— Awards N135m to victims
Justice yesterday came the way of victims of Apo killings in Abuja, who were suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) indicted the Nigerian Army, the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation for their roles in the gruesome act.
The commission at the end of its findings awarded N10million each to the families of the eight deceased persons, while the survivors, numbering 11 in all, each got N5 million as compensation.
In all, the sum of N135 million is to be paid by the Federal Government as compensation to all the victims within 30 days of the decision.
The joint military/DSS team in September, 20, 2013, launched an attack on the squatters in an uncompleted building in Gudu/Apo District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, on the allegation that they were members of the dreaded insurgent group, killing some and maiming others in the process.
Faulting the security agencies’ action in its report, the NHRC said there was no evidence linking the victims to the dreaded group overtly or covertly.
In its public presentation of reports of a panel of inquiry instituted into the gruesome murder in Abuja, the commission’s chairman, Professor Chika Odinkalu, in an 83-page report said: “There is no credible evidence to suggest or show that the victims in this case were members of JALISWAJ or involved in direct participation in hostilities.”
It further revealed that “the self-defence asserted by the DSS and the army is not supported by the facts or evidence. Taking account of all the circumstances in this case, the killings of the eight deceased persons as well as the injuries to the 11 survivors were unlawful.”
The report also condemned the confining of detainees freed by the security operatives after the operation to their states of origin.
“There is no basis for the confining of detainees freed by the respondents to internal banishment,” it said.
As a result of the damages suffered by the victims and survivors in the unfortunate incident, the NHRC awarded: “The sum of N10 million as compensation for each of the deceased and a total of N80 million in respect of the eight deceased persons to be paid by the government of the federation.
“To each of the injured survivors, the sum of N5 million be paid by the government of the federation within 30 days of the present decision.”