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Tola Azeez: 37 Months After Police Brutality

Recall that on the 18th of April 2020, during the heightened COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period, Miss Tola Azeez became another victim of police brutality. The said lady, who was returning from the pharmacy store on this faithful morning, was not away from what the day had in stock for her as she was stopped by two police officers for flaunting the curfew order set by the federal government.

Tola tried to explain to the policemen that she was returning from an errand where she went to get medications for her family from the pharmacy. But the excuse Miss Tola gave fell on deaf ears with the police officers. Ikuesan Taiwo and Abass Ibrahim took the law into their own hands and brutally molested her repeatedly with sticks as punishment for disobeying the curfew order. 

This ugly event, which happened around the Odoori Market area of Iwo town, Osun State, left heavy pain and scars on the lady. Unfortunately for these officers of the Nigerian police, a witness who was on hand at the time of this abuse of power made a video recording of the event.The video of the ugly act  got into the hands of Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, a Nigerian music artist popularly known as Ruggedman, who was the first to publish it on his official Twitter account, @Ruggedybaba. The video went viral, and quickly gained traction. Nigerians at home and abroad strongly criticized the unprofessional acts of Ikuesan Taiwo and Abass Ibrahim.

The call  for the arrest and punishment of these officers became loud, and consequently, their arrest was ordered by the Police Head Quarters – Abuja. Consequently, the case was charged to the Federal High Court in Abuja, where Miss Tola Azeez got judgment in her favor. The officers were dismissed, and the judge ordered that the Nigeria Police pay a sum of 5 million naira to her as compensation for the damages she suffered.

Thirty-seven months later, Miss Tola is yet to be paid the compensation from the Nigeria Police as ordered by the court. The pain and trauma suffered from this irresponsible act by these two officers are still very much fresh in her memory as the Nigeria Police Force tarries in compensating her. 

When Parallel Facts reached out to her, she told our correspondent how she is unable to get past the memory of this dastardly act, and get closure as a result of the refusal of the police to obey the order of the court. In the interview she granted, Miss Tola relayed her frustration over the delay. She revealed to us in the conversation that her lawyer had recently written to the Attorney General of the Federation’s office, requesting to be updated on the reason for the delay in the payment of the compensation by the police force.

“My lawyer told me he got a reply from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that they were waiting to see if the Nigeria Police Force would appeal the judgment.” The lawyer reminded the office of the AGF that the window for the appeal has passed, and there was no excuse for the delay whatsoever, she told Parallel Facts.

 Though she appreciates the judiciary and Nigerians for their contributions towards getting half the justice she deserved in the dismissal of Ikuesan and Abass, the mother of two appeals to the Nigeria Police to heed the order of the court by paying the ordered #5 million in compensation. “I thought I had gotten over the trauma, apparently not. I am leaving it over again as I speak with you,” she opened up to our correspondence in the interview in a staggering voice. “I am a single mother of two, and it has been a difficult task as a sole provider. That money would go a long way in assisting me in catering for my two children,” she added.