A Plateau State High Court on Thursday ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay N50 million in damages to the family of a suspect, Henry Dokotri, who was killed by five police officers.
Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed Sorajo found the police officers guilty of the offence following the testimony of one Ms. Margaret, who was also arrested along with Henry and 16 others and the medical report which says “there is no trace of drug or Indian Hemp in Henry’s blood.”
The judge, who also dismissed the claim of lack of jurisdiction to entertain the case, said at the time Henry was shot, he was already in custody.
He said the police lied when they claimed it was a bullet shot by hoodlums that killed Henry as they couldn’t show any proof that their vehicle had bullets holes.
The Judge asked: “How could it be only one bullet shot by hoodlums against armed police officers?”
He answered: “It’s not possible.”
Sorajo said further: “The police should stop telling lies against the deceased that he was caught with Indian Hemp considering the medical report before this honourable Court.
“Having found the five police culpable in the death of Henry, I hereby order them, the IGP, CP and the Nigerian Police Force to pay the family of Henry the sum of N50 million as compensation.
“I hold that they have infringed in the fundamental humanitarian rights of the deceased, therefore all the application sought and all declarations of the plaintiff are valid.
“I hereby award to the family a compensation to the sum of N50 million only.”
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgment, Darong described it as a sound judgment.
“As far as we are concerned, Justice has been done to the deceased and we are so grateful to God for the victory,” Darong said.
Dokotri was reportedly arrested, shot in the head and killed by five police officers with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on January 22, 2018.
The family had through their Counsel, Niri Darong, filed a suit against the five police officers and joined IGP, Plateau State Commissioner of Police and the Nigeria Police Force as respondents.
In pursuant of the fundamental right of the said late Henry, as enshrined in sections 33 and 46 of the 1999 construction and Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the African Charter on human rights, the family asked the court to declared the murder as a grave violation of Dokotri’s right to life.
They also prayed the court to compel the IGP and NPF to pay Dokotri’s family the sum of N500 million as compensation and to tender an apology for informing the world that he was shot and killed while smoking Cannabis.
The police through its counsel, M.O. Idoko, had claimed that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and asked for its dismissal.
The police claimed Henry was shot in the head by a bullet fired by some hoodlums that attacked the police during the arrest of Indian Hemp smokers around the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Henry was arrested and shot in the head at close range by SARS on January 22, but died in the hospital on January 25, 2018, a situation which compelled the family to seek redress in Court.