Reps Recommend N390m Compensation For Extrajudicial Killings By Customs

File photo: Mr Femi Gbajabiamila presides over a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.


The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Nigeria Customs Service to pay N390,000,000 as compensation to victims of extrajudicial killings and injuries caused by its officers across the country.

This is sequel to the recommendations in the reports by the House Committee on Customs and Excise after investigating two incidents in Oyo State and one incident in Katsina State.

Chairman of the Committee on Customs and Excise, Leke Abejide, had last week presented the reports, which the House considered and adopted in plenary on Tuesday.

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This is after the committee probed the unrest in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State due to the killing of indigenes by men of the Nigeria Customs Service.

In upholding the committee’s recommendation, the House agreed that “life has no duplicate and cannot be replaced once lost, as such, the families of the deceased should be compensated in monetary terms, each soul lost at the Iseyin incidence be compensated by the Nigeria Customs Service with the sum of N20, 000,000 each. The number of souls lost being four; the value of total compensation for the four deceased is N80, 000,000 only.”

“For the person who sustained a gunshot injury in the Iseyin incident, the sum of N2,000,000 only be paid as compensation for the treatment of the injuries sustained,” the recommendation further read.

“The grand total for compensation for both the deceased and the injured is the sum of N82,000,000 only.”

Boeing Compensates Families Of Lion Air Crash

FILES) This file photo taken on March 18, 2013 shows a Lion Air plane flying over Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang, outside Jakarta. Adek BERRY / AFP


Boeing has reached settlements with 11 families of victims from October’s Lion Air crash, the first agreements following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people, a plaintiffs attorney said Wednesday.

The Wisner Law Firm, which specializes in aviation cases, is also “optimistic” about reaching settlements on its remaining six cases for families affected by the crash in Indonesia, said attorney Alexandra Wisner.

The settlements pay out at least $1.2 million per victim, a person familiar with the matter said.

Boeing, which earlier Wednesday announced new company initiatives on safety, declined to comment directly on the agreements.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610,” a Boeing spokesman said.

“As the investigations continue, Boeing is cooperating fully with the investigating authorities. We won’t comment on the lawsuits directly.”

The aviation giant still faces more than 100 lawsuits in federal court in Chicago following the Lion Air Crash and a second crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March that led to the global grounding of the top-selling 737 MAX.

Boeing in July announced that it would spend $100 million on communities and families affected by the 737 MAX disasters.

On Monday, the Boeing Financial Assistance Fund said it was open to accepting claims and would spend $50 million on immediate financial assistance to families.

The families of the 346 passengers will each receive about $144,500 and will not be required to waive the right to sue the company, said Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the fund.

When will MAX fly again? 

The settlements come as the timeframe for the ungrounding of the MAX remains murky.

On Monday, the new head of the Federal Aviation Administration said the decision to permit the MAX to reenter service would be up to each country, an acknowledgement of the lack of consensus among global regulators on the question.

The FAA chief also said there was still no timeframe for clearing the planes to fly in the United States. Boeing has said that it expects to receive regulatory approval early in the fourth quarter for the plane to resume service.

Earlier Wednesday, Boeing announced a number of reforms to boost safety. The company has been accused by critics, including US lawmakers and victims’ families, of cutting corners on safety to boost profit.

Boeing announced it was standing up a new “product and services safety organization” whose mandate would include “investigating cases of undue pressure and anonymous product and service safety concerns raised by employees,” the company said in a press release.

Other steps include emphasizing safety-related experience as a desired criterion of future directors; and a board recommendation to Boeing to work with airlines and other stakeholders to recommend pilot training, including “where warranted, above and beyond those recommended in a traditional training program.”

Pilot training has been a key area of disagreement among international regulators, with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency favoring simulator training for MAX pilots that goes beyond the prior training protocol that centered on a computer tablet.

The FAA has viewed simulator training as unnecessary.


South Korea Awards Compensation To Survivors Of Ferry Sinking


A South Korean court on Monday awarded compensation to some survivors of the Sewol ferry sinking, almost five years after the accident killed more than 300 people in one of the country’s deadliest maritime disasters.

The 6,825-tonne Sewol was carrying 476 people — most of them high-school students on a school trip — when it capsized off the southern coast in April 2014.

Almost all the victims were children, many of whom obeyed orders to stay in their cabins as the vessel slowly sank, and intense public fury targeted the then president Park Geun-hye after it emerged she was uncontactable for several hours as the disaster unfolded.

The disaster was blamed on a deadly combination of cargo overloading, an illegal redesign and poor helmsmanship by what the court described as an “incompetent” crew.

