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Sanwo-Olu Rejects N5m Compensation To Uber Driver Tortured During EndSARS Memorial, Heads To Appeal Court

The government of Lagos State, South West Nigeria, has rejected the judgement of the Federal High Court that ordered the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to pay an Uber driver tortured during the EndSARS memorial, N5 million.

This is coming barely a week after his re-election, as the governor of Lagos State, as the state has now filed a notice of appeal against the judgement.

Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State had on March 13, 2023, ordered Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration to pay the sum of N5 million as compensation to Adedotun Clement, an Uber driver who was severely tortured on October 20, 2021 at the Lekki Toll-Gate during the first EndSARS anniversary.

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.

The brutal attack on the Uber driver was widely reported, following which the civil society organisations and rights activists condenmed the attack, describing it as unacceptable.

Sequel to the outcry that greeted the attack, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, filed a lawsuit against the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force to seek redress on behalf of the victim.

It was the suit that on March 13, the court awarded the N5 million damages against the government.

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.

“I’m not surprised by their decision not to obey a judgment that 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,” Effiong said.

The Lagos lawyer added that “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.”

One wondered if this was the same governor who was practically begging for vote prior to the governorship election in Lagos State last Saturday.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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