Judgment rescheduled for 8th July 2019 by ECOWAS Court in case related to the 2011 post election violence in Nigeria’s Kaduna State

Judgment has been rescheduled for 8th July 2019 by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in a case brought by a Non-governmental Organisation against the Federal Republic of Nigeria alleging the violation of the human rights of the victims of a 2011 post-election violence in the country’s Kaduna State in which about 800 people died.

The adjournment is to enable the Nigerian government to submit additional documents indicating the actual amount of money approved as compensation by the government, the actual amount paid and the beneficiaries of the compensation following the recommendation of an investigation panel set up by the government to look into the violence.

Relying on Article 57 of the Rules of its Procedure, the Court said the documents will help in resolve the disparity in the amounts submitted by both parties as approved and or partially paid in monetary compensation to the plaintiffs.

While the defendants had alleged that the sum of N5,747,694,780 was approved for payment by the first defendant, a witness to the plaintiff claimed on oath that N7,000,000,000 was approved by the first defendant of which only N3,000,000,000 was paid while the Kaduna State government had paid N100,000 to each of the victims.

The Registered Trustees of Jama’a Foundation and three others, who filed the suit on behalf of the Muslim members of the ten affected communities blamed the government for its alleged failure to provide adequate and timely security for the victims of the violence resulting in the loss of lives and property during the two day violence.

In suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/26/13, the plaintiffs who sued on behalf of themselves and members of their communities, claimed that they are victims of sustained violations of their rights to life, human dignity, equal protection before the law and the right to basic enjoyment of economic and social activities.

The suit was filed on behalf of the victims of the mostly settlement communities of Mararaba Rido, Zonkwa, Madakiya, Matsirga, Kagoro Agwan Rimi, Gidan Maga, Sabon Sarki, Zako, Kafanchan around the Jama’a, Kaura, Jaba and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

Mr. Adekola Mustapha and Mrs. Zainab Bello, counsels to the plaintiffs averred that the plaintiffs, who are mostly Hausa/Fulani Muslims residing in southern part of the State located in the country’s northern region, were affected by the ethno-religious crisis that also left many others displaced.

The plaintiffs urged the Court to compel the defendants to provide protection for the plaintiffs; establish a military base within the Community; implement the recommendations of the Sheik Lemu panel report set up by the government as it affects them and pay monetary compensation amounting to N105, 066, 204,016 (One Hundred and Five Billion, Sixty-Six Million, Two Hundred and Four Thousand, Sixteen Naira).

But in countering the argument through their counsel, Mr. Adeola Adeniyi and Mrs. Jessica Iyoke, the defendants said the government was committed to the security of the lives and property of its citizens and couldn’t have failed to exercise appropriate diligence in the protection of its citizens. Furthermore, the defendants contended that the post-election violence happened despite the proactive effort of the Federal Government in mobilizing over 30,000 security nationwide to maintain peace.

They averred that in the aftermath of the post-election violence and the report of its panel of inquiry, it directed the establishment of mobile Police Barracks within the localities, large farm settlements and other agro-allied development programmes. In addition, it approved monetary compensation in the sum of N5, 747,694, 780 to the victims in nine affected States of Nigeria, among other measures.

The defendants therefore submitted that it cannot be held liable for inaction as there was no wrong done and consequently no cause of action and urged the Court to dismiss the matter.

On the panel were Justices Gberi-be Ouattara, Dupe Atoki and Keikura Bangura.