By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
Forty seven years after Nigeria civil war with Biafra ended, the federal government on Monday agreed to pay victims of the war a whopping sum of N88bn compensation for their loses.
A breakdown of the compensation adopted by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice as consent judgment for government and the victims showed that N50bn will go directly to the victims of the war in eleven affected States in the South-east geo-political zone, south-south and part of north-central zones, while the remaining N38bn will go for the evacuation of abandoned bombs and other lethal weapons and construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques, among others in the affected areas.
In the consent judgment read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the federal government is expected to pay the N50bn into the United Bank of Africa (UBA) account with number 1018230076 belonging to Chief Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia, the nominated counsel for the war victims and another N38bn to be paid into another UBA account with number 1016296801 belonging to Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited for RSB Holdings Nigeria Ltd and Deminers Concept Nigeria Ltd who are expected to evacuate all the abandoned bombs and other dangerous weapons in the farmlands, schools, churches and mosque of the war victims and to also carry out construction works.
Besides, the federal government will by the consent judgment establish a National Mine Action Centre in Owerri, Imo State for victims in the southeast region.
In order to ensure transparent and accountability, the federal government will also set up a Special Purpose Vehicle that will comprise of all necessary stakeholders in the terms of settlement.
The consent judgment further indicated that medical experts employed on behalf of the federal government to screen and identify true victims of the war, acknowledged that 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors while 493 of them including those who sued the federal government were confirmed as victims of either landmines or other dangerous military ordinance including locally fabricated weapons and confirmed to be entitled to compensation.
The consent judgment further acknowledged that a total of 17,000 bombs were recovered in the war ravaged communities and destroyed by RSB Holdings Ltd and Deminers Concept Nigeria Ltd, while a total of 1,317 bombs are still in the stockpile located at the Mine Action Centre, Owerri, Imo State in addition to large quantities of live bombs that still liter in communities of the war victims.
It further indicated that the federal government as parr of it’s responsibility undertook to remove and destroy without further delay all the stockpiles bombs at the Nigerian Mine Action Centre located at plot 108, Ndubuisi Kanu Street, New Owerri, Imo state.
Parties, according to the consent judgment agreed that the war victims apart from their direct physical injuries, their families and community at large have been deprived of the use of their farmland since the civil war hostilities ended in 1970, hence the agreement to clear the war affected areas of the post war ordinances.
It was also agreed that RSB Holdings Nigeria Ltd and Deminers Concept Nigeria Ltd having satisfactorily performed the first phase of clearing and destroying the post war bombs should be mobilized back to site to complete the final phase of the ongoing demining process.
The representatives of the victims of the Nigerian civil war, including the 493 victims prey enumerated by the Federal Ministry of Defence has through their agents, Vincent Agu and 19others dragged the federal government before the ECOWAS court demanding N100bn and another order of the court compelling government to clear and destroy all by post civil war bombs and other dangerous weapons of war abandoned in their various communities and farmland since 1970.
The plaintiffs claimed that apart from physical injuries, the abandonment of the war weapons has deprived them of the use of their farmlands, schools and churches, hence their demands for compensation.
Though the suit was filed at the regional court in 2012, the federal government opted for out of court settlement with the war victims prompting the court to adopt the teems of settlement by government and the war with as consent judgment delivered yesterday.
Key signatories to the terms of settlement are; Rt Hon. Noel Chukwukadibia and Alex Williams for the applicants, Chief Femi Falana SAN, Sola Egbeyinka, Charles Uhegbu and Solomon Chukwuocha for government ans its agencies, while Dr Charles Onuoha and Chief Alams Chukquemeka for the stakeholders.
HOPE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUES BUHARI, AGF, THREE OTHERS
*Seeks Dissolution of EFCC
From Kayode Lawal Abuja
Hope Democratic party (HDP), one of the registered political parties that participated in the 2015 general election has dragged the President Muhammad Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami SAN before a Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for dissolution of the management of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
The suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1028/2017, is praying for an Order of Mandamus compelling the President and AGF to dissolve without delay the structure of the EFCC and to probe the gross abuse of power and office by some operatives of the anti-graft agency.
Also joined as defendants in the fresh court action are the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, and two of his operatives, A.I. Arogha and Ukpeni Ewoh said to be at the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the anti-graft agency.
The grouse of the HDP among others, were that the EFCC as presently constituted is engaging in abuse of power by turning its operatives to agents of war against perceived political opponents.
In the court action instituted by Clement U. Ezeukwu on behalf of the party, plaintiff claimed that its presidential candidate in the 2015 general election, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru had been allegedly subjected to harassment, intimidation and oppression by two EFCC operatives in Port Harcourt upon his filing a court action against the federal government on the fuel subsidy scam.
The party claimed that the harassment, intimidation and oppression of its National Leader got to the climax when the two EFCC operatives instigated a land speculator to write a damaging petition against Owuru.
Plaintiff further claimed that a criminal charge was preferred against its sponsored presidential candidate and that after several years of failure to secure his conviction in court, the said land speculator, Ikechukwu Eze sworn to affidavit oath to deny the contents of the petition and sought for the withdrawal of the criminal charge against its National Leader.
The party further averred that in spite of the withdrawal of the petition on oath by the alleged land speculator, the two EFCC operatives said to be prosecutors in the matter have resisted the move by the court to strike out the charge.
HDP also contended that rather than facing the reality, the EFCC operatives also instigated a team of Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS) to arrest and carry out a search warrant in the house of its National Leader in Port Harcourt and that in the end nothing incriminating was found in the house.
The party therefore asked the court to determine whether by virtue of section 15 (5), 36, 174 seventh schedule of the 1999 constitution and section 355, 109 and 494 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and section 6 and 17 of the EFCC Act 2004 to determine whether the President, AGF and Magu cannot be compelled to discipline, interdict or prosecute the operatives found to be a allegedly engaging in blackmailing, harassing and intimidating innocent Nigerians including Owuru.
The party therefore applied for Order of Mandamus compelling Buhari, Malami and Magu to probe, interdict, dismiss and prosecute the operatives engaging in blackmail of innocent Nigerians including iits National leader to frustrate the fight against corruption.
The party also applied for Order of Perpetual Injunction to restrain the defendants, their servants, agents or privies from any further harassment, blackmail and intimidation of its former president candidate in the interest of justice and fairness.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the suit.
47 Years After, Civil War Victims get N88bn Compensation from FG
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja