The Plateau High Court has adjourned until May 31, for the report of settlement in the N30 million damages suit filed by Apostle Augustine Tonga-Tongding against the Nigeria Armed Forces over alleged assault.
Tonga-Tongding, the General Overseer, Rapture Gospel and Prayer Ministry World Wide, Jos, filed the suit against the Chief of Defence Staff, and Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Col. A.M. Okoro.
Others joined in the suit are Unit Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Mangu LGA, Inspector Boyi Nimmyel and A. Kabiru as respondents.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, the plaintiff’s counsel, Mr Fukky Mashat, holding the brief for Mr Samuel Dido, told the court that the defence had approached the plaintiff for out of court settlement.
“We are considering an out of court settlement. My Lord, it’s our expectation that we shall reach an agreement on the matter as we discuss.
“In the light of this, we wish to ask for an adjournment to enable us complete our discussions and report back to this honourable court our terms of agreement, ’’ Mashat pleaded.
Confirming the position, Miss Chomo Pwol, holding the brief for Mr I.K. Randa, the lead defence counsel, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
“My Lord, I am aware of the move for settlement out of court and I am not objecting to the application made by my learned colleague, ’’ Pwol stated.
Justice Daniel Longji , the trial judge, consequently adjourned the case till May 31 for report of settlement or continuation of hearing.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that if a settlement is reached, it would be adopted as the court’s judgment but if the parties are unable to agree on terms, the case would go to trial.
Tonga-Tongding in the processes filed described the attack as “undue brutality’’ and “infringement of his fundamental human rights’’.
The cleric, who is demanding for N30 million as general damages, alleged that on July 24, 2018, when on an evangelism mission, he saw hell in the hands of military men at a check point in Ampang-West District of Mangu Local Government, Plateau.
He claimed that one of his teeth was broken during the attack, which was contrary to Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9 L.F.N 2004.
Narrating his ordeal in his affidavit supporting the motion, Tonga-Tongding said that he was kicked with military boots and beaten mercilessly by the military personnel at a checkpoint in the village.
In his prayers before the law court, the cleric also asked for an order for an award of the sum of N300, 000 to him as cost for medical treatment, drugs and other hospital consumables incurred.