Court strikes out N20b suit against Army, others
A Federal High Court sitting in Akure has struck out a suit filed by some members of Ajakpa Community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State for unlawful occupation of their land by the Army.
The plaintiffs had prayed the court to grant them N20 billion damages from the Nigerian Army and the proprietor of Gallery Securities, High Chief Bipopere Ajube.
They accused the defendants of carrying out genocide, rape, wanton destruction of properties when they invaded the community and others in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Justice A. Olubanjo, in her ruling held that the gun battle at Ajakpa was not an invasion, stressing that the plaintiffs merely dumped exhibits on court.
She said the plaintiffs were not entitled to their claims and ordered parties to bear their respective cost.
Responding to the decision, counsel to the plaintiffs, Maclean Anthony, lamented that the court dispelled the argument of an invasion to say it was not substantiated.
“That judgment is going to be contested at the Appeal Court. The court itself has said actually there was invasion and destruction of properties. I wouldn’t know why the court would now veer off from that argument to say that it was not substantiated. We are prepared to go on appeal,” he stated.
Counsel to the Nigerian Army, Mohammed Saliu, dismissed the allegation against the defendants, which included genocide, rape and wanton destruction of properties amongst others.
“The truth has now manifested that no such thing happened in the Ajakpa community in 2014 and 2017. There was no invasion. What happened was legally done and not an invasion.
“It was an operation of the Nigerian Army and other joint task forces to rid the coastal states particularly Ajakpa and Aruogbo communities of criminal elements who were reigning terror in parts of the country particularly Lagos and other states,” he declared.
Similarly, the counsel to Gallery Security, Mr. Olusola Oke, said the ruling showed that the activities of his client in the creeks were lawful. “It is a good judgment because all along, our position is that they want to use the court to sanction all the illegal activities they were doing at Ijakpa,” Oke said.
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