A London court has registered a judgement which ordered the federal government to pay N99 billion damages over the bombardment of the Gbaramatu communities in Delta state.
The Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State, had earlier ordered the federal government to pay the communities N99.9 billion damages for gross violation of their rights.
The attack supposedly carried out by the joint military task force coordinated by Sarkin Yakin Bello, a retired major general took place in Warri South West Local Government of Delta State in May 2009.
The troop allegedly killed, maimed residents and also destroyed properties worth billions of naira.
As requested by the communities, Justice Timothy Holroyde of the Queen’s Bench Division of the Royal High Court of Justice England and Wales, on January 18, acceded to the plea.
The communities had also sought to obtain a worldwide freezing injunction against the assets of the federal government.
But the plea to register the judgement against the president of Nigeria and the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, who were the first and second defendants in the suit was rejected.
The communities also wrote twice to the then Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, asking the government to comply with the judgment.
The communities approached the London court to register the case since the the federal government failed to compile nor appeal two years after the judgement was delivered.
Selekeowei Larry, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and consel to the community filed the case and applied on behalf of the community to the Queen Bench Division High Court of Justice in London, to register the judgment.
On June 22, 2009, the community however, filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Asaba against the president, the attorney general of the federation and Bello Adoke.
Justice Ibrahim Buba while delivering the judgement said the bombardment of the communities by the military resulting in the demolition/destruction of houses, household furniture/wares, boats, canoes, domestic animals and displacement of members of the communities is in violation of section 217 (2)(c) of the 1999 constitution and is therefore unconstitutional.
”That the sum of N49 billion is awarded in favour of the plaintiffs as special damages against the defendants jointly severally,”he said.
”That the sum of N50 billion is also awarded as aggravated and punitive damages against the defendants jointly and severally for the unlawful bombardment and sacking of the plaintiffs’ communities which resulted in wanton destruction of their houses, household furniture and other wares, their domestic animals, canoes, boats, sacred places, artifacts etc and which resulted in total displacement of members of the communities for minimum of three months from 15th May 2009.
”The effect of which was that members of the communities were living in the swampy mangrove forests in subhuman conditions while others were in a concentration camp and suffered loss of income, disease, and mental torture and the education of their children of school age was disrupted,” the judgement reads.