Monday Ubani, immediate past Second Vice President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Adamu Muhammad to ensure that the police officers caught in a trending video destroying alcoholic beverages of a trader for flouting the order of the Lagos State government, in respect of COVID-19 pandemic, are not only arrested but the trader whose goods were destroyed should also be compensated.
The lawyer maintained that the destruction was viewed as not only barbaric but unlawful and carried out without any wisdom, stressing that what people who reacted to the abnormal behaviour were saying was that the policemen could have sealed the premises of the owner, arrested the culprit rather than engage in wanton destruction of properties of a citizen who had committed no wrong by opening up his or her business premises for daily income for self-survival.
Ubani, in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday, stressed that as at the time the incident took place, Lagos State House of Assembly had not passed the law that criminalizes opening up of business premises during the time of restriction.
He said that it was rather an oral directive from the governor whose full measures and procedures were not well spelt out.
The former Chairman of Ikeja branch of NBA pointed out that it was disgusting to see law enforcement agents engaging in barbaric and wanton destruction of the citizen’s means of livelihood at a trying time, stressing that there was no logic to explain away the kind of behaviour at the moment.
“It is reported that the Inspector General of Police has ordered the arrest and discipline of the erring police officers. That is the way to go and we shall ensure that this directive is carried out strictly by the Commissioner of Police in Lagos.
“However, arrest and discipline are not enough for deterrence. One is arguing and pushing that the wronged citizen should be compensated for the items that were destroyed.
“The policemen went beyond their brief and the aggrieved citizen should not be left without a remedy. There is a legal maxim that where there is a wrong, there should be a remedy, ubi jus ubi remedium.
“That fellow whose goods were destroyed should be adequately compensated with money or replacement of his or her damaged goods,” he said.
The legal luminary also reminded governments at the centre and the state levels, that hunger was more deadly than coronavirus. He maintained that government at the various tiers should come up with measures to cushion the debilitating effect of the trying time of total lockdown.
He said that there were those whose self-survival was dependent on daily trading and business and could not be asked to stay at home, without food, stressing that the various sums of money donated by Alhaji Atiku, Tony Elumelu, Alico Dangote, Zenith Bank and the rest should be quickly deployed towards effectively curtailing the harsh economic measures that would result in the sit-at-home order of all state governments.