Nearly 80 people, including 20 survivors and dozens of relatives of survivors, later sought compensation from the government and the ship’s operator for negligence and failure to properly evacuate the passengers.

The Suwon District Court south of Seoul ordered the government and the ship’s operator, Cheonghaejin Marine, to pay each survivor 80 million won ($71,000), while relatives received sums ranging from two to 32 million won.

“The survivors experienced considerable difficulty escaping the ship after getting little or no guidance from anyone and suffered so much fear and anxiety while trapped inside,” the court said in a statement.

“The survivors and their families also suffer from various symptoms including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety,” it said.

The court held the coastguard and the ship’s operator responsible for negligence, including the failure by both to tell passengers to leave the ship, and Cheonghaejin’s failure to properly check the vessel before departure.

The same court has previously awarded compensation to the families of the dead.

At his trial, the Sewol’s captain Lee Joon-Seok — one of the first people to leave the sinking ship, while hundreds of passengers were trapped inside — was sentenced to life in prison for negligence and murder.

Other crew members were jailed for terms ranging from 18 months to 12 years.


Ex-Staff Drags NITDA To Court, Demands N500m Compensation

Ex-Staff Drags NITDA To Court, Demands N500m CompensationFormer staff of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have dragged the agency to the National Industrial Court for allegedly terminating their employment, less than a year after they were employed.

The defendants who are 245, in their motion on notice, said that they were proffered letters of employment in December 2016 and while they awaited their posting, an advertisement in a national newspaper claimed that their employment had been cancelled because the process that led to their employment had been cancelled.

They alleged that the said advertisement did not disclose the reason for the cancellation of their employment.

As such they are asking the court for an order declaring the said advertisement as null, void and of no effect.

They also asked the court to declare that all the claimants recruited by the agency in December 2015 are entitled to all the rights, privileges, salaries and emoluments.

They also asked the court to award the sum of 500 million naira as damages against the agency.

The case has been adjourned to March 2, 2017

AirAsia: More Bodies, Plane Parts Found On 8th Day Of Search

AirAsiaFour more bodies and some plane parts have been found as the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501 entered its eighth day.

Remains of the 162 victims aboard the ill-fated flight, as well as wreckage of the aircraft have been retrieved from the Java Sea.

At least four more bodies were recovered on Sunday, taking the count to 34.

The remains were transferred by helicopter to the processing center in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, to the north of the search area.

The developments come as Indonesian officials announced that they had identified three more bodies — two female passengers and a male flight attendant.

Also, additional wreckage was spotted overnight, measuring almost 10 meters (33 ft) by one meter (3.3ft).

However, family members of the victims have continued to wait for news of their loved ones and according to CNN, AirAsia has offered an initial $24,000 financial compensation for each family member that was on the plane.

Several family members told CNN on Sunday that families of those on board the plane were presented with a draft letter from AirAsia outlining details of preliminary compensation.

The letter states that families are entitled to about $24,000 for each family member that was on the plane.
Some families have signed the letter while others requested revisions to the wording.

This compensation money is for any “financial hardships” during this period of the search, and in the letter AirAsia stressed that it was not a confirmation that their family members were deceased.

Rights Activists Want Shell To Pay Compensation Over Bonga Spill

BongaEnvironmental rights activists, led by Chima Williams, have asked the Federal Government to compel Shell Petroleum Development Company- SPDC – to pay compensation to communities and clean up the waters affected by the 2011 Bonga Spill along the Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday, the group accused Shell of ignoring government’s earlier directives to pay compensation and clean up communities affected by the spill.

Eight months after the Federal Government directed shell to pay 11.5 million dollars as compensation in February, community representatives have said that Shell has neither cleaned up the affected areas nor paid the compensations.

Dana Airline Crash Victim Yet To Get Compensation

danaOne of the victims of the Dana Airline crash of June 3, 2012, Daniel Omowumi, has revealed that he was yet to be compensated for the loss he suffered on the day of the crash.

Describing his ordeal on Channels Television’s Sunrise, Mr. Omowumi stated that as a result of the Dana Airline aircraft which crashed into a residential area in Lagos, he lost four houses and a fish pond.

Omowumi, who escaped death because he was in church on the day of the crash, alleged that the airline had shown signs that it was not willing to compensate him for his losses.

Although the case had been taken to court, he revealed that the airline has refused to take his case seriously despite his lawyer having written to them.

“My lawyer has been writing to them and they have not replied. It is so clear that they don’t want to pay because every document that they have asked for has been provided to them”, he noted.

