Court to Deliver Judgment on February 2 in Journalist’s N50 Million Suit Against Lagos State Taskforce

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Ms Obioma Okonkwo, Eniola’s Counsel

A Federal High Court in Lagos will now deliver its judgment on February 2, 2024 in a N50 million suit filed by The Guardian newspaper reporter, Mr. Eniola Daniel, against the Chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Shola Jejeloye; the Lagos State Government and Police authorities for the brutal assault unleashed on the journalist by policemen of the taskforce.

Justice Yellin Bogoro initially fixed judgment for December 13, 2023, after hearing final arguments by the lawyers to the parties in the suit in which the journalist is alleging that thugs engaged by the taskforce and policemen under Mr. Jejeloye’s supervision tortured and brutalized him on February 28, 2021 while he was covering the destruction of shanties in the Oshodi area of Lagos by members of the taskforce. However, the court later rescheduled its verdict for February 2.

In the Originating Summons filed on his behalf by human rights lawyers, Ms Chioma Nwaodike and Ms Obioma Okonkwo, pursuant to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2019, the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the journalist named as respondents CSP Jejeloye, the Inspector-General of Police, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, and the Governor of Lagos State.

He is asking the court to declare that the act of beating, slapping, punching, physically assaulting him, confiscating and damaging his Nikon Digital Camera, Sony Digital Voice Recorder, Bluetooth earphone, and his mobile phones while he was carrying out his journalistic duty on February 28, 2021 at Ladipo Market in Oshodi in Lagos by police officers attached to the taskforce, under the supervision of CSP Jejeloye violates his fundamental rights to dignity, freedom of expression and his right to freedom from compulsory acquisition of property, all rights protected by the Constitution and the African Charter.

The journalist is also asking the Court to direct the respondents jointly and severally to pay him N50 million as damages for the violation of his rights to human dignity, freedom of expression and freedom from compulsory acquisition of his property.