Friday, April 8, 2011


Uzoma Okere. Remember her? She’s the lady that was stripped naked and battered in Lagos in September 2008 by some naval ratings attached to a senior Naval officer, Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade. The Lagos State government, through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), later took up her case in court. She eventually got justice, with the court awarding her N100m.

Well, Okere was in the news recently. On March 29, at a forum in Lagos, the lady relived her bitter experiences in the days following her ordeal, even as she heaped praises on the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for coming to her aid in her hour of need.

She spoke at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos, at an event to commemorate Fashola’s 1, 400 days in office. Many others, who claimed to have benefited from the state government were at the event to publicly applaud the Fashola administration for always coming to the aid of the citizens in their moments of distress. Okere recalled how she was brutally attacked by the Admiral’s guards that morning. The naval men, who accused the lady of blocking their principal’s convoy, jumped on the lady and thoroughly battered her in the presence of on-lookers. She was thereafter rushed to the hospital by some of those who witnessed the ordeal.

According to her, she never imagined that she would get justice when those angry ratings were humiliating her. She expressed joy that help came from the state government when she never expected it. Her words: “I could have been assaulted and harassed without justice if the state Office of Public Defence initiative was not “conceived, established and effectively operated to help the downtrodden in the state. Even though I am not from Lagos, I benefited from the state’s people-oriented policies.

“I’m grateful to the Lagos State government under Governor Fashola for making an initiative like the OPD work. When I was beaten by those ratings, and Governor Fashola heard about how they dragged me down from my car and assaulted me, he directed the OPD to intervene. I got free legal service from the state and a N100 million claim.”

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