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Bayelsa Indigene Files N20bn Lawsuit Against Nigerian Army For Property Destruction

Festus Daumiebi, an indigene of Igbomotoru community in Bayelsa State, has filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Defence Staff General Chris Musa, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi. 

The suit, which demands N20.4 billion in damages, seeks reparation for the alleged infringement of Daumiebi’s fundamental rights following an invasion and property destruction in his hometown.

The case, filed under reference number FHC/YNG/183/2024 at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, is led by a legal team headed by Prof. O. F. Emiri SAN. 

The suit claims that military personnel unlawfully broke into Daumiebi’s six-bedroom duplex and five-bedroom guest house on March 30, 2024, resulting in extensive property damage and personal distress.

The incident stemmed from a military operation aimed at apprehending suspects linked to the killings of soldiers in Okuama, Delta State. 

During this operation, soldiers allegedly vandalized Daumiebi’s properties, including valuable items such as Israeli and copper security doors, luxurious furniture sets, electronic appliances, and other household goods. 

Daumiebi, a lawyer and real estate investor, described the invasion as a gross violation of his rights and expressed concern for his safety and freedom of movement.

Following the invasion, Daumiebi instructed his solicitors to write to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, detailing the military’s actions and requesting an investigation. Despite the letters, dated March 31 and April 3, 2024, no response was received from the authorities, prompting Daumiebi to seek judicial redress.

The lawsuit articulates several declarations and orders sought from the court, including: a eclaration that the invasion and subsequent destruction of Daumiebi’s property by military personnel violated his constitutional right to privacy. A declaration that the military’s actions posed a threat to Daumiebi’s life and personal integrity.

A declaration that the destruction of his immovable property violated his right to own property.

A declaration that the invasion infringed on his personal liberty and security.

A declaration that the actions of the military violated his freedom of movement and residence.

Daumiebi is demanding N310,575,000 in special damages for the destruction of his property and N20 billion in punitive and exemplary damages for the violation of his rights.

He is also seeking court orders to restrain the respondents from further invading his property and violating his rights.

Daumiebi emphasized that his lawsuit aims to deter future abuses of power by security agencies, advocating for the protection of citizens’ rights in a democratic society.

 

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