The Odi massacre was an attack carried out on November 20, 1999, by the Nigerian military on the predominantly Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa State. The attack came in the context of an ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta over indigenous rights to oil resources and environmental protection. Reported rumours suggested that the oder of the massacre came from the presidency under the regime of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The military has often defended its action saying it was ambushed on its way to Odi as a result,tensions rose prior to entrance into the village.
Prior to the massacre, twelve members of the Nigerian police were murdered by a gang near Odi, seven on November 4 and the remainder in the following days. In revenge, the military decided to invade the village but there are reports that the army was ambushed close to the village thus tensions soared,they broke through the ambush and exchanged fire with armed militias in the village who were believed to be using the civilian population as cover this and the "ambush" provocation led to the attack on civilian population and the town's buildings. Every building in the town except the bank, the Anglican church and the health center was burned to the ground.
A wide range of estimates have been given for the numbers of civilians killed. Human Rights Watch concluded that "the soldiers must certainly have killed tens of unarmed civilians and that figures of several hundred dead are entirely plausible." Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, claims that nearly 2500 civilians were killed. The government initially put the death toll at 43, including eight soldiers.
In February 2013, the Federal High Court ordered the Federal Government to pay N37.6 billion compensation to the people of Odi. In his judgment, Justice Lambi Akanbi condemned the government for a "brazen violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims to movement, life and to own property and live peacefully in their ancestral home."
References in popular culture
- "The Destruction of Odi and Rape in Choba". HRW.org. Human Rights Watch. 1999-12-22. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- Bassey, Nnimmo (2006-06-02). "Trade and Human Rights in the Niger Delta of Nigeria". Pambazuka News. Fahamu. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- "Odi Massacre: Court orders Nigerian Government to pay N37bn damages to residents". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
|This Nigerian history-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|