Court orders I-G to pay woman N100m over death of husband

According to her, on the said Jan. 1, 2018, her husband left the house for Wurukum market in order to purchase medicine for their ailing child who woke up that morning not feeling too strong but did not return home neither did he call to check up on the sick child.

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Court orders I-G to pay woman N100m over death of husband
IGP Kayode Egbetokun

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police to pay a woman, Mrs Mary Kajo, the sum of N100 million over the arrest, unlawful detention, torture and alleged death of her husband, Mark Kajo.

Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo, also ordered the police authorities to pay the sum of N500, 000 as the cost of filing the suit.
Justice Ekwo directed a five per cent post judgment interest on the fine until the judgment debt is fully settled.
The judge, who observed that the police authorities did not challenge the case of the applicant, said: “The position of the law remains that affidavit evidence which is not challenged or controverted howsoever, is deemed admitted and can be relied upon by a court.”
He, therefore, declared that the killing of late Mark in custody by agents of the police was wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.
He said it violated Mark’s constitutional rights under Section  33 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP.A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He said the deceased had a fundamental right to life guaranteed and enforceable under the laws
 “I find that the applicant has established that the fundamental rights of her husband, Mr Mark Kajo, have been breached by the inexplicable cold-blooded extra-judicial killing of the deceased in the custody of the 1st to 3rd respondents.
“Nothing can ever be more barbaric and nastier than this kind of death in the hands of law enforcement agents whose statutory and constitutional duty is to protect lives and property.
“By not filing any process in this case, I presume that the 1st— 3rd respondents are least perturbed about such loss of a citizen’s life in their custody and the outcome of this suit.
“Where it is established that the fundamental right of a citizen has been breached, the law is trite that damages in compensation, legally and naturally follow every act of violation of citizen’s fundamental right;” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mary Kajo had, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/600/2023, sied the Nigeria Police Force, I-G , Benue Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.
In the affidavit she deposed to on Mary 2, 2023, Mary averred that her husband, a plumber, was arrested, detained and tortured by the police and eventually executed without trial.
She said Mark was arrested by officers of the police on Jan. 1, 2018 around Wurukum Market in Makurdi.
According to her, on the said Jan. 1, 2018, her husband left the house for Wurukum market in order to purchase medicine for their ailing child who woke up that morning not feeling too strong but did not return home neither did he call to check up on the sick child.
She said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Benue Police Headquarters in Makurdi  told her that one Aondover in their custody made a confessional statement that he stole a car and gave it to Mark.
Mary averred that her husband was moved to Police Headquarters in Abuja and referred to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) at Area 3.
The mother of five further alleged that the police told the North-Central Zone of the Presidential Panel Hearing on SARS Reform 2018 where a petition was filed that her husband was killed in custody by armed thugs.
That the armed thugs attacked the vehicle conveying them to recover hidden arms and in the course of exchanging fire, three of the suspects were shot and died on the spot, including her husband and their corpse deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Morgue in Gwagwalada.
But the AGF, in its counter affidavit deposed to by Adedayo adeboye, an official in the office, argued that none of Mary’s averments was against the office.
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