The Ondo State Police Command has been ordered by the High Court sitting in Akure to pay the sum of N250,000 to a commercial motorcyclist identified as Mr. Daniel Olorunyomi, as damages for his unlawful arrest.
The police command were sued by a human rights activist, Mr. Akinsola Akintan, following an alleged unprofessional conduct of two policemen – one Corporal Kehinde and Ajayi Adeboye – at the A Division Police Station, Akure.
In the suit, with number AK/5M/2017, the two policemen were accused of extorting money from the motorcyclist and unlawfully arresting him in 2016.
Akintan, who demanded the sum of N1m as general damages, explained that the respondents (Kehinde and Adeboye), were fond of sending policemen in the division to carry out indiscriminate and unlawful arrests of motorcyclists in order to extort money from them.
Akintan, through his non-governmental organisation, Awareness Against Social Vices Initiative, said he intervened to secure the release of Olorunyomi’s motorcycle, four days after it was confiscated.
He told the court that Adeboye insisted on collecting N3,000 before releasing the motorcycle.
Akitan noted that he was not requested to make any statement over the seizure of the motorcycle, adding that no formal report was also made at the station concerning the incident.
However, throughout the court proceedings, the two respondents did not appear in court and no counsel represented the police.
The judge, Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu, while delivering her final verdict, declared that the arrest of the applicant on December 10, 2016, and the confiscation of his Haojue motorcycle, with number plate, ABG 876 QE, without any unjustifiable reason, was unconstitutional.
Akeredolu added that the detention violated the rights of the applicant to freedom of movement, personal liberty and the right to own property as enshrined in sections 35, 41 and 44 of the Nigerian constitution, as amended.
She said, “I, hereby, order the respondents, jointly and severally, to pay the sum of N250,000 only as general damages for the unlawful and unconstitutional arrest of the applicant and the confiscation of his Haojue motorcycle from December 10, 2016 to December 14, 2016, without any justifiable reason.”
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )