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Court awards N300m fine against police over alleged killing of 3 Shiite’s members in Zaria

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A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has ordered the police authorities to pay a cumulative sum of N300 million to the parents of three Shiite members allegedly killed by its officers while on Islamic procession in 2022 in Zaria.

Justice Hawa Buhari, in a judgment, held that the “applicants’ rights as guaranteed under Sections 33, 38, 39, 40, 42 and 46 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); Order 2, Rules 1, 2, 3, 4, 11 and 12 of the Fundamental Right (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009; Article 4, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 2004 is hereby enforced.”

The judge held that the sum of N100 million which must be paid to each parents of the deceased, making a total of N300 million, as compensation and general damages, would attract a 10 per cent interest per anum until the amount is fully paid.

Justice Buhari, in the judgement delivered on April 22, 2024, and a certified true copy of judgment order made available to newsmen in Abuja, consolidated the three separate suits filed by the three next-of-kins of the deceased.

“Upon respective counsel move and adopt their respective processes, the court consequently considered same and hereby orders as follows:

“Suit No: FHC/KD/CS/138/2022, Suit NO: FHC/KD/CS/140/ 2022 and Suit No: FHC/KD/CS/146/2022 are hereby consolidated.

“The sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) be paid to each parents of the deceased as compensation and general damages with a 10 % interest per anum until the amount is fully paid.

“The respondents shall tender a public apology to the applicants in one national daily for the breach of their fundamental right,” she declared.

It would be recalled that three applicants; Magaji Yusuf, Muhammad Lawal and Aliyu Badamasi had filed the suit marked: FHC / KH/ KD/ 138/2022, FHC / KH/ KD/ 140/2022 and FHC / KH/ KD/ 146/2022 before the court.

They alleged that on August 8, 2022, the officers of the Nigerian Police shot and killed Jafar Magaji, Aliyu Lawal and Muhsin Badamasi while observing their religious act of worship; Ashura Procession in Zaria City.

They had sued the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 7, Kaduna State Police Commissioner, AC Surajo Fana (Area Commandant, Zaria), Ibrahim Zubairu (Divisional Police Officer, Kasuwan Mata, Sabon Garin, Zaria Division), and Kasim Muhammad (DPO, Zaria City Division) as 1st to 6th respondents respectively.

The applicants, in the motions on notice dated September 26, 2022 and filed September 26, 2022, by their team of lawyers, including H.G Magashi, M.D Abubakar and Dr Yusha’u, sought seven reliefs.

They sought a declaration that the shooting and killing of Jafar Magaji, Aliyu Lawal and Muhsin Badamasi on the said date while on religious procession was illegal, unconstitutional and flagrant violation of their fundamental right to life as guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right Act Cap A9 LFN, 2004.

They, therefore, prayed the court for an order mandating the respondents jointly and severally to pay to them the sum of N200 million each for violation of the fundamental rights of their deceased brothers.

They equally sought an order, directing the respondents to tender a formal apology to them by publishing same in two national dailies that are circulating in northern Nigeria.

But the respondents, in their preliminary objection dated and filed on November 8, 2022, sought an order striking out the three suits for want of jurisdiction.

Besides, they also filed a counter affidavit in opposing the suits

But Justice Buhari agreed with the submission of the applicants’s counsels, and assumed jurisdiction

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