By Ogar Monday
The Federal High Court sitting in Calabar has ordered the Nigeria Navy to pay NGN75 million to Mr. Etim Asuquo Akpan, as damages for illegal shooting, torture and holding him hostage.
Delivering judgment in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, in the suit number FHC/CA/M35/2013, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said men who are armed by law to protect the citizenry should not turn around and brutalize or take their lives, outside the law, of those they are supposed to protect, noting that if such trend is encouraged, every citizen would be a potential victim of such brutality.
Akpan, a brick-layer, said the incident happened in 2012 in Calabar when he was on his way to work and ran into men of the Navy attached to the then Quick Intervention Squad of the Cross River State Government.
Akpan stated that the men of the Nigerian Navy attacked him without provocation, shot him in both legs and left him there to die and when he was rescued by members of a certain church around the area and taken to the hospital, he was trailed by the Navy men and handcuffed and tortured while he spent seven months in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
Justice Ekwo, who dismissed the argument that the naval personnel were attached to the Quick Intervention Squad of the state and therefore not a liability of the Nigeria Navy, said such an act could not go without remedy, as Asuquo has a family and other people to support all his life, now he has been permanently incapacitated by the treatment meted to him by the naval personnel.
Counsel to the Navy, Mr. Tanbe Mark, while speaking after the judgment said the court has given judgement and they will stick to it.
Akpan’s lawyer, Mr. Albert Ben, expressed delight with the verdict of the court addding that the plaintiff approached their chambers in 2013 and they had to take up the case because it is the right of every citizen to be protected no matter their status.
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