#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu rejects N5m compensation to Uber driver brutalised at Lekki tollgate
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has rejected the judgement of the Federal High Court that ordered the state to pay an Uber driver who assaulted during EndSARS memorial in 2021, the sum of N5million.
CorrectNG reported earlier that the court had ordered Sanwo-Olu’s administration to pay the sum of Five Million Naira as compensation to Adedotun Clement, a cabbie who was severely tortured on October 20, 2021 at the Lekki toll gate.
Clement was carrying a passenger to Lagos Mainland when he encountered a gridlock at the Lekki Toll-Gate during a protest to commemorate the first anniversary of EndSARS.
He was however, grabbed, tortured and pepper-sprayed by officers of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency and policemen.
During the first anniversary of the EndSARS protest on 20th October, 2021, Mr Clement was carrying a passenger from the Island to the Mainland part of Lagos, when he encountered the protest at the Lekki Toll Gate which was disrupted by officials of Lagos State and the police.
Following the pandemonium that ensued after policemen and officers of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency fired tear-gas canisters to disperse the protesters and arrested many protesters, Mr Clement temporarily abandoned his car like other motorists and ran for his life.
However, when he returned to pick his car, he was accosted, dragged, tortured and manhandled by the officers who refused to heed his entreaties that he was a Uber driver and only wanted to retrieve his car. The assault was captured on video and reported by media houses.
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 police officers also used pepper-spray on Mr 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, Attorney General of Lagos and the Nigeria Police.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, March 14 in the fundamental rights case with Suit Number: FHC/CS/1862/2021, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice A. L. Allagoa, found 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.
Following the judgment, Effiong wrote a letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu on March 16, 2023 demanding compliance with the judgment.
However, the governor refused to act on the demand, instead the State Government now filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Lagos division against the judgment after the Babajide Sanwo-Olu won his re-election.
In a Notice of Appeal filed on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, but served on Friday, March 23, signed by Dr Babajide Martins, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, the government said there was no evidence that the Uber driver was tortured.
Responding to the appeal, Effiong said his client was disappointed by the action of the Lagos State Government but that he was ready to face the government at the Court of Appeal.
He said;“I’m not surprised by their decision not to obey a judgment that the everyone knows is justifiable. Since they’ve chosen this infamous path, I will equally file a cross-appeal against the N5 Million damages and ask the Court of Appeal to increase it significantly.
The message derivable from this action is that Lagosians are back to the regime of real Governor Sanwo-Olu that they know, and not the pretentious one who tried to project himself as a populist or respecter of human rights during the campaigns.”