The Odi community in Bayelsa State Monday asked a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt to commit the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and other officials of the apex bank to prison over their refusal to pay the sum of N37,616,871,000 compensation to the victims of the 1999 massacre as directed by the court.
The community has also registered the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt in the United Kingdom with a view to confiscating the assets of the federal government if it fails to pay the compensation to victims of the 1999 massacre.
Lead counsel to Odi community, Lucius Nwosu (SAN), yesterday applied to the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Lambo Akanbi, seeking for an order to commit to prison Sanusi; the acting Governor of the CBN, Deputy Director Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu; the CBN Deputy Governor Corporate Services Directorate, Alhaji Suleiman Barau; and the Head, legal services of the apex bank, S. M. Onekutu, for their failure to obey the order made on June 17, 2013, requiring the bank to pay the judgment creditors the sum of N37,616,871,000 standing to the credit of the judgment debtor.
The judgment debtors in FHC/PHC/CP/11/2000 are the President, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Attorney General of the Federation and the CBN.
Justice Akanbi had last year ordered the federal government to pay compensation to the victims of the military invasion of that community in 1999.
The court had described the action of the military as genocidal, brutish, reckless, and a gross violation of the rights of the victims to life and to own property.
The court also described the destruction of Odi as comprehensive and total as nothing was spared by the rampaging military.
Akanbi adjourned hearing on the application for committal to March 19.
Meanwhile, Nwosu has disclosed that the Crowther Solicitors in London had on behalf of the Odi community registered the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in the High Court of Justice Queenâ€™s Bench Division, London, in a bid to recover the N37,616,871,000 compensation due victims of the 1999 massacre.
He said the solicitors had filed an application seeking for an order to register a foreign judgment under the administration of justice Act 1920 (CPR 74.6) and it was granted.
He said the recognition of the foreign judgment by the British court was predicated on the declaration of human rights charter to which Nigeria is a signatory on matters touching on genocide.
He explained that the Odi solicitors in the United Kingdom were able to persuade the Queenâ€™s Court in England that serious act of genocide as adjudged by the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, against the Nigerian state provided an exception and such special circumstance to warrant its recognition.
He said the English court had ordered that the registration of the judgment be served on the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London.
â€œThe adverse consequence on the image of Nigeria arising from the recognition of the judgment of the Federal High Court on the Odi matter in England regarding our respect for human rights and rule of law is anyoneâ€™s guess. The advisers of the president must be held responsible for the quality of their advice. With this recognition, Nigeriaâ€™s assets in England can be attached,â€ Nwosu said.