Ijegun Killing: Deceased Family Sues AGF, Police, Demands N1bn Compensation

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The family of a woman, Mrs. Comfort Godwin Sunday, who was allegedly killed by a policeman, Corporal Museliu Aremu, on September 16, 2015, at Ijegun area of Lagos State, has sued the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and five others, demanding N1 billion compensation.

The applicants in the suit are her husband, Mr. Godwin SundayUdoh; Mary Godwin Sunday Udoh, Blessing Godwin Sunday Udoh, Abraham Godwin Sunday Udoh and Elijah Godwin Sunday Udoh, who are children of the deceased.

Those joined as respondents alongside the AGF in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1509/17, are Inspector-General of Police (IG), Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 2; Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Corporal Museliu Aremu, the alleged killer police, and Police Service Commission (PSC).

Apart from N1 billion compensation from the respondents, the deceased family also seek a court declaration that the brutal murder of the deceased and severe maiming of her husband on September 16, 2015, by “Corporal Aremu, who intentionally and deliberately shot with an AK-47 rifle at the police checking point at Ijegun for no just cause is most reckless, inhumane, barbaric, unlawful and unconstitutional, and thus constitutes a crass flagrant, colossal and total breach of rights to life and freedom of movement as enshrined and guaranteed in Section 33, 34, 36, 37 and 41 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999.”

The applicants also seek a court declaration that “the reckless, inhumane, barbaric, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional murder of the deceased, and permanent maiming of her husband by the alleged killer police, Aremu, in the presence of their children, on September 16, 2015, (an act which dealt fatal traumatic blow on the minor), resulting in the recurrent convulsion of the first born and daughter of the deceased, Mary constitutes unwarranted and unprecedented child abuse, an absurd and sobering violation of the children’s constitutional and statutory guaranteed rights and a breach of the applicants right to dignity of human person, right to fair hearing, right to private and family life and right of movement.”

When the matter came up yesterday, lawyer to the applicants, Mrs. Helen Ibeji, leading Omabe Paul, told the court that apart from the first respondent, other respondents are refused to received service of the process.

She also told the court that the first respondent, AGF, just served her with a counter-affidavit, dated November 7, 2017, at the court yesterday morning. And that she needed time to respond to the AGF’s counter.

AGF’s lawyer, Abubakar Musa, confirmed to court that he just served the applicants’ lawyer of his counter gaff in court today, while blaming the problem in serving on office bureaucracy.

Following the request for adjournment by the applicant’s lawyer, the court presided over by Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari adjourned the matter till June 6 for definite hearing.

The applicants, in an affidavit deposed to by the deceased’s husband, Godwin, who is a Pastor in Full Gospel Church at 2, Iyisa Bello street, Egbeda, stated that after a church programme at about8.30p.m, he and members of his family boarded his tricycle and set for their home at 51, Onitiri street, Abaronje, Ikotun, and that on getting to the police check point at Ijegun bus stop, the police officer flagged him down which he complied.

He also averred that when he stopped, he and his late wife waited to hear from the police, and that Aremu requested that he should give the police N200 but told the police that he did not have N200, adding that despite his explanation to the team of the policemen at the check point, one of the officer told them to get into the tricycle and go, but as he was about starting the ignition, he heard two loud gunshots fired by Aremu, who had earlier told him that he was not interested in any story other than the N200 he asked for.

Godwin also stated that one of the bullets fired by Aremu pierced through right side of his wife’s head and hit her left side, and consequently slumped and died instantly, while the second shot fired by the same Corporal Aremu, pierced through his shoulder and shattered his right jaw bones.

The applicant also stated that due to the accident, his daughter who is currently suffering from convulsion, will need N100 million for treatment abroad before she can full regain her sound health and invariably the dignity of her human person, the pride of her womanhood and her full sense of managing herself.

Godwin also stated that when the incident freshly happened, the respondents promised to train his four children to the university level on scholarship basis, but he was shocked when he received a letter from AGF, wherein the said scholarship was only for their primary school education.

While urging the court to grant all the reliefs sought, he stated that the respondents would not be prejudiced if granted.

But among all the respondents, it was the AGF that filed a counter-affidavit to the applicants’ suit.

In the AGF’s affidavit deposed to by one Abah Sunday Abbas, a litigation officer in the Federal Ministry of Justice, it stated that AGF was at no time informed of the act that led to the institution of the applicants’ suit. And that from the facts of the case as deduced by the applicants’ statement of fact, and affidavit, no cause of action against AGF.

The deponent also stated that AGF was not aware that the applicants were arrested or shot at, until when the processes of the suit were served on its office. He added that the second to six respondents are not employees of AGF, adding that the AGF did not promise or offer scholarship to the first applicant’s children.