Police brutality: Court awards N5m in damages against police
By Emmanuel Afonne
An Abuja-based Human Rights lawyer, Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, has described the judiciary as truly the last hope for the common man.
Olajengbesi was reacting to a judgement by a Federal High Court, sitting in Osogbo, Osun State, which awarded the sum of N5 million as general damages for the abuse of rights of one of his clients, Mrs Adetola Abdulazeez.
The judgement, delivered on Monday by the presiding Judge, Justice Ayo Emmanuel, was against the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Olajengbesi, in an interview with NAN, commended the court and applauded the Judge for his courage and judicious adjudication of the suit.
“The judgment will reinforce the slogan which connotes the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and equally rekindle the hope of Nigerians in our judicial system,” he said.
It would be recalled that the applicant on April 18, 2020, during the national COVID-19 lockdown, was grievously dehumanised and publicly assaulted by officers of the Nigeria Police who were identified as Inspector Taiwo and Constable Abass Ibrahim.
The applicant was hounded by the said officers on her way in search of a pharmaceutical store to purchase drugs for her ailing daughter who was down with severe ear infection.
The officers, without just cause, pounced on the applicant with police baton and other whips, causing her grievous bodily injury and emotional distress.
At the hearing of the suit, Counsel for the Police and the IGP, F.B Osei Esq., argued that although Inspector Taiwo and Constable Abass Ibrahim are agents of the Nigeria Police Force, the Police and the IGP cannot be held liable for their acts and omissions.
The Court held that the actions of the officers in the discharge of their official duties as agents of the Nigeria Police amounted to an infringement of the fundamental right to dignity of the applicant, a liability the Nigeria Police Force must shoulder.
Other lawyers in the matter who represented the applicants were Pelumi Olaleye Esq., Abiodun Sonaike Esq., and Emmanuel Omaga.