Okuama Community Sues Nigerian Army for N100 Billion Over Alleged Invasion and Destruction

Okuama community in Delta State files N100 billion lawsuit against Nigerian Army for allegedly invading and destroying their community. The community accuses the military of violating their fundamental rights, seeking damages and an order to cease occupation of their land.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Okuama Community Sues Nigerian Army for N100 Billion Over Alleged Invasion and Destruction

Okuama Community Sues Nigerian Army for N100 Billion Over Alleged Invasion and Destruction

The Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State has filed a N100 billion lawsuit against the Nigerian Army at the Federal High Court in Warri. The lawsuit, marked FHC/WR/CS/41/2024, alleges that the military unlawfully invaded and destroyed the community in the aftermath of a tragic incident on March 14, 2024, when 17 soldiers were killed during a peace mission following a communal clash between Okuama and the neighboring Okoloba community.

Why this matters: This lawsuit has significant implications for the relationship between the military and civilian communities in Nigeria, and could set a precedent for holding the military accountable for human rights violations. The outcome of this case could also influence the Nigerian government's approach to addressing communal conflicts and protecting citizens' constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs, consisting of 17 community members representing themselves and the entire Okuama community, accuse the military of deploying troops to brutally retaliate against the community without proper investigation or evidence linking them to the soldiers' deaths. They claim that the military's actions violated their fundamental rights, including the rights to dignity, fair hearing, private and family life, freedom of movement, and the right to own property.

According to the plaintiffs, the military's intervention in Okuama led to the destruction of structures, looting of properties, and displacement of residents. They allege that the community now faces dire living conditions and exposure to environmental hazards due to the military's actions. The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration from the court that theinvasion and brutal reprisalby the military were unlawful.

In addition to the N100 billion in damages, the Okuama community is requesting an order compelling the Nigerian Army to cease its continued invasion and occupation of their land. They want the court to allow residents to reclaim their community and rebuild their homes. The plaintiffs are also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the military from further violating the fundamental rights of Okuama's people.

At the recent court proceedings, the plaintiffs were represented by their lawyer, Akροkονα Omafuaire, while the Nigerian Army had no legal representation present. Omafuaire argued that the court has jurisdiction to hear the fundamental rights suit, citing relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution. The court adjourned the case to June 4 for further hearing.

The Okuama community's legal action against the Nigerian Army raises serious questions about the military's conduct and alleged human rights violations. The case unfolding, the Federal High Court in Warri will examine the evidence presented by both sides to determine whether the military's actions in Okuama were justified or constituted a breach of the community's fundamental rights. The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for the relationship between the military and civilian communities in Nigeria, and it may also impact the protection of citizens' constitutional rights.

Key Takeaways

  • Okuama community files N100 billion lawsuit against Nigerian Army for alleged human rights violations.
  • Community accuses military of unlawful invasion and destruction after 17 soldiers were killed in a communal clash.
  • Plaintiffs seek damages and an order to cease military occupation, citing violations of fundamental rights.
  • Court adjourns case to June 4 for further hearing, with Nigerian Army lacking legal representation.
  • Outcome could set precedent for holding military accountable for human rights violations in Nigeria.