Justice has eluded a 50-year-old father of five, David Ehiosun, three years after a Lagos State High Court awarded N6.1m damages against the Nigeria Police and one Inspector Sunday Omoseigho.
While the Force had yet to obey the court ruling, Omoseigho’s whereabouts remained unknown as Ehiosun battled with a crippled leg.
The Edo State indigene was a driver of a banker resident on Shonibare Estate, in the Maryland area of Lagos, until May 5, 2003, when Omoseigho shot him in the left leg.
The cop was attached to the Mopol 20 division in Oduduwa, Ikeja, and was posted to the house of one Alhaji Aliyu of G Cappa Estate, which is a stone’s throw to Shonibare Estate.
The victim and Omoseigho had reportedly met at Kingsway bus stop, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, where they both visited to eat at a restaurant.
Punch Metro learnt that Ehiosun’s offence was that he declined to assist the policeman in facilitating an amorous relationship with a daughter of the food vendor.
Ehiosun, in an interview with Punch correspondent on Tuesday, said about 15 years after the incident, his life had been marked with “excruciating pains.”
He said, “We knew each other at the restaurant and we both hail from the same state. On May 4, 2003, he told me that he had feelings for the food seller’s daughter and asked me to help him talk to her. I told him the lady and her mother respected me a lot; they usually called me a pastor. So, I told him that I could not do it.
“The following day, I was passing by a drinking joint in the area when he stopped me. He was holding a cup of drink. He asked me the effrontery I had to decline his errand the previous day. I told him I was rushing back to work.
“He poured the drink on me and I protested. He threatened to shoot me if I talked again. I had barely uttered a word when he shot me. He destroyed my leg. I was crying. It was hellish. He threatened to shoot me the second time. I begged him.”
It was gathered that the policeman fled the scene as people rallied round the victim and took him to a hospital.
Ehiosun said the case was reported to the Ikeja Police Station, adding that he was on admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, for three days.
He said a doctor told him that the leg might be amputated since he could not afford the cost of treatment.
“I was discharged and went for local treatment in my village. The policeman was initially arrested and detained by the police authorities. The matter was investigated and he was eventually tried at an orderly room trial where he was found guilty and recommended for demotion to sergeant.
“Instead of being prosecuted, he was released on bail. I could not continue to seek justice since I had to spend some time in the village to treat my leg,” he said.
Ehiosun explained that after he returned from the village, efforts he made to recoup a sum of N1.1m he spent on the treatment from the Lagos State Police Command were to no avail.
He said he took the case to court through the Office of the Public Defender of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice on March 24, 2009.
In the suit no ID/574/2009, Omoseigho, the state Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of Police were co-defendants.
The claimant, Ehiosun, demanded N10m in general damages and N1,134,000 as the amount he spent on treatment.
It was said that the defendants did not appear throughout the court proceedings presided over by Justice Bola Okikiolu-Ighile.
In a ruling on the matter, dated October 15, 2014, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, Okikiolu-Ighile awarded N6.1m compensation against the defendants.
The ruling read in part, “The claimant has shown that he has suffered and still suffering personal injuries as a result of the breach of duty owed him by the 1st defendant (Omoseigho) while on duty. In the light of the foregoing, I am of the opinion that the claimant is entitled to an award of general damages in a situation such as the prevailing one where the injury to the claimant is not quantifiable.
“In conclusion, therefore, claims (a) and (d) under special damages are refused and dismissed; claims (b) and (c) succeed. I accordingly award the sum of N1,100,000 in special damages and the sum of N5,000,000 for general damages, totalling the sum of N6,100,000 against the defendants in this action.”
Ehiosun said he submitted a copy of the judgment to the office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, but he had yet to get a reply.
He said he wanted to use the compensation for intensive treatment of the leg so that he could walk with it again.
“I am appealing to the government and rights groups to prevail on the Nigeria Police to pay the damages. I walk with the support of crutches without getting justice for an injury inflicted on me for no just cause,” he added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said he would need time to study the judgement and react appropriately.
He said, “The incident happened before I became the PPRO. I need to study the case and the court judgement before I can react.”