The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has said yesterday’s judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in which the sum of N37.6 billion was awarded as compensation to the people of Odi community in Bayelsa State over the military invasion of their community during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, was a vindication of the group’s outcry.
The order was given by Justice Lambi Akanbi order while delivering judgment in a N100 billion suit filed by the community, which is located in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area. Justice Akanbi also ordered that the compensation be paid within three weeks.
Commending the “extra-ordinary courage” of the judge in a statement by Comrade Azizi, MEND said that with the verdict coming from an arm of the Nigeria government, all the freedom fighters in the Niger Delta, including those of MEND, have now been vindicated.
“Nigerians can now see clearly that the invasion of our communities were carried out by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo purely to have control of our resources which was gained by Olusegun Obasanjo, his associates and the International Oil Companies (IOC) operating within the Niger Delta,” the statement said.
It underlined that the verdict is one of the movement’s key demands and that MEND is still waiting for Justice Kolawale of the Federal High Court in Abuja to review the death and life sentences imposed on some of their members, and also called for the release of Henry Okah, their leader.