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Court Slams N5 Million Fine On Ogun Police Commissioner, Deputy, Eight Chiefs For Harassing Village Heads

Daud Olatunji

In a landmark ruling on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, the Federal High Court in Abeokuta has imposed a significant N5 million fine against the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, Deputy Commissioner, and eight traditional chiefs in the state.

 

The judgment, delivered by Honorable Justice Adefunmilola Demi-Ajayi, stemmed from a case filed by six Baales from Orile Itoku against Chief Olusoji Sodamola, Chief Kehinde Sofenwa, and six other chiefs.

The court found the accused parties guilty of utilizing the police force to intimidate and harass the six village heads who were demanding accountability for the sales of resources in Itoku, Igbo Orile Itoku via Kobape in the Obafemi-Owode local government.

The court ruled that the harassment included persistent arrests and detentions, causing financial, emotional, and psychological trauma to the Baales.

Justice Demi-Ajayi not only restrained the police from further interference but also granted the Baales’ request for a N5 million general damages against the chiefs.

The court further mandated a public apology to be published in two daily newspapers.

The case, rooted in a breach of fundamental human rights, highlighted the Baales’ collective interest in the accountability of resources versus the chiefs’ pursuit of personal interests.

The judgment underscored the illegitimate actions of the Police Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and Chiefs, emphasizing that the police had acted arbitrarily and in excess of their powers.

In light of these findings, the court deemed the respondents’ conduct as a flagrant disregard for the law, utilizing the coercive powers of the state to settle a civil matter.

As a result, the N5 million fine was imposed, marking a significant victory for the Baales and a stern rebuke for those involved in the harassment.

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