By Abdulwahab Abdulah
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has awarded a penalty of N20 million as damages against some officials of the Lagos State government for wrongful detention, beating one Alhaji Adisa Adewale and the demolition of his property in Shangisa/Magodo area of the state.
The judgment which was delivered by Justice Alaba Marsh of an Ikeja High Court seven years after the suit was instituted directed the respondents including Adeyinka Tajudeen Jeje, Gbenga Babatunde Asafa, Peter Omotosho, Ata Thomas and K. A. Odumosu to pay the money as compensation to Alhaji Adewale as special damages for the injuries he suffered in course of his entanglement with the government officials and also as compensation for his three demolished houses.
However, the respondents have filed a notice of appeal against the judgment of the lower court in the fundamental rights suit filed by the applicants. They asked the Court of Appeal to declare that by the virtue of their job, they are protected by the Public Officers Protection Law, of Lagos State, 2004 and should not be personally liable for their action.
Also they asked for an order allowing their appeal and setting aside the judgment of the trial court upholding the applicantâ€™s contention that the fundamental human rights of the applicant was not in anyway infringed upon.
In the judgment, the trial court also granted a perpetual order restraining the Respondents â€œwhether acting by themselves or any person whatsoever from further arresting, threatening or intimidating the Applicant in any manner whatsoever or demolishing the Applicantâ€™s immovable properties at any place wheresoever.â€
In the compensation awarded against the Respondents, the court held the sum of â€œN4.5 million is awarded as damages for injuries suffered by the Applicant as a result of the beating, torturing and throwing the Applicant into a gorge by the Respondent as well as the unlawful detention of the Applicant by the Respondents.â€
Also, the court awarded the sum of N15, 500,000 for the demolition of his three houses by the officials.
The court held further that â€œthe luring into a bush and thereat, beating and torturing the Applicant by he 1st to 4th Respondents acting for themselves, their servants and or agents on May 29, 2001, tying the Applicant up and throwing him into a gorge in the bush at Magodo and abandoning him there for 24 hours until he was discovered at the point of death and rescued on the 2nd day constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment and a gross violation of the Applicantâ€™s right under Section 34 (91) (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoplesâ€™ Right.â€