Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Odi massacre: Court upholds decision on N37.6bn compensation

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, upheld its earlier
decision ordering the Federal Government to pay the people of Odi
community in Bayelsa State the sum of N37.6 billion as general damages
over its invasion by soldiers during former President Olusegun
Obasanjo's administration.
Ruling on an application brought by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
seeking to set aside the order, the Judge, Justice Lambo Akanbi, held
that the court had become Funttus Officio on the issue and could not
reverse the order which it earlier made.
On the issue of fair hearing raised by counsel to the apex bank, the
judge said that the CBN was represented and adequately participated
when the Garnishee application was taken and, therefore, could not be
said to have been denied fair hearing.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, counsel to Odi
community, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said with the ruling, CBN had no
option, but to pay the sum.
Adedipe said he would commence criminal proceedings against the CBN if
it refused to obey the order of court.
In a related development, Justice Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganiwa of the
Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, has fixed November 11, 2013, to
rule whether a motion brought by Concerned Lawyers in Obio/Akpor
seeking to withdraw their earlier suit, should be granted or not.
The judge adjourned the matter after counsel to the concerned lawyers,
Mr. Chima Okene, moved the motion seeking withdrawal of the suit.
Mr. Okene, in his submission, said the motion seeking to discontinue
the suit was brought pursuant to Order 50 Rule 3 of the Federal High
Court Civil Procedure Rules, supported by a six-paragraph affidavit
and a written address.
He adopted all the prayers and urged the court to grant them.
Replying on points of law, counsel to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Mr
Beluolisa Nwofor, (SAN), posited that the judge had no right to take
any decision until he assumed jurisdiction.
He maintained that taking any decision without assuming jurisdiction
would set a bad precedence for the courts.

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