The family of a woman, Mrs. Comfort Godwin Sunday, who was allegedly killed by a police man, Corporal Museliu Aremu, on September 16, 2015, at Ijegun area, Lagos, have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, and five others demanding the sum of N1 billion as compensation.
The applicants in the suit are: Mr. Godwin Sunday Udoh, her husband, Mary Godwin Sunday Udoh, Blessing Godwin Sunday Udoh, Abraham Godwin Sunday Udoh, and Elijah Godwin Sunday Udoh, who are children of the deceased.
Joined as respondents alongside the AGF in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1509/17, are: the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 2, Lagos, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Corporal Museliu Aremu, the alleged killer police officer and the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Apart from the N1 billion compensation being demanded from the respondents, the deceased family are also seeking for 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 check point, Ijegun, Lagos State for no just cause, and for no reason whatsoever, is most reckless, inhuman, barbaric, illegal, 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, inhuman, barbaric, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional murder of the deceased and permanent maiming of her husband, by the alleged killer police officer, (Museliu Aremu), in the presence of their children, on September 16, 2015, constitutes an 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 dignity of human person, right to fair hearing, right to private and family life and right of movement.
When the matter came up for hearing today, lawyer to the applicants, Mrs. Helen Ibeji, leading Omabe Paul, told the court that apart from the first respondent, other respondents have refused to accept service of the process.
She also told the court that the first respondent, AGF served her with a counter-affidavit, dated November 7, 2017, in the court this morning. And that she needed time to respond to the AGF’s counter affidavit.
The AGF’s lawyer, Abubakar Musa, confirmed to court that he has just served the applicants’ lawyer of his counter affidavit in court, while blaming the problem of serving on the official bureaucracy in the AGF office.
Following the request for adjournment by the applicants’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 at the Full Gospel Church, number 2, Iyisa Bello street, Egbeda, stated that after a church program at about 8.30p.m on the faithful day, himself and members of the family boarded his tricycle and set for their home at 51, Onitiri street, Abaronje, Ikotun, and that on getting to the police check point of Ijegun bus stop, the police officer flagged him down which he complied.
He also averred that when he stopped, himself and his late wife waited to hear from the police and that Corporal Museliu Aremu requested that he should give the police N200. 00, but that he told the police officer that he did not have N200. 00, 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 that as he was about starting the engine, he heard two very loud gunshots fired by Corporal Museliu Aremu, who had earlier told him that he was not interested in any story than the N200. 00, he asked for.
He stated that one the bullets fired by Corporal Aremu pierced through the right side of his wife’s head and came out on the left side, for which she slumped and died instantly, while the second shot fired by the same Corporal Aremu, pierced through his shoulder and smashed/shattered his right jaw bones.
He added that due to the incident, his daughter who has been suffering from convulsion ever since then, will need N100 million for treatment abroad before she can fully regain her sound health and invariably the dignity of her human person, the pride of her womanhood and her full sense of her management.
He also averred that when the incident happened, the respondents promised to train his four children to the university level on scholarship, but he was shocked when he received a letter from the AGF office, 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 will not be prejudiced if granted.
Meanwhile, at the hearing of the application today, among all the respondents, it was all 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 was averred that at no time was the AGF informed of the act that led to the institution of the applicants’ suit.
It was also averred in the counter affidavit that from the facts of the case as deduced by the applicants’ statement of fact and affidavit, no cause of action has been alleged against the AGF.
The deponent also stated that the AGF was not aware that the applicants were arrested or shot at until when the processes of the suit were served on its office, adding that the second to six respondents are not employees of AGF, adding that AGF did not promise or offer scholarship to the first applicant’s children.