April 20, 2024

OKUAMA: Why we took Army to court — Omirhobo, lead lawyer  


Photo of Okuama community residents living in the forest.


The lead lawyer, Chief Malcom Emokiniovo Omirhobo, told Saturday Vanguard, in Warri, “Basically the action is for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights to a fair hearing, the dignity of the human person, private and family life, freedom of movement, choice of residence, and right to own property of the applicants, and residents of Okuama.”

 ”We are also asking the court for the sum of N100 billion as general damages against the Nigerian Army and another sum of N100 billion as exemplary damages against the Nigerian Army to serve as a deterrent to her.”

 On what galvanized him to initiate the suit, he said, “My observation of the situation before I filed the case is that the situation was tense and my clients were apprehensive. It was one in which the Nigerian Army succeeded  in giving  the  residents of the Okuama community media trial and has whipped up public  sentiment to make Nigerians believe that my clients killed the 17 soldiers without any police investigation or public inquiry indicating them for the crime.”   

 ”They made it look like the Army can invade Okuama to commit atrocities against the Okuama community. It was like maiming a dog to give it a bad name. The Nigerian Army has also comprehensively embarrassed, harassed, intimidated, and coerced the residents of the Okuama community to instill fear in them  so that they will not  be bold enough to challenge   the unlawful and illegal  invasion of their community.”

 Have they served the Army court papers? We asked, and he said, “The bailiff of the court will be serving the Army with the court process.”

What of the governor, and the Commissioner of Police, did you reach out to them? Chief Omirhobo responded, “We don’t need to reach the governor or the commissioner of police, and army before commencing the suit.”

Who briefed him? The counsel replied, “The leaders of the residents of the Okuama community briefed me.”