The Federal High Court in Warri, Delta State, has awarded N50m damages against the Nigerian Army for the murder of Ajayi Oladele, who was said to have died as a result of a spinal cord injury he sustained when he was arrested and beaten by some soldiers in Warri in 2017.
Oladele was said to have been arrested and beaten by soldiers in their bid to help a businessman to recover a debt from the deceased.
Following his death, his widow, Esther Oladele, and their three children, filed the fundamental rights enforcement suit marked FHC/WR/CS/93/2017 against the Nigerian Army, one Lt. Col. T. A. Yakubu and Sergeant Hassan Hassan.
The suit was instituted on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyer, Mr Kunle Edun, who prosecuted the case for them free of charge.
Justice Emeka Nwite in the judgment delivered on December 10, 2019, declared that the four “plaintiffs’ right to life and therefore good and reasonable comfort of life have been violated by the acts of the defendants by the unlawful killing of Otunba Ajayi Oladele being that the deceased was the parent of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th plaintiffs and husband to the 1st plaintiff and also the breadwinner of the family.”
In the copy of the judgment seen by Punch correspondent on Wednesday, the judge made an order, “awarding the sum of N50,000,000 as general and exemplary damages jointly and severally against the defendants in favour of the plaintiffs as a result of the unlawful/wrongful death of Otunba Ajayi Oladele and for loss of consort, fatherly love/care, comfort and disruption of the family life of the plaintiffs.”
The judge also awarded N100,000 against the defendants and in favour of the plaintiffs as cost of prosecuting the case.