A 60-year-old man who was physically assaulted by a police officer in Lagos has asked the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State government to give him N3 million as compensation for the damage he suffered after the assault.
Olajide Fowotade, who works as a building contractor, told the panel on Saturday that he suffered police brutality in 2017, and sustained body injuries which have cost him over N1 million.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr Fowotade said the incident happened on March 11, 2017, at Ketu-Ikosi while returning from his workplace.
“I branched at my wife’s shop to pick her. We wanted to buy some things for the house. When we got to Ikosi road leading to the express road, where ‘marwas’(tricycles) park to load passengers, we saw some marwa turning.
“We waited patiently for the tricycles to go and suddenly, a tricycle hit my car from behind and I shouted at the rider, whether he could not see. He then asked whether I know him and who I was talking to.
“I said who are you? Can’t you see the front? He was in mufty, … so I didn’t know (he was) a police officer. Suddenly, he slapped me, saying I don’t know who he is.”
Mr Fowotade said he had the urge to fight back, but his wife who was with him pleaded that he should not fight as their daughter’s wedding party was three weeks away; April 2.
“When the beating was too much, I had to get out of my car. The next thing the man did was to use his head to hit me, two teeth removed and I fainted immediately,” he told the panel.
He was carried in his vehicle to the police station, where the beating continued.
He identified the officer who assaulted him as Sergeant Ayo of Ketu Police Division.
The victim said when the DPO, Mr Akpan, heard what happened, he chastised the Sergeant for beating the elderly man and ordered that he should be rushed to the hospital.
Mr Fowotade said he was rushed to Eboha medical centre at 48, Yakubu street, off Jimoh Balogun, where he was treated.
He narrated the body pain he had suffered, and money he spent treating himself after the incident, adding that he has been consistently traumatised.
The victim presented news publications on Guardian and The Nation newspapers on March 14, 2017, to the court which detailed his ordeal in the hands of the police.
Mr Fowotade said four days after the publication, the DPO called him on why he published the report, took his statement and told him they have nothing to do with him on the case because the AIG and everyone had seen it.
“I was called from Zone 2 by Dolapo Badmus, the spokesperson. When I got to her office, she asked me what happened and I explained. She said I should go and that they will call me back.
“Four days later, they called me back, that AIG wants to see me, Kayode Aderanti was the AIG zone 2. The DPO brought the two officers and explained to the AIG. A panel was set up but I did not hear from them for months,” he said.
Mr Fowotade said he has been to many human rights offices, including the Lagos Office of Public Defender but received no response. Rather, he kept spending money.
He told the Judicial Panel that he had spent not less than N1 million to treat the body injuries he suffered from the incident.
Mr Fowotade lost two teeth, suffered eye and leg injury from the assault.
He told the panel he has purchased 10 artificial teeth, each for N25, 000 asides from the N100, 000 he spent for removing the teeth.
Mr Fowotade tendered all the receipts, scans, documents, including newspaper publications as evidence of the assault he suffered in the hands of the police.
Dorris Okuwobi received the documents as exhibits to assist the panel in its investigation.
Joseph Evoserenen, a lawyer representing the police, prayed the court to reject some documents tendered by the complainant because they are photocopied documents.
The judge declared that the exhibits will be admitted.
The case was adjourned till November 13.