AN Ota, Ogun State High Court presided over by Justice Catherine Ogunsanya has ordered the Ogun State Commissioner of Police and the Area Commander, Igbeba Police Station, Ijebu- Ode to produce their sole witness in court on October 23, 2012 or close their defence.
The two police officers, eighth and ninth defendants, a former Ijebu-Ode Local Council chairman and first defendant , Mr. Mufutau Oseni and six others are defendants in a suit filed by an Ijebu-Ode-based businessman, Prince Yomi Oduneye who alleged assault and torture.
The judge made the order after standing down the matter on the pleadings of the police counsel, Mr. K.M Ogunfowodu who claimed that the witness was trapped in traffic .
But the witness eventually did not show up in court until sitting ended.
For that, the claimant’s counsel, Mr. Segun Onakoya prayed the court to award cost against the eighth and ninth defendants for wasting the time of the court and delaying the matter unduly.
But Ogunfowodu pleaded passionately to the court to discountenance the award of cost. The court later obliged his prayers warning that it would not tolerate any more delay.
Justice Ogunsanya said: “Let us give you one more adjournment with the hope that you would produce your witness in Court. If your witness fails to appear on the adjourned date, you will close your defence.”
The other defendants are Mr, Shakiru Oseni, Mr. Laja Okenla, Mr. Ade Okulaja, Haji Isiaka Adekoya, Mr. Goke Balogun and Mr. Yekini Adedeji who was the Divisional Police Officer of Obalande Police Station, Ijebu-Ode at the time of the incident.
In his writ, Oduneye claims jointly and severally against the first to sixth defendants , the sum of N300 million being special and general damages suffered by him when the defendants allegedly subjected him to severe beating, flogging, humiliation and dehumanization.
He is also praying the court to order the seventh to ninth defendants , the Police, to pay him the sum of N100 million jointly or severally for breach of their constitutional and statutory duty to protect his life and property as well as any other order that the court may deem fit to make on the matter.
In his 40 paragraph statement on oath, Oduneye stated that on August 7, 2008, the first defendant sent about seven armed hoodlums to abduct him in his office and took him to the local government headquarters where he was tortured for not ‘hailing’ the council chairman, first defendant.
“I was severely beaten and finally given a head butt in my belly which made me defecate in my trousers.
“As soon as the defendants exhausted their venom on me, the seventh defendant emerged from a corner and promptly arrested me and took me to his station in my own pool of blood”, he averred.
But in their statement of defence, the first to sixth defendants denied all the allegations. They described the claimant as a gold digger who wants to make money from a frivolous accusation, adding that he only fought with the third defendants because of a woman and sustained some bruises.
“The defendants aver that they are not liable to the claimant for any damage as the claimant never suffered any damage and assuming while not conceding that the claimant suffered any damage, such are self induced or self inflicted damages…the claimant is naturally an envious person and trouble maker with whom responsible people do not want to associate with”, they stated, urging the court to dismiss the application.
Similarly, the eight to ninth defendants denied the allegation of collusion and urged the court to dismiss the suit.