An Abuja High Court has awarded the sum of Fifty Million Naira (N50m) to Mr. Joseph Martins who was shot by a trigger happy Police Officer.
In December 2013, A police sergeant shot at Mr. Joseph Martins at a beer parlour and football viewing center in Utako, Abuja during a football match between Nigeria and Mexico match.
The police sergeant shot at Mr. Martins in anger for challenging him to pay for two bottles of Gulder that he had consumed.
After the incident, Joseph Martins was dumped at Wuse General Hospital and the bullet was in his thigh for 25 days before it was finally removed at Air Force Hospital close to Abuja Airport.
In a judgement delivered on Thursday, the court awarded the sum of Fifty Million Naira against the Nigerian Police in favour of Mr. Martins for violating his fundamental human rights and damages to seek further medical attention so that the man who is currently in a wheelchair can return to his normal life.
The court also ordered the Inspector General of Police to produce and charge Sergeant Olumide Ariyo to the High Court of FCT for attempted murder of Mr. Joseph Martins instead of assault that he was earlier charged with in a Magistrate Court.
The court berated the triger happy policeman as a disgrace to the force for infamous conduct of visiting a beer parlour for a drink with his service gun.
According to Mr. Tolu Babaleye, a lawyer who took up the case after he had alerted the society through a social media post, said he approached the court after failed petitions to various government agencies.
“I took the matter to court after writing petitions to various offices of government in protest and nothing was done. We served the Police and the police filed counter affidavits and written Reply and the matter was heard in July 2014 after which it was adjourned for judgment.
“At last, the judgment came up today after a long, tidious and almost hopeless wait.. I am grateful to the judge for doing judicial activism on this matter.”
Mr. Babaleye who represented Martins also appreciated his lawyers. He informed that the case was handled pro-bono.
“I also appreciate all the Lawyers in Chambers of Tolu Babaleye & Co for working as a team with passion on this case that was handled pro bono.
“I wish to re-affirm my believe in Nigeria and the judiciary as the baston of hope for the downthroden and the oppressed. The lawyer concluded;
“If Joseph Martins who is a bricklayer can get justice, then there is hope and hope beacons!”