The Nigerian government is to pay N30 million as compensation for the killing of a 35-year-old man, Solomon Andy, the Economic Community of West African States Court sitting in Abuja has directed.
Solomon Andy was alleged to have been killed by a soldier attached to the Command Secondary School, Kaduna, on June 9, 2017.
The deceased was said to have been shot while shovelling sand from a gutter on the day he was killed.
The spokesman for the 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, who had confirmed the incident said the matter was investigated.
Justice Keikura Bangura, who read the ECOWAS Court’s judgement on Tuesday after investigations and court processes upheld the arguments of Gloria Ballason, counsel for the mother of the deceased, Mrs Helen Joshua.
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 Maimuna Shiru, who represented the federal government to pay N25m to Mrs Helen for the wrongful killing of her son.
The federal government, according to the Court is to also pay N5m as the cost of burial and to immediately release the body of the deceased.
Gloria Ballason, reacting to the judgment, hailed the Court for upholding justice, believing that the judgment would go a long way in reinforcing the value of a life in the country.
She explained that prior to filing the matter at the ECOWAS Court, they had in October 2017, appeared before the Presidential Panel on Human Rights set up by the Federal Government, stressing that till date, the Federal Government has sat on its report and done nothing.
According to her, “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.”