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POLICE BRUTALITY: Judge tongue lashes police, LSG

Oba-Gbolahan-Akanbi-Timson

Oba Gbolahan Akanbi Timson
HONOURABLE Justice Okon Efreti Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Tuesday, could not hide his emotions and disdain for violators of fundamental human rights when he tongue lashed the Police and condemned the alleged involvement of officials of the Lagos state government for the unlawful arrest, detention and subsequent arraignment at an Ikeja magistrate of Oba Gbolahan Akanbi Timson last year. 

He, therefore, awarded a whopping N3m as damages to the victim to be paid by the respondents in the matter jointly or severally for what he described as, “the violation of the victim’s rights to personal liberty, respect for dignity of his person, fair hearing guaranteed under sections 34 (1), 35 (4), 36 (6b) of 1999 constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria respectively.”

Oba Timson was arrested on July 15, 2009 by a team of policemen headed by a Superintendent of Police (SP) who doubles as chairman of the state environmental enforcement task force for allegedly being indicted in a demolition of a particular building.  He was said to have been humiliated, brutalized,  detained and later arraigned at an Ikeja Magistrate court

But on February 22, 2010 the traditional ruler filed a suit at the federal high court in Lagos, seeking an enforcement of his fundamental human rights.  Delivering the lead judgement on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 on suit no FHC/L/CS/164/10, Justice Abang condemned the action of the senior police officer and his team in strong terms, describing it as totally incongruous with the principles of fundamental human rights.

“There is a truth in this matter that has not been told and I want to hear it. This is man inhumanity to man.  Why should a magistrate order an Oba to remove his crown before him when the same Oba had appeared more than thrice before him in the same regalia.  Like you said, even when the magistrate said he was aware that the case before him was an abuse of court process, yet he went ahead to hear it.

This abuse and violation of fundamental human rights must stop.  You may practise that during the military but not in a democratic dispensation.   You cannot storm the court room with 20 armed policemen in the guise of protecting the witness.  In most celebrated cases heard in this country, witnesses were not protected in such manner.”


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