A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday ordered the Lagos State government and the Nigeria Police to pay N5 million as compensation to Adedotun Clement, an Uber driver who was publicly harassed and assaulted the Nigeria Police Force during the first anniversary of #EndSARS protest in 2021.
Delivering judgement in the case marked FHC/CS/1862/2021, Justice A. L. Allagoa, found that the LNSA and the police violated Clement’s right to dignity, and awarded him the sum as damages.
Recall that during the first anniversary of #EndSARS protest on October 20, 2021, Mr. Clement was carrying a passenger from the Island to the Mainland, when he encountered the protest at the Lekki Toll Gate, which was disrupted by Lagos State officials and the police.
Following the pandemonium that ensued after policemen and officers of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency fired tear-gas canisters to disperse the peaceful protesters and arrested others, 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 an Uber driver and only wanted to retrieve his car.
However, In their attempt to forcefully put him inside the vehicle of the Lagos State Task force, otherwise called Black Maria, the Lagos State officials in connivance with the police also used pepper-spray on Clement, who cried for help.
The ugly scene which was recorded went viral and was publicly condemned.
Lagos-based human rights lawyer and activist, Mr. Inibehe Effiong took up the case and sued Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency, Attorney General of Lagos and Nigeria Police.
The court condemned the torture of Clement by Lagos State Government officials and the police.
In his reaction to the judgment, the applicant’s counsel, Mr. Effiong, expressed appreciation to the court for upholding the rights of his client.
Effiong also called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babjide Sanwolu, to comply with the judgment and pay compensation in line with his public declaration that he has compensated victims connected with #EndSARS and to reassure Lagosians that he believes in human rights.
The judgement brings an end a two-year legal battle between Clement and the government.