A Federal High Court sitting in Bauchi has awarded N210m against the Nigeria Police as compensation for torture leading to the death of two people and injury to the third person accused of stealing chickens.
The victims, Abdulwahab Bello, Ibrahim Babangida and Ibrahim Samaila, were allegedly beaten by the Divisional Police Officer of the Township Division, SP Baba Ali, on July 21, 2020, over alleged theft of chickens belonging to a retired police officer.
The torture led to the death of Samaila and Babangida while Bello survived with life-threatening injuries. The survivor then slammed three separate suits demanding N150m damages each for himself and his two friends from the police.
The defendants in the suit included the DPO, 1st defendant; one Sergeant Jibril Mohammed, 2nd defendant; Inspector-General of Police, 3rd defendant; Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State, 4th defendant; and the Police Service Commission, 5th defendant.
Delivering the three judgments separately against the respondents on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Hassan Dikko, said the action of the police against the three accused amounted to an infringement on their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
He declared that the actions of the respondents against the three accused were “callous, cruel and uncivilised.”
He therefore awarded N100m each to the biological mothers of the two deceased and N10m to the mother of the survivor as compensation and general damages, with 10 per cent interest rate per annum until the total amounts were fully paid.
Delivering judgment, Dikko said, “The killing of Ibrahim Babangida on 23rd day July, 2020 whose death was as a result of his beating up by the 1st respondent on the 17th day of July, 2020, acting under the supervision of the 3rd and 4th respondents for no justifiable reason, constitute extra-judicial killing and is violent deprivation of his fundamental right to life as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and in article 3 and 5 of the African Charter on human rights and dignity, is illegal.
“I hereby, order the payment of compensation in the sum of N100m only against the respondents jointly and severally to Hafsatu Babangida being the biological mother of late Ibrahim Babangida, now deceased as general damages.”
In an interview with journalists shortly after the ruling, counsel for the three applicants, Muktar Usman, said they filed three separate applications for the enforcement of fundamental rights of the three different citizens of Nigeria.