Nigeria: ECOWAS Court delivers judgment on alleged extra-judicial killings of 5 Nigerians

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS, has ordered the Nigerian government to conduct ‘appropriate inquiries’ into the disappearance of five Nigerians on 13 Oct. 2010 after they were taken into police custody in Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.

Delivering judgment in a suit brought by 21 dependants, relations and children of the five Nigerians on Monday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, the court also ordered that the outcome of the inquiry be submitted to it.

The three-member panel of judges led by the Vice President, Hon. Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, also gave the government a three-month deadline to produce the warrants of arrests of the five missing persons.

The Court also observed that Nigeria had not complied with its earlier order to produce certain documents as requested at its hearing on 9 Feb. 2015, neither had its notice of hearing being honoured by the government.

The late Ndubisi Christian Nnalue, Godwin Chigbo Isidienu, Chukwudi Eke, Uche Onuwuesi and Chinedu Onwe allegedly died after they were taken into custody by officers of the Nigerian Police Force at Oregbemi Police Station and the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

In case no ECW/CCJ/APP/10/12, lodged before the Court on 6 Sept. 2012, the plaintiffs alleged that the five were ‘executed in the early morning of 16th October 2010’ while in police custody.

The plaintiffs submitted that the five persons had not been seen by their families nor received any information on their whereabouts since their arrest by the Nigerian Police, and consequently claim that the Federal Republic of Nigeria has failed to protect the rights to life, liberty, protection, fair hearing and right to enjoy family life of the five persons who were bread winners of their homes.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the failure of Nigeria to investigate, discipline and prosecute the police officers involved violated their rights as enshrined in the African Charter on Human Rights.  

They sought an order for Nigeria to conduct an independent inquiry into the disappearance of the five persons, and publish a letter of apology to the plaintiffs in five national dailies.

In its defense, Nigeria, through its Counsel, filed a preliminary objection where it asserted that the matter was pending before a national court, that it involved a criminal matter over which the ECOWAS Court has no jurisdiction and that the rights of the plaintiffs (relatives) themselves were not violated and urged the court to dismiss the case.

In its analysis, the Court held that the case was admissible since the substance before it pertained to occurrence of an alleged human rights violation.

Regarding the defendant’s argument that the interest of presumed dead persons cannot be defended before court, the Court said “it is indeed possible to sue a State for the ‘murder or disappearance’ of human beings whose right to life the state is under obligation to protect.” Also on the panel were Honorable Justices Micah Wilkins Wright and Alioune Sall.
-0- PANA SEG 2Dec2015

02 ديسمبر 2015 20:59:18

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