FG Agrees to Pay N88bn as Compensation to Nigerian Civil War Victims

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Forty-seven years after the Nigerian Civil War ended under ‘no victor, no vanquished’ terms, the federal government Monday agreed to pay victims of the war N88 billion as compensation.

A breakdown of the compensation adopted by the ECOWAS Court of Justice as consent judgment for government and the victims showed that N50 billion would go directly to the victims of the war in 11 affected states in the South-east, South-south and parts of the North-central region, while the remaining N38 billion would be used for the evacuation of abandoned bombs and other lethal weapons, as well as the construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques, among other social amenities in the affected areas.

In the consent judgment read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the federal government is expected to pay the N50 billion into a United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc account number 1018230076 belonging to Chief Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia, the nominated counsel of the war victims.

The balance of N38 billion is to be paid into another UBA account number 1016296801 belonging to Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited for RSB Holdings Nigeria Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited that are expected to evacuate all the abandoned bombs and other dangerous weapons in the farmlands, schools, churches and mosques of the war victims and also carry out construction works.
The federal government will by the consent judgment also establish a National Mine Action Centre in Owerri, Imo State, for victims in the South-east region.

In order to ensure transparency and accountability, the federal government will also set up a Special Purpose Vehicle that will comprise 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 were confirmed as entitled to compensation.

The consent judgment further acknowledged that 17,000 bombs were recovered in the war ravaged communities and destroyed by RSB Holdings Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited, while 1,317 bombs are still in the stockpile located at the Mine Action Centre, Owerri, in addition to large quantities of live bombs that still liter communities of the war victims.
It further ordered the federal government to remove and destroy without further delay all the stockpiles of bombs at the Nigerian Mine Action Centre located at plot 108, Ndubisi Kanu Street, New Owerri, Imo State.

The parties, according to the consent judgment, agreed that the war victims, apart from their direct physical injuries, their families and community at large, had been deprived of the use of their farmlands 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 Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited, having satisfactorily performed the first phase of clearing and destroying the post-war bombs, should be mobilised 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 enumerated by the Ministry of Defence, had through their agents, Vincent Agu and 19 others, dragged the federal government before the ECOWAS Court demanding N100 billion as compensation and another order of the court compelling the government to clear and destroy all post-civil war bombs and other dangerous weapons of war abandoned in their various communities and farmlands since 1970.
The plaintiffs had claimed that apart from physical injuries, the abandonment of the war weapons had 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 an out-of-court settlement with the war victims, prompting the court to adopt the terms of settlement by government and the consent judgment that was delivered Monday.
Key signatories to the terms of settlement are Hon. Chukwukadibia and Alex Williams for the applicants; Chief Femi Falana (SAN), Sola Egbeyinka, Charles Uhegbu and Solomon Chukwuocha for government and its agencies, while Dr. Charles Onuoha and Chief Alams Chukwuemeka signed for the stakeholders.

  • John Paul

    “In the consent judgment read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the federal government is expected to pay the N50 billion into a United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc account number 1018230076 belonging to Chief Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia, the nominated counsel of the war victims”

    “The balance of N38 billion is to be paid into another UBA account number 1016296801 belonging to Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited for RSB Holdings Nigeria Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited that are expected to evacuate all the abandoned bombs and other dangerous weapons in the farmlands, schools, churches and mosques …”
    ——————————————————————————————–
    Here we go again. This is a terrible idea

    The FGN plan to pay reparation of compensation for the devastation of the Biafra war is a great idea. Nevertheless, doling out N50 billion to 685 alleged victims of the Biafra war and giving “contractors” N30 billion to “demine” South East Nigeriapaying compensation to is the worst idea in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

    The victims of the Biafra war are more than 685 people. They are at least 1 million people.

    They include parents whose Children died of starvation, and other maladies that forms the subject of the lawsuit, children whose parents died of the same ills, wives whose husbands died, husbands that lost their wives, brothers that lost their sisters, sisters that lost their brothers, thousands who lost their businesses and millions that suffered unimaginable hardship

    For a group of lawyers, consultants, medical officials to take a percentage of the N80 billion, as fees for the professional services and then share the rest among 685 people and two companies, is simply put unconscionable.

