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alt ECOWAS COURT FIXES 30 MAY FOR JUDGMENT IN A CASE OF THE DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS ALLEGEDLY LINKED TO KIDNAPPING BY THE GOVERNMENT


 Judgement has been fixed for 30th May 2018 by the ECOWAS Court in a case brought by the father of an alleged kidnapper whose residence was ‘arbitrarily’        demolished by agents of the State on 12th April 2014 under a law of Nigeria’s Imo state that allows for the demolition of the houses of kidnappers.


In suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/13/14 Chief Damian Onwuham and 12 others are suing the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the government of the country’s Imo State for the demolition of their residential buildings of three bungalows on suspicion that one of the occupants of the property, the son of Chief Onwuham, was a kidnapper.


They also claimed that the said suspect, the first son of one of the plaintiffs, Chief Onwuham, was arrested on 19th December 2012 by agents of the Nigerian government and has since remained under detention without being charged to court.

Furthermore, they claimed that the demolition, which rendered them homeless, was carried out without any fair trial or court order.

The plaintiffs, comprising natal and extended family members of the alleged kidnapper, alleged that their fundamental human rights to dignity, privacy, family life, own property, fair hearing and presumption of innocence were violated by the defendant and that they were victims of continuous exploitation as a result of the actions of the state government.

During the resumed hearing on Tuesday, 20th February 2018, Chief Onwuham, the first plaintiff, gave an oral statement of the events of the day of the alleged demolition, which was adopted by the Court. The second witness, Mr Justus Eromosele, a quantity surveyor, certified that the copies of the valuation report before the Court on the three buildings allegedly demolished were signed by him.

In the initiating application filed before the Court on 4 August 2014, the Plaintiffs alleged the continuous violation of their rights to human dignity, family life, and property, presumption of innocence, fair hearing and freedom from exploitation by the Defendants.

They claim that their properties comprising three bungalow buildings were demolished on 12th April, 2014 by agents of the first Defendant, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that the actions of the first Defendant has rendered the entire large family, homeless. 

They are claiming general damages for trespass in the sum of N50, 000,000 (fifty million naira), special damages to re-build and re-furnish property in the sum of N100, 089,140 (one hundred million, eighty-nine thousand, one hundred and forty naira), and exemplary damages in the sum of N500, 000,000 (five hundred million naira).