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Compensate victims of accidental airstrikes or face legal action, Falana tells FG

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has asked the Federal Government to compensate the victims of military airstrikes in the past seven years.

Falana, who is the chairman of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, warned that if the Federal Government failed to meet the demand within two weeks, it would be sued before a Federal High Court.

The human rights lawyer issued the warning in a statement on Sunday.

This warning came following last Sunday’s accidental bombing of residents of Tudun Biri in lgabi Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

Over the years, the country has recorded several accidental strikes by the Armed Forces which led to the killing of hundreds of civilians across the country.

Falana stressed that there has been no justice for victims of these bombings over the years.

He noted that after the Rann bombing of January 2017, the Federal 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, he said was to also prefer means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

However, the human rights lawyer claimed that following the recent bombing, the Federal Government has neither published the report nor implemented the recommendations of the commission headed by Justice Biobell Georgewill of the Court of Appeal.

He stated, “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 statement
reads.

“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.

“The Federal Government should pay adequate compensation to the victims of all airstrikes that
have occurred in Nigeria in the past seven years. If our demand is not met within the next two

“The Federal Government should pay adequate compensation to the 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 shall sue the Federal Government at the Federal High Court to secure the
enforcement of the fundamental right of the victims to life.”

Meanwhile, following the Kaduna bombing, President Bola Tinubu directed a probe into the incident but Falana said instead of setting up a new panel of enquiry, the federal government should publish the findings of the Georgewill Judicial Commission.

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