A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos state has ordered the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police to pay an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, the sum of N5 million as compensation.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court issued the order on Tuesday.
Clement was allegedly assaulted by officials of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency and the Nigeria Police Force during the first anniversary of #EndSARS on October 20, 2021, at the Lekki Toll-Gate while he was carrying a passenger from the Island to the Mainland and was intercepted by the officials.
Following the pandemonium that ensued after policemen and the officers of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency fired tear-gas canisters to disperse the peaceful protesters and arrested many of them, Clement temporarily abandoned his car like other motorists and ran for his life.
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But, by the time he returned to pick up his car, he was accosted, dragged, tortured and manhandled by the officers who refused to listen to his entreaties that he was an Uber driver and only wanted to retrieve his car.
The assault was captured on video which went viral on social media.
In their attempt to forcefully put him inside the vehicle of the Lagos State Task Force otherwise called Black Maria, the officials of the Lagos State Government in connivance with the police officers also used pepper spray on Clement who cried for help.
Following public condemnation that trailed the viral incident, Lagos-based human rights lawyer and activist, Mr Inibehe Effiong, took up the case and sued the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency, the Attorney General of Lagos, and the Nigeria Police Force.
While delivering judgement in the fundamental rights case with Suit Number: FHC/CS/1862/2021, Justice Allagoa held that the treatment meted on the applicant amounted to a violation of his right to dignity and awarded the sum of N5 million as damages.
The court condemned the torture of Clement by officials of the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force.
The applicant’s counsel, Effiong, in his reaction to the judgement, expressed appreciation to the court for upholding the rights of his client.
Effiong also called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babjide Sanwo-Olu, to comply with the judgement and pay the compensation in line with his public declaration that he had compensated victims connected with the EndSARS, and to reassure Lagosians that he believes in human rights.