Widow seeks NASS, AGF’s intervention over N16.6m judgment debt
A widow and members of her family have prayed the National Assembly and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to intervene in a N16.6 million judgment debt made against the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as compensation for the killing of their sons Terhile Ikpila and Loho Dutse.
The family of the judgment creditors (widow’s family) represented by Peter Obadiah Ikpila, is seeking intervention of the National Assembly and the AGF to compel the CBN to obey court orders and pay from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) the debt of any of the government agencies owed to their creditors.
He argued that judiciary and legislative intervention may be the final hope for the creditors to forestall government agencies hiding funds with CBN’ TSA accounts to evade payments of judgment debts.
“There is need for the law to be amended in the interest of justice and fairness,” Obadiah said.
The deceased lost their lives on November 15, 2013, on their way back home from church. The victims were in company of three other young men, riding on motorcycle. They were aged 17, 16, 18, 11 and 14 at that time.
According to the petitioner, armed robbers attacked, assaulted and ordered them to lie face down around 8pm. However, in the process of the operation, the robbers sighted a police van approaching and dispersed into the bushes leaving their weapons and logs they used as barricades.
Effort to apprehend them by the police failed. According to the account of one of the survivors, one of the policemen noticed one of the young men lying faced down and alerted his superior officer, who ordered him to shoot, which the policeman did. When another was identified, he also ordered him to shoot and also the third man too, who eventually survived.
When the other two saw what was unfolding, they had to rush to grab onto the officers to tell them they are not thieves but victims of armed robbery.
Consequently, Peter Ikpila and Ben Dutse, close relatives of the two victims filed an action against the police and eventually obtained judgment against the Inspector General of Police (IGP); Pius Sunday (Commander Police Mobile Unit, Wukari) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
On May 19, 2014, the Federal High Court, Jalingo, Taraba State, ordered the respondents/judgment debtors to jointly and severally pay the sum of N7.5m compensation to each of the applicants which will go with 10 percent per annum from date of judgment (May, 5, 2014) until date the judgment sum is fully paid.
The judgment debtors, dissatisfied with the judgment appealed against it. But the Court of Appeal, Yola, Adamawa State on July 7, 2015 dismissed the appeal and affirmed the judgment of the lower court. A N100, 000 cost was issued against judgment debtors in favor of the judgment creditors.
At this point, the 10 percent interest for the N15m cost had accrued N16.6m together with the N100, 000 awarded by the appeal court. On November 18, 2015, after the expiration of time for appeal, the judgment creditors filed a motion ex-parte dated November 17, 2015 for an order nisi and absolute, attaching the funds of judgment debtors with the CBN, First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa, Fidelity Bank and Diamond Bank.
While the court issued order absolute against the CBN as custodians of Police fund, the CBN filed a notice of appeal, for which the court ordered it to deposit the judgment sum in an interest yielding account in a commercial bank in the name of the Station Registrar of the Federal High Court, Jalingo Division, within 30 days of making the order, pending the determination of the appeal. But this order, the complainants said, was not complied with.