Journalism of Courage

Illegal duty: Court orders Nigerian Army to pay N50m for fatally beating man

The beating to death of a man, Otunba Ajayi Oladele, by some soldiers in Warri, Delta State, has cost the Nigerian Army N50 million being damages awarded against it by the court.

The Army has been ordered to pay Oladele’s family N50 million as damages.

A judgment to this effect was given by the Federal High Court in Warri.

In 2017, some soldiers had fatally beaten the man and caused him spinal cord injury in the process.

Oladele was said to have been arrested and beaten by soldiers in their bid to help a businessman to recover some money owed him by the deceased.

His widow, Esther Oladele, and their three children, had filed the fundamental rights enforcement sui 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 declared: “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.”

The judge awarded the sum of N50 million 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.

He also awarded N100,000 against the defendants and in favor of the plaintiffs as the cost of prosecuting the case.

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