Alleged Invasion: Court Fines Army, CDS N50,000 In Rights Suit By Niger Delta Activist

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has awarded N50,000 against the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Defence Staff in the ongoing fundamental rights case, instituted by a Niger Delta activist and lawyer, Festus Daumiebi Sunday.

Daumiebi who was a contender for the Bayelsa State governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the senatorial candidate for Bayelsa Central Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections, had accused men and officers of the Nigerian Army of invading his country home in Igbomotoru I, Southern Ijaw local government area of the state on March 30 and May 31, 2024 respectively during which his properties worth hundreds of millions of Naira were destroyed.

The applicant had through his team of legal practitioners led by Professor O. F. Emiri SAN, instituted a N20.4 billion special and exemplary damages suit against the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff and the Attorney General of the Federation as respondents alleging unlawful invasion of his country home and subsequent destruction of his property.

However, despite being served with the appropriate Court processes in three consecutive occasions, the respondents allegedly failed, neglected and refused to enter appearance either in person or through legal practitioners or file any processes in response to the applicant’s claims.

Angered by the unprovoked and flagrant disrespect of the Court by the respondents, the court in its last sitting on June 11, 2024, ordered that hearing notices be served on the respondents for one more time and if they still ignored the court one more time, the court shall be moved to hear the originating application of the applicant for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

Consequently, the 1st and 3rd respondents entered appearance through a legal practitioner on July 4, 2024 and pleaded with the court for sixty (60) days to file their responses, an application which was vehemently opposed by the applicant’s lead counsel, Barr. Affinih Egbegi who is also a former Attorney General of Bayelsa State.

The presiding judge, Hon. Justice Isa Dashen, in its ruling stated that all respondents must file and serve their responses and pay the accrued penalties to enable the applicant respond and, accordingly adjourned the case to July 19, 2024, for hearing of the originating application with cost of N50,000 against the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Defence Staff in favour of the applicant.

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