Friday, September 27, 2013

POLICE IG, LAGOS POLICE COMMISSIONER SUED FOR N25m OVER NEGLECT OF MOTHER AND BABY HIT BY RECKLESS POLICE DRIVER

Mrs. Taskirat Anjolaiya

The family of a woman, Taskirat Anjolaiya, who was hit by a reckless and negligent police driver and knocked into a comatose state along with her new born baby, has filed a N25 million lawsuit against the police. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Umar Manko are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The accident occurred three months ago in Lagos as a police driver in an official van drove in the wrong direction on a one-way street.

The lawsuit alleges that the culprit, Corporal Friday Azukah, drove an official police van recklessly, hitting the nursing mother and her baby on June 23, 2013 as they alighted from a commercial vehicle at Church bus stop along the busy Oshodi-Apapa Express road in Lagos.

The accident occurred as Corporal Azukah drove a female friend of his supervisor, Divisional Police Officer Ibrahim Zango of FESTAC police station, to catch a flight for which she was almost late. Eyewitnesses stated that the police driver cut into the one-way lane of the express road to avoid traffic, speeding dangerously until he knocked down the victims.

After the accident, Corporal Azukah had focused on arranging a cab to transport his superior’s mistress to the airport. He later deposited N70, 000 at a hospital so that the victims could be admitted for treatment.

But the victims’ family said they have since incurred costs running into millions of naira both in medical treatment and sundry care for both victims.

Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital diagnosed Mrs. Taskirat with pelvic fracture as well as severe brain and other internal injuries. Her baby, Ammarah Eletu, reportedly suffered a broken jaw among other serious injuries.

Currently an outpatient at LUTH, the woman also receives ongoing treatment at a psychiatric facility for mental handicaps that developed after the accident.

Two sources familiar with the case said that the DPO, Ibrahim Zango, whose mistress was being transported to the airport when the culprit hit the victims, was later transferred from the FESTAC station. “His transfer was all a game by the police authorities to make the case fizzle out,” said one source, who is close to the victims’ family.

Another source stated that Sulaiman Bashir-Eletu, the husband and father of the victims, has been experiencing severe psychological agony from coping with the burden of the accident. The source, who disclosed that Mr. Bashir-Eletu is a teacher, added that the man “cannot understand the callousness and neglect of the police in this case. That’s why we persuaded him to take the case to court.”

Apart from the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the suit also joins Mr. Zango and Mr. Azukah as defendants. In addition to seeking N25 million in general damages, the lawsuit also seeks N1.7 million in specific damages.

The plaintiffs, among them the victims’ husband and father, are also asking the court to declare that Mr. Azukah’s act of driving at high speed against traffic on the day of the accident was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.