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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Compensation: Why Odi indigenes protested

While Nigerians were gearing up for the festive season, the people of Odi in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, penultimate Friday protested over the non-payment of N37.6 billion damages awarded to them by a Federal High Court, NaijaAgroNet reports.

NaijaAgroNet also notes that the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, had in February 2013 ruled that the Federal Government (FG) should pay the amount as compensation for the November 1999 military invasion of the community by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet quoted the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the demonstrators, who carried placards with various inscriptions, chanted songs in their dialect while blocking the major roads.

Some women among them wore sack clothes and rolled on ground on major roads in the state capital beside casket to show the grievance of the matter.

Equally, NaijaAgroNet reports that youths carried a mock coffin in remembrance of those who died in the invasion.
Stakeholders, including Niger Delta Human Rights Organisations and activists, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), amongst others, participated in the protest.

A former Federal Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs) Timiebi Koripamo-Agary told NAN that Odi had yet to recover from the aftermath of the invasion.

“We have won all our cases and the court had ordered that money should be paid to us. We are not happy with Jonathan because if the court had given judgment, he should have complied with it in the spirit of the rule of law.

“If they had not reported to Mr. President, we want to inform him through our protest’’, she said.

NAN further reports that community leaders ensured that the demonstration was peaceful and the busy East-West Road cleared after about 20 minutes of blockade.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Pix: President Goodluck Jonathan

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