Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has ordered the payment of N5 million compensation to an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, who was assaulted on October 20, 2021, during a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protest in the state.
The governor in a statement on Saturday said he had “directed the Honorable Attorney General to set up a meeting and pay him the compensation awarded by the court.”
This is coming after The PUNCH reported today that the Ministry of Justice in the state argued that the state government was right to appeal the judgement.
On March 14, 2023, the court ordered the state government to pay the sum of N5 million as compensation to Adedotun who was said to have been tortured on October 20, 2021 at the Lekki Toll-Gate during the first #EndSARS anniversary.
Adedotun’s counsel, Inibehe Effiong, had in a statement on Friday, claimed the Lagos government was rejecting the judgment of the High Court over “lack of evidence for the torture.”
Adedotun, according to his lawyer, was carrying a passenger to Lagos Mainland when he encountered a gridlock at the Lekki Toll-Gate during a protest to commemorate the first anniversary of #EndSARS. “He was tortured and pepper-sprayed by officers of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency and policemen.”
Arguing on Saturday, the justice ministry in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Grace Alo, said during the hearing of the matter, the state government opposed the claims of the Applicant on grounds of law and facts.
Alo said, “As is customary when a judgment is delivered against the State Government, the counsel handling the matter is enjoined to file an appeal (a right provided by the Constitution) along with an application to stay execution of the judgment in order to protect and reserve the rights available to the State Government under the law.”
However, Governor Sanwo-Olu, in his position, said he was committed to upholding the rule of law.
The governor in a statement on his verified Twitter page said, “Good evening Lagos, as governor, I’m committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting citizens’ rights with empathy and authority.
“I recently became aware of the case involving Mr. Clement Adedotun and the judgement by the Federal High Court, and I understand the impact this legal battle has had on him.
After reviewing Mr. Clement’s case, I’ve directed the Honorable Attorney General to set up a meeting and pay him the compensation awarded by the court.”
According to the governor, although the state government has appealed the ruling, “I’ve interceded in this instance in the interest of the public good, and requested that the state’s Attorney General comply with the court’s ruling.”
Sanwo-Olu said as a strong advocate for the rule of law, he commended all parties for seeking justice through the appropriate channels, adding that he remained committed to upholding the rights of all Lagosians.