The Economic Community of West African States Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian government to pay N30m as compensation for the killing of a 35-year-old man, Solomon Andy.
Andy was killed by a soldier attached to the Command Secondary School, Kaduna, on June 9, 2017.
It was gathered that the deceased was shot while packing sand from a gutter on the fateful Friday.
His killing was also confirmed by the then spokesperson for the 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, who said the matter was being investigated.
“One of the youths was hit and died at the spot. Officers have been deployed in the scene of the incident in response and the police have also been invited to take control of the situation. The matter is being investigated and details will be made available as they become available,” he said in the 2017 statement.
However, in a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Keikura Bangura, who read the ECOWAS Court’s judgement, upheld the arguments of Gloria Ballason, counsel for the mother of the deceased, Mrs Helen Joshua.
The court declared the killing and confiscation of Andy’s corpse by the Nigerian Army as unlawful, cruel and degrading.
The regional court also affirmed that the Federal Government failed to uphold its obligations under Articles 1, 4, 5 and 12 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, which mandated member states to protect the sanctity and dignity of every life.
Government, which was represented by Maimuna Shiru, to pay N25m to Mrs Helen for the wrongful killing of her son.
The court also ordered the government to pay N5m as cost of burial and to immediately release the body of the deceased.
Reacting to the judgment, Ballason thanked the court for upholding justice, adding that the judgement would go a long way in reinforcing the value of a life in the country.
“Prior to filing this matter at the ECOWAS Court, we had in October 2017, appeared before the Presidential Panel on Human Rights set up by the Federal Government. Till date, the Federal Government has sat on its own report and done nothing.
“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,” she added.