David Okokon, lawyer to Don-Davis Archibong, a Junior Secondary School 1 student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo, who was allegedly molested, has said the family of the victim will sue the church in a civil case and claim N1.5 billion in damages. 

Okokon, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Thursday, said there are two court cases before the church: one in the magistrate court, instituted by the Akwa Ibom State government and a civil case at the High court which has yet to commence.

He stated that the Eagle Eyes Network Chamber had written the school on the matter to solve the issue without litigation but the church had allegedly asked that the family of the victim to “do their worse".

Okokon said the statement made by the school made his Chamber to institute a civil case at the High Court though the school has yet to be served.

He attributed the delay to the industrial strike action that was embarked on by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

The lawyer told SaharaReporters that the strike had also stalled the case at the magistrate court and that all the accused persons had been granted bail.

He said any moment the strike action is called off, the case at the magistrate court will resume (following the transfer of the presiding judge) and the civil case involving N1.5 billion at the high court.

Okokon said, “The matter is in court. We were supposed to have two separate matters in court: one in the magistrate court and the other at the high court. The one in the magistrate court has since commenced except that the day we were to be in court, was when the JUSUN strike started.

“We have been at the magistrate court about three times, the fourth time in the magistrate court was when the strike started. As for the case in the magistrate court, the culprits are being investigated by the state government.

“Now there is another civil matter and we are claiming N1.5 billion from the Deeper Life Church, it is even over N1.5 billion. We are claiming it from the Deeper Life authority, owners of the school. Incidentally, the strike started.

“We wrote to the school, thinking they will respond because the truth is that, the intention was not to go into litigation but to cause them to take responsibility and see how to resolve the issue. They replied us and were 'blowing tantrums' that we should do our worse and since what we can do will be within the premise of the law, we have decided to go to court.

“Incidentally, the court is on strike and they have not been served so once the court resumes, Deeper Life will be served. The one in the magistrate court is being handled by the state government. They don't pay money (damages). Once anyone is found guilty, they go to prison. But for this very one, once they are found culpable, the court will award damages. 

“All the courts in the country are not in session, from the magistrate court to the high court. Once they call off the strike, everything will get back to normal. 

“The one in the magistrate court has been ongoing. The third time we were in court was when they transferred the judge, brought a new judge so we had to start the case afresh. The day we were to start afresh was when the strike started. For now, the seven persons involved have been granted bail by the magistrate court.

“For the civil matter, in which we are claiming N1.5 billion in damages, we will serve them immediately after the strike.”

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