The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has ordered the State Government and the Nigeria Police to pay the sum of N5 million as compensation to an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, who was allegedly attacked, assaulted, and humiliated by officials of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency and the Nigeria Police Force during the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protests on October 20, 2021, at the Lekki Toll-Gate.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-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 also condemned the torture of Clement by officials of the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force
Clement was assaulted on October 20, 2021, while he was carrying a passenger from the Island to the Mainland part of the state when he encountered the protest at the Lekki Toll Gate which was disrupted by officials of Lagos State and the police.
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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 protesters, Clement temporarily abandoned his car like other motorists and ran for his life.
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 a Uber driver and only wanted to retrieve his car.
The assault which was captured on video, was reported by some media houses and it also went viral on social media.
In their attempt to forcefully put him inside the vehicle of the Lagos State Taskforce 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.
The applicant’s counsel, Inibehe Effiong, in his reaction to the judgment, 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 judgment and pay the compensation in line with his public declaration that he has compensated victims connected with the EndSARS, and to reassure Lagosians that he believes in human rights.