By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF) Abubukar Malami SAN, yesterday, handed over a cheque of N135million to relatives and victims of eight persons killed and eleven injured persons by the Department of State Service (DSS) in 2013.
This justice is coming to the victims four years and seven months after a panel of inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission indicted the security agency of grossly violating the rights of the victims.
The actions of the security operatives, acting on intelligence report on September 20, 2013 attacked the victims in Apo area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), leaving no fewer than seven persons dead and eleven persons sustaining degrees of injury.
The panel consequently ordered the State Security Service to pay compensation of N135m to the dead and injured victims.
Breaking down the payment, the sum of N10million will be awarded to each of the eight deceased person, while N5million awarded to each of the eleven injured.
Malami, presenting the cheque on behalf of the Federal government, said the gesture is a confirmation of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, justice and respect of human rights.
“This gesture in no small measure has emphasized the role of the National Human Rights Commission as an independent organization which statutory duties for the promotion and protection of human rights.
“It also serves as an extra-judicial mechanism for the enhancement of the enjoyment of human rights. The commission performs its statutory functions without interference from the Federal government,” Malami said.
On his part, the incoming Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, said although, there is no amount of money that can compensate for the injuries sustained or losses occasioned by the incident, the payment today (yesterday) has however renewed hope of getting justice in the country.
He commended the Federal government and the DSS for complying with the decision of the commission.
“Though it has taken four years to implement that decision of the commission, it has come to confirm the posture of the present government to respect human rights as well as the decisions and recommendations of the commission”, he said.
“All payments relating to this compensation are been made through the bank after verification of the accounts, signatures and photographs of the victims “, he said.
While stating that the commission feels fulfilled as a result of the payment of compensation to the victims, Ojukwu said his administration would ensure that Nigeria abides to all treaties signed regarding protection of human rights.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the chapter of the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners & Riders Association (NACTOMORAS), Alhaji Usman Buba Gwoza, commended President Buhari and the Nigerians on the role played to see that the victims got justice.