The Federal High Court in Osogbo, Osun State, has awarded N5 million as aggravated and general damages against the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector General of Police over abuse of a woman in Osun State.
PREMIUM TIMES in April 2020 reported how two police officers were caught on camera for assaulting one Tola Azeez, in Odo Ori Market in Iwo, Osun State, when she was trying to buy drugs for her relatives at a pharmacy.
The assault took place while police officers in the state were enforcing COVID-19 lockdown, an action which was condemned by the police authorities, the Osun State Government and the Oluwo of Iwo, Adewale Akanbi.
The police later identified the erring officers as Ikuesan Taiwo, an inspector and Abass Ibrahim, a corporal.
It also announced on Twitter that it arrested the officers. Nothing was heard about the case from the police until the judgment on Monday.
To protest the assault, a fundamental human right enforcement suit was filed by a lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, on behalf of Ms Azeez.
The police counsel, F.B Osei, argued that Messrs Taiwo and Ibrahim were agents of the Nigeria Police Force, and that the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector General of Police could not be held liable for the acts and omission of its officers.
This was countered by Mr Olajensgbesi who said the officers carried out the assault during an official assignment as agents of the police force.
In his judgement on Monday, Ayo Emmanuel, resolved the matter in favour of the applicant.
He held in his judgement that the actions of the offending officers in the discharge of their official duties as agents of the police amounted to an infringement of the Fundamental Right to Dignity of Ms Azeez, a liability the Nigeria Police Force must shoulder.
The court then awarded the sum of N5 million as aggravated and general damages against the police.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES after the matter, the applicant’s lawyer, Mr Olajengbesi, commended the court’s industry and applauded the judge for his adjudication of the suit.
“The judgement will reinforce the slogan which connotes the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and equally rekindle the hope of Nigerians in our judicial system”, he told our correspondent.
This newspaper reported a series of attacks on Nigerians by security operatives while enforcing coronavirus lockdown across the country last year.
While many cases made it to the social media, little or nothing was heard after.
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