The 30-year-old mechanic, Oladele Adebanjo, who was allegedly tortured and shot in the leg by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command, has sued the police for N200m damages.
Punch Metro had reported on November 14, 2012, that Adebanjo was shot while in detention by SARS policemen over allegations that he stole a commercial bus.
Adebanjo had acquired a Mazda bus model E2000 on a hire purchase agreement of N1.8m from Olatunji Adeyemi in August 2011. The bus was, however, stolen before the full payment could be made.
Adeyemi, who was irked by the development, reported the incident at the Oworo Police Division before the matter was transferred to SARS where Adebanjo was allegedly tortured and shot with a pistol in the leg by Taofeek Olokode, the head of the SARS team handling the matter.
In a suit with number ID/943/12 filed before Justice Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, of an Ikeja High Court, Adebanjo joined the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, Olokode (the Investigating Police Officer) and Adeyemi in the suit.
The application filed by Adebanjo’s lawyer, Gerald Abonyi stated, “We seek a declaration that his arrest and incarceration by the 1st to 3rd respondents (IG, Lagos CP and Olokode respectively) at the prompting and instigation of the 4th respondent, Adeyemi, amounts to a gross breach of the applicant’s fundamental human rights and the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“We seek relief in the sum of N200m against all the respondents jointly and severally for the gross violation of Adebanjo’s fundamental human rights.”
Abonyi also filed with the court a copy of a letter he wrote to the Lagos CP, which stated that the missing bus had been found and urging the police command to investigate the “circumstances surrounding its recovery.”
In an affidavit before the court, Adebanjo claimed that the actions of Olokede were “premeditated, deliberate and calculated to cause him permanent physical deformity”.
He stated, “Since my coming out of SARS custody after being in detention for seven days, I have not been able to work due to the serious nature of the injury sustained in the hand of Olokode.
“I am always in and out of hospital for the treatment of the gunshot wound and other injuries I sustained. I have been grossly, unjustly abused and stripped of all my fundamental human rights.”
However, Olokode, in a counter affidavit, said Adebanjo was shot in a bid to escape from custody adding that “escaping from lawful custody after the offence of felony was enough provocation” to shoot him.
Counsel to the police, Mr. Cyril Ejiofor, who represented the 1st to 3rd respondents, in a written address to the court described the facts presented by Adebanjo as “twisted, untrue and alarming” and prayed the court to “dismiss the application”.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile adjourned the case till February 7 for further hearing.