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Nigeria > Nigeria
Niger Delta activist demands compliance with court judgement on Odi invasion, Obasanjo's prosecution
By Victor Iluyemi
February 20, 2013 16:38:02pm GMT
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- A Niger Delta activist, Comrade Timi Frank on Wednesday hailed and demanded immediate execution of the recent court  judgement ordering the Federal Government to pay N37.618 billion as damages and compensation for the Odi massacre.

Frank in a statement said the ruling had vindicated the people of the area and called for the immediate prosecution of former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the gross violation of the human rights to life and own property by the people of Odi.

Justice Lambi Akanbi of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt awarded the damages in his judgement on the the N100 billion suit filed by the community against the Federal Government.

He vowed to lead a mass demonstration in Abuja if the Federal Government refuses to adhere to the court's ruling or pay the compensation within the 21 days stipulated by Justice Lambo Akanbi.

He said: "When the government of former President Olusegun Obasansjo ordered soldiers to invade and utterly destroy Odi 14 years ago, we cried foul against the genocide but nobody listened.

"Because it was foolhardy to engage the well armed military with bare hands the courageous people of Odi decided to take the path of reason and seek justice in the courts of the land.

"Today we are happy that our faith in the judiciary was not misplaced. Today we can say that the judiciary has lived up to its billings as the last hope of the common man. Today the judiciary has made the innocent people of Odi to have the last laugh against the ubiquitous federal government and its might.

"This judgement is not only a vindication to the people of Odi, but a further attestation of the dictum that though the wheels of justice may grind slowly it will ultimately take its cause.

"This judgement is also a direct indictment of Obasanjo, and we call for his immediate prosecution by the International Court  of Justice for the gross violation of  human rights to life to own property and killing of the people of Odi. The International Community must mete out to Obasanjo the same treatment it has meted out to former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.”

Frank urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the money is not only paid on time but ensure that it gets to the direct victims of the pogrom.

He praised Jonathan's courage for recently describing the Odi invasion by Obasanjo as "callous and brutal."

"I am also urging President Goodluck Jonathan not to treat this ruling with kids gloves as in the norm with several ruling in Nigeria, otherwise the people of Odi who are also his kinsmen will ultimately hold him culpable for any perceived miscarriage of justice in this matter and at this time," the Niger Delta activist stated.

He added: "We know that this judgement came because of the glaring acts of human rights violation and the blood, tears and avoidable deaths that followed the invasion.

"The victory is a soothing balm to the over 2500 hapless Odi indigenes who today lie in unmarked graves across the community.

"The relatives of the victims who themselves are also direct victims would no doubt be happy because this can only be a judgement of the righteous.

"Nobody should attempt to circumvent or scuttle this epoch judgement. The government must be seen to be responsible and ready to make amends when and where its policies go awry and its officials have overstep their bounds.

"The government must act and act fast. Any attempt to delay the payment of this compensation meant to assuage the colossal loss suffered by the people of Odi in the hands of the military and their retired collaborator would not only portray this government in bad light in the eyes of the international community but a great minus for the government's much vaunted claim of rule of law.

"That the people of Odi have suffered in silence these 14 years is enough motivation for the government to rise to the occasion and do the right and sensible thing by immediately complying with the Court's ruling without further ado." 

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