Court orders Nigeria to pay 2 million naira in compensation to each 244 dismissed military personnel

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pay 2 million naira in compensation to one Sergeant Mikah Rango and 243 other military personnel who were dismissed form the Nigerian Army in 2016 without due process of law.

In handing down the decision on Wednesday, 15th May 2019, a three member panel of the judges of the Court, presided over by Honorable Justice Edward Amoako Asante dismissed the argument of the Respondent’s, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit as it relates to an employment dispute.

Instead the Court ruled in the judgment delivered by Honorable Justice Keikura Bangura in company of Justice Dupe Atoki that it has jurisdiction as it bordered on the applicants’ right to work and fair hearing which were violated by the Respondent and also awarded 2 million as cost against the government.

In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/19/16, the 244 soldiers who enlisted into the Nigerian Army for periods ranging between three and 36 years are challenging their dismissal from the services from the Nigerian Army without due process. They averred that their dismissal without arraignment, prosecution and sentence by a duly constituted Court Martial is illegal, unlawful null and void.

Among a myriad of complaints, the Applicants averred that while on military assignment they made repeated demands on the Defendant to provide them with sophisticated and mechanized weapons so that they can combat the terrorism and insurgency of Boko Haram in the North East but instead of yielding to the legitimate and patriotic demands, the Defendant choose to arbitrarily dismiss them from the Armed forces.

The Applicants averred that after the action attracted national outrage, they were reinstated at their various military units but denied access to military facilities as letters of reinstatement were not issued to them. They also averred that they were still being owed the arrears of seven month’s salary while their identity cards were seized and were orally dismissed.

They therefore urged the Court to declare that their dismissal by the Defendant without arraignment, prosecution and sentence by a duly constituted Court Martial is irregular, illegal, unlawful, null and void whatsoever.

They are also seeking for an order of the Court directing the Defendant to immediately reinstate all the Applicants to their respective ranks in the Nigerian Army and payment of their monthly salary and other allowances from the month of July, August, September October, November, December 2015, January. February, March, April. May, June 2015 and such other months until the date judgment is enforced in this suit and payment to Applicants the sum of N1,000,000.00(One Million Naira) only each as general damages for the psychological and mental torture suffered by the Applicants as a result of their dismissal as soldiers in the Nigerian army among others.