The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing allegations of human rights abuses against the disbanded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad has ordered the compensation of N7.5m to a 40-year-old man, Marc Nwadi, who was unduly incarcerated for six years at the Kirikiri prison without trial.
During his appearance before the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel on Saturday, March 13, Nwadi revealed the chronology of events that culminated in his unjust arrest.
According to him, his inability to pay a bribe of N10,000 to policemen in the Idimu area of Lagos led him to prison where he spent six years unjustly.
Justice Okuwobi, in her ruling, said, “The petitioner was incarcerated in the prime of his life without justification for six years and was never tried or sentenced for any crime despite enduring a long six-year stay in prison and losing a vital part of his youth and opportunities.
“We hereby give an award of N7.5m in favour of the petitioner.”
In addition, the panel ruled that the Investigating Police Officer in charge of the case should be suspended for six months without pay.
Nwadi had told the panel that he was only 18 years old when he was picked by policemen at a bus stop in the Egbeda area of Lagos State in May 1999.
He narrated that he was standing at the bus stop with his travel bag and a polythene bag alongside other persons waiting for a bus, when a police vehicle suddenly appeared, stopped and policemen began to arrest people.
Nwadi said he tried to explain and ask questions but was beaten each time he tried to speak.
He said he and five other persons, including some females, were eventually taken to Idimu Police Station, where one Friday, a policeman, demanded N100,000 from each of them.
He said soon, others were freed but because he had no money, he was kept in the cell and Friday came every day to beat him.
“It has been 20 years, you can still see those marks on my body. The marks have been a horror. Anytime I pull my clothes, my wife and children will be crying,” Nwadi said.
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