Nigeria Ordered to Pay $244 Million Damages for 1967 Civil War

Nigeria has been ordered to pay 88 billion naira ($244 million) in damages to those affected by the 1967 civil war after failing to clear landmines and other explosives in the country’s southeast since after hostilities ended.

Nigerian federal troops are pictured during an operation against secessionist Biafra forces near the town of Ore, some 120 miles from Ibadan, Nigeria, Aug. 16, 1967. Photographer: AP Photo

The ruling by the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice on Monday ordered that the government of Africa’s most populous nation must pay 50 billion naira for compensation directly to war victims in 11 states which formerly constituted the Federal Republic of Biafra, and a further 38 billion naira to the state authorities to help rebuild damaged property.

The rebuilding is expected to be geared towards de-mining and construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques in the affected areas.

Sovereign states do not have to respect the court’s rulings and there is no framework for making them binding. The office of President Muhammadu Buhari did not immediately comment on the ruling.

The 1967-70 civil war was fought between the Nigerian government and the southeast state of Biafra, over the short-lived Republic of Biafra.

More than 3 million Biafra civilians died in the three-year conflict mainly from starvation as a direct result of deliberate and total blockade of the region by the Nigerian government.