Three families in Bayelsa State have been awarded a total sum of N126 million as compensation for extra-judicial killings and unlawful detention.
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the State Government to probe cases of police brutalities awarded the money in favour of the families against the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.
The panel chairman, Justice Young Ogola said the families by the actions of the police and sister agencies, were traumatized by the killings and unlawful detention of their beloved ones.
He said the panel arrived at the decision to award the money after the testimonies of the families and a well established case by their counsels and urged security agencies to be more professional in the discharge of their duties.
Lawyers and some family members of the victims expressed happiness over the development but noted that no amount of money can compensate them for the loss of their loved ones.
Kumo Clarke, counsel to the family of one Shadrach Ogbonna-Asuh who was knocked down by a police van, said the deceased family entered the case with the panel to seek redress after the police abandoned their brother.
While commending the panel for awarding N16 million as compensation, he said the late Shadrach died at the hospital as a result of injuries and complications sustained from the accident.
The panel also upheld the judgement of the State High Court, which granted the sum of N100 million as compensation to the family of Late Tochukwu Ozuokwu, who was killed in Yenagoa by the disbanded State Security outfit codenamed “Operation Fam Tamgbe” in 2012.
Izige Ibarakumo, a counsel to the deceased’s family, expressed appreciation to the panel for the fair judgement.
The Panel also ordered the immediate release of one Prince Fubara from Abua in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State, who was arrested since 2018 by the military without any charge.
Francis Oporo, a family member, expressed displeasure at the military for the unlawful detention of his brother without trial, and thanked the panel for its findings and recommendations which also include the award of N10million as compensation.
It will be recalled that the panel had on Monday last week delivered judgement on four cases, wherein it awarded the sum total of N53 million to four families for the extra-judicial killing of their loved ones.