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FALANA SEEKS COMPENSATION FOR AIR STRIKE VICTIMS                                           

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FALANA SEEKS COMPENSATION FOR AIR STRIKE VICTIMS                                                                                                 12-12-23

By Sadiq Aminu                                                     Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has asked the Federal Government to pay adequate compensation to the victims of all airstrikes that have occurred in Nigeria in the past seven years.

He said instead of setting up a new panel of enquiry, government should publish the findings of the Georgewill Judicial Commission.

The activist, who is also the Chairman of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), noted that if the government failed to do this within the next two weeks, “we shall sue the Federal Government at the Federal High Court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental right of the victims to life”.

Falana said this in a statement, titled: No Justice for Civilians Killed in Airstrikes in Nigeria, yesterday in Lagos.

He said: “Between March 2014 and December 2023, the Nigeria Air Force and the Nigerian Army dropped bombs in some states in the northern part of the country on 16 different occasions.

“The airstrikes claimed the lives of not less than 400 people. The most tragic incident occurred on January 17, 2017, when two bombs were dropped in the middle of Rann, Borno State, which hosted thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“The incident left 170 people — including aid workers and refugees — dead, and many more injured.

“No doubt, the military authorities accepted responsibility for the airstrikes and claimed that the crashes were caused by ‘accidents’. But no compensation was paid to those who were injured and the families of scores of people who lost their lives in the tragic incidents.

“Shortly after the unfortunate incident, the Federal Government instituted a commission of enquiry, headed by Justice Biobell Georgewill of the Court of Appeal.

“The commission was mandated to review extant rules of engagement applicable in the Armed Forces of Nigeria as well as the extent of compliance with the rules.

“Part of the mandate of the commission was to also proffer means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

“The commission was given 90 days for the assessment. Our law firm represented the victims of the Rann airstrike at the Commission of Enquiry.

“Upon the conclusion of the assignment, the commission submitted its report. But up until now, the Federal Government has neither published the report nor implemented the recommendations of the commission.”

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