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“It is unlawful, extra judicial and contrary to the 1999 constitution and African Charter on human rights”.
These are part of the strong,choice words as contained in the Ruling of the High Court of Enugu State, presided over by Hon. Justice M. A. Onuoha, in his epic judgement over the brutal killing of late Philip Okoro of Umuobira Village, Nkpologu in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, by one Barr. Chijioke Ezugwu (the CSO of Uzo-Uwani LGC) and his vigilante men.
Justice Onuoha also declared the murder of the youngster as unlawful, barbaric, wicked, callous, reprehensible and a violation of the deceased’s fundamental rights to life and dignity of human person.
News Planet International reports that Mr. Pius Okoro, the father of Philip Okoro (the deceased) had approached the Court seeking enforcement of the latter’s fundamental rights to life and dignity following the unfortunate shooting and killing of the deceased on 29th July, 2022 by trigger happy agents of Uzo-Uwani LGC led by Barr. Chijioke Ezugwu which incident caused outrage and violent protests in the Community.
Delivering the well researched Judgment, the Judge agreed with the Applicant’s Counsel that the killing of the deceased was unlawful, extrajudicial and contrary to sections 33, 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Court condemned in the strongest of terms the reckless and mindless action of the vigilante men which led to the untimely death of young Philip Okoro, holding further that the Courts must rise against impunity and recklessness of trigger happy security officers employed to bear arms and protect citizens.
The Court therefore awarded and ordered the Executive Chairman of Uzo-Uwani LGC, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Counsel and Barr. Chijioke Ezugwu to jointly and severally pay to the family of the deceased the sum of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) only as compensation.
Reacting to the judgment, V. N. Ayogu, Esq., Counsel for the Applicant described the judgment as a sound and well researched judgment anchored on sound principles of law and judicial reasoning.
He commended the Court for rising to the occasion in defence of the constitutionally guaranteed and judicially protected rights of the deceased, stating that the decision will go a long way to assuage the loss of the family of the deceased.