Lt. Gen. Buratai, COAS
The Federal High Court in Lagos has. ordered the Nigerian Army to pay N85.5 million for the assault and killing of one Olajide Enilari, a flour merchant.
The verdict came eight years after the deceased died from a brutal assault by soldiers in 2009.
A human rights campaign organization, Access to Justice, dragged the army before the court on behalf of the deceased.
Details of a court judgement dated September 26, revealed that the judge, I. N. Buba, ruled that the assault which led to the death of Enilari was wrong and unlawful.
The Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Attorney General of the Federation and 3 others were named as defendants.
Details made available in the court said that Enilari was brutally assaulted by officers of the Nigerian Army on January 27, 2009 along Airways junction in Apapa, Lagos.
He died due to head injuries sustained during the assault on January 29, 2009, in Lagos.
After careful consideration of the evidence (oral and documentary) of the parties in the suit, the court found no merit in the defence.
The court ruled that the assault, which resulted in the death of the deceased was unlawful, wrong and a gross violation of Olajide’s right to life.
The court ordered the defendants to pay N50 million as aggravated damages, jointly and severally.
It also ordered the payment of N295,000 as special damages to cover for the deceased burial expenses.
It further granted the plaintiffs N35 million for loss and pain caused them by the brutal assault on the deceased which led to his death; and the cost of N250,000 in favour of the plaintiffs.
The total payable amount pegged was N85,545 000.
Reacting to the judgment, a Senior Programme Officer at Access to Justice, Chinelo Chinweze, said, “This climate of impunity feeds the recklessness and unlawfulness of the actions of security forces and law enforcement agencies in varied contexts.
“We see it in Mr. Enilari’s case but it is also seen in the conduct of counter-terrorism warfare in the North-east; in the brutal crackdown against members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, (i.e. Shiites) and of IPOB members.
“For many victims of human rights abuses, this time standard is just enough to discourage them from pursuing redress and justice for acts of impunity.
“We need to reform our judicial procedures to reduce the time taken to meet basic justice needs and deliver needed services”.