- The amount covers compensation for the eight that were killed and the 11 others that sustained injuries
- The incident happened in 2013 when the Nigerian security bodies were working on information about Boko Haram's likely invasion of Abuja
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommended the payment of the compensation after indicting the government
The federal government has finally released N135 million for the compensation of the family members of eight persons killed in an uncompleted building in the Apo/Gudu district of Abuja by men of the nation’s security forces.
Also to benefit from the compensation are 11 persons who sustained injuries when the indicent occurred. It was claimed that the victims were killed and injured by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Army in September 2013
The Punch reports that the compensation came years after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) made the recommendations to the federal government on April 7, 2014.
The report said the commission had, through its three-man panel headed by its former chairman, Chidi Odinkalu, on April 7, 2014, made the recommendation following an inquiry into the incident.
According to the recommendation, the commission wanted the families of the eight deceased paid the sum of N10 million each while the 11 injured victims would get N5 million each.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), reportedly presided over a brief ceremony to officially present the cheque to the representatives of the victims at his office in Abuja.
The report noted that the victims were aged between 18 and 25 years at the time of the incident on September 20, 2013, and were said to be members of the Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association in Abuja, who squatted in the uncompleted building.
They were attacked by the security agents who were on a mission for the search of Boko Haram members.
“I am glad to inform you that the National Human Rights Commission has received the payment from the Department of State Services and the process of payment of the money to the beneficiaries starts today,” Malami said after the presentation just as he described it as the “the first of its kind in Nigeria, coming from President Muhammadu Buhari, which is confirming his commitment to the rule of law, upholding justice and respect to human rights.
"This gesture also confirms his (the president’s) enduring legacy of ensuring that justice is seen to be done by every Nigerian," he said.
Recalling that the victims were shot in a raid by the security agencies following an alleged intelligence report of a possible attack on Abuja by Boko Haram, Malami added: “On September 18, 2013, the Department of State Services allegedly received intelligence report that there was to be an attack on unspecified targets in Abuja.
“Acting on the intelligence report, the Department of State Services arrested three persons, who, under interrogation, disclosed that they had a leader in Abuja, called Suleiman (R. Kelly) who is the arrowhead of a planned terror attack by Boko Haram.
“The three suspects claimed they could lead the Department of State Services to the named Suleiman.
“One of the suspects also confessed that they had weapons buried in the cemetery in Gudu, Apo, Abuja, FCT.
“On September 20, 2013, a joint security operation conducted by the DSS with the assistance of the Nigerian Army shortly after midnight along with two informants, went to the cemetery in Gudu but were unable to recover any weapon.
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“The informants led the security agents to an uncompleted residential building where they claimed Suleiman (R.Kelly) resided.
“Seven men died during the operation from gunshot-related wounds, another died in the hospital for wounds sustained during the operation, and 11 other men were hospitalised from injuries sustained in the encounter. All the victims were aged between 18 and 25 years.”
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Nigerian Army, the Directorate of State Security and the attorney general were indicted by the Nigerian Human Rights (NHRC) Commission in Abuja for the killing of the eight civilians.
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