    It is “Aluu” ( An abormination)

    In light of the fact that it is impossible to give any meaningful amount of Naira to the over one million direct victims of the Biafra war, who are still living up till today, and it is a traversty to pay only 685 people compensation, the FGN and all stakeholders involved in this charade have to change course immediately

    Instead, they should use the entire N80 billion, every penny of if, after the lawyers are paid a reasonable percentage, to develop the infrastructure in “Biafra”/Eastern Nigeria

    A more sensible way to compensate Igbo with that N80 billion is to give the following cities the following amounts, for the development of their infrastructure:

    1. Onitsha – N10 billion
    2. Aba

    • Jon West

      The money is nothing, less than 50 million dollars. The significance is in the judgement and its indictment of the Nigerian State as a failed state- a state that needs to be compelled to carry out its promises to its people. The repercussions of this judgement will reverberate into the future and will be a watershed moment in the last days of Nigeria. Surely, even an APC apologist like you can see this blatant fact.

      • John Paul

        With the level of decay, in the Infrastructure of the Southeast, every dollar counts

        Nigeria’s Achilles heel is the inability of our leaders to rise above self and cronyism. During the last dispensation, our public office holders, lost their way on account of this endemic self obsession and cronyism.

        It was evident in all their actions. It was like a disease

        Instead of developing the Niger Delta they enriched a few individuals there. Including Ekpemupolo Tompolo (₦1.5 billion/month pipeline contract); Asari Dokubo ($10 million/year for pipeline security), etc.

        According to Wikipedia, after Asari Dokubo got his share:

        ——————————————————————–
        ” In 2013, Dokubo Asari became a citizen of Benin and moved his wealth and assets out of the Niger Delta, Nigeria and relocated to Cotonou, Benin Republic where he built several schools, colleges and a university for the school children and students in Cotonou. Dokubo Asari however did not build any school, college or university in Rivers State, Delta State, Enugu, Bayelsa or any other states of the Niger Delta”
        ————————————————————————–

        During the years of the locust, PDP – including your lord and savior GEJ – believed that the best way to develop Nnewi was to give billions to Ifeanyi Ubah, the best way to develop Okrika, was to allow Patience Jonathan to loot $15 million, etc, etc

        They had a policy of developing the pocket of, at least, one person in each local government in Nigeria under the idiotic belief that by enriching one person in each local government, every local government will be developed.

        They were too blind to see that their “disciples” simply used their loot to develpe other countries. By buying real estate in Dubai, sending their children to school in London and buying foreign cars and other toys. This left our infrastructure totally decrepit

        In order to correct our course, we have to learn from the past. PDP’s policy of developing the pockets of themselves and their cronies did not work. Their self centeredness and cronyism left our infrastructure in complete decay, killed many businesses, created many security problems, all over Nigeria, and made us a laughing stock, in the comity of Nations

        We cannot continue to do business that way

        Unfortunately, Nigeria also lacks capacity in many fields. The FGN, as a condition for settlement, should have compelled the Plaintiffs’ attorney to file a class action lawsuit, whereby the “685 identified victims” will serve as the representatives, of the class of people who suffered damages from the Biafra war.

        And because this class consists of the entire Eastern Nigeria – especially as, all Igbo families lost, at least, one member during the Civil war – the damages should have been exclusively used to develop the infrastructure in Eastern Nigeria.

        Even if the entire ₦88 billion is used to build one road, with street lights. Perhaps, the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway. Which should then be renamed Biafra Memorial Freeway, or so.

        That way, that ₦88 billion will last for posterity

        But the Self centeredness of the lawyers, demining companies, medical experts, other consultants, “ten percenters” and the “685 identified victims” will cause the money to be shared like groundnut. 10 years from now, the entire money will be gone and our infrastructure will still be in a state of decay

        Our leaders need emotional intelligence. They need to control their emotions, so that they can make wise decisions, and spend our resources in ways that will make the greatest impact

        • Screw-em

          Well said, can’t agree more.

    • SpeakUp Naija

      The suit is about the injury causes to victims of abandoned land mines and not about Biafra war victims as a whole. There are even communities in the middle-belt and Nigeri-delta where these mines exists and if their victims are not covered by this judgement they too will approach the courts.

    • Uchenna Ugokwe

      You must understand that nobody actually cares if anybody benefits.

  • henry price

    comrades I hope those funds are well used by recipients to not only temporarily upgrade their living conditions but, in a manner that will contribute to generating financial resources that will contribute to continuously upgrading their family living conditions. Very much sincere, Henry Price Jr. aka Obediah Buntu Il-Khan aka Kankan aka Gue.

