A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has sgiven the Federal Government twenty-one days to pay a mandatory N37.6 billion to Odi community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, as compensation for a military invasion 13 years ago.
It will be recalled that on November 20, 1999 former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the invasion of Odi community, when a group of people in the community abducted six policemen. The six law enforcement agents were killed despite entreaties by various social movements, prompting Obasanjo to issue a 14-day ultimatum to the government of Bayelsa State to produce the perpetrators of the crime.
The ensuing military expedition in the community left hundreds of people dead, even as all privately-owned properties were leveled by the soldiers. The perceived injustice meted out to the small community was taken to the court of law by various civil organisations.
Therefore, Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Delivering the judgment in a class suit No FHC/PH/CP/11/2000, described the military invasion of the community by troops of the Nigerian Army as genocidal and a gross violation of the rights of the people of the community to life and property ownership.