ECOWAS court has fined Nigeria a monetary sum of $3.3 million for the extrajudicial killings of 8 civilians in Apo District of Abuja.
The West African court also recognized that 11 people also sustained gun shot wounds by soldiers and secret service agents. The fine will be a sort of compensation for bereaved and afflicted families.
The military personnel involved claimed that the shoot out was in self defense against Boko Haram terrorists. The incident happened on 20th September, 2013.
“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-defense when they storm the house of the deceased.”
Due to lack of evidence, ECOWAS court has concluded that there was no justifiable reason for the crime committed by the security agents. Thus have ruled that $200, 000 be given to the families of the deceased while $150, 000 be given to the families of the wounded civilians.
The panel of judges headed by Friday Chijioke Nwoke found Nigeria guilty of the deaths and injuries inflicted on civilians. They termed the act as “barbaric, illegal and unconstitutional”.
It appears that before now, Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission condemned the shootings. Nigeria has been reported to be adamant in complying with the commission’s orders to compensate affected families.
Story has it that the victims were commercial motorcycle riders who were squatting in an uncompleted building. The owner of the building suspected to be an army veteran who probably wanted them out notified the security department. The military is yet to counter the claim.
The Incorporated Trustees of Fiscal and Civil Right Enlightment Foundation, a non-profit organization took up the case and and presented it to ECOWAS court.
This incident has become a face to the constantly alleged misuse of power by the Nigerian security department.