DPO vs fashion designer: Court delivers judgement, awards N150,000 as damages, costs against Gwazah

The judge in Court 4 of Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, Justice Rachael Boyede Akintola, has awarded a sum of N150,000 as damages and costs against a former Divisional Police Officer, Iyaganku, Ibadan, CSP Alex Gwazah, for infringing on rights of a fashion designer, Lukman Adeniyi.

Delivering the judgement, on Tuesday, Justice Akintola, ruled that the act of the first respondent was unlawful in respect to the things he did to the applicant.

The fashion designer had taken the matter to the high court in December 2020, to enforce his fundamental human rights, after he was discharged by the magistrate court, which he was initially charged to.

The high court awarded N50,000 as damages against the first respondent, while N100,000 was awarded in favour of the applicant.

In an affidavit sworn to by the applicant, the former DPO was named as the first respondent and the state Commissioner of Police was the second respondent.

In the affidavit, Adeniyi narrated how he was contacted by the DPO to sew clothes for him, but ended up being physically assaulted, detained in the cell and arraigned in court over an accusation that he (Adeniyi) damaged his clothes.

He added that the charge was eventually struck off by a magistrate, Mrs Olajumoke Akande, sitting over Court 8, at Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court, for want of diligent prosecution.

This, the applicant said, was because the first respondent failed to attend court proceedings the two times the matter came up for hearing.

Adeniyi also pointed out in the affidavit that Gwazah failed to pay him his professional fee of N60,000, which he legitimately earned through mutual agreement, despite several demands.

He said further in the affidavit that he was brutalised and made to suffer humiliation, which signified an abuse of office by the first respondent.

He stated that since the matter was struck off the Magistrate Court’s list, he had been receiving threats from the first respondent on his re-arrest and being dealt with unless he dropped his demand for payment of the professional fee.

This, Adeniyi said, had made him abandon his workplace at Oke Bola area of the city.

He added that the second respondent had refused to take any step on the matter, despite his writing a letter of the complaint through his lawyer.

But there was no award of damages against the second respondent.

The judge ruled that the second respondent could not be vicariously liable to act on the first respondent, saying that all the first respondent did were of his own volition.

Tribune Online learnt that after the furore raised over the initial arraignment of the fashion designer, Gwazah was redeployed from Iyaganku Division to the Quick Intervention Unit as the head.

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