…….opts for out-of-court settlement of case before ECOWAS Court
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal Government has agreed to release N88billion for the compensation of victims of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, as well as for completion of demining and destruction of abandoned explosives within the South-East, South-South and North Central regions of the country.
FG, 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.
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 after 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 compesation 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 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.
More details soon.