  • Mystic mallam

    The Igbo never cease to surprise me – asking for N100b and accepting 50b Naira as compensation for a 30 month continuous and systematic destruction of lives, limbs, property, towns, villages and cities, no remorse, no apologies and certainly not sympathies. What does N50b pay for – the nearly 1m children starved to death, the innocent women and old men bombed to death by vicious Egyptian mig fighter pilots, or the over 70000 civilians assembled and shot to death at Asaba and other town squares across igbo land. Is the pittance to fix the roads and infrastructure the war destroyed and ignored for the past 47 years? The Igbo should be asking for a Marshall Plan type of compensation, or better still, the North East post Boko Haram Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program. They shoud not ask for, and should not accept peanuts for crimes deliberately committed by villains being hailed , celebrated and rewarded as heroes. Please don’t tell me the igbo brought the war upon themselves, after all, the Kanuri brought Boko Haram upon Nigeria, yet we’re all paying.

    • Jon West

      Like a typical Nigerian, you are quick to rush to judgement. The Igbo, as a people, have nothing to do with the judgement and its aftermath. The court case is a class action suit ,undertaken by at most 685 people against the Federal Government, on behalf of the victims of the Biafran war. It is in reality a test case for Government compensation for the Biafran war and reparations to the Igbo and other victims.

      The significance of this judgement, which seems to have been lost on most people, is that it has exposed and condemned Yakubu Gowons No Victor, No vanquished and 3Rs (Reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation) agenda of the victorious party in the Civil war. In reality, the judgement says that Gowon is a fraud and so is the Nigerian State. Fifty years after Biafra, the Nigerian Government is still to undertake the necessary environmental remediation activities required to safeguard the lives of its citizens in the former theatre of war, as it promised to do in January 1970, but this is no surprise; afterall, even as we speak, the Ogoni Cleanup has been exposed for the farce that it is.

      This judgement is indeed a victory for the Igbo and a real decimation of the credibility of the Nigerian Government. The fear of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, made them agree to pay the compensation immediately. Later on, the Ohaneze, as the umbrella Igbo organization can institute a suit against the Nigerian Government, using this judgement as a precedent and an admission of guilt by the Nigerian Government.

      As for a comparison with the Northeast nonsense, please be informed that the two situations are different. The wretched of the earth in the North and especially in the Boko Haram Northeast ,need help to even live for a few months, and Nigeria should assist them because of the disgrace that their plight has always brought to Nigeria. They will never recover from their plight, for the simple reason that they are culturally and intellectually not equipped for survival , even in the most benign of environments.
      It took the Igbo five years to recover from the horrors of Biafra and another five to restore their economic position in Nigeria. The N88 Billion that the ECOWAS judge agreed with the plaintiffs and respondents , is just a token that will serve as the basis for the legal devastation of the credibility of the Gowon and subsequent regimes that refused to walk their talk, in respect of the Biafran tragedy.

      This judgement is a watershed response to the Nigerian hypocrisy, cant and sheer bloodymindedness, currently exemplified by the actions and inactions of the current Herdsman President. The Igbo have won a moral victory in the first shots of the fight to end the nightmare that is the Nigerian reality. The Nigerian State has been exposed as a fraud and frauds usually are unsustainable.

      • Mystic mallam

        Are you sure it is because of IPOb that the Fed Govt agreed to pay the litigants? You’re sure it has nothing to do with Buhari’s 2nd term bid and the propensity of the Igbo to sell their votes to the highest bidder? And this your claim that the North Easterners ”are culturally and intellectually not equipped for survival”, do you have any empirical evidence to back that up? Have they not been surviving for centuries before the white man came – the Kanem Bornu Empire, remember? And by the way, please remind me; what was the name of that Igbo Empire, or was it a Kingdom?

  • mike

    Nigeria will never stabilize nor progress until those that called themselves the commanders of the Nigerian army that defeated Biafra and still sharing and allocating the loots are no more.

  • UYI111

    Chicken change for a colossal destruction infact no Mosque was destroyed as at that time in Igbo land so it should be deleted out of the list .

  • Zico

    Nice one.

  • Chidi

    We can NEVER give up the Restoration of BIAFRA!

    • Lawrenece Ifo

      Well said.