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Niger villagers demand N1.19bn compensation

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By Hammed Salawu, Minna
 
About 64 villagers and victims of the last year military attack on five villages in Bosso local government area of Niger have sued for the enforcement of their fundamental rights at a Minna High Court demanding for N1.19b in damages and compensation from the military and the federal government.
 
The claims are over summary execution of 13 sons, illegal detention and torture of 54 others.
 
Respondents in the suit filed at the High Court on Monday and schedule to commence hearing on February 20, 2018, included the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Air Force, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Force, the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigeria Army and the Brigade Commander 31 Artillery Brigade Minna.
 
The applicants comprising of 10 parents (father) of 13 youths killed in the bloody incident that occurred on 4th August 2016, are praying for an order of the court directing the respondents to pay the sum of N50m per each son killed amounting to N650m cumulatively as compensation for the lives taken.
 
In the same vein, 54 other victims from the 11th to the 64thapplicants in the suit are demanding for an order of the court directing the respondents to pay N5,000,000 each as compensation for the torture, inhuman and degrading treatment they received at the hands of the military officers and another N5,000,000 as compensation for their unlawful detention in Military barrack, Minna.
 
The applicants also sought four declarations of the court including condemning the killings of the sons and children of the 1st to the 10thapplicants without lawful order of a competent court by the officers and agents of the respondents  on the 4thof August 2016 as unlawful and a violation of the applicants sons right to life as guaranteed.
 
They also claimed to have been tortured and subjected to various degrees of inhuman treatment and sought a declaration of the Court declaring the torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in the hands of the military personnel as a violation to freedom of from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed.
 
The aggrieved villagers also urged the court to declare their detention at Army barrack in Minna from 4th to 9th August 2016 without an order of a competent court as unlawful and a violation of their rights to personal liberty as guaranteed.
In a written address by counsels to the applicants, Barrister Benjamin Attah, Isah Panti and Mohammed El-Surur Abubakar, formulated three issues for determination of the court including whether having regard to the provision of sections 33(1) of the constitution as amended and article 4 of the African Charter on human and peoples’ rights (ratification and enforcement act, the summary execution of the children of the 1st to the 10th applicants by the Army officers was lawful.
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