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Osun petitioners seek N125m compensation for losing life, property

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As Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality Human Rights Violations and Related Extra Judicial Killings resumed sitting, yesterday, three petitioners have prevailed on government and the Nigeria Police to award N125m compensation for the gruesome killing of one Mr. Rafiu Ajani.

The petitioners approached the panel to seek compensation for different forms of brutality meted out on them by overzealous police officers on February 17, 2001.

According to them, the incident occurred at Obeira police checkpoint, Okene, Kogi State, where three armed police officers gruesomely killed eight out of 10 occupants in the vehicle.

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Narrating the ordeal while being led in evidence by his counsel on how he narrowly escaped death, one of the petitioners, Mr. Sulaimon Badmus, said he fled when the officers ran after one of the escaping victims.

He said the three fully armed police officers killed eight out 10 passengers in the vehicle that conveyed him on the fateful day.

“On that fateful day, I chartered a bus from Osogbo to Benue, but the driver took another eight passengers along the way who were going to Katsina State to buy rams, because it was during Salah festival. “We were deceived by the erring officers, because we were told that they were taking us to station, not knowing they were taking us to the forest. They tied our hands and one of the passengers that attempted to escape was gunned down immediately.

“They poured petrol on us with the intention to set us ablaze. But when they ran after one of us that attempted to run, it was in that instance that I struggled to escape with one other passenger. Unfortunately, the remaining passengers were burnt to death, including the driver. 

“When the matter was reported in the news and the police started the investigation, then I showed up to follow up the matter and gave evidence. I assisted the police to arrest the three officers and they were charged to court. The case was taken to Lokoja High Court, where the three erring officers were sentenced to death by hanging.

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“Although I didn’t follow up the matter, I later learnt that the officers went to Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, where the lower court judgment was upheld.

Corroborating the testimony, one Mr. Mustapha Muideen, the owner of the burnt Toyota Liteace with registration No Osun XB 104 SGB and a younger brother of the deceased driver, Mr. Dauda Ajani, told the panel the number of times they travelled down to Kogi State because of the case to give credence to the evidence tendered before the panel.

The counsel for the petitioners, Barrister J.O. Babalola, prayed the court to award his clients a total sum of N125m as compensation to cushion the negative effect of all they had suffered.

Ruling on the case, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Akin Oladimeji (rtd), asked the petitioners’ counsel to prepare his final address for adoption and adjourned the case to March 5, 2021.

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