Crime

Apo Six: Counsel Seeks N200m Compensation for Families

Counsel to the six traders killed by the police in 2005, Mr. Amobi Nzelu has approached the Independent Investigative Panel on the defunct Special Ant-robbery Squad, SARS, and other units of the Nigeria Police Force, to consider an award of Two Hundred million naira each as compensation to the families of the victims.

Mr. Nzelu who made the submission in Abuja at the panel sitting described the initial award of three million naira each to the families of the victims by a Federal High Court in FCT, Abuja, as a pittance.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had set up a four-man judicial panel of enquiry headed by a High Court judge, Justice O.O Goodluck, (now retired) which recommended the prosecution of the six indicted police officers in the shooting and killing of the six Apo traders and award of compensation to their families.

Mr. Amobi Nzelu said though the FCT High Court in 2018, Thirteen years after the incident, awarded compensation of three million naira each to the families of the victims, the amount was too small compared to the enormity of the offence.

Mr. Nzelu told the panel that the three million naira compensation had been paid and bodies of the victims exhumed and given to the families for proper burial in line with the court ruling but that Five hundred thousand naira legal expenses for each of the victims was not paid by the police.

He prayed the panel to consider awarding Two hundred million naira each as compensation to assuage the families of the six traders since they were their parents’ bread winners.

Mr. Nzelu also expressed concern that out of the six police officers indicted in the matter, two were convicted and the rest re-absolved into the force despite overwhelming evidence before the court.

When asked why he did not appeal the matter, he simply said it was in the place of the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice to do so.

Counsel to the police, Mr. James Idachaba described Mr. Nzelu’s prayers as an attempt to whip up sentiments because there was no cause of action against the respondents.

The matter was adjourned until the 15th of next month.

Another case that was heard was that of alleged extra judicial killing of one Daniel Agori.

The second respondent in the matter and Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr. Yusuf Bello corroborated the defense by the first respondent, Justine Adaka, that Agori a member of a notorious kidnap group, died as a result of gun injuries sustained during cross fire between the force and his gang members during investigation.

Mr. Bello presented to the panel some of the weapons recovered from Daniel Agori’s house.

However, when counsel to the complainant, Mr. Biodun Olutekunbi asked Mr. Bello to provide the name of the medical doctor at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital who certified Agori dead, he simply said he did know the name.

The panel Chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima adjourned the matter until the 15th of next month for the adoption of written address.

Bose Ijelekhai

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