Court slams police with N100m fine for killing of ‘free Zakzaky’ protester in Abuja

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The arrest and subsequent killing of Ja’afar Muhammad by the Nigeria Police in 2019 was declared illegal by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, resulting in a gross violation of his fundamental rights.

According to reports, the ruling, delivered by Justice Z. B. Abubakar of the Abuja Division, highlights the clear violation of Muhammad’s rights as guaranteed by Section 33 (1) 35 of the 1999 Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution (as amended).

The court case, filed by Naziru Isah Abdullahi under the case number FHC/ABJ/CD/409/2020, shed light on the harrowing events leading up to Muhammad’s arrest and tragic death.

Justice Abubakar agreed that Naziru Isah’s evidence provided compelling evidence that Ja’afar Muhammad was shot and injured while peacefully participating in a ‘Free Zakzaky’ protest at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja on July 22, 2019.

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According to this newspaper, Ja’afar was rushed to Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital for medical treatment following the shooting. Surprisingly, the police took him from the hospital and transported him to the SARS Cell in Abattoir, Garki, Abuja.

Ja’afar Muhammad was reportedly denied necessary medical attention while in police custody, leading to his untimely death on July 24, 2019.

Justice Abubakar also stated that the evidence conclusively established that after Ja’afar Muhammad died, his body was transferred to the Asokoro District Hospital in Abuja.

As a result, the court issued an order directing the Inspector General of Police and the Medical Director of Asokoto District Hospital to return Ja’afar Muhammad’s body to his family for immediate burial according to Islamic rites.

Furthermore, the court ordered the Inspector General of Police to pay N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) in restitution to the applicant, Naziru Isah, for the unlawful detention and killing of Ja’afar Muhammad.

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