‘Why FG Paid Odi N15bn Compensation’


But for the intervention of the United Kingdom, the Federal Government would not have negotiated and paid N15billion compensation to Odi, the Bayelsa State community invaded and destroyed by the military in 1999.
Chairman of the Odi Destruction Case Prosecution Committee (ODCPC), Prof. Kobina Imananagha, said yesterday in Yenagoa that the Federal Government used all delay tactics at its disposal, including litigations, to avoid payment of the N37.6billion compensation which the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, ordered it to pay the community on February 19, 2014.
Imananagha said that rather than obey the court judgement, the Federal Government went to the appeal court six times to overturn the initial verdict, only to fail on each occasion.
He said the saving grace was a London court  which the community approached and which issued an October 21, 2014 deadline to government to negotiate settlement and pay the agreed compensation to Odi people.
He said: “On February 19, 2014, a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt gave its judgement ordering the Federal Government of Nigeria to pay, within three weeks, N37.6billion as compensation for the destruction of Odi in 1999.
“The court order was not complied with; instead, the Federal Government and its agents, the CBN, appealed against the judgement six times and finally lost out. The refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to comply with the judgement deadline brought pressure upon the government from both Nigeria and UK.
“The London court issued threats that it was going to enforce the full judgement of the court (payment of N37.6billiom) if by October 21, 2014, government fails to negotiate settlement and pay agreed compensation to Odi. This seeming that compelled the Federal Ministry of Justice and the leadership of the legal team, ODCPC and the king of Odi to the negotiation table on May 26, 2014 where N15billion (as the only and final payment) offer as compensation to Odi was made by the Federal Government”.
Imananagha denied insinuation that his committee tampered with the compensation, stating that the committee members conceded six of the 10 per cent awarded it to make up for their personal resources, time, numerous travels and risk to life in getting judgement for the people.
He commended the intervention of deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd) and said without the move, the crisis in the community would have deepened.
He said, “Odi youths must not allow themselves to be used as tools in the hands of anybody under whatever guise no matter the promptings so as not to repeat the incident that precipitated the calamity that befell the community 15 years ago”.