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Court fines Army N200m for Killing man in Imo



Justice Onyetenu Maureen of the Owerri Federal High Court, Imo State, yesterday, awarded the sum of N200m against the Nigerian Army for killing a business man, Noel Chigbu.

  Delivering the judgment, the court agreed with the applicant’s request that Nigeria soldiers were liable for the killing of the late Chigbu at Amakohia Flyover in Owerri ,on April 30, 2021.

  Though, counsel to the applicant, Brigadier General Onyelebechi (rtd) demanded a sum of N1b as compensation for the killing of the said businessman, but the court settled for N200m.

  Speaking to journalists, Anyalebechi expressed joy over the court judgment/verdict. 

  The counsel said, “I am satisfied with the judgment though he presented a demand of N1b but the court considered N200b.

The court found the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, liable.

   The governor of Imo State and Chief of Defence Staff were exonerated. The reason was that even though the governor invited the military to the state, he was not the commanding officer of the soldiers on duty who triggered the gun.

  In military jurisprudence, the Chief of Army Staff and Commander of the 34 Field Artillery Brigade, Obinze are the commanding officers of the squad who killed Chigbu. The court ascertained that the duo of Chief of Army Staff and his counterpart in Obinze commended the actions of the soldiers as against condemning it.

  Justice Onyetenu said she was confident of her judgment, adding that she was ready to meet them again at any other level of court if they choose.

  Expressing his state of mind, senior brother of the deceased, Mazi Tochukwu Chigbu said he was satisfied with the judgment even though no amount can be equated with the life of his deceased brother whom the family will miss forever. He described the judgment as a relief to the family.

  Tochukwu regretted that the trigger happy soldiers killed his brother the day Noel took delivery of his brand new Camry Toyota car while driving home to show it to the family. He said it was painful. According to Tochukwu, the day of the incident, he contacted the police and the Police Commissioner in charge of operations said they received a report that the deceased violated the check point rule.

  The family spokesman further regretted that his slain brother was to be 39 years old if he had lived up till May 18, that year. The body of Noel Chigbu is deposited at the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri.

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