Nothing could have prepared Adetola Abdulazeez, an Osun State resident, for the events of April 18, 2020, when she was harassed and flogged by two cane-wielding policemen, and made no attempts to retaliate.
After the encounter, her body was bruised and swollen. The ugly incident was captured on camera, and circulated across the internet.
She was a nameless, faceless victim of police brutality in a country that would later protest against the police six months after.
Four days after the incident, the police force tweeted saying Ikuesan Taiwo and Abass Ibrahim, the policemen captured beating her, had been tried and found guilty. It said, “They have been dismissed from the Force. They will be arraigned in court for prosecution.”
Three years after the incident, Abdulazeez was never invited to testify in court, and to the best of her knowledge, the policemen were never arraigned.
Abdulazeez decided to seek redress in court by filing a suit against the Nigerian Police Force and the office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) in May 2020.
On February 1, 2021, Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, Osun State, ruled in her favour, and ordered the police to pay her ₦5 million as compensation for breach of her fundamental rights.
Two years after this judgement, Abdulazeez has been unable to get the police to comply with the court’s ruling.
When she and others tweeted about it, Muyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), claimed the police was unaware of the ruling, and said her lawyers should take it up.
Muyiwa’s tweet read, “I am not aware of her judgement against the men. I think it’s a legal matter. Her lawyer can take it up. I know my office has attended to many cases like this. You won’t sit when you have a court judgement; you will need to follow up and take necessary steps.”
FIJ called Adejobi on Sunday to clarify that the judgement was against the police and the IGP, not against the policemen, and ask if he was aware, but Adejobi referred us back to his tweet as his official position on the matter.
Ojukwu is a reporter with FIJ in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.
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