Odi threatens criminal suit against CBN over N37.6bn compensation

CBN23 October 2013, PORT HARCOURT — COUNSEL to Odi Community of Bayelsa State in its case against the Federal Government over 1999 army invasion of the community, has threatened to press criminal charges against the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, if it fails to pay the N37.6 billion compensation awarded to the community by a court.

The counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, spoke, yesterday, after Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, described as baseless and dismissed CBN’s application to set aside the judgment ordering payment of the N37.6 billion to Odi.

Justice Akanbi had, on February 19, 2013, convicted the Federal Government for genocide against Odi and awarded N37.6 billion compensation to be paid within 21 days from date of judgment.

Following government’s reluctance to respond to the ruling, the plaintiffs, Odi, on May 3, filed a motion exparte demanding a garnishee order absolute to be made to the CBN to effect the payment of the judgment sum, an application the court granted.

The CBN, in response, claimed it was not given ample time to be heard as an affected party and consequently filed an application to the same court asking that the garnishee order be set aside and the matter retried.

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Akanbi insisted that the apex bank was duly represented in the matter on June 17 as its legal representative did not ask for extended date to allow the motion to mature.

Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, after the ruling, said of his client, Odi, “We are very happy about that ruling. The application was misconceived from the beginning. It is part of the long term ploy of those who invaded Odi to ensure that they do not get justice.”

*Egufe Yafugborhi, Vanguard

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