Three years after police officer killed woman, family insist on justice

Nigerian Police (Masked)
Nigerian Police (Masked) [Photo: Trent Online]

The family of Comfort Godwin who was allegedly shot and killed by a trigger-happy police officer has lamented their inability to get justice three years after the incident.

Sunday Godwin, the husband of the deceased, said the police had failed to keep all the promises made to them since 2015.

“I hear people saying that my family had been settled by the police. Some say N20 million damage,s some N30 million but the truth of the matter is, the police has done absolutely nothing for me and my family beyond the public shows and promises,” Mr Godwin told PREMIUM TIMES.

“Not even their promises of scholarships for my children, footing of the medical bills or even the burial of my wife had been fulfilled, talk less of paying compensation or damages.

“The IGP issued his deceitful primary school scholarships (although he promised scholarships till degree level) for public eye but it was never implemented. I had to bury my wife that they killed with my money, foot my health bills and that of my daughter with the little savings I have.”

In September 2015, Mr Godwin and his family – wife and four children – were returning from church when a police corporal, Museliu Aremu, allegedly opened fire on their tricycle for refusing to pay N200 demanded by the officers at a checkpoint at the Ijegun area of Lagos.

While Mr Godwin sustained gunshot wounds, his wife died on the spot.

The family instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the police seeking N1 billion compensation.

The applicants in the suit are Mr Godwin and his four children – Mary, Blessing, Abraham, and Elijah.

Joined as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Zone 2), Lagos Stte Commisioner of Police, Mr Aremu, and the Police Service Commission.

During a court hearing in May, Mr Godwin’s lawyer told the court that apart from the AGF, the other respondents refused service of the court process.

All the respondents, however, were served the court process in June.

But last Tuesday, none of them were in court.

In the aftermath of the incident, the police had promised scholarships to the family’s four children.

They also dismissed the errant police officer and began criminal prosecution against him.

Mr Godwin told PREMIUM TIMES that he is disappointed at the way his family had been treated by the police.

“My landlord has given us quit notice now because I have been unable to pay rent or send my children to school, they are at home right now because of the incident,” he said.

“One of the bullets shattered my shoulders and jaw and I am still undergoing treatment till date. Due to lack of financial power, I had to ignore all the pains and suggested treatments for my shoulder and jaw because I don’t have money.

“The little money I am able to gather I spend on my child’s treatment but now the treatment is more than I can muster the needed amount to handle. She has been referred to all government hospitals and they have now recommended that we fly her out for treatment. I am unable to do anything than to watch my child suffer and myself too because of the actions of one police officer.”

Mr Godwin said the judge, thinking his claims were exaggerated, had asked him to bring his ailing child to court.

“The judge and the representative of the sixth respondent witnessed the extent of her ailment as she had seizure before we left the court at the last adjourned date.

“Even if I get the money to send all my children to school right now, without adequate treatment my first daughter will be unable to go to school because she is greatly traumatized by her ailment.”

In the fundamental rights enforcement suit, only the AGF had responded to the applicant’s affidavit and also appeared before the court at the last hearing.

The case had been adjourned to November 12 for hearing by Ayo Emmanuel, a judge newly assigned the case.

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