– A lawyer has dragged the federal government to court over the suspected herdsmen killings in Benue and Plateau states
– He blamed the killings on the failure of the federal government, President Buhari and the AGF to discharge their constitutional responsibility
– He demanded N100bn compensation for the relatives of the victims in Benue state and the same amount for victims’ relative in Plateau state
A lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has reportedly sued the federal government, demanding N200bn compensation for the at least 214 persons allegedly killed this year by armed herdsmen in Benue and Plateau states.
Apart from seeking compensation, the applicant, acting in his capacity as the convener of the Movement Against Killings in Nigeria, sought a court order compelling the federal government to arrest and prosecute the killer herdsmen and their accomplices in a court of competent jurisdiction, The Punch reports.
Nigeria daily times gathered that the lawyer who blamed the killings on “grave constitutional infraction and shirking of constitutional responsibility by the respondents,” filed two separate fundamental human rights enforcement suits to seek redress for the deceased.
The federal government, President Muhammadu Buhari and the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), are the three respondents to each of the two suits.
The plaintiff reportedly filed one of the suits in the Makurdi Division of the Federal High Court, demanding N100bn compensation each for the 114 persons said to have been killed by the killer herdsmen in Benue state and another in the Jos Division of the court demanding another sum of N100bn for the over 100 others killed in Plateau state.
The lawyer blamed the killings on the failure of the federal government, President Buhari and the AGF “to discharge their constitutional responsibility in strict compliance with Sections 33, 46 and 14(2)(a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He alleged that the failure of the three respondents to discharge their constitutional duties “culminated in the killings and extrajudicial murder of the deceased persons by armed killer herdsmen.”
He argued that the killings violated the deceased victims’ rights to life guaranteed under Sections 33 and 46 under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the suit marked FHC/MKA/CS/43/2018, filed before the Federal High Court in Makurdi, on August 23, 2018, the applicant said that of the 114 massacred by herdsmen in Benue state, 73 of them were killed on January 1, 2018, in Logo and Guma local government areas, while 26 others were killed on March 5, 2018, in Okpokwu LGA.
He noted that the rest of the 15 victims in Benue state included two Catholic priests namely, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, who were hacked down by the assailants on April 24, 2018, during a mass at St Ignatius Quasi Parish at Ukpor-Mbalom in Ayar-Mbalom Community of Gwer East local government of the state. In the other suit filed before the Jos Division of the Federal High Court on August 27, 2018, and marked, FHC/J/CS/40/2018, the applicant said the herdsmen on June 23 and 24, 2018, killed “over 100” persons in 11 communities in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South local governments areas of Plateau state.
Meanwhile, Nigeria daily times had previously reported that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue raised alarm, claiming he has intelligence report that some herdsmen were plotting to kidnap and kill him. The governor said this during an interactive session with the church, traditional institution and other stakeholders towards peaceful elections in 2019, organised by the Makurdi Catholic Diocese. Ortom claimed the intelligence report he received indicated that they plot to kill him along the Makurdi/Laafia highway.