The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court has ordered Nigeria to pay $3.3 million in compensation to the families of eight Okada riders who were killed by security agents on the suspicion of being Boko Haram members in the Apo District of Abuja, FCT.
Each family of those killed would receive a compensation of $200,000 and families of those injured will receive $150,000 each.
The names of the eight men who were killed were given as: Nura Abdullahi, Ashiru Musa, Abdullahi Manmman, Buhari Ibrahim, Suleiman Ibrahim, Ahmadu Musa, Nasir Adamu and Musa Yobe. The names of those who sustained injury, according to the report, were given as Muttaka Abubakar, Sani Abdulrahman, Nuhu Ibrahim, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ibrahim Aliyu , Yahaya Bello, Abubakar Auwal, Yusuf Abubakar, Ibrahim Bala, Murtala Salihu and Sanni Usman.
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A combined team of soldiers and operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) had opened fire on the men during a raid of an uncompleted building in the Apo Area of Abuja on allegations that they were linked to Boko Haram. The men were later confirmed to be Okada riders who were squatting in the uncompleted building.
The Incorporated Trustees of Fiscal and Civil Right Enlightment Foundation, an NGO, had on behalf of the deceased dragged Nigeria, the Army and Department of State Security Services before the regional Court. The panel of three Justices headed by Justice Nwoke condemned the killing as barbaric, illegal and unconstitutional and a breach of the fundamental rights of the deceased to life.
The court rejected the plea by Nigeria that its security personnel killed the men in attempt to defend themselves. The jury said that there was no evidence that any of the deceased carried knives or guns, or any weapons of any sort, or used them against the security men during the raid.
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In his ruling, Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the regional court found Nigeria liable for brutally killing defenceless citizens contrary to the provision of the local and international law on the fundamental rights of citizens to life. He said the action of the security personnel constituted a serious abuse of power and misuse of firearms against innocent citizens, because there was no conflict that should have warranted opening fire on defenseless citizens.
He said in his ruling that;
“There is no evidence of any attempt that the deceased and the survivors attempted to harm the security personnel. There is no evidence of recovered guns. There is no evidence of bullet or pellets recovered from the deceased and tendered before this court to prove the claim that the Nigerian security personnel acted in self-defence when they stormed the house of the deceased.
“Rather the evidence abounds that the victims were unharmed while the security personnel were the ones that open fire on the innocent and the defenceless citizens.”