From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ten years after 17-year-old Emmanuel Victor was killed in cold blood by the police and his body kept away from the family for a proper burial, the Bayelsa Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police abuses has ordered that the corpse of the late teenager be released to the family.
The deceased was on his way to church in November 2011 when a police patrol accosted him and shot him dead along Sani Abacha road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Though the policeman that pulled the trigger was later dismissed and sentenced to death, the body of late Emmanuel was not released to the family for burial.
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry headed by Justice Emmanuel Ogola (retd) said despite the prosecution and sentencing to death by hanging of the trigger-happy policeman involved in the killing of Emmanuel Victor four years ago, it awarded the sum of N5 million to the bereaved mother for proper and decent burial of her son.
Ogola, delivering the judgment in a petition filed by the mother of the deceased, Grace Victor, ordered the Bayelsa State Police Command to produce Emmanuel’s corpse for burial by family and the sum of N5 million to pay for the burial of the deceased.
‘There is no compensation for what was pronounced as vicarious liability or so; noting that the policeman who committed the crime has already been sentenced to death,’ the judge said.
The Judicial Panel also awarded the sum of N16 million to Daniel Kokorifa, a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) official attached to the Rivers State Command and father of 17-year-old Innocent Kokorifa, shot dead by men of the Anti-Vice Unit of the Bayelsa Police Command in August 2016.
Daniel Kokorifa, who is from Okpotowarie community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, in his petition asked the panel to look into the sum of N6 million incurred during the murder of his son, the legal struggle to get justice and the burial of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Panel has delivered judgement on over thirteen petitions received with over N40 million ordered to be paid to various petitioners.
A statement released by the member of the panel and Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Chapter, Mr Samuel Numuneng, stated that 13 judgements have been delivered by the panel.
According to him, while two petitions have been adjourned sine die with 10 in favour of the petitioners, over N40 million were awarded by the panel as damages.’