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Falana Files Landmark Rights Lawsuit Against Nigerian Army Chief Over Alleged Extra-Judicial Killing

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LAGOS, Nigeria – Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, filed a lawsuit on Thursday, May 25, 2023, against the Chief of Army Staff and ten other officers over the alleged extra-judicial killing of Inspector Monday Orukpe.

The incident, which purportedly occurred during Orukpe’s official duties in August 2022 at the Lagos-Badagry Expressway Area, has ignited concerns over the military’s conduct in civilian matters.

Filed on behalf of Mrs Favour Monday, the suit is seeking the enforcement of her late husband’s fundamental human rights to life, human dignity, private and family life, and presumption of innocence.

Mrs Monday is now the sole caregiver for their four children: Divine Monday (15), Emmanuel Monday (12), and the one-year-old twins, Praise and Covenant Monday.

“A man should be allowed to tread Nigerian soil and breathe Nigerian air until the court finds him unworthy to do so,” Falana said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

READ ALSO: Unsilenced Voices: Femi Falana Explains Why His Son, Falz, Publicly Critiques the Government

“The respondents’ agents have no right to sniff life out of the deceased extra-judicially as they have done in this case.”

Falana asserts that Orukpe’s killing was not only a brutal violation of his fundamental rights but also an unjustifiable action that has caused irreparable harm to his family.

He is therefore seeking an order from the court mandating the respondents to establish a special education fund of at least 100 million Naira for the late inspector’s children and to compensate Mrs. Monday with 200 million Naira in general and aggravated damages.

In the suit, Falana wrote, “The right to human life is the highest in the hierarchy of rights enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which explains the reason why same is listed as the first among the fundamental rights encapsulated in Chapter 4 of the Constitution.”

The brutal incident unfolded on August 3, 2022, as Inspector Orukpe carried out his official duties along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

The respondents in the case, all associated with the Nigerian military, are alleged to have acted beyond their jurisdiction resulting in the unjustified killing of the inspector.

Although no date has been set for the hearing of the suit, the case has drawn national attention to the issue of extra-judicial killings and the military’s involvement in civil affairs.

It promises to be a watershed moment in the struggle for accountability and respect for human rights within Nigeria’s military structures.

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