Nigeria: ECOWAS Court awards US$ 250,000 damages to wrongly dismissed police officer

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the government of Sierra Leone to pay US$ 250,000 in damages for the ‘pre-meditated’ dismissal of a police officer, Mohammed El Tayyib Bah, based on a ‘concocted allegation’ without affording him the opportunity to defend himself.

According to an ECOWAS press statement, received here by PANA, a panel of three Judges of the Court, Presided over by Vice President Friday Chijioke Nwoke and including Honorable Justices Micah Wilkins Wright and Hameye Foune Mahalmadane, declared the 1994 dismissal, confirmed in 2013, as illegal, null, void and of not effect as it violates Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

The defendant in the case, the government of Sierra Leone, was not represented during the proceedings even though the application was served on the government on 24 October 2013, followed by a motion for default judgement on 6 December 2013.

The Court further ordered the reinstatement of Superintendent Bah to the appropriate position in the Police Force and the payment of the arrears of his salaries, benefits and entitlements including his promotion.

The officer enlisted in the police force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent in 1984 and commissioned in 1992 as Acting Superintendent of Police but was dismissed after 10 years of ‘diligent’ service for ‘insubordination and having links with the defunct Revolutionary United Front (RUF)’ which was then at war with the legitimate Government of Sierra Leone.

Superintendent Bah had contested the dismissal before the authorities of the country’s police which set up an investigative panel that found that there was no basis for his dismissal.

After futile attempts to be reinstated, he approached the ECOWAS Court of Justice on 14 October 2013, seeking the payment of US$25 million in ‘general damages’ for the embarrassment, mental and psychological trauma inflicted on him by the dismissal.

He also prayed the court to declare the dismissal as illegal, null and void while ordering his reinstatement.

As a party to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Court held that the Republic of Sierra Leone is obliged to preserve and protect the applicant’s right to fair hearing as provided under Article 7 of the Charter which was not the case for Superintendent Bah.  
-0- PANA VAO 16May2015

16 مايو 2015 13:03:06

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