13 October 2017

West Africa: Ecowas Court Awards N18 Million Against Nigeria in Rights Suit

Abuja — The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed a N18 million fine against the Federal Government in judgment of a case of violation of the fundamental human rights of one Dorothy Njemanze and two other Nigerians.

The judgment, read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke of the three-man panel, after over 25 minutes, rendered the award of sums of N6 million each to the parties: Justina Etim, Amarachi Jessyford and popular actress, Dorothy Njamenze to be paid by the Federal Government for the unlawfully arresting, detaining and declaring them as prostitutes in Abuja.

Justice Nwoke ordered the Nigerian government to pay the money as compensation for humiliation and inhuman treatment they suffered during their arbitrary arrest and proclamation as women of cheap virtue.

The judge held that the Nigerian government was liable for the arbitrary arrest and detention of the plaintiffs carried out by the military, police and officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board who claimed to be acting on the directive of the Federal Government.

He further held that the government's labeling of the three ladies was a gross violation of their rights to dignity, as there was no shred of evidence from the defendants to back it.The court agreed with counsel to the plaintiffs, Bolaji Gabari that there was no law in the Nigerian statute book prohibiting women from being outside in the late hours.

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