The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, awarded N15 million against the Nigerian police over the alleged killings of three members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his judgment, also ordered the National Hospital, Abuja, to immediately released the three corpses in its morgue to their families.
The judge, however, did not grant the prayer that the Nigerian police should tender an apology in two national newspapers.
The Inspector General of Police was the 1st respondent, while the medical director of National Hospital, Abuja, was the 2nd respondent in the three separate charges.
Suleiman Shehu, Mahdi Musa and Bilyaminu Abubakar Faska were alleged to have been killed by agents of the first respondent on July 22, 2019 while on a peaceful protest to demand for the freedom of their Islamic Leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
The bodies of the deceased were alleged to have been deposited at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The applicants, who are said to be brothers of the deceased in the suit, are Ibrahim Abdullahi, Ahmad Musa and Yusuf Faska respectively.The applicants, in separate affidavits in support of the originating motions to enforce their fundamental rights filed by their lawyer, Bala Dakum, said they were brothers to the deceased.
They told the court that they wrote the hospital managements, through their lawyers, for the release of their brothers for burial in accordance with Islamic rites but to no avail.
The applicants prayed the court to declare that “the killings of the deceased on July 22, 2019 by the police was illegal, unlawful, null and void and amounts to gross violation of their fundamental rights to life as enshrined in Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“An order of this honourable court directing the 1st and 2nd respondents to release the corps of the deceased to the applicants for burial in accordance with Islamic rites.”
They also sought for the order of the court directing the Nigerian police to pay each of the applicants the sum of one hundred million naira for unlawful detention and killings of their brothers.
“An order of this honourable court directing the respondent to tender a formal apology to the applicants by publishing same in two national daily newspapers.
“Such further order(s) as this honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case,” the motion read in part.At the last sitting on June 24, though the Nigerian police was not represented in court, counsel to the National Hospital, Chris Momoh, informed that he did not file counter-affidavit in respect of the suit because the hospital was only a custodian to the bodies brought by the 1st respondent.However counsel to the police, Lough Simon, appeared on Monday when the case was called for judgment.Justice Taiwo did not allow him to make any submission.
“The judgment is ready. You are not going to arrest my judgment.“You did not file any process; there is nothing before me; so you don’t have any fact to put right,” he responded.
Delivering the judgment separately, Taiwo noted that despite the service of court processes and hearing notices on the 1st defendant (police), the security outfit failed to file any counter application.
According to him, matters of fundamental rights enforcement should be given priority over any other cases, citing previous Supreme Court cases.
The judge, who noted that the application by the plaintiffs was filed on May 6, said where respondent did not file any counter application, “the court shall assume that the respondent has accepted the facts in the application.”He recalled that on May 22 when the matter came up for the first time, Dakum, who was counsel to the applicants, said he was unable to serve the 1st defendant (police).
He said he adjourned the matter till June 17 and on June 17 when the matter came up, the police did not send any representation or file any application.
“I adjourned until June 24 and the 1st defendant did not show up again,” the judge said.Justice Taiwo held that the 1st defendant had been given adequate notice to make its submission and the principle of fair hearing had been adhered to by the court.
“Once the opportunity is offered, it is the responsibility of parties to utilise same and once this is over, court has nothing to do than to deliver justice,” he held.
He said the court deals with concrete facts and that the allegation was thatSuleiman, Mahdi and Bilyaminu were killed while on peaceful protest in Abuja.He noted that their corpses were still with the 2nd defendant at the instance of the 1st defendant.
“Where an averment is uncontroverted, the court shall assume it to be true. So averment that is not controverted is deemed to be right.“There is no denial of this fact that the applicant was killed while on peaceful protest by the 1st defendant and there is nothing before the court to show any counter by the defendant,” he said.
Quoting from the Holy Quran, Justice Taiwo stated that in Islam, human life is sacred.According to him, the Holy Quran frowns at extra-judicial killings.
The judge said despite efforts of the families, it was painful that the bodies of the deceased were still in the morgue.Justice Taiwo, therefore, granted Reliefs A and C sought by the applicants.On the issue of N100 million damages demanded, he said though human lives cannot be quantified, there was the need for the applicants to be compensated for the loss.
“It is the duty of the court to access damages though human life cannot be quantified. However, it is illegal to take human life“The quantum of damages is at the discretion of the court though human life cannot be quantified,” he stressed.
Justice Taiwo, however, noted that in the affidavits filed by the applicants, the age of the deceased, their status; whether married or not, whether they had children or not, among others, were not stated for him to evaluate the extent of the damages.In the light of this, the judge ordered the 1st respondent (police) to pay the sum of N5 million each to the applicants.
