CLO Asks Tinubu To Order AGF To Provide N1.1 Trillion In Damages To The Flood-Affected Niger Community

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) filed an appeal with President Bola Tinubu on Monday, March 25, requesting that he order Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, to abide by a court ruling that granted N1.1 trillion to a Niger state community for losses brought on by the Zungeru Dam overflow.

The Executive Director of CLO, Ibuchukwu Ezike, made the plea at a press conference in Abuja.

Ezike said the sum represents the cost of damages awarded to Samboro Community which was “forcefully displaced and their livelihoods destroyed due to the construction of the Zungeru Hydro-electric Power Dam in the state.”

According to him, the press conference was meant to “draw local and international attention to the prevailing plight of the inhabitants of Samboro Community in Madaka District, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State who were forcefully ejected and displaced from their communal land due to the poor design and construction of the Zungeru Hydro-electric Power Dam in the state by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power.”

He explained: “Trouble started for the hapless Samboro Community when Zungeru Hydro-Electric Dam overflowed and released unimaginable volume of water into the community and within hours and days, washed away the livelihood and homes of the inhabitants.

“As the devastating effects of the Dam raged, our sources informed us that the Federal Government of Nigeria neglected/failed to come to the aid of its people who were left to survive on their own.

“Dissatisfied with the government’s behaviour, Alhaji Abubakar Usman, the village head of Samboro Community and 2,844 other community members on April 27, 2023, filed a complaint with the court in case number NSHC/ Kut/6/2023.

“The Samboro Community Lawyer, Muhammed Ndarani Mohammed, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who filed the suit challenged the government on the damaging impact of the Dam on the community and demanded compensation.

“Justice Mohammed Adishetu Mohammed of High Court 4 in Minna, Niger State after hearing all the parties ordered the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power to pay N1.1 trillion as compensation for damages caused to the affected Samboro Community.”

He added: “While the CLO notes that the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power has been cited as the main culprit, we are concerned that there may be surreptitious actions by the Federal Government to delay or deny the affected community the benefit of the Court judgment.

“The Civil Liberties Organisation hereby appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to uphold the rule of law as a critical component of democracy by directing the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to ensure full compliance with the court judgment without further delay. We caution the Nigerian state that a stitch in time saves nine.”