OPD Secures N1.5m Compensation For Client

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD) has secured a favourable landmark judgment and compensation in a case involving its client, Muraina Taiwo and Nahman Construction Ltd.

According to the Director, Office of the Public Defender, Dr. Babajide Martins, Justice Mustapha Tijani of National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, has ordered the defendant, Nahman Construction Ltd to pay the sum of N1.5 million to its former employee, Muraina Taiwo, as compensation for trauma and pains suffered.

He added that the Court also ordered the defendant to pay the claimant`s salary from August 2015 to the date of judgment delivery.

The Director explained that the claimant, Muraina Taiwo, was a casual labourer at the defendant’s construction site at the Landmark Event Centre, where he had an accident in September 2015. He was rushed to the hospital and surgery was carried out on his leg after the payment of the hospital bills by the defendant.

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Dr. Martins said the defendant refused to pay for a second surgery on the claimant after he was informed by the hospital that another round of surgery was required to correct the injury to his knees, adding that stoppage of the claimant’s salary, despite non-termination of his employment, compounded his situation.

“In a bid to seek redress and justice, the claimant hired a lawyer that filed the matter in court in 2016, but the lawyer stopped coming to the court due to unpaid bills. The claimant`s case was on the verge of being struck out by the Court, when it was referred to the Office of the Public Defender to avail him free legal services,” the Director explained.

“The OPD, in line with its statutory responsibility of defending the rights of defenseless residents of the State, swiftly deployed some of its best hands to represent the claimant and sought for various reliefs in court on the claimant’s behalf. It was the tenacity, discipline, and uncommon professionalism exhibited by the OPD Counsels during the hearing that resulted in the favourable judgment for Muraina Taiwo,” Martins asserted.

Expressing satisfaction with the outcome of the case despite the fact that the claimant’s case was referred to OPD at short notice for free legal assistance, the Director enjoined Lagos residents to always take advantage of the free legal services to protect their rights.

He urged employees having any dispute with their employers on issues bordering on compensation, gratuity, non-remittance of pension, and wrongful termination of the contract of employment to come forward for free legal assistance and representation.

Lagos Inaugurates Five Mobile Courts For Traffic Offenders

lagos state mobile courts The Lagos State Government has inaugurated five Mobile Court buses for road traffic offenders, with a pledge to end impunity on the roads.

The Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade‎ and the State’s Attorney General, Kazeem Adeniji, restated their commitments to ridding Lagos of recklessness and impunity on the roads at the inauguration of the Mobile Courts on Friday.

The inauguration was held at the premises of the High Court in Ikeja, the capital of the state.

Justice Atilade pointed out that flagrant disregard and violation of traffic rules with impunity was unacceptable. She, therefore, urged the people of the state to discourage and condemn the act.

The Chief Judge also disclosed that the judiciary remained committed and would stop at nothing to back the initiative of the State Government.

The Attorney General, on his part, said that the Mobile Courts would facilitate prompt and immediate trial of road traffic and environmental offenders.

Offenses to be tried by the Court include; driving against traffic, refusing to obey traffic signs like Zebra Crossings and Traffic Lights indications, crossing the highways where Pedestrian Bridges are provided, driving on the BRT by non-designated vehicle and parking at undesignated places, commercial buses on motion with their doors open thereby endangering lives of both their passengers and other road users, noise pollution and street trading amongst others.

He expressed hope that the reduction in the commission of these traffic offences, would determine how much Lagos had progressed as a civilised society.

The State Attorney General also said that the Courts would be presided over by Magistrates and that there would be prosecutors from the Ministry of Justice and defence lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), who would be readily available to defendants who so desire.

Ejigbo 2: 12 Year Old Victim Advocates Death Penalty For Perpetrators

Nike, a 12 year old girl who was one of the three victims of suspected OPC members who tortured 3 pepper sellers in Ejigbo, Lagos state, for allegedly stealing pepper worth 50 naira, has advocated death penalty for the suspects for causing her step-sister’s death.

Nike, who was the third and youngest of the victims, appeared at the public hearing ordered by the Lagos State House of Assembly to investigate the incident which occurred in February 2012.

At the hearing, she identified three men as the ones who tortured herself and her step sister for stealing pepper worth 50 Naira.

She further revealed that one of the suspects (who was without a shirt in the viral video) had promised to set a trap for her because she rejected his advances.

She identified the man who wore jeans as ‘Tirin,’ the man who wore native attire called ‘ankara’ as Jibola, the third man, ‘Abolore’ and ‘Baba Oja.’

