Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Odi Drags FG to Court Over 1999 Military Invasion

Port Harcourt — The people of Odi in Bayelsa state have dragged the federal government to court demanding N20billion compensation for damages suffered during the 1999 military invasion of the area.

At the resumed hearing of the suit yesterday at the Federal High court, Port Harcourt, counsels to the community, Lucius Nwosu , SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN and Lawal Rabana, SAN opined that the rights of the community were brutally and sadistically violated by the military troop.

One of the counsels, Adedipe, SAN told the court that those killed in the invasion were innocent members of the community. According to him, no militant was killed, a position he said was corroborated by President Goodluck Jonathan recently when he claimed that those killed were responsible members of the community.

"The President said recently that no militant was killed in Odi, only men and women were killed. He said as Deputy governor he went there and saw for himself".

Adedipe argued that in the light of the above argument, the community was entitled to reliefs sought in the court.

Continuing, he said the argument of counsel to the first ( President ) and fourth (Attorney General) respondent, Nkolika Awa Esq that those killed during the invasion were militants should be dismissed by the court as an afterthought, stressing that she merely played to the gallery with such statement.

On her part, Counsel to the two respondents, Awa Esq. described the argument of counsel to the applicants, Adedipe, SAN as beautiful but deficient in procedure. According to her, the way the community was going about its demands were wrong. She said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit, noting that provisions were only made for individuals on matters of human rights and not community.

The court later adjourned to February 19th for further hearing.

In a chat later with newsmen, Adedipe SAN said among other things his client, Odi community was praying the court to grant an order of mandatory injunction directing the first to fourth respondents which include President and the Attorney General of the federation to rebuild the community and rehabilitate its members, adding that they should pay N20billion for the gross violation of the rights of the people.

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