Nigeria: ECOWAS dismisses case filed against Nigeria's ex-ruling party over fundraiser

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice has dismissed a case brought against Nigeria’s former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the 21.27 billion naira (US$106.3 million) realized as donations during the party’s fundraising dinner in December 2014 to fund its 2015 presidential election.

Hope Democratic Party, one of the country’s political parties which filed the suit, said the donations to the Presidential Campaign Fund exceeded the 1 billion naira (US$5 million) ceiling prescribed for presidential campaign expenditures.

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/04/2015 jointly filed on 23 January 2015 by Hope Democratic Party and Alhaji Haruna Yahaya Shaba, the party’s Vice Presidential candidate, the plaintiffs said the donations amounted to an ‘act of political intimidation and a violation of the laws and the rights of the plaintiffs’.

The plaintiffs further contended that the defendants, who also include the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former President Goodluck Jonathan had, through the amount realized, denied them the right to equality before the laws and participation in government as enshrined in the country’s constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Hope Democratic Party said the defendant’s acceptance and use of the proceeds of the fund was unlawful and had subjected the party and its supporters to ‘unimaginable political intimidation, exclusion, psychological trauma, victimization and humiliation’.

Delivering the judgement of the Court, Justice Micah Wilkins Wright held, among other things, that Hope Democratic Party was not competent to access the court as the court could only hear cases brought by individuals, community institutions and member states.  

The court also observed that the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police, who were joined in the suit, were not proper parties in the case since matters of human rights violations could only be brought against member states and accordingly dismissed all the charges brought against the two defendants.

Moreover, the court held that the plaintiffs did not state a cause of action against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the only proper party/defendant before the court, and therefore described the inclusion as vexatious and meant to harass and embarrass the defendant.

Finally, the court concluded that in the light of the present realities, the case is devoid of purpose and had lost its meaning with the loss of the presidential election by the PDP and the concession by former President Jonathan.

PANA reported that no cost was awarded to the parties although the plaintiffs had asked for restitution with the payment of US$300 million in exemplary damages for the losses suffered for the violation of their rights.

Other judges on the three member panel include Hon. Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the Vice President of the Court, and Hon. Justice Alioune Sall.
-0- PANA SEG 15Oct2015

15 october 2015 15:16:14




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