19 Lawyers Demands Accountability, Drag Federal Govt To Court Over The Deplorable State Of Benin-Warri Highway
A coalition of 19 lawyers, including Samuel Odoh, Abdulraham Abdulkadir, Samuel Ihensekhien, Emmanuel Onyia, Lauretta Ikwuka, Felix Uzoma, James Irogbo, Vincent Adodo, Kazeem Adewale, Godspower Eroga, Obi Ajuluchukwu, Emmanuel Ekpuda, Blessing Esinwoke, Cyril Ede, Lilian Okenwa, Alfred Ogunli, Ikedi Abonyi, Uzoma Aneto, and Theophilus Akinsanmi, have launched a fundamental rights enforcement lawsuit against the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Minister of Works. Their legal action focuses on the deplorable state of the Benin-Warri highway, demanding justice and accountability.
Filed at the Federal High Court in Warri, this lawsuit is brought not only in the lawyers’ own names but also on behalf of all Nigerians who rely on the country’s federal roads. Their legal pursuit aims to secure a range of declaratory and injunctive remedies.
The lawyers seek a declaration from the court, asserting that the neglect and failure to maintain the crucial Benin-Warri Trunk A highway infringe upon the fundamental rights to life and freedom of movement enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Notably, the recent tragic incident at the Ologbo axis, where over 10 people lost their lives in a petrol tanker fire caused by the hazardous road conditions, stands out as a stark example of this violation. The lawyers argue that this incident unjustly robbed the victims of their right to life.
The applicants implore the court to compel the defendants to urgently rehabilitate the highway, ascertain the number of casualties in the Ologbo tragedy for fair compensation, and establish accident insurance coverage for all road users.
Furthermore, they request the court to grant a sum of N100 million as damages for the reckless violation of the rights to life, human dignity, and freedom of movement experienced by Nigerians traveling this road.
In a supporting affidavit, the lawyers vividly detail the dire state of the Benin-Warri road, highlighting how it has led to a loss of lives and property, a surge in accidents, as well as a rise in criminal activities like robberies and kidnappings. These issues have been exacerbated by the government’s prolonged neglect of the highway.
This legal action is set against the backdrop of a growing public outcry concerning the condition of federal roads throughout Nigeria, which continues to claim lives due to the government’s inability to promptly address these critical infrastructural issues. The nation awaits the outcome of this legal endeavor with bated breath.