A Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State has awarded the sum of N7.9 million to Mrs. Queen Akarewan, widow of Mr. Christopher Akarewan, who was killed by a team of Nigeria Police Force over his refusal to give N50 bribe at a checkpoint on October 13, 2011 in Okitipupa local government area.
Akarewan, a commercial motorcyclist allegedly offered N30 when he was stopped by police at the checkpoint instead of N50.
His action led to an argument with the policemen manning the checkpoint.
Two of the policemen were later identified as Messrs John Aghaulor and Igodi Gbefamoghan who were “bank guards”, who have been dismissed from service.
In his ruling yesterday, Justice Abdu Dogo said that the victim’s life (Akarewan) was unlawfully terminated contrary to Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to him, the section of the constitution allowed anybody who has interest in existence of person whose life is taken unlawfully to seek redress in a court of competent jurisdiction.
The judge said that the perpetrators were still under the service of the Nigeria Police when the crime was committed.
Dogo, therefore, ordered the Nigeria Police Force and the state commissioner of police to pay the sum of N7.9 million as damages to the plaintiff, Mrs. Queen Akarewan, the widow.
The judge, who condemned the gruesome, unlawful and extra-judicial killing of the deceased over a bribe of N50, further ordered that the money be paid within 30 days of the judgment.
The widow through her counsel, Mr. Tope Temokun approached the court on January 5, 2013 claiming monetary damages of sum of N8 million against the Nigeria Police Force, the state commissioner of police, and the police officers alleged to be responsible for the Akarenwa’s death.
The counsel to the defendants, Mr. Edward Ojemu, who held brief for Mr. Tolu Abisagbo, said that the plaintiff had no right to institute the suit because the police had no link with the crime.