An Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, who was physically assaulted by security agents, who fired tear gas canisters to disperse protesters marking the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS campaign in the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State has demanded the arrest and prosecution of the policemen who tortured him.
This was in response to a statement by the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, that the police could not take any action on his case because there was no official complaint before the command.
SaharaReporters had reported that some protesters and journalists suffered varied forms of attacks from security agents during a clampdown on residents at the tollgate on Wednesday.
During the attacks, some protesters and journalists filmed some of the tense moments of assaults.
Several video clips showed security agents, including men of the Rapid Response Squad, the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (task force), the Nigeria Police Force and the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps, among others, brutalising journalists and protesters.
One of the videos, which went viral, showed the security agents, particularly policemen and officers of the LNSC, subjecting Clement to dehumanising torture, as he struggled against being locked up in a Black Maria.
Despite his pleas for mercy to validate his claim of being an Uber driver, one of the cops slapped him, as the LNSC official pepper-sprayed his eyes.
In a petition addressed to the commissioner on Monday, Clement, through his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said the attack on him was a violation of the Police Act 2020.
While urging Odumosu to take action to remedy the violation of his rights “as guaranteed by Section 34 and 35 of the Constitution,” the victim demanded that disciplinary measures should be taken against the policemen.
The petition read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to you in which you stated that you cannot take disciplinary actions against the police officers who tortured and pepper-sprayed our client because no formal complaint has been filed by our client.
“Since the assault was perpetrated publicly with video evidence in public circulation and widely reported, we expected that you would initiate disciplinary action based on the undisputed facts and evidence available to you. But since you have demanded a formal complaint, please take this petition as a formal complaint on behalf of our client.
“It is the brief of our client that on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, he was conveying a passenger to the Lagos Mainland, and on getting to the Lekki Toll Gate, he encountered traffic gridlock caused by the peaceful memorial protest in commemoration of the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest.
“Following the pandemonium, coupled with the debilitating effect of the canisters which penetrated our client’s vehicle, our client and his passenger, like other motorists, road users and the protesters, had no choice but to abandon his vehicle and flee the contaminated scene for his safety.
“When the atmosphere became relatively calm, our client returned to retrieve his vehicle and continue with his business, only to realise that officers of the Nigeria Police Force and LSNC had towed his vehicle from the Lekki Toll Gate to an undisclosed location.
“Our client, as a law-abiding citizen, approached the officers of the Nigeria Police Force and LNSC, who were at the Lekki Toll Gate, to enquire about his vehicle. Rather than respond to our client’s enquiry, the police officers and LNSC officers, without any provocation, swooped on our client and subjected him to prolonged molestation, torture, intimidation, abuse, unwarranted dehumanisation and degrading treatment.”
Condemning the assault on the driver, Effiong noted that his client’s liberty had been violated.
He added, “Sequel to the foregoing, we hereby respectfully demand as follows: payment of the sum of N500m to our client as compensation for the gross violation of his fundamental rights by officers of the Nigeria Police Force; severe disciplinary measures should be taken against the police officers who attacked our client; culprits should also be prosecuted in court; a written apology to our client addressed to us for the violation of his rights.”