By Femi Bolaji
FOR the family of Meshack Samuel, an 18-year-old student who was allegedly shot by a trigger-happy policeman, their hope for recompense now lies in the hands of the judicial panel of inquiry and restitution for victims of police brutality and other security agencies in Taraba State.
The institution of the panel last year was occasioned by calls across the country for justice to victims of police brutality after the hitherto peaceful #EndSARS protest took a negative turn. The family appeared before the panel and is seeking compensation of N100 million, 11 years after the loss of their son, whose death they said brought sorrow and anguish upon their family.
The deceased, who was a resident of Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State was said to have left home for school shortly after taking his breakfast, sometime in September 2010, when he was hit by a stray bullet. The shocking event which rattled the family was said to have worsened the health of the deceased’s father, which later led to his death.
Elder brother to the deceased student, Raymond Samuel, who made an appearance for the family before the panel, said the family has over the years been left to mourn alone.
According to him: “My late brother who was on his way to school after eating his breakfast prepared by our mother, was hit by a stray bullet which was carelessly released by a police officer at a checkpoint, claiming to be threatening a suspect who was arrested by them and wanted to escape.
“He died in cold blood due to the high-velocity missile and the spread of its poison to the vital parts of his organs two days after the bullet was removed from his body. He was a brave young scientist who was full of passion and ambition and it was unfortunate his life was cut short. His demise worsened the health of our father which eventually led to his death.”
Raymond Samuel also presented the death certificate of his late brother, which the panel admitted as evidence.