The Federal Government has agreed to pay N88billion as compensation to 493 identified victims of the last civil war, demining and reconstructions of some communities ravaged by the war.
The Fed Govt also agreed to construct one block of 10 classrooms for 50 communities currently barred from using their school facilities because of the presence of bombs and other post war relics
These formed part of the terms of a settlement agreement entered into by the the Federal Government and the representatives of the affected communities spread across some states in the South-east, South-south and part of North-Central geo-political zones of the country.
The states are Imo, Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Cross River and Benue
The agreement was yesterday in Abuja by the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as its judgment in one of the three suits filed by the victims, marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/06/2012; between Vincent Agu and 19 others v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) and 5 others.
Parties to the suit also agreed that the terms of settlement shall operate as “full and final settlement of all claims” arising from the suit marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/06/2012 and two other suits filed on the same issue.
The other suits covered by the agreement are: ECW/CCJ/APP/10/2014 (Dr. Sam Emeka Ukaegbu & 7 others v. President, FRN & 6 others) and ECW/CCJ/APP/11/2014 (Placid Ihekwoaba & 19 others v. President, FRN & 6 others).
By the agreement, N50b of the N88b is for full and final compensation to the victims (for the physical injuries they suffered), their families and communities for having been deprived of the use of their farmlands since the cessation of the civil war hostilities in 1970 owing to the continued presence of mines and other post-war ordnances.
The remaining N38b is for “the total demining and destruction, rebuilding of public buildings, mine centre activities, construction of classrooms, provision of prosthetics” and all other related items as listed in Schedule 4(2) of the terms of settlement.
The amount, by the agreement, is to be paid by the FG within 45 days after the ECOWAS Court’s adoption of the agreement as its judgment in final resolution of the dispute between parties.
Other terms contained in the agreement include that:
*The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) undertakes to mobilise the 4th and 5th respondents (RSB Holdings Nigeria Ltd and Deminers Concept Nig Ltd) back to complete the final phase of the on-going removal and destruction of post-war lethal materials, the firms, having satisfactorily carried out the first phase of the contract.
Parties acknowledged that the firms were earlier engaged by the FG in 2009 for the first phase, during which they recovered and destroyed 17,000 bombs, while 1,317 are still being kept at the mine Action Centre, Owerri, Imo State.
It was also acknowledged that during the first phase, 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors, out of which 493, including the applicants on record, were confirmed as victims of either landmines or other dangerous military ordnance including locally fabricated weapons, hence their entitlement to the compensation, including their families and communities.
*That a special purpose vehicle, comprising of all the necessary stakeholders, shall be created for the implementation of the activities contained in Schedule 4(2) of the terms of settlement to ensure transparency.
*That the FRN undertakes to set up, in the South east, the National Mine Action Centre in Owerri, Imo State and to ensure that every landmine, unexploded ordinance and explosive remnants of war discovered in the course of the job should be completely destroyed.
*The FRN undertakes to rebuild and or rehabilitate all public/private buildings already identified in the enumerated exercise by the contractors herein, as having been affected by the war or used either as military facility of refugee camp during the war, as contained in Schedule 2 of this term of settlement.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, lawyer to the applicants, Alex Williams told the court that after four years of negotiations, parties have finally agreed to some terms, which they filed before the court on October 24 this year.
He said the business of the day was for the court to adopt the terms of settlement as its judgment in the case.
Lawyers to the 1st, 2nd. 3rd and 6th respondents, Sola Egbeyinka and lawyer to the 4th and 5th respondents, Charles Uhegbu agreed with Williams to the effect that the business of the day was for the court to adopt the terms of settlement filed by parties.
The terms of settlement was endorsed by all lawyers in the case and representatives of stakeholders and interested parties.
Following the agreement by lawyers in the case that their terms of settlement be adopted, a three-man panel of the court led by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke adopted the terms of settlement as its judgment.