The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to pay Tiv Communities in Benue State N8 billion compensation over an invasion by soldiers in 2001. It also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deduct the money from Nigerian Army’s accounts and pay the affected Communities for their losses. Justice Inyang
The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to pay Tiv Communities in Benue State N8 billion compensation over an invasion by soldiers in 2001.
It also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deduct the money from Nigerian Army’s accounts and pay the affected Communities for their losses.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, made absolute an earlier garnishee nisi granted in the Communities’ favour on Monday.
They had initiated garnishee proceedings to enforce a consent judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal in Enugu on February 2, 2015.
A garnishee proceeding is one in which a creditor asks the court to order a third party (such as a bank) to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor’s monies held by the third party.
The Communities are spread across Logo, Ukum, Kwande and Katsina-Ala local government areas.
Justice Ekwo declared that nothing was standing as impediment to the payment of the N8billion since the respondents consented to it at the Court of Appeal.
Justice Ekwo noted that there “was a clear and unambiguous expression and readiness of the judgment-debtors to pay the sum agreed therein to the ganishors”.
He added: “Upon studying the averments in the six-paragraph affidavit to show cause deposed to on March 28, 2017 by one Huseini Sani Kagai, and three-paragraph further affidavit showing cause deposed to on May 8, 2017, by the same Huseini Sani Kagai, I am unable to see any contrary issue or impediment established by the garnishee that would constitute a cause shown by the garnishee why the order nisi ought not to be made absolute and I so hold.”
Dr. Alexander Gaadi, Peter Orngu, Terfa Akaagba, Anongo Unishigh, Ngunengen Adula, Demelu Adula, Zaki Mazan, Mbakesen Ayatse, Mbayemen Maswuan, Anande Agashia, Azenda Igo, Elizabeth Aoughakaa and Andrew Juntu filed the suit on the communities’ behalf.
They initially filed two suits at the Federal High Court in Markurdi, which were consolidated and transferred to the court’s Enugu division.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation were the respondents.
The plaintiffs claimed that the Army was used against the Tiv race under the pretext of settling communal conflicts.
They prayed the court to declare the invasion as genocidal, and the soldiers’ continued occupation of their communities as unconstitutional.
In one of the suits, the plaintiffs sought N60billion damages against the defendants for “brutally” “terminating the lives” of their parents, daughters and brothers.
They said the defendants “permanently deprived” some of them of their body parts and subjected them “to mental and psychological pains and anguish.”
In the second suit, they demanded about N32billion as damages, a public apology, among other reliefs.
Justice A. L. Allagoa delivered judgment on July 5, 2007 and awarded N10billion to the plaintiffs.
The respondents, who did not file a defence, appealed, but later agreed to a reduced award of N8billion, which was entered as consent judgment.