BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT—The people of Odi in Bayelsa State have moved against the assets of the Federal Government in Britain, as they have registered in England, the N37.616 billion judgment debt, awarded to them as compensation for the 1999 military invasion of their community.
It will be recalled that Justice Lambo Akanbi of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, had on March 19, 2013, awarded against the Federal Government, N37.616 billion over the military invasion of the area, describing the action of the Nigerian Army as an abuse of federal might.
Other judgment debtors in the suit FHC/PHC/CP/11/2000 are the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Crowther solicitors of the Odi people in London have entered the judgment, in England, asking the Federal High Court to release the money to the community at the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London.
Counsel to the Odi people, Chief Lucius Nwosu (SAN), on the implication of the action of the London solicitors, said:
“The adverse consequence on the image of Nigeria arising from the recognition of the judgment of the Federal High Court on the Odi matter in England regarding our respect for human rights and rule of law is anyone’s guess. The advisers of the President must be held responsible for the quality of their advice. With this recognition, Nigeria’s assets in England can be attached.”
The Odi people have also initiated contempt proceedings against the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido before a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, seeking to send him to jail.