A Kano High Court presided over by Justice Y.M. Ubale has awarded N50million damages to the family of a 28-year-old man, Mustapha Idris Muhammad, who was tortured to death in the cell of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
A Kano-based human rights lawyer, Abba Hikima, had in October 2019 dragged the Kano Commissioner of Police; the officer in charge of the defunct SARS, SP Uba Bangajiya and; the officer investigating the case, Inspector Garba Galadima, demanding N100 damages.
Mr Hikima had argued that SARS tortured Mr Muhammad to death but refused to inform the family and kept receiving food and money for him several days after his death.
The lawyer sought a declaration that the torture and killing of Mr Muhammad by the police without recourse to the law amounts to unlawful, arbitrary and unconstitutional contravention of the fundamental rights of the deceased protected by sections 34 and 33 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) respectively.
Mr Hikima also sought a declaration that the torture and killing by the police without recourse to the law amounts to unlawful, arbitrary and unconstitutional contravention of the fundamental rights of the deceased protected by Sections 34 and 33 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) respectively.
He also sought an order of the court to award the sum of N100,000,000 as damages payable by the police to the deceased through his family.
In his affidavit in support of the application, the brother of the deceased, Abdulkarim Muhammad, said police did not inform any member of the deceased family of his brother’s alleged sickness.
He said his brother died on September 14, 2019 as shown in the mortuary register but the police told the family that he died on September 27, 2019.
He said the SARS officers lied that Mr Muhammad died of stomachache, and went further to procure a fake medical certificate to cover their tracks.
Ruling on the matter on Tuesday, the judge granted the nine out of 10 reliefs sought and awarded N50million damages to the family.
The judge also said the act of concealing his death to his family amounted to deprivation of the deceased’s religious rights, which as a Muslim, required that he be hastily buried.