For alleged torture and other dehumanizing treatment while in police detention which led to the death of two of his friends, one Abduwahab Bello has instituted three separate suits of N150 million each against the Nigeria Police Force at the Bauchi division of the Federal High Court.
The suits which came up for mention on Tuesday have as defendants, the divisional police officer (DPO) of Bauchi Township Police Division, Superintendent of Police, Baba Ali, Sergeant Jibril Mohammed, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, Commissioner of Police Bauchi State, Lawan Jimeta and the Police Service Commission.
Abdulwahab Bello filed the three separate suits – one for himself and two for his deceased friends – respectively demanding for N150 million each as compensation for the act of torture and dehumanising treatment while in police detention.
While N100 million each is for compensation against the respondents jointly and severally to be paid to the relations of Ibrahim Babangida (deceased), Ibrahim Kampalala (deceased) and himself (the survivor) who filed the suit, N50 million each is compensation as general damages.
According to the counsel to the applicant, Muktar Usman, the act of beating up the suspects while in custody by the DPO amounts to an infringement of their fundamental rights to human dignity of persons as enshrined in section 34 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended saying the action of the DPO was illegal and unlawful.
Mukhtar Usman also declared that “the killing of Ibrahim Babangida and Ibrahim Kampalala were as a result of the beating by the DPO in the full glare of Sergeant Jibril Mohammed on July 17, 2020.”
He averred that “acting under the supervision of the third and fourth respondents for no justifiable reason(s) constitutes extra-judicial killing) and is a violent violation of their fundamental rights to life as guaranteed by the provisions of section 33 (1) of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 and Article 3 and 5 of the Africa Charter on the human people’s right.”
The applicant according to the counsel is also demanding for a public apology by the respondents for breaches to be published in conspicuous pages in at least three national dailies widely circulated in Nigeria.
When the matter came up for mention on Tuesday, November 3, the respondents did not file any response on the required date which expired on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
The case was, however, adjourned to November 13 for definite hearing on fundamental human rights violation by presiding judge, Justice Hassan Dikko, who gave an order for service of hearing on all the respondents.
It will be recalled that Abdulwahab Bello and two of his friends, Ibrahim Babangida and Ibrahim Kampalala were allegedly arrested for an alleged case of stealing some chickens belonging to a retired police officer.
They were taken to the Township Police Division where they were allegedly beaten and tortured by the divisional police officer on July 21, 2020.
The torture allegedly led to the death of Kampalala and Babangida while Bello survived with life-threatening injuries.
Both the State Police Command and the DPO have variously denied the allegation claiming that though the suspects were arrested, they were mobbed by residents of the area where they committed the offence and in the process, two of them died due to the injuries inflicted on them by the mob.
A human rights NGO, PIDI-Nigeria had taken up the matter and petitioned the IGP, and Mohammed Adamu on the need for the matter to be investigated.