She also said that she witnessed the murder of a certain individual by the said men at the same location where they tortured her family members.

Nike, who was unaware of her sister’s death as a result of the severe injuries sustained, was asked what penalty she wanted for the criminals and she said “the people that kill somebody, they use to kill them.”

At the hearing, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly,  Adeyemi Kuforiji, redeemed the 1 million Naira promise made by the ad-hoc Chairman to the family who helped in locating the victims. Part of the money was given to the victims.

The case has been handed over to the Office of the Public Defender.

Fashola Calls For State Police To Protect Vulnerable Citizens

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday re-emphasized the need for State Police in the country, arguing that the venture would be justifiable if they were used for the protection of women and children.

Governor Fashola, made this call at the 12th Anniversary of Ms Funmi Iyanda’s Change-A-Life Programme at the Nigerian Television Authority Network Centre, Victoria Island on January 1.

He pointed out that what is lacking in giving adequate protection to vulnerable members of the society was the capacity to enforce the law, adding that the Police, who are engrossed with the task of fighting kidnappers and other violent crimes, would have no time to engage in the processes of enforcing the law on domestic violence.

He said, “if we really want to protect women, we must look again at the prospect of State Police because even if it is the only responsibility we give them, protection of women and dealing with domestic violence, and leave the Federal Police to deal with all the other violent crimes that we have mentioned, it would be a huge step forward”.

Governor Fashola said although Lagos State has made laws against domestic violence and criminalized certain acts in the administration of Criminal Justice Law in the State, with laws now against the abuse of children, the problem remained in the enforcement of the laws.

“One of the responsibilities that the Police have in the law protecting women against domestic violence is to file a complaint on behalf of the victim before a court and to seek restraining order against the respondent who is the aggressor. But how many of those cases really come up to the court”, he said.

Pointing out that it is only the reported cases that Government could deal with, the Governor paid glowing tribute to the Deputy Governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who supervises the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and the Director-General of the Office of the Public Defender, as well as the volunteer lawyers who work in the Office of the Public Defender “for the selfless work that they have done”.

He said: “It is when the citizens are safe that you feel free to embark on capital intensive development, providing Education and other opportunities for them to find their way in life; the real empowerment of people and looking after their welfare. From there we go on to growing the economy, Power, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing; and in that way and from it we create a large theatre of opportunities where people can find their way.”

He continued, “I think the opportunity to make a better choice in 2014 is heavy on us, it favours us. The difference between success and failure, for me, is how people react to opportunities. This is the season that offers us the opportunity to do so many good things. But they would happen if we make the choices, seize the opportunity to revalue hard work, to revalue knowledge, revalue the dignity of life, and put appropriate value on our common humanity and to place less value on those things that have taken our focus away from things that are important”.

Maintaining that the Year 2014 would be a better year, Governor Fashola, declared, “But it will not happen by mere wishes. It will happen by making very clear choices individually and collectively…if we unite our minds to the kind of values that we want and unite our minds to achieving those value choices, it will surely happen”.

Highlight of the programme was the presentation of the Remi Lagos Award of Academic Excellence to two most outstanding students of Funmi Iyanda’s Change-A-Life Foundation, Miss Olatunji Fumilayo and Miss Umoh Victoria Uwana.

Also present at the occasion were, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs Jumoke Giwa, guests like Mrs. Susan Eyo-Honest, Board members, beneficiaries of the Foundation and their parents, among others.

Fuel Subsidy Protest: Court Awards N4million Compensation To Victims Of Police Shooting

A Lagos High Court on Friday awarded the sum N1 million each as compensation to four protester who were shot by a police officer during the protest against fuel subsidy removal in January 2012 in Lagos.

Presiding Judge, Justice Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, ruled the total sum of N4million damages against the Nigerian Police Force and Fabunmi for “recklessly shooting and inflicting bodily injury” on the protesters.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Pen Cinema, Segun Fabunmi. Fabunmi had on the 9th of January 2012, killed  27-year old Samuel Ademola Aderinto Abe, and injured four others at Yaya Abata street, Ogba Agege, in Lagos during the fuel subsidy protest.

Fabunmi has since been dismissed.

The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) on behalf of the four applicants, filed a civil suit against the Nigeria Police Force and the police officer in March 2012, for N200 million damages for the killing of Abiodun and N100 million each for four others, who were wounded by police bullets during the protest.

A criminal case against Mr Fabunmi and the Police Force still stands in the court for the murder of Samuel Ademola Aderinto Abe.