Lagos Accident: Police Face Coroner's Inquest, Sued Over Akowonjo Killing


LAGOS, August 18, (THEWILL) - Access To Justice (AJ), a human rights organization has commenced a process of conducting a coroner’s inquest into last Sunday’s ghastly road accident along the Lagos/Shagamu highway where more than 30 persons lost their lives and 21 vehicles got burnt. The inquest is to determine whether police officers should be held responsible for the deadly accident.

AJ Director of Programme, Mr. Leonard Dibia disclosed this yesterday at Lagos Airport Hotel where Human Right Watch (HRW) presented a report on Corruption and Human Rights Abuses in the Nigeria Police Force.

Dibia also said the Access to Justice had completed an arrangement to drag the Nigeria Police before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over the brutal killing of a commercial bus driver in Akowonjo area of Lagos, by a reckless police officer.

Speaking on the conduct of coroner’s inquest, Dibia described the accident, which occurred opposite Sir Michael Otedola Housing Estate, as sad and unfortunate, saying his organization had begun process to unravel the cause of the accident.

He said; "The case of Sunday Lagos accident is sad. We have commenced process to investigate and unravel if the Nigeria Police actually caused the accident. We are going to conduct coroner’s inquest into the incident to determine the root cause.

"We are already making efforts to reach out to the survivors of the accidents. We still need more information about the incident. By the time we finish reaching out to the vital people, we will bring a case against the Nigeria Police to make them pay for the lives lost and properties destroyed in the accident.

"We cannot allow this continue in the country. This is the time to rise in defence of human rights in Nigeria and end the era in which the police officers will violate Nigerians’ rights with impunity. That era has gone," he said.

On the Akowonjo murder, Dibia said the Access To Justice had reached out to Professor John Obafunwa to carry out an autopsy on the victim, who was brutally shot dead having refused to offer a police officer a bribe of N50.

He added that the AJ "is taking the step to make the police pay for the life of the commercial bus driver killed. We had met the bus conductor and the wife of the murdered driver. Once Professor Obafunwa completes the autopsy, we will drag the Nigeria police to a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. We will not allow the trend to continue," Dibia added.