P/Harcourt - The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has struck out a stay of execution motion by the Federal Government not to pay N37.6 billion as compensation to Odi Community.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court had on Feb. 18, 2013 directed government to pay the sum of N37.6 billion to Odi community in Bayelsa.
The order which came in a judgment was for the money to serve as compensation for government’s invasion of the area in 1999.
Counsel to the federal government, Mr Michael Nomeh who stood in for Mr Ade Okeaya-Inneh, had urged the court on Wednesday to grant government’s application for a stay of execution.
He urged the court to grant the application pending the determination of government’s appeal.
The counsel said the federal government was worried that if the money was released to Odi community, it would be difficult to recover it, if its appeal succeeds.
However, counsel to Odi community, Mr Lawal Rabana, urged the court to throw away federal government’s application because Odi people were entitled to the compensation.
He said government could not bring back to life those killed by the invasion of the community in December 1999.
In his judgment, Justice Lambo Akambi, struck out government’s application, saying it was frivolous and lacked merit.
He said the application was not in good faith because government had assets worth more than N37.6 billion.
Akambi said granting government’s request would mean a denial of justice to the community because it took the community over a decade to get justice.
He also said many of the community’s people lost their lives during the invasion.
The judge said further that government’s fears that if its appeal succeeds it would be difficult to retrieve the money from Odi was baseless.
``This is because people cannot wait forever to get justice,’’ he said.