staff were also stripped naked and paraded publicly on the allegation that they failed to remit money paid by a hotel guest.
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Mr Ephraim also accused Mr Gbagi of seizing their ATM cards and transferred all the money in their bank accounts to the hotel’s account.
Delivering judgment, Ms Agbodje held that the stories presented by Mr Gbagi were false, concocted and not believable. The judge noted that Mr Gbagi took the law into his own hands by torturing his ex-staff and consequently awarded N1 million damages against him and his hotel in favour of Mr Ephraim.
Responding to the judgment, Mr Gbagi in a statement, said it was a ploy by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s government to de-market him.
“As a law-abiding citizen, the expenditure of Okowa’s government to de-market me is a fruitless venture, a waste of time and resources. We have entered an appeal to set aside the ‘paid junk judgment’ for a competent court and the National Judicial Council to do justice to the procedure,” declared Mr Gbagi.
He added, “I urge my teeming growing supporters to ignore this Okowa’s paid judgment. You can not de-market what God has marketed.” (NAN)