ECOWAS court orders FG to pay N60m to victim shot by police officer



The court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has ordered the federal government to pay N60 million to one Sunday Ayodeji, a victim of police brutality.


In the judgment delivered on July 10, the court held that the Nigerian government was responsible for the torture of the victim.


The court also ordered the federal government to properly investigate the human rights violation against Ayodeji.


Ayodeji was shot by a police officer in Kaduna state which led to the amputation of his leg.


The case was handled on a pro-bono basis by Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF), an international human rights organisation, popularly known as Lawyers without Borders (France).


Further explaining Ayodeji’s ordeal in a statement on Tuesday, Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, ASF country director in Nigeria, said the victim’s properties, including a car and N900,000, were also unlawfully confiscated by the same police officer.


Asides from the N60 million awarded in damages, Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said the ECOWAS court also ordered the immediate return of the victim’s confiscated items.


 “Avocats Sans Frontieres France commends the ECOWAS Court for its judgment on this case and urges the Nigerian government to uphold the directives of the court,” Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said.


“ASF France is also delighted that this judgment is coming on the heels of the commemoration of the 2023 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which reemphasizes the need for collaborative efforts amongst all stakeholders of the criminal justice system to establish a zero-tolerance culture to torture in Nigeria.


“We are delighted that despite all challenges and legal hurdles faced by our legal team in pursuit of justice in this case, justice was served.


“We are optimistic that this will serve as a deterrent against the systemic use of torture in Nigeria.


 “The amount awarded by the court will not restore our client who has been permanently disabled by torture, but it has given hope to not just Ayodeji but other torture survivors that justice is possible even against powerful governments and institutions.


“Ending torture is a global challenge, we must all continue to work together to create a zero-tolerance culture to torture in Nigeria.”


Reacting to the court verdict, Ayodeji said: “My joy knows no bounds and I feel fulfilled and relieved from the inner pain that I have carried for so long due to the great injustice done to me which led to the loss of my leg.


“I am very grateful to Avocats Sans Frontieres France who provided a platform for me to obtain redress. I am also happy for what this judgment means for me and other victims of torture in Nigeria.”


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