The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 dismissed for ‘lack of evidence in proof’, a class action suit filed by an individual and a Non-Governmental Organization against the Federal Republic of Nigeria alleging the violation of the human rights of the more than 3,134 victims who lost their lives and properties in the Jos crises in the country’s Plateau State.

While the Court deemed the case ‘admissible’ under its human rights jurisdiction, a panel of three judges of the Court held that the Applicants, Akungwang Mangut Sampson and the Nigerian Coalition for International Criminal Court, did not prove their case of the violation of the human rights of the alleged victims.

The panel, led by Justice Alioune Sall rejected the objection of the State of Nigeria through its Counsel C.A Ashibuogwu that the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
The Plaintiffs through their Counsel Barrister, Phoebe Egbele had filed the suit alleging, among other things, the violation of the Applicants’ fundamental rights to own and acquire property anywhere in Nigeria.

They also alleged the failure of the Defendant to provide redress, rehabilitation and compensation to victims of the Jos crises and deliberate failure to ensure that those who were displaced, injured, bereaved or lost properties and their means of livelihood are compensated in order to bring them back to normal life.

The Applicants also accused the government of failure to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violations of the rights and destruction of the livelihood of the Plaintiff in order to bring them to justice as enshrined in the various International Instruments and the Constitution of Nigeria as well as the deliberate failure and or neglect of the Defendant to implement the recommendations of the various panels of inquiries set up by the Defendant to investigate the series of crises in Jos namely Reports of the Solomon Lar’s Panel on Inquiry, Report of the Abisoye’s  Commission of Inquiry and Report of the Niki Tobi’s Panel of Inquiry.

Among the reliefs sought are a declaration: that the destruction of the 1st Applicant’s and other Jos crisis victims’ properties, houses, businesses and other valuables on 7th September, 2001, 28th November, 2008, 5th January, 2005, 17 January, 2010 and 19th January, 2010 and in 2011 and 2012 in Jos without any form of security and or protection by the Defendant in line with their duties under the law.

They characterised this as a gross violations of their fundamental rights as guaranteed under Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Articles 3(2) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, cap.10 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990, and Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, therefore illegal and unconstitutional.

They also asked the Court for an order that the Defendant compensate the 1st Applicant, other victims and relatives of the deceased victims of Jos crises in the sum of  N10, 000, 000.00 (Ten Million Naira) for the ‘unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional loss of their lives and properties.’           
Also on the panel were Justices Hameye Foune Mahalmadane and Friday Chijioke Nwoke