ECOWAS court orders Nigeria to compensate officer with $75k for his son’s death

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has given judgment in the case of Wing Commander Danladi Angulu Kwasu and the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), stating that the FRN violated the right of life in respect of the son who died during the watermanship training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, on April 30, 2015.

 

Kwasu’s son died by drowning and the court held that there was a failure to provide safety measures during the training or investigate the matter after the death.  The court ordered Nigeria to investigate the matter and punish those responsible and ordered Nigeria to pay a compensation fee of 75,000 US dollars to the applicant (Kwasu).

 

Nigeria was found to be in breach of the right to life under Art 4 of the African Charter as the death is an unlawful killing and the failure to investigate is also s breach of Art 4.  The applicant’s son was forced to carry out watermanship training at a dam in Kaduna in April 2015 even though he could not swim.

 

Safety measures were not provided and after his death, there was no investigation or compensation provided to the family.  The court in the initial part of its judgment ruled that it did have jurisdiction to entertain the suit as the FRN had argued that the CCJ did not have jurisdiction.  In 2015, Danladi Kwasu had accused the authorities of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) of murdering his son, who was until his death an officer cadet in the Academy.

 

The retired Air Force Officer accused the NDA officials of pushing his 19-year-old son, El-Shadai Kwasu, with academy number NDA/10037, deliberately into a 100 meter-deep lake and drowning him during a training exercise on April 30, 2015.  According to him, his son died out of negligence by the Academy’s instructors who took him to the river.  He also alleged that about 20 officer cadets had been killed in similar circumstances over the years with the NDA authorities doing nothing to change the situation, although the NDA authorities declined to make an official comment on the allegation.  But a letter from the management of the NDA showed that the deceased died from cardiopulmonary arrest after he was drowned in a river while undergoing a routine watermanship training exercise at Kangimi Dam in Kaduna State.

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