By Charles Ogbu.
For days now, the media has been agog with the report that the Nigerian govt has agreed to pay 88billion naira as compensation to Biafra war victims.
This information is not only false, it is actually a deliberate attempt to create a very misleading impression that the Nigerian state is one with a conscience that is alive and well enough to admit the excesses of her savagery against the people of the old Eastern region during the tragedy that was the Biafran war.
The real story is this:
Sometime in 2012, some people had dragged the Nigerian state to the ECOWAS court praying the court to order the govt to pay them 100billion naira as compensation for injuries they sustained from landmines, bombs and other lethal weapons left behind by the Nigerian govt after the Biafran war. According to the plaintiffs, these post-war ordinances have also deprived them of the use of their farmlands, schools and churches so they prayed the court to also order the govt to clear all post-Biafran war lethal weapons abandoned in their communities.
Note:the communities in question are located in 11 States of SOUTHEAST, SOUTH-SOUTH and NORTH-CENTRAL region.
The Nigerian govt opted for an out-of-court settlement.
In the terms of this out-of-court settlement which was adopted by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke of the ECOWAS court on Monday, 30th of Oct, 2017, the FG is expected to pay the plaintiffs 50billion naira in compensation.
Now, here is the thing, a govt medical team under the supervision of the Defence Ministry had already screened and identified ONLY 685 persons as survivors and another 493 others including the plaintiffs as victims of either landmines or other dangerous weapons.
The afor-numbered people are the only ones the FG had certified entitled to the 50billion naira compensation.
In addition, the FG will pay the sum of 38Billion into the UBA account of a military firm known as Deminars Concepts Nig. Ltd to clear unexploded mines, bombs and other lethal weapon from the 11 states of SouthEast, SouthSouth and North-Central states captured in the agreement. The military firm is also expected to build schools, churches and Mosques in the affected states.
This Military firm -Deminars Concepts Nigeria Limited -is owned by one Bala Yakubu, a retired military officer who served directly under Buhari when they rocked horns with Chadian rebels some 3 decades ago
The two key points I want us to note here are:
No1, There is no 88BILLION for Biafra war victims.
There is only 50billion for only 1,178 persons including the plaintiffs already screened by the govt and considered entitled to compensation.
No2, this whole thing is pure business for Yakubu Bala’s Deminar Concept. And this suit was actually engineered by this firm.
This is not a compensation for Biafran war victims. If it was, almost every family in the old Eastern region and certainly every family in Ala-Igbo would be a beneficiary and no right thinking person will entertain the thought of 50,88 or even 100billion as the cost.
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