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Abuja panel awards ‘Apo Six’, 26 other victims N147 million compensation

The National Human Rights Commission panel has awarded N147 million in compensation to 27 victims of police brutality.

The panel which investigated cases of  human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units in Abuja disclosed part of its recommendations on Thursday.

“The compensation awarded varies from N500,000 to N15 million,” Hillary Ogbonna, secretary to the panel said. “We awarded the victims of the Apo Six, N500,000 each. The compensation for the Apo six was in the court judgement.”

The “Apo Six” are traders at the Apo Mechanic Village and a girlfriend killed by policemen while driving home after a night out in Abuja on June 7, 2005.

Police operatives opened fire on them after Inspector Danladi Ibrahim had flagged them as armed robbers. It was later discovered that the lady amongst the Apo Six had rebuffed Ibrahim’s sexual advances.

Mr Ogbonna, said the panel received 297 petitions.

“We also set up a trust fund of N5 million for a little girl, who was struck by police stray bullets.

“Seven victims of extra judicial killing, were compensated and five victims of enforced disappearance, torture inhuman and degrading treatment,” he said.

Others are five illegal arrests and prolonged detention and three victims of confiscation of property and 20 others who were threatened.

In his opening speech, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Anthony Ojukwu, SAN, said the #EndSARS event was historic.

“By compensating the victims, NHRC is out to change the narrative of impunity.

“The commission is ready to provide remedy where Nigerians’ rights are violated.

“Where there is violation, there must be remedy,  the commission has begun a journey to restore human dignity” he said.

Mr Ojukwu, however, submitted that promotion and protection of rights of Nigerians required the cooperation of all.

This he added included the executive, legislative, judiciary arms of government, civil society organisations, business community.

Also speaking, the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Suleiman Galadima commended the NHRC for its efforts at ensuring that the rights of Nigerians are protected.

“This is not the comprehensive report. We are putting together the final report.

“For this bold step, we say a big congratulations to the commission.

“The monetary compensation is part of the recommendation. We recommended much more compensation,” he said.

(NAN)

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