A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has ordered the Nigerian Police to pay N3 billion in damages to Victor Ogbonna, a spare parts trader who was tortured by members of the disbanded Eagle Crack unit in 2019.
The court, presided by Justice Stephen Daylop-Pam, ruled in Ogbonna’s favour after he filed a fundamental human rights suit against the Inspector General of Police and eight others over the incident.
This is the fourth judgement secured by Ogbonna’s lawyer, Emmanuel Okpala, in favour of victims of the Eagle Crack unit’s brutality. Previously, courts awarded damages to Ifeanyi Osuji (N5 million), Ifeanyi Onyekwere (N5 million), and the family of the deceased Chima Ikwunado (N75 million).
Okpala expressed satisfaction with the judgment, stating that it serves as a deterrent to police officers who engage in illegal torture and violence.
“These judgments show that the courts will hold police officers accountable for their actions,” he said.
The case stemmed from the arrest of five mechanics by the Eagle Crack unit in 2019 on suspicion of cultism. While in custody, the police subjected them to severe torture, leading to Ikwunado’s death. The surviving victims, including Ogbonna, sustained physical and psychological injuries.
The court found that the police officers’ actions constituted torture and inhuman treatment, violating Ogbonna’s fundamental human rights. As a result, the court awarded him N3 billion in damages to compensate for his suffering and deter future abuses.
This case highlights the ongoing issue of police brutality in Nigeria and the struggle for justice for victims. The court’s decision sends a strong message that such abuses will not be tolerated and reinforces the need for police reform in the country.