A High Court in Kano State has awarded N50 million damages to the family of a detainee- Mustapha Muhammad, then 28 years old, who was tortured to death in the cell of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Kano.
According to his brother, Abdulkarim Muhammad in the affidavit filed along with the suit, Mustapha died on September 14, 2019.
While delivering judgement on Tuesday, the judge, Y.M. Ubale, granted nine out of the 10 prayers sought by the deceased person’s family.
Although the family’s lawyer, Abba Hikima, in October 2019, sued the Kano Police Command demanding N100 million damages over the killing of Muhammad, the judge awarded N50million compensation in their favor.
The lawyer also sought a declaration that the torture and killing of Muhammad by the police without recourse to the law amount to unlawful, arbitrary and unconstitutional contravention of the fundamental rights of the deceased guaranteed under sections 33 and 34 of the Nigerian constitution.
Judge Ubale also ruled that the act of concealing Mustapha’s death from his family amounted to a deprivation of the deceased’s religious rights, which as a Muslim, required that he be buried immediately.
How Mr. Mustapha Died
According to the brother of the deceased, Mr. Abdulkarim Muhammad, in whose name the family of the deceased instituted the rights enforcement suit, had in his affidavit evidence told the court that his brother was tortured to death by SARS operatives in Kano.
He said SARS officers, in an attempt to conceal the circumstances of the death, said that Mustapha died of stomach ache and also procured a fake medical certificate to cover their tracks.
Mr. Muhammad added that they falsely claimed that his brother died on September 27, 2019, contrary to the entry in the mortuary’s records showing that he died earlier on September 14, 2019.
He added that days after the deceased died, the police did not inform any member of the family and continued to receive money and food for the days till when the family got to know Muhammad had died.