Extra-judicial killing: Police to pay N15m as compensation
A Federal High Court in Jalingo on Friday ordered the Nigerian Police Force to pay N7.5 million compensation for extra-judicial killing of two persons.
The deceased are Terhile Ikpila and Loho Dutse, both of Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba.â€ª
The ruling followed a case filed on Feb. 4 by Peter Ikpila and Bem Dutse, accusing the police of unlawfully killing the deceased on Nov. 16, along Jalingo-Wukari road.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Augustine Chukwuma, said the police killed the deceased when they were travelling to Wukari for a night church programme.
Chukwuma said that his deceased were ordered to lie face down by arm robbers, who robbed them and fled only for police to arrive and killed the helpless victims extra-judicially.
He said the action of the police contravened the fundamental human rights of the deceased as contained in Sections 33 (1) and 46 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Chukwuma prayed the court to direct the police to pay each of the families N400m compensation for the damage done since they refused to fish out the officers who carried out the killings.
'The armed robbers had gone at the time the police team arrived, but the victims were still lying down in fear and did not know that the people that came were policemen.
'It was after they had shot and killed the deceased and injured Terhemen Meer that Bem Francis screamed that they were not armed robbers, but were forced to lie down by the armed robbers,' he said.
Counsel to the police, Mr Henry Ogbeiwi, argued that it was stray bullets from the exchange of gunfire between the police and the robbers that killed the victims.
In his judgment, Justice Donatus Okorowo ruled that the plaintiff's counsel had proved his case beyond reasonable doubt, and that the deceased were killed extra-judicially by the police.
'The police took no precaution to avoid hurting the victims and killing the deceased; they were reckless with the use of fire arms that resulted in the deprivation of right of life of the deceased.
'Extra-judicial killing is condemnable and all civilised persons should rise and speak against it.
'There should be respect for human lives as no one is permitted to take the life of another except in few circumstances permitted by law.â€ª
'Although the plaintiff demanded N400m each, I consider the payment of N7.5 million to each of the families as reasonable compensation for the loss of life of each of the deceased,â€ª' he ruled. NAN