An Abuja High Court under Justice O. O. Goodluck has ordered the Nigeria Police to pay the sum of N50,000,000 as damages to one Mr. Joseph Martins, who was shot at close range by a trigger-happy police officer, during a slight quarrel at a popular joint and viewing centre in Utako District in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sometime in 2013.
The judgment was delivered at the weekend after a long, tedious and almost hopeless wait, which the court found in favour of the applicant by awarding the said sum against the Nigeria Police, for violating his fundamental rights.
In its ruling, Justice O.O Goodluck, explained that the said sum was granted as damages to seek further medical attention, so that the man adjust to normal life again.
It was gathered that the policeman, Sergeant Olumide Ariyo deliberately shot Mr. Martins, a bricklayer during a football match between Nigeria and Mexico, for merely challenging the policeman to pay for the two bottles of Gulder that he consumed there.
Sadly, after the incident, Mr. Martins was dumped at Wuse General Hospital, with the bullet in his thigh for 25 days, before it was finally removed at Air force Hospital close to Abuja Airport.
However, rights activists to the matter to court after severally submitting petitions to various offices of government, in protest and nothing was done.
Consequently, the victim’s legal team served the Police, and the police subsequently filed counter affidavits and written reply, but the matter was heard in July 2014, after which it was adjourned for judgment.
However, the Judge also ordered the Inspector General of Police to produce and charge Sergeant Olumide Ariyo to the High Court of FCT for Attempted Murder of Mr. Joseph Martins instead of assault that he was earlier charged with in a Magistrate court.
Also, the court in strong terms berated thetrigger-happy policeman as a disgrace to the force for infamous conduct of visiting a beer palour for a drink along with his service gun.
Counsel to the Applicant, Tolu Babaleye, who was visibly excited over the outcome of the matter, said “I am grateful to the judge for doing judicial activism on this matter.
“I took the matter to court after writing petitions to various offices of government in protest and nothing was done. We served the Police and the police filed counter affidavits and written reply, and the matter was heard in July 2014 after which it was adjourned for judgment.
“I really appreciate all the Lawyers in Chambers of Tolu Babaleye & Co for working as a team with passion on this case that was handled pro bono.
“I wish to re-affirm my belief in Nigeria and the judiciary as the bastion of hope for the down trodden and the oppressed in the society, because if Joseph Martins who is a bricklayer can get justice, then there is hope and hope beacons,” the lawyer expressed.
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