Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Court yesterday imposed a fine of $3.3million on Nigeria over the extra-judicial killing of eight citizens in the Apo District of Abuja.
The regional court ordered the country to pay a compensatory damage of $200,000 to each of the families of those killed and $150,000 to each of the injured by a combined team of soldiers and operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, during a raid of an uncompleted building at the Apo area of Abuja.
The eight Nigerians killed when the security personnel opened fire on them were later found to be commercial motorcycle (Okada) riders who were taking refuge in the uncompleted building as a result of skyrocketing house rent in the capital city.
Those killed are Nura Abdullahi, Ashiru Musa, Abdullahi Manmman, Buhari Ibrahim, Suleiman Ibrahim, Ahmadu Musa, Nasir Adamu and Musa Yobe.
Eleven others sustained various degrees of injuries from the bullets of the soldiers and DSS operatives.
They are Muttaka Abubakar, Sani Abdulrahman, Nuhu Ibrahim, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ibrahim Aliyu and Yahaya Bello.
The rest are Abubakar Auwal, Yusuf Abubakar, Ibrahim Bala, Murtala Salihu and Sanni Usman who were reported to have escaped death by the whiskers.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Incorporated Trustees of Fiscal and Civil Right Enlightenment Foundation had on behalf of the deceased dragged Nigeria, the army and DSS before the regional court to challenge the legality of the killing of the eight commercial motorcyclists and the injury of others who were armless when the security men invaded their shelter.
In the judgment delivered by presiding Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, Nigeria was found liable of brutal killing of defenceless citizens contrary to the provisions of local and international laws on the fundamental rights of citizens to life.
The panel of three justices headed by Justice Nwoke condemned the killing as barbaric, illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the fundamental rights of the deceased to life.
The court rejected the plea by Nigeria that its security personnel killed the deceased in attempt to defend themselves, adding that there was no iota of evidence that any of the deceased carried cutlass or guns against the security men when they invaded their house.
Justice Nwoke said that the action of the security personnel constituted a serious abuse of power and misuse of firearms against innocent citizens, because there was no conflict that should have warranted opening fire on the defenceless citizens.

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