By SAMUEL PRINCE-NNAJI
After the ‘No victor, no vanquish’ terms of the Nigeria civil war that ended about 47 years ago, the federal government on Monday agreed to compensate the victims of the war with the sum of N88 billion for their losses.
ECOWAS Community Court of Justice adopted a breakdown of the compensation as consent judgment for government and the victims.
This breakdown showed that N50 billion will go direct to the victims of the war in eleven affected states in the South-east, South-south and part of North-central regions, while the remaining N38 billion 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.
Justice Friday Nwoke, read the consent judgment which revealed that the federal government is expected to pay the N50 billion into the United Bank of Africa, UBA, account details of the nominated counsel for the war victims and the companies 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.
The account numbers and the payable funds are 1018230076 belonging to Noel Chukwukadibia, the nominated counsel for the war victims, and another N38 billion 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
The federal government will set up Special Purpose Vehicle to ensure accountability, it will comprise of all necessary stakeholders in the terms of settlement.
Some medical will be experts employed on behalf of the federal government, this is part of the consent of the judgment, in order to screen and identify true victims of the war, acknowledged that 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors while 493 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 litter in communities of the war victims.
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 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 terms of settlement by government and the war victims as consent judgment delivered on Monday.
The key signatories to the terms of settlement are: Noel Chukqukadibia and Alex Williams for the applicants, Femi Falana, Sola Egbeyinka, Charles Uhegbu and Solomon Chukwuocha for government and its agencies, while Charles Onuoha and Alams Chukquemeka signed for the stakeholders.