Barely 47 years after the Nigeria civil war, the Federal Government of Nigeria has finally agreed to pay N88 billion as compensation to victims of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war.
The amount is also for the completion of de-mining and destruction of abandoned explosives within the South-East, South-South and North Central regions of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the war inflicted great devastation on the South East geopolitical zone especially, which negative and destructive impacts are yet to be recovered from.
These formed the high points of the terms of agreement the Federal Government endorsed before the ECOWAS Court in Abuja on Monday.
The decision to pay the compensation followed a suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12, filed before the ECOWAS Court on May 2, 2012, by one Vincent Agu and 19 others against the federal government of Nigeria and five others.
The Government said while it would pay N50 billion compensation to “true victims” of the civil war that occurred between 1967 and 1970, a total sum of N38 billion will be paid to contractors for total and complete de-mining and destruction of abandoned bombs and landmines within the regions.
In the agreement document which the ECOWAS court adopted as its consent judgment, two firms, RSB Holdings Nigeria Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited, were said to have been contracted in 2009 to carry out demining exercise in the war affected areas.
It said that after an exercise that was conducted by medical experts that were employed by the two contractors to screen and identify true victims of the war, “All the parties to this suit acknowledge that 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors while 493 of them were confirmed as victims of either landmines or other dangerous military ordnance including locally fabricated weapons, hence entitled to compesation including their families and communities”.
“Whereas the parties also acknowledged that a total of over 17, 000 bombs were recovered and destroyed by the 4th and 5th Respondents (the contractors), while a total of 1, 317 are still in the stockpile located at the Mine Action Center, Owerri, Imo State, larhe quantity of live bombs still litter the Applicant’s communities”.
FG opted for an out-of-court- settlement of the matter after four years negotiation period.
States listed to benefit from the deal are Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Enugu and Benue.