By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, court has imposed a fine of $3.3 million on Nigeria over the extra-judicial killing of eight citizens in the Apo District of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.
The regional court ordered the country to pay compensatory damages of $200,000 to each of the family of the deceased killed and $150,000 to each of the injured by a combined team of soldiers and operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, during a raid of an uncompleted building at Apo Area of Abuja.
The eight Nigerians killed when the security personnel opened fire on them were later found to be commercial motorcycle (Okada) riders who were taking refuge in the uncompleted building as a result of skyrocketing cost of house rent in the capital city.
Those killed are Nura Abdullahi, Ashiru Musa, Abdullahi Manmman, Buhari Ibrahim, Suleiman Ibrahim, Ahmadu Musa, Nasir Adamu and Musa Yobe, while the 11 injured include Muttaka Abubakar, Sani Abdulrahman, Nuhu Ibrahim, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ibrahim Aliyu, Yahaya Bello, Abubakar Auwal, Yusuf Abubakar, Ibrahim Bala, Murtala Salihu and Sanni Usman.
A Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, The Incorporated Trustees of Fiscal and Civil Right Enlightment Foundation, had on behalf of the deceased, dragged Nigeria, the Army and Department of State Service, before regional court to challenge the legality of the killing of the eight commercial motorcyclists and the injuring of others when the securitymen invaded their apartment.
In the judgment of ECOWAS Court delivered by presiding Justice, FridayChijioke Nwoke, Nigeria was found liable of brutal killing of defenseless citizens, contrary to the provision of local and international law on the fundamental rights of citizens to life.
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.