Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa Bayelsa state has dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the Federal Government, the Presidential Amnesty Office and office of the Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (retd) against a 10 years old suit filed by aggrieved ex-militants over alleged exclusion from the Presidential Amnesty programme.
Dashen, who gave the ruling on Thursday in the suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/102/2013 on the preliminary objections raised by the Amnesty Office and the Federal Government on statue barred status of the ex-militant suit and issue of substance of claims raised, ordering accelerated hearing of the suit filed by six aggrieved ex-militants and others.
Counsel to the aggrieved ex-militants, Ibanga John Esq, while speaking with newsmen after the rulling, commended the judiciary for the protection of the rights of Nigerians, insisting that the ruling by the court will eliminate the delay tactics adopted over the years by the defendants.
According to him,” the court has dismissed the claims by the Federal Government and the Amnesty office that the suit is statue barred. In this circumstances, we told the court that the issue of Public Officer protection law does not apply.”
“The plaintiffs are already benefitting but are seeking for the fulfilment of conditions agreed upon with the Federal Government while submitting their arms and ammunitions.”
Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court has, however, adjourned hearing till June 15, 2023.
The aggrieved ex-militants, from the three states of Delta, Edo and Bayelsa, Asenekiri Oyile, Trydi Okpeke, Henry Gomeromo, Angiama-Owei R. Oyindoubara, Bobra Angese and Ekerebi Ombe and others had dragged the Federal Government and the Amnesty Office led by Milland Dixion Dikio (rtd) over issue of non-inclusion.
They claimed that while many others with similar issues of non-inclusion have been sorted out of court by the Amnesty office due to their alleged threats to resume hostilities, some officials of the Presidential Amnesty office since 2013 have been frustrating efforts to settle the ongoing suit out of court with the Nineteen aggrieved ex-militants.
According to the Ex-Militant leaders, in the statement of claims argued that the Presidential Amnesty office erred by refusing to include them in the ongoing Amnesty programme after series of resolutions from meetings with the past and present National Security Advisers, Late General Owei Azazi and Col. Dasuki Sambo respectively, “Instead of respecting the resolutions and directives from the National Security Adviser, Dasuki Sambo, the Amnesty Committee turned down the call to include the ex-militants and adopted a divide and rule tactics with the inclusion of three out of the 22 persons”.
The aggrieved ex-militants in a statement of Claim against the Presidential Amnesty Implementation Committee also sought the Court order compelling the Amnesty Committee to approve reasonable slots for them as agreed at one of the peace meetings on 19th December, 2011.
“For the Court to compel the defendants to pay due allowances of the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers from March,2012 Until the plaintiffs are fully settled under the Niger Delta Amnesty Committee. To compel the defendants to immediately send the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers for the mandatory skills acquisition training for the Niger Delta militants.”