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altECOWAS COURT SET 11th DECEMBER 2018 TO DELIVER JUDGMENTS IN THREE CASES FOR THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGAINST THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice has fixed 11th December 2018 to deliver the rescheduled judgments in two cases brought by Nigerians alleging the violation of their human rights by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

One of the two suits was filed by Chief Ambrose Osuan for himself and the Osuan family, in which they alleged the ‘sustained violation of their civil, social and economic rights’ over the forceful acquisition of the family’s ancestral land by the colonial government and its conversion initially into an European Reservation Area and later into a Government Reservation Area by the Nigerian and Edo State governments without compensation to the family.

At the last hearing of the case by a three member panel of the new college of judges on the 8th of November 2018, the parties had adopted their written and oral procedures although the presiding Judge, Honorable President Edward Asante, had granted any party willing to submit written addresses until the end of November 2018 to do so.

The panel also gave both parties till the end of November 2018 to submit written addresses if any of the parties so desired. With His Lordship on the panel were Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara, and Keikura Bangura.

In suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/25/16 they asked for compensation in the sum of 3 billion (three billion) US dollars from the government for the violation of the relevant international legal instruments and a declaration that the actions of the defendants is ‘unlawful and a violation of their fundamental rights.’

In the second suit no.ECW/CCJ/APP/10/15, Fetus Ogwuche and another, both of who are human rights lawyers involved in human rights advocacy and advancement of democracy and good governance claimed that a letter titled “Additional Regulation for Live Broadcasts” sent to all broadcasting firms in Nigeria by the National Broadcasting Commission violated the right to freedom of press.

In the said letter, the National Broadcasting Commission, the regulatory body for broadcasts in the country, directed all broadcasting stations to notify it at least 48 hours before transmission of live broadcast; conform with the provisions of the Code for such broadcasts as it affects political broadcasts and take responsibility for its broadcast programmes.

The plaintiffs urged the Court to order the Nigerian Government to withdraw the letter which they claimed threatens to censor all broadcast materials with the threat of the withdrawal of broadcast licenses for infractions.

Honorable Justices Edward Asante, Dupe Atoki, and Januaria Moreira Costa were on the panel.

In the third suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/26/13 filed by Registered Trustees of Jama’a Foundation and three others against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Court also fixed judgment for the middle of December after both parties adopted their processes and urged the Court to deliver its judgment.

The case was heard by Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara (presiding), Dupe Atoki, and Keikura Bangura.

In the initiating application filed by the counsel in the case, the plaintiffs claimed they are victims of sustained violations of their rights to life, security, dignity of the human person and equal protection before the law.

The plaintiffs, who are predominantly Muslims of Hausa/Fulani ethnic origin domiciled in southern part of Kaduna State in Nigeria, alleged they were affected by the ethno-religious crisis of 18th and 19th April 2011 that left over 800 people dead and several others displaced.

They are seeking orders of the Court directing the defendant to ensure the protection of the plaintiffs; the establishment of a military base within their locality; the implementation of the recommendations of the report an investigative panel known as Sheik Lemu panel as it affects them.

They also asked for the payment of monetary compensation in the amount of N105, 066,204,016 (One Hundred and Five Billion, Sixty-Six Million, Two Hundred and Four Thousand, and Sixteen Naira).