ECOWAS Court directs FG to pay N30million to family of man killed by soldier

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The Economic Community of West African States Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian government to pay N30 million as compensation to the family of a 35-year-old man, Solomon Andy, who was killed by a soldier in 2017.

The victim was alleged to have been killed by one Abel Ocheme, a soldier attached to Command Secondary School Kaduna, in 2017.

Solomon was reportedly shovelling sand from a gutter before he was shot dead, ICIR reports.

In the suit filed before the ECOWAS court, the plaintiff, Solomon’s mother, Helen Joshua, was represented by Gloria Mabeiam Ballason, while the Nigerian government was represented by Maimuna Shiru.

Justice Keikura Bangura, who read the ECOWAS Court’s judgement after investigations and court processes upheld the arguments of Ballason.

The Court declared as unlawful, cruel and degrading the killing and confiscation of Andy’s corpse by the Nigerian Army.

The Court stated the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, which mandated member states to protect the sanctity and dignity of every life, affirmed that the Federal Government failed to uphold its obligations under Articles 1, 4, 5 and 12.

The Court ordered the Nigerian government to pay N25 million to Helen for the wrongful killing of her son.

The Nigerian government, according to the Court, is to also pay N5 million for the cost of burial and to immediately release the body of the deceased.

Gloria Ballason, reacting to the judgment, thanked the Court for upholding justice, stressing that the judgment would go a long way in reinforcing the value of a life in the country.

She explained that before filing the matter at the ECOWAS Court, they had in October 2017, appeared before the Presidential Panel on Human Rights set up by the Nigerian Government.

She, however, added that the Nigerian Government had yet to do anything about the report.

She said, “The journey may be long and hard with obstacles, but if we don’t give up, we shall win over the forces of injustice and reinforce the truism that every life matters.”

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