Slain businessman: Family, residents hail N200m compensation verdict against Army
Family members of slain Owerri- based business man, Noel Chigbu, and residents of the capital city, have extolled the judgment of the Federal High Court, Owerri, which ordered Nigerian Army to pay N200 million as compensation to the deceased’s family.
The eldest brother to the deceased and the applicant in the suit, Tobechi, together with others told The Guardian, in Owerri, that they are happy with the decision, recalling that the victim was killed brutally by soldiers without any justifiable reason.
Justice Maureen Onyetenu had on Thursday, ordered the Nigerian Army to pay N200 million as compensation to the late Chigbu’s family, out of N1 billion, the plaintiffs had sought from the court.
Justice Onyetenu held that the soldiers deployed by the Commanding Officers, the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of the 34 Field Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Owerri, were responsible for the unlawful killing.
However, the court did not find both the Chief of Defence Staff and Imo State Governor (said to have invited the military) liable, because they were not the commanding officers, according to the military jurisprudence.
The 38-year-old Chigbu, who hailed from Ngor Okpala Local Council of Imo State, was returning home at night on April 30, 2021, when soldiers at the Amakohia Flyover, Orlu Road, Owerri accosted him.
He had taken delivery of the Toyota Camry car he purchased that day, and had conveyed his friends to their homes.
It was when he was returning that the soldiers stopped him at a checkpoint and shot him dead.
Afterwards, the soldiers went to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and dumped his body.
The then Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) in the state confirmed to the applicant, Tobechi that his brother was actually killed by soldiers.
The victim, whose wife was said to be pregnant at the time, would have turned 39 on May 18.
Speaking on the judgment, Tobechi, said though the judgment has brought a relief to the family, the monetary award could not be compared with the life of his younger brother, which was snuffed out in such a gruesome manner.
The deceased had been buried months ago.