He further stated that he had met with the management of the Airline who gave assurances of the company getting him back to the state he was before the crash incident but unfortunately no word had since come from them.

Mr. Omowumi also revealed that he had written to the House Committee on Aviation and also the Ministry of Aviation to come to his aid but was yet to also get any word from them.

He reaffirmed his determination to get compensation from the airline.

President Jonathan Visits Warri, Speaks Of Economic Gains

The President has visited Warri in Delta State to join in the celebration of the 26th Jubilee Festival of the Word of Life Bible Church and the birthday of the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor.

President Goodluck Jonathan during his address assured Nigerians that the country is on the right path to development in spite of its present challenges, adding that there are evidences of the improvements.

President Jonathan said the Transformation Agenda is on course and urged Nigerians to continue to support his policies and programmes for the betterment of the country.

He said Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has seen a leap by about seven percent, adding that the growth has been confirmed by several international rating agencies.

The President and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor however disagreed on compensation for victims of Boko Haram attacks in the North.

While the CAN President asked the Federal Government to immediately set up a compensation committee for victims, President Jonathan insisted that his administration would not pay compensation but would only assist victims of the Islamic sect’s onslaughts.

On efforts to restore sanity in that part of the country, President Jonathan said the State of Emergency declared in some states of the North has recorded significant progress.

He assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would continue to do its best to flush out the insurgents and restore sanity and commended the military for being proactive in the war against terrorism.

President Jonathan also assured Nigerians that the country would witness stable electricity supply with the recent privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and its subsidiaries.

The service was attended by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, his counterparts from Cross River and Plateau states, Liyel Imoke and Jonah Jang respectively as well as representatives of Bayelsa and Benue governors, traditional rulers and other eminent Nigerians.

Boko Haram Could Be War Criminals – UN

The United Nations Human Rights Office has warned that the Boko Haram sect could be classed as war criminals, as it condemns a bloody attack on a wedding convoy.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cecile Pouilly, said members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Pouilly called the wedding convoy attack atrocious and condemned Boko Haram’s campaign of attacks against civilians, politicians, members of government institutions, foreigners and the security forces.

Besides condemning the sect’s bloody campaign, human rights groups have also slammed government troops for killing civilians and for other violations in the battle zone.

Pouilly added that the UN is following up closely with the Nigerian authorities’ allegations of abuses and human rights violations which may have been committed by security forces when conducting operations.

She noted that the Nigerian military is in the process of finalizing a report on people detained in connection with the insurgency, and urges the government to disclose its findings.

Boko Haram: Committee Submits Report To Jonathan

The Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with the Boko Haram dreaded sect has submitted its report to the President.

The committee which had spent 7 months travelling round Northern Nigeria trying to get the leaders of the sect to stop their widely condemned act admitted that the leadership of the insurgent group refused to have any dialogue with them despite all their efforts.

Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Turaki said, “Some of our difficulties in having a productive dialogue include the refusal of their leaders to submit to dialogue. However, many of the key members of the insurgents both in detention and at large have positively responded to contacts and have accepted the dialogue option as capable of full resolution of the conflict.”

It was in this vain that the committee recommended that the President should set up an advisory committee on continuous dialogue to continue from where they stopped.

Receiving the report, President Jonathan said that Government will look into all the recommendations, promising to set up a committee to follow up on the dialogue.

The president however told them that government will rather provide assistance to the victims of the attacks rather than compensations.

Following Boko Haram attacks and the attendant insecurity in the land, Nigeria’s President had in April 2013 set up the committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges in the North.

Although the committee is winding up, President Jonathan has said that the Nigerian Government remains open to dialogue.

Families Of Slayed Kano Police Officers Compensated

Families of police officers who lost their loved ones during the Kano insurgencies have been presented with cheques of compensation by the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of zone, Mr David Omojola.

While presenting the cheques to some four selected victims, the AIG said that the gesture will be a continuous exercise to all police officers affected by the Kano and other states’ crisis.

15 year old Binta Ahmed was one of those compensated as she lost her father during one of the bombings in Kano.

Binta received a cheque of N500, 000.00 which she stated will help her alleviate some suffering especially in the area of her education.

Other beneficiaries including police officers who were injured expressed gratitude to the Nigeria Police for remembering them.

Only four families have been compensated so far.

However, the AIG has confirmed that the exercise will be a continuous one and all affected police officers will be compensated.

Meanwhile, the AIG has charged the beneficiaries to judiciously utilise the fund for the upkeep of their family, while their gratuity and other entitlement will continue to be paid to them or their next of kin.