A photographer with the Eti-Osa Local Government, Lagos was allegedly beaten to a coma by a policeman during a demolition exercise in Ikoyi area of the state last Wednesday.
CODEWIT learnt that the victim, Bolaji Madamidola, is an occupant of a building which formerly belonged to a former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank plc, Cecilia Ibru.
It was learnt the building had been acquired by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and sold off to another individual.
Our correspondent gathered on March 6, 2013, some policemen stormed the building to eject the occupants of the building.
It was in a bid to salvage some of his properties that Madamidola was allegedly beaten up by one of the policemen.
The lawyer to the occupants of the building, Okwarauba Nastor, said the policemen were shooting indiscriminately in a bid to scare off the occupants of the building.
He said the victim did not provoke the policemen but only attempted to evacuate some of his properties when one of the policemen hit him with a sledge hammer.
He said, “The policemen came with guns and started shooting into the air sporadically so that all the occupants of the building will run away. He (Madamidola), on hearing that the policemen were ejecting them (tenants), he rushed back to the house.
“As he ran into his apartment to salvage some of his things, one of the policemen later identified as Sergeant Raimi Aliyu, picked up a sledge hammer and struck the victim with it, causing him to faint immediately.”
It was learnt that the policemen, who thought Madamidola had given up the ghost, immediately fled the scene.
Sympathisers were said to have rushed the victim to about four hospitals in the area where he was rejected. He was later taken to St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos Island.
A friend of the victim, who craved anonymity, said Madamidola was still in critical condition and due to the severity Madamidola’s condition, he would need at least N1m before proper treatment could begin.
The lawyer said it was unfortunate that AMCON would authorize such a demolition even though the matter was still in court.
He said, “This is not the first time that the occupants of the building will be threatened with eviction. In April 2011, the same policemen attached to the company wanted to eject them but we took the matter to court because the tenants have been paying rent to AMCON.
“The matter is still in court and that is why I’m surprised that such a thing could happen.”
It was however learnt that AMCON had promised to offset part of the hospital bill.
When contacted on the telephone, the AMCON spokesman, Mr. Kayode Lambo, denied that the victim was beaten up by a policeman, adding that he only got injured after he slipped and fell.
Lambo said the occupants of the house no longer had the right to live in the house since it had been relinquished by Ibru after her conviction in 2010.
He said, “The property has been sold and the tenants there no longer pay rent. When the policemen went to the house, one of the tenants slipped and fell and sustained a minor injury. We took him to St. Nicholas Hospital and he is fine.
“There is no case pending in court because the property was acquired legally by AMCON.”
When contacted on the telephone, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said she would call back but was yet to do so as at press time.