29 July 2011

Nigeria: Mudashiru's Widow Wants N900 Million From Hairat Balogun Over Assault

Lagos — Foluke, widow of the late former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gbolahan Mudasiru, has dragged a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Hairat Balogun and Barrister Adeniran Ajagbe, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, demanding N900 million over an alleged assault.

In a fundamental human rights suit No-FHC/L/CS/729/11, filed by Nnemeka Amaechina, lawyer to Mrs. Mudasiru, the applicant is asking the court to restrain the respondents whether by themselves or by their agents, servants or privies from infringing on her rights to human dignity, liberty in any manner.

In a 15-page affidavit in support of the Motion, the 65- year- old widow stated that on May 17, 2011, parties in a suit over her late husband's property were invited to the Court of Appeal for the purpose of settlement of records in respect of an appeal she lodged at the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the court of Appeal over her late husband's property.

The applicant states "on the said date, we started with examination of the exhibits tendered in the matter which we did peacefully and successfully until we got to the point of examination of two boxes tendered in the matter to which the first respondent allegedly objected."

She stated that the first respondent did not only object to examination of the boxes but allegedly threatened to walk out on all parties involved and even made the exhibit keeper to stop conducting the exercise.

She averred that when she objected and insisted that the first respondent (Ajagbe) should wait until the completion of the exercise, he (first respondent) reacted by violently pushing her out of the way and allegedly dipped his fingers in her nose, twisting her left wrist and gave her several punches.

She averred that while she was recuperating from the injury the first respondent rushed to the Lion Building Police Station and reported the incident claiming she (Mudasiru) assaulted him.

"I have suffered seriously in the hands of the respondents owing to this incident and I verily believe that my fundamental human rights have been violated. The assault left me with serious headache. It affected my spine which made me to have pains from head to toe, hampering my movement", the applicant stated.

The applicant stated that she has been compelled to wear collar around her neck as a result of the injury and urged the court to declare that the assault meted to her constitutes a breach of her fundamental human rights. In a final written address filed on behalf of the applicant, her lawyer submitted that under the facts of the case the first respondent committed grievous assault and battery against the applicant.

He further submitted that by virtue of the relationship of employment, the second respondent is allegedly vicariously liable for the tortuous actions of the first respondent done the course of his employment.

"The assault committed by the first respondent in this case against the applicant is so grievous that it has affected her health seriously. It has caused her physical injuries, discomfort and inconvenience.

The injury has gone beyond to mental and emotional suffering." But in a 49-pragraph counter affidavit dated June 20, 2011, deposed to by Adeniran Ajagbe (first respondent) the respondents through their lawyer, Mr. Osahon Idemudia, stated that since the death of Mudasiru and the subsequent reading of his last Will and Testament by the Probate Registry of the Lagos High Court, there has been ongoing litigation between the applicant (Mudasiru) and five persons named in the Will as executors/trustees of the estate. The respondents added that the applicant has consistently maintained that the Will is a forgery and that all the assets of her late husband both real and personal were to be subjected to her control.

They stated that in the course of the trial, two brief cases containing some of the personal items of the late Air Commodore Mudasiru, which was in possession of the executors, were kept in safe custody at the Montgomery Vaults, Yaba Lagos. They stated that the two brief cases had no evidential value in the suit going by the judgment of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The respondents added that the inclusion of the second respondent in the suit was an abuse of court process.

They urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost adding that the first respondent was not only assaulted in the course of his discharge of his professional calling but was also put through the financial stress of defending himself. Justice Okon Abang has adjourned the matter till November 10 for hearing.

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