Court orders police to pay slain journalist’s family N50m as damages

A FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay the sum of N50 million to the family of slain Abuja-based journalist Alex Ogbu.

This was as revealed by the co-coordinators of the Justice for Alex group, Gerald Katchy and Dimeji Macaulay, in a statement they issued on Wednesday, June 21.

According to the statement, the judge, Mohammed Abubakar of the Federal Capital Territory court in the Kurudu area of Abuja had ordered the police to pay the sum of N50 million to the family of the late journalist.

Ogbu was tragically hit by a bullet from one of the police officers on January 21, 2020, while reporting a protest held by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, popularly known as Shiites, demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The police had initially argued that Ogbu’s demise occurred when he struck his head on a stone, but a subsequent autopsy conducted on the body unveiled that the primary cause of death was haemorrhage due to gunshot wounds.

A group of activists then dragged the police and the Federal government to court, seeking justice for the slain journalist and his family.

    Part of the statement read, “Today we have been vindicated by the court, and justice has been served after three and a half years of legal and political battles. The case suffered so many adjournments with frustrations, but we remained undaunted.

    “Justice Mohammed Abubakar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Court 58, Kurudu has ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay the sum of N50,000,000 to the family of the late Alex Ogbu who was killed on January 21, 2020, during a protest of the Shi’ites.

    “Alex left behind a young daughter and an unemployed wife. We are determined to get justice and we call on all Nigerians of goodwill to join us in this struggle until justice is served.

    “We appreciate Comrade Femi Falana (SAN), Abubakar Marshal, and other lawyers who helped us on this case. We appreciate all the comrades and friends who stood by the family.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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