By Andy Esiet , Calabar
The Appeal Court in Calabar has set aside a N75 million damages awarded against the Nigerian Navy in 2017 by the Federal High Court,Calabar
One Etim Akpan, the applicant at the lower court had instituted a fundamental right action arising from alleged assault against officials of the then combined security outfit made of army, Navy, Airforce and Police some time in 2013.
The combined security team was known as Quick Intervention Squad (QIS) at the instant of the Cross River state Government to enhance the internal security of the state.
At the conclusion of hearing, the trial court presided over by I. E. Ekwo held the Navy liable for the alleged breach and awarded N75m against the Navy only but Navy appealed against the judgement and argued that the operations of the QIS is not under their control and management and as such it cannot be liable for the alleged breach. Appeal among other grounds upheld same and set aside the award.
However the Navy appealed against the judgement and the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division in its judgment delivered on November 2, 2021 set aside N75m damages awarded against Nigerian Navy in 2017 by the Federal High Court,Calabar.
In the appeal by counsel to the Navy, Ekpedeme Nelson Iyoho Esq, argued and upheld that the Navy ought not to be held liable for tort of officers in a combined security team of QIS, set up in aid of civil society and also that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction on matters of such tortious liability.
Accordingly judgement was entered in favour of Navy.