The families of the ‘Apo six’ yesterday asked for N200 million compensation at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)’s Independent panel seeking a review of the monetary compensation paid to them.
The panel is investigating human rights violations by the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and other units of the police force.
The ‘Apo six victims are Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Augustina Arebu, Anthony Nwokike, Paulinus Ogbonna and Ekene Isaac. Mgbe Amobi Nzelu, counsel representing the petitioners, told the panel that another panel of inquiry set up by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to unravel the unfortunate incidence had awarded N3 million as compensation in favour of each of the victims.
Nzelu, though, admitted that the federal government paid the N3million compensation and exhumed the corpses for proper burial, he said the N500, 000 which was awarded as burial cost, was never paid to the bereaved families.
“My appeal to this panel is for you to have a look at that compensation. We are seeking N200 million to be paid to each of the families as compensation for the pains the death of their loved ones must have cost on them.”
Responding, James Idachaba, police counsel, said the petitioners have no case, stressing that “the counsel has already told this panel that the money recommended by the panel was paid to the families.
“Now he is saying the money was not sufficient.
” I may not know whether this panel is an appeal for the previous panel.
“Does this panel have the jurisdiction to now review the report of the panel set up specifically for that issue which also made a recommendation.
“I submit that this petition is nothing but an attempt to raise sentiments which lack merit” Idachaba submitted.
On the issue of N500,000 burial expenses, Idachaba said the plaintiff counsel has failed to show proof that the money was not paid to the families.
The chairman of the panel, rtd Justice Suleiman Galadima, adjourned the matter until April 15 for a conference to look at the matter.
The victims came under fire when they approached a police checkpoint in their car. Four died on the spot and the other two were taken to a police station alive.
The bodies of all six were found together later, along with weapons which the panel heard had been planted by police
The panel indicted six police officers — Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami, Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel and Sadiq Salami.
Subsequently, they were arraigned on a nine-count charge of conspiracy and culpable homicide, which contravened the provisions of sections 97 and 221 (a) of the penal code law.
In a judgment delivered on March 9, 2017 (12 years after the incident), justice Ishaq Bello, the presiding judge, now retired held that there were contradictions in testimonies by the witnesses.
He held further that Ibrahim’s fingerprint was not taken after arrest made it impossible to establish his culpability.
Bello sentenced Acheneje and Emmanuel to death, while three others were discharged. (NAN)