End SARS: Police, Army ordered to pay over 100 million for extra-judicial killings

The Bayelsa State Panel of Inquiry sitting in Yenagoa, has ordered the authorities of the Nigeria to pay the family of late Victor Ezekwueme whom the police ordered to jumped into the river at gun point the sum of one hundred million naira (N100,000,000) as damage.

Justice Young Ogola, delivered the ruling on Tuesday during a sitting at the Seisei Ikoli Press Centre Secretariat in Yenagoa.

The ruling also confirmed the earlier judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa.

Narrating the ordeal of the deceased, the elder brother, Mr. Tochukwu Uzoukwu, said his sibling was ordered to jump into the river by the dreaded police team at gun point without knowing how to swim.

According to him, he was actually out of town when a police officer named Sergeant Benjamin Ogbuagwu called him that he has arrested his brother and that its an opportunity for him to eat his money but begged the officer to release his brother that he will come and settle him when he returns, but refused.

He said from eyewitness account, his brother was brought to his shop and asked to show them the place where he was smoking his Indian hemp and the boy showed them the back of the toilet where he was smoking and not satisfied with the boy’s answer, they asked him to climb a floating jetty at gun point and ordered him to jump into the river.

“The eyewitness said all the boy’s pleas fell on deaf ears even when the boy told them that he doesn’t know how to swim, yet they pushed him into the river where they watched him struggle for till he died and they left.”

The corpse was recovered four days later and deposited in the mortuary.

Mr. Tochukwu thanked the federal and the state governments as well as the panel of Inquiry for upholding the judgement of the Federal High Court, which had initially awarded a fine of hundred million naira to the family.

In another ruling, a young man that was ran over by a police vehicle while driving on one-way within the state capital, and was hospitalized for six months before he died due to police abandonment over refusal to pay N3.5 million for surgery and medical bills.

The presiding Justice also ordered the police authority to pay #16million compensation to the family. According to him, N3 million for hospital expenses, #3 million for burial arrangements while #10 million is to be paid to the family.

The petitioner, Mr. Joseph Oghene, thanked the panel and also appealed to the authority concern to respond without delay.

While the third case was on Nigerian Army that arrested and detained one Prince Fubara while playing football at Abua County School field since 14th October 2018.

According to family member, Mr. Francis Oporo, said they have tried all they could but to know avail as Nigerian army still hold the young man in their custody without telling them the offence he committed.

“The young man was arrested by Joint Task Force (JTF) and was taken to Abua Command and later to Bori-Camp and they have refused to tell us the offence he committed.”

Mr. Francis said they thanked the panel chairman and members for the judgement as the panel asked the Nigerian Army to pay the family the sum of N10 million naira for unlawful detention and maltreatment and also ordered them to release prince Fubara unconditionally.

The last was an ongoing case of late Tarila Adamu, who was allegedly shot dead by a trigger-happy police officer at Arietalin, Ovom in Yenagoa, the state capital by officer Udu Udoh Ubang last year at about 5:pm.

Narrating the ugly experience, the father of the deceased, Engr. Adamu Mabinton, said on that fateful evening, he sent his son on an errand with his girlfriend when they met some SARS officers that have already gunned down one young man.

He said his son confronted them and asked them why were they killing innocent people that if the young man was a criminal they should have taken him to police station instead of wasting his life and the officer took offence and him shot dead.

According to him, after killing the boy, they claimed he exchange bullets with them and put his cell phone on his chest claiming he was an armed robber and they also came up with forged document that he had signed an affidavits that his son was an armed robber.

“My son was not an armed robber, he was a final year student of Electrical\Electronics Engineering in Benin Republic. That was my only son, as I am talking to you, I don’t have another son. They just killed him for no reason and tagged him as an armed robber.

“He came home last year due to the COVID-19 and was killed July that same last year. Since then, I have tried to seek for justice but they kept on bribing my lawyer from the first to second and this is the third lawyer and I have confidence in this one because he is a sincere person.”

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