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Saturday, 14 October 2017 16:25

ECOWAS COURT DELIVERS JUDGMENT IN A CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION INVOLVING NIGERIA

 

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice on 10th October, 2017 ordered the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pay $75,000 (seventy five thousand dollars) in compensation to a retired military officer for the ‘arbitrary and unlawful deprivation of the right to life’ of the son who drowned during a ‘watermanship exercise’ for cadet officers of the Nigerian Defence Academy.


Delivering judgement in suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/24/15 brought by retired Wing Commander Danladi Angulu Kwasu, the Court held the government liable for the death of El Shaddai Kwasu on 30th April 2015 and ordered it to investigate the circumstances leading to his death with a view to prosecuting those involved.


The plaintiff had alleged that his son was among the students taken out for physical fitness exercises that included swimming at a dam during which he was pushed into the water without a life jacket or other safety measures put in place even though he informed them of his inability to swim.

   

Relying on Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 18 and 23 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the plaintiff urged the Court to declare that the killing of his son by the defendant violated his rights while the subsequent failure to conduct an investigation and prosecute those involved was unlawful and a violation of their right.


But citing Article S.2 of the Nigeria Defence Academy Act Cap N. 101 LFN 1990 which provides that “The Academy shall provide each officer cadet with the knowledge skills and values necessary to meet the requirements of a military officer through military academic and character development,” the government averred that the deceased was subjected to the same training as the other cadets


Moreover, it argued that the Applicant and his son (now deceased) having consented to enlistment into the Academy, cannot be heard complaining and claiming damages for an alleged negligence which robs the Court of jurisdiction to try allegations of negligence.


The government further argued that following the express and unequivocal consent of the Plaintiff (Applicant) to the training of his son, he cannot maintain an action in the tort of negligence and pleaded volenti non – fit injuria.


Finally, the government contended that as an action in tort, the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the same as it has nothing to do with the violation of human rights.


But a three-member panel of the court presided over by Honorable Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke ruled that the court has jurisdiction and that the killing of the Applicant’s son, Cadet EL Shaddai Zishindung Kwasu by the officials of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), an Institution of the Defendant and thus, its agent, through drowning at Kangimi Dam in Kaduna Nigeria on the 30th of April 2015 is illegal and amounts to unlawful killing, arbitrary deprivation of life and thus a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.


The court also held that the failure of the Defendant to investigate and prosecute those involved in the killing of the Applicant’s son is illegal and a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.


Also on the panel were Honorable Justices Jérôme Traoré and Hameye Foune Mahalmadane, President and Dean respectively of the Court.


For further information, visit the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS website at www.courtecowas.org or contact the Information Officers using the contact details below:


Contacts:

1.    Ugoh Sunny, Head of Division,

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Cell +234 8066782628


2.    Felicien Hounkanrin (Information Officer)

Cell Phone: +234 803-786-3972

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3.    Elohor Ovadje (Information Officer)                 

            Cell Phone:  +234 803-335-4281, (0)818-448-2456

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