A lawyer, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, has 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 Herdsmen 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 applicant 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, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), are the three respondents to each of the two suits.
The plaintiff 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 Herdsmen killings on the failure of the respondents to the suit (the Federal Government, 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.”
The applicant 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.