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altECOWAS COURT FIXES 17 MAY 2018 TO DELIVER TO DELIVER JUDGMENT IN ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION CASE INVOLVING A NIGERIAN LADY

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice has fixed 17th May 2018 to deliver judgement in a case brought by two Non- governmental Organisations against the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria over a Nigerian lady, the third plaintiff, who was allegedly beaten and bathed with hot cooking oil by the fiancé, a corporal with the Nigerian Police Force.


The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and Mary Sunday brought the case for the violation of the human rights of Mary, who allegedly suffered severe burns from the incident following a domestic dispute with the fiancé, Corporal Isaac Gbanwuan.


A panel of three judges of the Court, presided over by Justice Alioune Sall fixed the date after hearing both parties during the resumed hearing on Wednesday, 31st January 2018.

Counsels to the plaintiffs, Barristers Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Gaye Sowe, Emmanuel Azu and Oludayo Fagbemi, in their argument claimed the victim was aggressively beaten and bathed with hot oil while a heated stove was thrown at her by the fiancée resulting in an explosion that set her on fire.

They equally averred that although the victim’s sister reported the incident to the police, they were surprised that the Corporal was exonerated following the publication of the outcome of investigation by the police in a Nigerian newspaper.

They added that the statements relied upon in the said investigation did not include statements from the two persons involved but rather statements from two purported witnesses while Mary’s statement was eventually taken on 21st June, 2015 more than two years after the newspaper publication.

They accused the Nigerian government of violating Mary Sunday’s right to freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, right to dignity of the human person, right to work, right to health and right to freedom from gender-based discrimination. They further alleged that the Nigerian government’s failure to conduct independent and impartial investigation equally violated her right to effective remedy.

Relying on relevant legal instruments and some case laws, the plaintiffs urged the Court to direct the Nigerian government to conduct an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the 24th August 2012 attack on Mary with the view to bringing the perpetrator to justice. They asked the Court to order compensation to the victim in the sum of 20 Million Naira for reconstructive surgery and treatment and for the physical, mental and emotional trauma suffered.

But counsel to the defendant, Barr Henrietta Ekeng, argued that it was a case of domestic violence that was reported and proper investigation carried out, insisting that the result of the investigation points to the fact that it was an accident.

Also on the panel were Honorable Justices Jérôme Traoré and Yaya Boiro.