The Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Department of State Services have been dragged before an Economic Community of West African States’ court over the death of a 14-year-old girl, who was shot dead during the Yoruba Nation Rally in Lagos State.
A civil society, Love Foundation, filed the suit in the ECOWAS court, seeking the court to award $1billion damages against the government entities to be paid to the deceased’s parents.
The suit is challenging the legality of banning all peaceful protests by the federal government of Nigeria through the police, the DSS, and other security agencies in Nigeria.
A human rights lawyer, Chief Patrick Eholor, filed the suit for the group, seeking an order of the court directing the Lagos State of Nigeria and the mentioned security agencies to pay the money to the family for the inconveniences and damages.
The suit reads, “That due to the threats by policemen of Lagos State, a young girl was killed by the policemen by live bullets in their quest to clamp down on protesters during the Yoruba Nation rally on July 3 in the Ojota area of the state.
“An order directing the defendant and its agents and the Lagos State of Nigeria to provide effective remedies and reparation of $1billion to the family of the deceased including adequate compensation, restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant to human rights defenders, activists, bloggers, journalists and other online and off-line media practitioners that have been harassed, intimidated, unlawfully arrested, detained, and unfairly prosecuted by the defendant because of lawful protest through the criminalization of same by the Nigerian government.”
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The suit also asked the court to order the government to stop the intimidation, suppression, harassment, killing, and shooting of peaceful protesters arrested and locked up in different security agencies cells all over Nigeria by the various Nigeria state security agencies.
The group added that the action of the Nigerian government was in variance to Section 24, which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and information in Articles 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Recall that armed police officers, led by Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had shot and killed Jumoke while trying to disperse the Yoruba Nation agitators at Ojota.