A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered Lagos State government and Nigeria Police to pay N5 million as compensation to Adedotun Clement, the Uber driver, who was publicly attacked, assaulted and humiliated by officials of the State Neighbourhood Safety Agency and the Nigeria Police Force during the first anniversary of #EndSARS protest in 2021.
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.
The assault was captured on video and reported by the media.
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.
Following public condemnation that trailed the viral incident, 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.
Delivering judgment in the fundamental rights case marked: FHC/CS/1862/2021, 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.
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.