Nigeria settles N100b civil war landmine suit out of court

Nigeria settles N100b civil war landmine suit out of court

Friday, October 30, 2015 1:05 pm

Nigeria’s Federal Government has agreed to settle out of court, a case filed against her, alleging breach of fundamental rights and negligence to clear land mines and abandoned explosives at 1967 civil war sites.

The case was filed against the federal government and five others by one Vincent Agu and 19 others in the Community Court of Justice (ECOWAS Court) in Abuja.

Examples of landmines

Examples of landmines

The plaintiffs are claiming N100 billion compensatory and general damages from the federal government.

At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to the applicants, Mr Alex Williams, told the court that the parties had amicably resolved the dispute but was yet to file the terms of settlement before the court.

Williams said the filing of the terms of settlement was delayed because the federal government was yet to appoint an Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice who would assent to the terms agreed to by the parties.

The counsel therefore asked for adjournment of the case pending the appointment of the minister.

Counsel to the federal government and other defendants, Mr Shola Egbeyinka, corroborated the position of the applicants’ lawyer.

Egbeyinka, from Femi Falana (SAN) Chamber, said that parties had duly settled but the absence of attorney general stalled the necessary action on it.

Egbeyinka expressed the assurance that before the next adjourned date, the minister of justice would have been appointed and the report of settlement would have been ready for presentation to the court.

The presiding Judge, Justice Chijoke Nwoke, adjourned the case till Jan. 19, 2016 for report of settlement.

NAN recalls that the plaintiffs had filed the suit alleging violation of their fundamental human rights.

They alleged that the defendants were guilty of negligence for their failure to clear and remove landmines, abandoned explosives remnants of war and unexploded ordinance on time from the war affected contaminated areas.

They claimed that the negligence of the defendants had caused maiming and injuring of civilian population by landmines, explosives and remnants of war armaments in their various communities.

The claimants sought the court declaration that the stockpile of live bombs in the residential neighbourhood located at plot 108 Ndubuisi Kanu Street, New Owerri, Imo is a violation of their rights.

They sought the court order directing the federal government to embark on victims assistance and rehabilitation.

The claimants sought N50 billion compensatory damages and N50 billion general damages against the defendants.

NAN recalled that the court had ordered that the inspection of the bomb site should be carried out.

The court had also directed that after the inspection the defendants should remove, diffuse, detonate or by whatever means dispose any bomb found during the inspection.

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