Fed. Govt. agrees with ECOWAS court to pay N88bn to Biafra war victims
The Economic of West African States, ECOWAS, Court of Justice in a ruling on Monday ordered the Nigerian Government to pay the sum of N88bn as compensation to the victims of the Nigerian Civil War.
The federal government in terms of agreement it endorsed before the ECOWAS Court in Abuja on Monday, said while it would pay N50billion compensation to “true victims” of the civil war that occured between 1967 and 1970, it said a total sum of N38billion will be paid to contractors for total and complete demining and destruction of abandoned bombs and landmines within the regions.
The decision followed a suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12, which was filed before the ECOWAS Court on May 2, 2012, by one Vincent Agu and 19 others against FG and five others. FG opted for an out-of-court- settlement of the matter after four years negotiation period.
States listed to benefit from the deal are Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Enugu and Benue.
According to the agreement document which the ECOWAS court adopted as its consent judgment, two firms, RSB Holdings Nigeria Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited, were said to have been contracted in 2009 to carry out demining exercise in the war affected areas.
It said that an exercise that was conducted by medical experts that were employed by the two contractors to screen and identify true victims of the war.
“All the parties to this suit acknowledge that 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors while 493 of them were confirmed as victims of either landmines or other dangerous military ordnance including locally fabricated weapons, hence entitled to compensation including their families and communities”.
“Whereas the parties also acknowledged that a total of over 17, 000 bombs were recovered and destroyed by the 4th and 5th Respondents (the contractors), while a total of 1, 317 are still in the stockpile located at the Mine Action Center, Owerri, Imo State, larhe quantity of live bombs still litter the Applicant’s communities”.
The regional court gave the ruling while ordering all parties in the matter to abide by the terms of the settlement.
Part of the terms of the settlement stated that the Federal Government “undertakes to pay, without delay, compensation in the summer of N50 billion in full and final sum to the victims, their families and communities as contained in Schedule 4(1) to this terms of settlement”.
“That FG undetakes to the pay of undertakes to lay a total sum of N38 billion as contained in schedule 4(2) to this terms of settlement for the purposes of carrying out total demining and destruction, rebuilding of public buildings, mine centre activities, construction of class rooms, provision of prosthetics and all other activities enumerated thereunder.”
Some victims of the Nigerian Civil War had in 2012, dragged the federal government before the regional court praying for an order for the removal of remnants of war instruments in 11 states of the South East, South South and parts of the North Central.
The victims said the instruments include, life bombs, abandoned unexploded ordnances (AXO), unexploded ordnances (UXO) and the explosive remnant of war (ERW).
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