The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has received the total sum of One hundred and thirty-five million naira (N135m) for the payment of compensation awarded to victims of Apo 8 killings from the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the process of payment of the monies to the beneficiaries has commenced.
This kind gesture being first of its kind, coming from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was a confirmation of his commitment to rule of law, upholding justice and respect to human rights.
The Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, made this known in a Press briefing on the process of payment of compensation awarded to the families of the victims of Apo 8 killings and the 11 injured in his office on Thursday April 26, 2018.
According to the Minister, the gesture confirms the enduring legacy of the present administration towards ensuring that justice is seen to be done to every Nigerian. He said, “There was a process of verification involved in ensuring that the right beneficiaries are presented”.
He further observed that the Commission throughout the process of litigation had no atom of interference from the Federal Government.
The Chief Law Officer, happy with the outcome of the negotiated judgment award with the Plaintiffs, NHRC, National Association of Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NACTOMORAS), Legal representatives of the Plaintiffs and Sarki of Garki village, said, “I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to Mr. President for approving this payment and also his avowed commitment to the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria”.
The in-coming Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu ESQ, in his statement, explained how he sailed through to judgment, “after several months of painstaking evidence, the panel of Inquiry, on the 7th of April 2014, handed down a decision that the incident constituted a gross violation of human rights of the victims and ordered the State Security Service to pay compensation to the dead and injured victims, in the total sum of N135, 000,000 (One Hundred and Thirty five million Naira only)”.
He added, “By this action today, the Commission feels fulfilled and accomplished that, under the present government, it has been able to provide effective remedy for the violation of the rights of the victims of the Apo incident. In this regard, the Commission wishes to commend the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for its obedience to the directives. The Commission also wishes to commend the Office of the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for rendering the appropriate legal advice in accordance with the principle of the Rule of Law and respect for Human Rights which is a cardinal principle for this administration”.
He further added, “for the injured victims and family representatives of the deceased here today no amount of money can compensate the injuries and loses occasioned by this unfortunate incident, however, you should be rest assured that justice has not only been done but actually seen to have been done in this case .The Commission has gone through a painstaking exercise to ensure that the right persons are paid. All payments relating to this compensation are being made through the bank after verification of accounts, signatures and photographs of the victims”.
Responding to question from newsmen, Mr. Ojukwu assured that trainings of law enforcement agencies, DSS, Military, Police, has commenced to mainstream human right into their works, “even next week we are going to have training for the military in Maiduguri, Damaturu and Yola . All these are efforts to make sure that incidence like this do not occur again so that we cannot say we are fighting insurgency and at the same time committing human right violation.
Responding, Chairman of NACTOMROS, Alhaji Uman Buba Gwoza thanked Mr. President for the political will to agree with the recommendations of National Human Rights Commission and the Minister of Justice who in no small measure made the event possible.
For; Deputy Director