Mr Terhemba Gyenger, an imprisoned social media influencer, has launched a N200 million basic rights action against Benue State Governor Hyacinth Alia, the State Government, the State Commissioner of Police, and the State Attorney General for his claimed illegal arrest and imprisonment.
Mr. Gyenger was arrested on Friday, August 25, 2023 at his residence in the Gyado Villa area of Makurdi town for his Facebook post on August 18, 2023 in which he claimed that the Governor of Benue State had allegedly diverted N2 billion sent to the state by the Federal Government from the N5 billion petrol subsidy removal palliative meant for the people of the state.
Gyenger is seeking a declaration that his “arrest, harassment, humiliation, and continuous detention till date by men of the Nigerian police over a pure civil matter is unwarranted, unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vires, and constitutes a gross violation of his right to personal liberty, freedom of speech, right to dignity of human person, and right to privacy provided, protected, and guaranteed under sections 34, 35, and 356 of the Constitution of Nigeria.”
He also wants “an order compelling the Governor of Benue State, the Benue State Government, the Commissioner of Police, the 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 instructing the Nigerian Police to release him immediately on liberal terms, as well as an order compelling the respondents to submit an unqualified apology to members of the public in two national dailies for portraying him in a negative manner.
Furthermore, the activist is seeking a perpetual injunction prohibiting the respondents, their agents, officers, servants, and cronies from threatening to arrest, detain, intimidate, and harass him in the future.
In the recent week, the public’s reaction to Mr. Gyenger’s arrest and confinement has been varied, particularly on social media.