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Police officers, others get N1.5m compensation

Four police officers and two civilians, yesterday, heaved sigh of relief over the destruction of their property during the October #EndSARS protests. The Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations recommended the payment of N1,535,350 to six petitioners that complained about different forms of injustices and destruction to their properties during the #End- SARS protests in October.

Four policemen – Insp. Omokhua Benjamin, Insp. Yakubu Aminu, Insp. Alabi Samuel and Sgt. Adesina Kolawole – serving in the Ekiti State Police Command lost their cars, motorcycle and other valuables during the protests. Consequently, they took their complaints to the panel to seek justice.

The panel, at its resumed sitting presided over by its Chairman, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (rtd) in Ado- Ekiti, in the recommendations, stated that from the oral and documentary evidence of the complainants produced through exhibits tendered, as well as visits to the locus, the panel was able to establish the facts on each case and thus made appropriate recommendations.

In the case of Insp. Omokhua Benjamin vs Unknown Persons, the complainant, in his evidence, said that on October 20, he was on duty during the #EndSARS protest at the police station at Afao, Ikere- Ekiti when some youths, numbering about 200 shouting #EndSARS slogans, attacked the police station, burnt the station alongside his Golf 3 car valued at N1.4 million.

He added that the hoodlums also stormed the official quarters of the police where he also lost his personal belongings during the mayhem. In its ruling on the matter, the panel recommended N400,000 as compensation for Omokhua’s Golf 3 car and N50,000 for the personal properties destroyed at the Afao Police Station official quarters in Ikere Ekiti. However, the panel recommended that Omokhua should obtain valid vehicle particulars as condition precedence to his collecting the money and was berated for driving the vehicle for seven years without valid vehicle particulars.

The panel also recommended a compensation of N400,000 for Insp. Yakubu Aminu in the case of Inspector Yakubu Aminu vs Unknown Persons. The panel explained that the recommended N400,000 compensation was for Aminu’s Golf 3 car with Registration No AG- 828KER which was burnt by the #EndSARS protesters within the premises of Afao Police Station in Ikere Ekiti, on October 20, 2020. In his evidence before the panel, Insp. Yakubu stated that he bought the vehicle for N550,000 and wanted the government to pay him N1.3 million to replace it.

After assessing the cost of the vehicle, the panel recommended the sum of N400,000 as compensation for the Police Inspector. However, the panel recommended that Insp. Yakubu shall obtain valid particulars of the vehicle as condition precedence to collecting the recommended amount. In the case of Insp. Alabi Samuel vs Unknown Persons, the panel recommended that the complainant be compensated with the sum of N170,000, for his stolen motorcycle put at N100,000 and other belongings put at N70,000. In his evidence before the panel, Alabi complained that youths, numbering about a thousand, attacked the Afao Police Station in Ikere Ekiti where he was living at the staff quarters, during which his property were burnt while some were carted away.

Alabi testified that his motorcycle, with Registra-tion No. AKD645QB valued N360,000, which was parked at the premises, mattresses, a standing fan, a pressing iron, personal clothes, shoes and three police uniforms were stolen. He also alleged that some documents, including police signals and receipts were also burnt. The panel, having considered the fact before it, recommended the payment of N170,000 as compensation to Alabi.

However, the panel recommended that Insp. Alabi Samuel should obtain current and valid particulars of the motorcycle as condition precedence to collecting the recommended compensation. The panel frowned that the police officer has been riding his motorcycle for seven years without valid particulars. Also, Sgt. Adesina Kolawole said that some unknown persons, on October 20, attacked his Golf 3 car while he was on duty at the Nigeria Police Station, Afao, Ikere Ekiti. He said that he parked his Golf 3 car, with Registration No: AG40MUE, under a tree within the station’s premises and #EndSARS protesters destroyed the car valued at N400,000.

He said that they broke all the glasses valued at N70,000 and carted away the car tape worth N15,000, the battery N20,000 and broke the steering wheel valued at N20,000. Kolawole claimed that he spent N40,000 on the car’s body in order to put it back on the road.

The police sergeant requested for N400,000 to repair the car. The panel recommended that the sum of N130,000 be paid as compensation to the complainant, but ruled that he should obtain current vehicle particulars as a condition to collecting the recommended compensation. The panel, however, frowned at Kolawole for using his official position to drive his car for seven years without valid vehicle particulars.

In the case of Olawale Adekola, who said he is a press officer attached to the Ministry of Justice, the panel recommended a compensation of N142,850 for the following: speed light N75,000, repair of his camera N30,000 and cost of his medical treatment at N37,850. Adekola had alleged in his evidence before the panel that he was stoned, robbed and humiliated at the House of Assembly Complex on October 16, 2020 by a group of angry mob during the #EndSARS protests.

The panel, in its recommendation in the complainant involving Ayeni Michael Ojo Vs Unknown Persons, recommended the payment of N242,500 as compensation to Ojo to carry out repairs on his vandalised Nissan Primera with Registration No. LAW154AE. Michael Ojo, during oral evidence, requested for N5 million to be able to repair his vehicle vandalised by hoodlums on October 20, on his way to his house at Afao, Kajola, Ikere Ekiti during the #EndSARS protest.

The panel, after considering the submissions of the complainant, his oral and documentary evidence, concluded that hoodlums vandalised the vehicle. It thereby assessed the cost of repairing the vehicle and recommended N242,500 as compensation to repair the vehicle and his lost earnings. The panel, however, recommended that current particulars of the vehicle should be made a condition precedence for the payment of the recommended amount.

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