Over four decades after the end of the Nigerian Civil War, the Nigerian government, on Monday, agreed to pay a compensatory package of N88 billion to the victims. The agreement followed the consent judgment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice.
A majority of the sum, N50 billion, will be paid to the direct victims of the war in the 11 affected states in the South-East, South-South, and parts of the North-Central geopolitical zones.
In the judgment read by Justice Friday Nwoke, the Nigerian government is expected to pay N50 billion into an account (1018230076) operated by Noel Chukwukadibia at the United Bank for Africa Plc. Mr. Chukwukadibia is the war victims’ nominated counsel.
The remaining N38 billion will be devoted to the disarming of abandoned explosive devices and other lethal weapons and will fund the construction of schools, mosques, and churches, among other affected facilities. The sum is expected to be paid into the United Bank of Africa account (1016296801) operated by Deminers Concepts Nigeria Limited for R&B Holdings, who will evacuate abandoned bombs and other lethal weapons from farmlands, schools, mosques and churches belonging to the victims. The company will also carry out construction works in the affected communities.
The federal government will also set up a National Mine Action Centre in Owerri, Imo State, for victims of the war in the South-East.
To ensure transparency and accountability, the federal government will establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) consisting of all stakeholders in the settlement terms.
The judgment equally stated that medical experts hired by the federal government classified 685 persons as survivors, out of whom 493, including those who sued the federal government, were confirmed as victims of landmines and other lethal weapons and are therefore considered eligible to be compensated.
The judgment also acknowledged the recovery of 17,000 bombs in war-impacted communities, which were destroyed by Deminers Concepts. An additional 1,317 bombs remain stockpiled at the Mine Action Centre in Owerri and will be disarmed.
Both parties also agreed that RSB and Deminers Concepts, both adjudged to have adequately executed the task of evacuation and destruction of bombs, should be mobilized for the concluding phase of the de-mining efforts.
The case was filed in 2012 when representatives of the victims of the war, including the 493 pre-enumerated by the Federal Ministry of Defence, through their agents, took the federal government to the ECOWAS Court. They demanded a compensation of N100 billion and order directing the clearance of abandoned bombs and other weapons in their communities.
Aside from physical injuries incurred by the war, the petitioners sought compensation for their loss of farmlands and other facilities due to the presence of mines and other dangerous weapons in their communities.
The federal government opted for an out-of-court settlement, the reason for which the court adopted the terms of settlement as a consent judgment.
Prominent signatories to the terms of the settlement include Messrs. Chukwukadibia and Alex Williams for the applicants, while Messrs. Shola Egbeyinka, Femi Falana, Charles Uhuegbu and Solomon Chukwuocha represented government agencies. Messrs. Charles Onouha and Chukwuemeka signed for stakeholders.
Read the full terms of settlement below: