By Perez Brisibe
OKPE—A Delta State High Court sitting in Oreropke has slammed a N3 million judgment against the state’s Commissioner of Police and three others policemen as punitive damage for assaulting and detaining an accountant, Mr. Irhirhi Edesiri, for allegedly videoing them at a checkpoint.
Trial judge, Justice Joe Egwu, also ordered the Police to pay the claimant an additional N25,000 to offset his legal cost.
The accountant had dragged the respondents to court for assaulting, arresting and detaining him for two days for allegedly videoing a team of policemen who were purportedly extorting N500 from a commercial taxi driver at a checkpoint by Oha Junction, Orerokpe, Okpe Local Government Area of the state.
According to the victim, after he was arrested and detained, he was forced to write a statement under duress at the Oreropke Police Station failure of which he said the officers threatened to kill him and discard his remains like a common criminal.
He told the court: “I was charged to court without being allowed access to neither my family nor my lawyer and was subsequently remanded for 17 days at the Sapele Prison, until the intervention of my lawyer who handled the case free of charge for me.”
Hailing the judge for the ruling, counsel to the applicant, Kunle Edun, stated that the judgment had further emphasised that the fundamental rights of Nigerians must at all times be respected by Policemen and other security agencies.
He noted that the fact that the judgment condemned the rampant practice of extorting motorists by policemen on the highways should give Nigerians courage to report bribery and extortion by security operatives.