He also ordered that the National Hospital, Abuja, should release the bodies of the deceased to the families. Justice Taiwo, however, refused to grant the prayer that the Nigerian police be made to tender an apology in two national newspapers. (NAN)
MNJTF Troops Eliminate Dozens, Capture 40 Terrorists in Lake Chad
Troops of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) have killed dozens of terrorists and captured more than 40 in recent operations in the Lake Chad Basin.
The Chief of Military Public Information for MNJTF, Lt. -Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke, made this known in a statement yesterday in N’Djamena Chad.
Adegoke said the troops also destroyed several terrorists camps during the clearance and stabilisation operations in the region conducted from January 18 to 29.
He added that 87 Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists surrendered within the period.
Adegoke said in Sector 1, Cameroon, the troops conducted ambush operations on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 in the general area of Kolofata-Kirawa, captured one terrorist alive and recovered significant quantity of assorted foodstuff.
According to him, the Sector has been very active in dominating its area through land and maritime operations especially in areas such as Tchika, Gore Kendi and Kerena, among others.
In Sector 2, Chad, he said the troops had dominated the maritime domain from Bagalam-Kongalam to Koulfoua and denied the terrorists freedom of operation.
The MNJTF spokesman said this had led to the return of about 3,000 civilians in the general area of Bakatorolorom.
Adegoke also said troops of Sector 3, Nigeria, had on Jan. 18 and Jan. 23, intercepted a Boko Haram logistics supplier in Baga in possession of motorcycle spare parts.
He added that the troops on Jan. 27, encountered terrorists along Damasak–Gubio road who fled on sighting the troops and abandoned two motorcycles, two hand grenades and some terrorists uniforms.
Adegoke said a raid operation on terrorists’ camp in Matari on the Niger/Nigeria border was conducted by troops of Sector 4, Niger, on Jan. 21 and Jan 23, with the support of Sector 3, Nigeria, and other partners.
According to him, the well conducted special forces operation led to the destruction of terrorists’ camp, neutralisation of over a dozen terrorists, destruction of their equipment and capture of two high value target criminals.
“There was no casualty on our forces side as they were successfully extricated.
“The courageous troops of Sector 4, Niger, acting on intelligence reports also swooped on three suspected terrorists logisticians in Nguigmi market on Jan. 29 in Niger Republic.
“They were trying to buy supplies for suspected BHT/ISWAP key leaders hiding in the Lake Chad, a total sum of N1.2 million (old notes) and CFA160,000 were recovered.
“The criminals are in custody undergoing further profiling.
“On same day, troops of Sector 4 in continuing offensive operations conducted a special forces raid operation in Afofo forest in Niger Republic and destroyed a terrorist camp and captured 36 suspected criminals.
“In the process of withdrawing from this operations, the troops intercepted a FJ45 Toyota vehicle loaded with assorted pharmaceutical products possibly being ferried to the Lake Chad areas,” he said.
Adegoke said that 77 terrorists comprising fighters and their families surrendered in the last two weeks to MNJTF Sector 4 troops in response to kinetic and non-kinetic activities of the MNJTF.
He added that eight others surrendered in the same period to Sector 1, Cameroon and Sector 2, Chad troops, making a total of 85 surrendered terrorists within the period.
According to him, all the surrendered are being treated in line with International Humanitarian Laws and profiled for further action by relevant state and non-governmental organisations.
Nigerian Ambassador to Chad Hails MNJTF, Pledges More Support
Newly appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of Chad, Amb. Lami Remawa–Ahmed, has commended the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for their efforts in tackling the scourge of terrorism.
Remawa–Ahmed gave the commendation when she visited the force Headquarters at Camp Farcha in N’Djamena, Chad yesterday.
The Chief of Military Public Information for MNJTF, Lt.-Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.
The ambassador praised the work of the MNJTF and its various Sectors in tackling the scourge of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the region.
Recalling the dark days when the terrorists were operating all over the region and causing havoc, she said the tremendous efforts of the MNJTF and other security outfits had changed the narrative favourably.
Remawa–Ahmed commended officers and men of the force for their commitment, courage and hard work which was largely responsible for the success so far achieved.
She also appreciated the political will of the leaders of the countries of the Lake Chad Basin region who came together to give life to the security outfit.
The ambassador who called on the MNJTF to evolve strategies to end the conflict, paid tribute to officers and men who paid the supreme price in the quest for peace in the region.
