ECOWAS Court Orders FG to Pay $75,000 to Family of Drowned Cadet

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Nigerian government to pay $75,000 to the father of a deceased cadet, Elshadai Kwasu, for alleged violation of the deceased right to life.
Kwasu’s son, a 19-year-old cadet, died during the watermanship training at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), on April 30, 2015.
He 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.
Following his death, the late cadet’s father, Danladi Kwasu, approached the court to demand the invocation of relevant sections of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the grounds of alleged violation of his child’s right to life.
The defendants in the case were the Nigerian government and the NDA
But the Nigerian government through its lawyers argued that the family of the deceased had signed a prior agreement consenting to possible negative effects of the exercise, wherein they ( Kwasu’s family) agreed to understand any hazards that the programme could result in.
Delivering judgment on the matter, a three-member panel led by Nwoke Chijioke said the cited agreement entered into by parties, secretly, does not negate the requirement for carefulness on the part of government.
The court also ordered Nigeria to investigate the matter and punish those responsible.
According to the court, the Nigeria is to pay a compensation fee of $75,000 to Kwasu.
The panel held that Nigeria has been 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.
“There is a colossal link between the death of the deceased and the negligence on the part of the defendant. The defendant merely made a general denial of the act and depended on the consent of the applicant given to the NDA,” said Chijioke.
In 2015, Danladi Kwasu had accused the authorities of the Nigerian Defence Academy 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 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.

Author: News Editor

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