By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The Lagos State judicial panel hearing cases of police brutality and SARS-related abuses has awarded a petitioner, Marc Chidibere Nwadi the sum on N7.5 million.
Chidiebere Nwadi first appeared before the panel on Saturday, November 28 before the panel where he testified that he hated the Nigerian police since 1999.
The 39-old who appeared without legal counsel narrated how the Nigerian police killed his dream of becoming a journalist.
Mr. Chididebere said he was arrested by the police in 1999 when he just came to Lagos and could not find his relative.
He told the judicial panel he was detained and tortured and later remanded in prison (Kiri Kiri) for six years awaiting trial.
Justice Doris Okuwobi in her ruling said the panel found out that, “the petitioner was tortured and abused by officers of the Nigerian Police force without any justification. “His experience was excavated by his inability to provide a bribe. “This inability to provide bribe led to tons of charge and as a result, he was awaiting trial in Kirir Kiri maximum security prison for six years. “The duration of six years for awaiting trial was not justifiable to his human rights and procedure of the system.
The retired Justice then ruled that “the petitioner was incarcerated by the Nigeria police force at the prime of his life without justification for 6 years and was not tried or sentenced for any crime despite enduring six years in prison and losing a vital part of his youth and opportunities. We hereby give an award of N7.5 million to the petitioner. “The constitutional time frame within which suspects in custody has to be charged to the court must be observed at all times.
“Failure of Investigating Police Officer to charge the suspect to court within the prescribed time as stipulated in the constitution should resolve in being sanctioned by the Nigerian Police Force and being suspended for 6 months without pay. Other officers directly involved in the investigation should be suspended for 3 months without pay.
“A daily audit of should be carried out by DPO and Human right desk for the purpose of ensuring that suspects are charged to court in the stipulated time frame in the constitution and incident of extortion are reduced and eventually eliminated
“Six officers should be made to undergo a minimum of four training in a year on self-restraint and human right. Such training should priorities the need of all officers to take personal responsibility for their actions. Arresting officers should ensure relatives of people in custody are aware of their arrest and circumstance of their arrest.
Petitioner happy about outcome
Mr. Chididebere, the petitioner expressed appreciation and said he is not particularly happy about the money but the fact that his story was heard and he got compensated.
“My happiness may not about the money but I was given an opportunity to be heard which was denied from me, for six years I was not taken to any court, I could have died. So I am very grateful Lagos State judicial panel was able to compensate me. I want to thank the Lagos State government too for this panel so people can be heard.
He also said his faith has been restored in the Nigerian justice system when he was about filing his petition, there were assumptions the previous panel set up in the past did not yield a fruitful result.