She promised to sustain the support of the embassy to the force in its quest for total peace in the Lake Chad region.
Earlier, the Force Commander appreciated the ambassador for the visit and called on the embassy for more support to the MNJTF.
Ibrahim promised to continuously take the fight to the criminals until all terrorists in the region are totally rooted out.
The ambassador was accompanied by Nigerian Defence Attaché to Chad, Col. OU Eke and Minister (Political) in the Nigeria Embassy, Nura Aliyu.
In attendance were the Deputy Force Commander, Brig Gen Assoualai Blama, COS and other senior officers of the MNJTF.
Adamawa CP Warns Against Political Thuggery
From Yagana Ali, Yola
The Adamawa state Commissioner of Police SK Akande, has deployed operatives of the Command drawn from the Special Rapid Response Team (SRRT) and other Tactical Squads to carry out a tactical and intelligence – driven 24/7 raid against political gangsters and their instigators that go around to disturb the peace being enjoyed in the state.
The CP made this known while speaking with DAILY ASSET yesterday in Yola, the state capital.
He said the Command is collating pictorial evidence of every event that will be used in prosecuting offenders and their sponsors, even as he warned that all should play peacefully by the rules.
“We direct all Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), Operational Commanders and their Supervisory Area Commanders to personally lead the operations in their Respective Areas Responsibility (AOR) to ensure total domination of the public space and arrest trouble makers,” he said.
The CP while re-emphasizing the firm determination of the Command in ensuring safety of lives and property sought full cooperation from members of the public particularly political leaders to talk to their supporters to shun all forms of violence and key into the Command’s effort in maintaining peace.
He further called on members of the public to report any suspicious character around them to the nearest police station, especially during the forthcoming general elections.
Police Neutralise Two Suspects, Recover Weapons in Delta
The Police Command in Delta said it has neutralised two suspected armed robbers and kidnappers in Udu Local Government Area of the state.
Spokesman of the command, DSP Bright Edafe disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Warri.
Edafe said that the duo were neutralised on Thursday by police operatives attached to the Ovwian/Aladja Police Division.
He explained that the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Aliyu Shaba had received credible information that two dreaded armed robbers and kidnappers were sighted in a club.
“The DPO swiftly mobilised and led police operatives to the club where one of the suspects was arrested. The suspect immediately confessed to be a member of an armed robbery and kidnapping gang.
“The suspect, thereafter, led the operatives to their hideout in Udu where the gang members engaged the police in a serious gun duel.
“During the encounter, one of the suspects was neutralised by the operatives. The suspect arrested at the club was also fatally wounded in the crossfire while other members of the gang escaped.
“The injured suspect gave up the ghost before he could get to the hospital. Manhunt for the other fleeing members of the gang is ongoing’’, he said.
Edafe said that one AK47 rifle and 27 rounds of 7.62 ammunition were recovered from the scene.
Similarly, the spokesman said that the command’s Raiders Squad on Saturday recovered an AK47 rifle, a double barrel gun and cartridges during a raid on a suspected cultists hideout behind Oghara Grammar School, Oghara in Ethiope West LGA.
He said that the squad was deployed to Oghara by Ari Ali, the Commissioner of Police in the state.
Experts Provide Policy Analysis on Country’s Key Sectors
The ‘Which Way Nigeria Citizens’ Scenarios team has organised a national dialogue to provide expert policy analysis on key sectors of the country.
The team, comprising of over 40 Nigerian Civil Society Organisations and international experts, said that the aim of the dialogue was to bolster citizens’ engagement with the forthcoming elections.
This is contained in a statement signed by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center of Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi, on Monday in Lagos.
Okereke, the co-initiator of the Citizens’ Scenario team, said that the dialogue was attended by Prof. Bell Ihua, Executive Director, Africa Polling Institute (API) and Prof. Afam Icha-Ituma, Vice Chancellor, Coal City University, Enugu;
He listed others as Dr Natalie Beinisch, Co-Founder/ Executive Director, Africa Circular Innovation Partnership, Patrick Okigbo, Founding Partner, Nextier, Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation and Valentine Ozigbo former Gubernatorial aspirant for Anambra State.
He quoted Okigbo as saying that the issue of security in the country needed to be addressed to boost growth and development.
Speaking on the area of security, Okigbo provided data on the various types of crisis and the need to categorise states according to the frequency of violence and the number of casualties.
“The rate of violence in Nigeria is bound to increase, and Nigeria can even implode if there are wide perceptions that the 2023 elections are unfair and stolen,” Okigbo said.
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