By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Federal High Court, Abuja Monday, ordered the Federal Government to immediately pay the sum of N8billion awarded in favour of some Tiv communities in Benue State.
The compensation award was ordered for communities in Logo, Ukum, Kwande and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas of state for the losses of lives and property they suffered during the invasions by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in 2001.
The plaintiffs in the suit are 14 persons from the Benue communities, who were said to have suffered various degrees of losses during the military invasion around March 2001, about 18 years ago.
They are, Dr. Alexander Gaadi, Peter Orngu, Terfa Akaagba, Anongo Unishigh, Ngunengen Adula, Demelu Adula, Zaki Mazan, Mbakesen Ayatse, Mbayemen Maswuan, Anande Agashia, Azenda Igo, Elizabeth Aoughakaa, and Andrew Juntu.
The order of the court was premised on a garnishee application made by the communities, seeking for the enforcement of the consent judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal in Enugu on February 2, 2015.
Making the garnishee order “absolute” yesterday, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay the sum of N8bn into an interest-yielding account to be opened and maintained in First Bank of Nigeria Plc by the Chief Registrar of the court.
The court added that it would subsequently make an order for the disbursement of the money after the CBN complies with the order for the payment.
Justice Ekwo equally stated that the said terms of disbursement would have to be signed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.
The judge said “The garnishee (CBN) is hereby ordered to pay the garnishee sum into an interest-yielding account to be opened and maintained by the Chief Registrar of this court in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
“The order authorising the disbursement of the money shall be made upon being satisfied with the terms of disbursement including the legal fees jointly singed by Ocha Ulegede, Esq, and J.K Gadzama, SAN, for the ganishors and endorsed by first-class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala local government areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.”