Feb. 24, 2013
President Goodluck Jonathan must swiftly rebuild Odi community and ensure the prosecution of former President Olusegun Obasanjo for acts of genocide and gross violation of human rights in the November 1999 military invasion of the community.
In a strongly-worded open letter signed by Comrade Timi Frank, the Ijaws appealed to Mr. Jonathan not to appeal the recent ruling of the Federal High Court which awarded monetary compensation of N37.6 billion to the people, and to set up a Commission of Enquiry which would determine the causes of the incident and ascertain the extent of destruction and the actual number of people killed.
“The government must act and act fast,” the petition said. “Any attempt to delay the payment of this compensation meant to assuage the colossal loss suffered by the people of Odi in the hands of the military and their retired collaborator would not only portray this government in bad light in the eyes of the international community but a great minus for the government’s much vaunted claim of rule of law.”
It reminded Jonathan that the people of Odi are also his kinsmen, and could hold him responsible for any perceived miscarriage of justice in this matter and at this time.
In that regard, they told him that if the judgement is appealed by the Federal Government, they would conclude that he is the one delaying justice to the people of Odi.
“Nobody should attempt to circumvent or scuttle this epoch judgement. The government must be seen to be responsible and ready to make amends when and where its policies go awry and its officials have overstepped their bounds.”
The petition noted that the people of Odi have since suffered in silence in the 14 years since the invasion, a fact that should be enough motivation for the government to rise to the occasion and do the right and sensible thing by immediately complying with the Court’s ruling without delay.