Judgement has been fixed for 25th April, 2017 by the Community Court of justice in a case for the alleged violation of human rights against the Federal Republic of Nigeria filed by a Nigerian actress, Dorothy Chioma Njemanze and three others.
The plaintiffs, all female, accused agents of the government in suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14 filed before the Court on 17th September 2014 by their counsel of the violation of their right to human dignity. They particularly accused the agents of subjecting them to physical, sexual and psychological violence as well as verbal assaults at different times between 2010 and 2014.

Relying on relevant international legal instruments including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the plaintiffs alleged that they were victims of gender discrimination.

The plaintiffs are therefore seeking orders of the Court to declare the Nigerian government responsible for acts of gender discrimination and violence against women. Moreover, they want the Court to order the Nigerian government to carry out enlightenment and training programmes on laws on violence against women targeted at its agents and the general public as well as establish special tribunals for cases of violence against women.

The plaintiffs are equally demanding compensation in the sum of 100 million Naira.

Counsel to the Nigerian government, Mr. T.D. Agbe had in the government’s defence submitted that none of the plaintiffs was arrested or detained by agents of the defendant as claimed by the plaintiffs, and that the first plaintiff Chioma Njemanze was under the guise of advocating human rights of women, actually attempting to legalise prostitution in violation of/contrary to the laws of Nigeria.

The counsel equally argued that the alleged incident of violation by the 2nd plaintiff occurred over 3 years before date of filing of the application and consequently urged the Court to declare it as statute-barred and inadmissible.

In another case ECW/CCJ/APP/20/15, the plaintiffs - Nosa Ehanire Osaghae, Jonah Gbemre, Peter Aiko Obobaifo and Daniel Ikponmwosa are suing the Federal Republic of Nigeria alleging the violation of their fundamental human rights as well as those of the people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

In the initiating application filed on 1st June 2015 by counsel to the plaintiff, Mrs. Sophia Okoedion, the plaintiffs claimed that they are victims of serious health hazards as a result of the severe environmental degradation and pollution from oil spillage by agents and companies licensed by the defendant to explore and mine crude oil found in the region. 

They are seeking, amongst other things,  orders of the Court declaring that arbitrary allocation of oil blocs to non indigenous private individuals and companies is an act of disregard for the indigenes; that all allocations should be suspended pending the determination of this case and the payment of $30 billion for the immediate clean-up of the environment.

In its reply, the defendants averred that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to bring such matter before the Court and that a suit with the same subject-matter had been adjudicated by the same Court. Counsel to the defendant, Mr. T.D. Agbe therefore urged the Court to dismiss the case for lack of merit.