Sundiata Post – Femi Falana, SAN, has given a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to compensate victims of military airstrikes in the past seven years or face legal action.
The human rights lawyer gave this warning in a statement on Sunday, Dec. 10.
He said the government will be sued before a Federal High Court if the demand is not met.
Scores of civilians have died over the years due to accidental bombings by the Nigerian military.
The latest accidental bombing happened on Sunday, Dec. 3, when over 120 civilians, including children and women who were celebrating Maulud, were killed when they were accidentally bombed by the Nigerian military.
Reacting to the incident, Falana, who is the chairman of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), said there has been no justice for victims of these accidental bombings over the years.
Falana said after the Rann bombing of January 2017, the government set up a commission “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 prefer means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”.
The senior lawyer wondered why the FG has neither published the report nor implemented the recommendations of the commission headed by Justice Biobell Georgewill of the court of appeal.
Falana said in a statement: “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.
“The Commission was given 90 days for the assessment. Our law firm represented the victims of Rann airstrike at the Commission of Enquiry. Upon the conclusion of the assignment, the Commission submitted its report.
“The Federal Government should pay adequate compensation to victims of all airstrikes that have occurred in Nigeria in the past seven years. If our demand is not met within the next two weeks, we will sue the Federal Government at the Federal High Court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the victims to life.”