A Federal High Court, Abuja has awarded a N100 million fine against the Inspector-General of Police over an allegation bordering on the arrest and killing of Ja’afar Muhammad, a member of Free Zakzaky protesters in Abuja.
Justice Zainab Abubakar gave the award and order in a judgement in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CD/409/2020.
Abubakar held that the arrest of late Muhammad by the police officers at Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital on July 22, 2019 and his killing on July 24, 2019 at SARS Abattoir, Abuja, amounted to a gross violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 33 (1) 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Justice Abubakar also described the action of the police as illegal, unlawful, null and void.
It would be recalled that Naziru Isah Abdullahi, a brother to the deceased, through his counsel, Bala Dakum, had sued the Inspector General of Police and Chief Medical Director, Asokoro District Hospital as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively before the court.
In the originating motion on notice dated and filed on March 19, 2020, Abdullahi averred that Muhammad was shot by operatives of the police while on a peaceful protest to demand for the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja on July 22, 2019.
He was subsequently rushed to the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital for medical attention, where he was arrested same day and detained at SARS Abattoir, Abuja without medicare before he gave up the ghost on July 24, 2019.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Abubakar agreed with Abdullahi that the police erred.
In the judgment delivered on May 22 and a Certified True Copy of the document made available to newsmen on June 2, Abubakar held that Abdullahi had been able to establish that his brother, Muhammad, was shot by the police, and as a result sustained injury while on a peaceful protest and died in custody.
The judge further held that it was established that upon the demise of Muhammad, his corpse was deposited at the Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja.
Justice Abubakar held: “Based on the foregoing, I hold that, the applicant has proved the infringement of his fundamental rights against the respondents as he alleged and he is therefore entitled to the grant of the reliefs sought.
“Accordingly, reliefs (a), (b), (c) and (d) are granted to the applicant as prayed.”
Abubakar, who gave an order directing the IGP and the CMD to release Muhammad’s corpse to the applicant for immediate burial in accordance with Islamic rites, also directed the IGP to pay the sum of N100 million for unlawful detention and killing of Muhammad.
She equally ordered the IGP to tender a formal apology to the applicant (Abdullahi) by publishing same in two national dailies.