Republic of Niger Held Liable for excluding 15 persons from contesting leadership position

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has found the Republic of Niger liable for violating the rights of Fodi Mamane and 14 others in excluding them from participating in the electoral process for the appointment of a new leader for the country’s Tibiri Canton chiefdom three years ago.

Honourable Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara, judge rapporteur who read the judgment said there was a violation of the Applicants’ right to non-discrimination considering that they belong to the lineage of Sarkin Arewa and have cultural rights to the succession of the chiefdom of Tabiri Canton.

However, the Court observed that the Applicants’ rights to equal protection of the law, equality before the law and fair trial were not violated by the Respondent Republic of Niger and consequently dismissed all Applicants’ claims for reparation describing it as unjustified.

Applicant’s counsel Abdourahman Chaibou filed the suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/02/18 on January 16, 2018 urging the Court to declare the Nigerien government liable for the violation of the Applicants’ rights to fair hearing and equal protection of the law and order the Respondent to enshrine the inheritance law of the Sarkin Arewa lineage into the succession rights to the chiefdom of Tibiri Canton.

Counsel averred that there were flaws in the electoral process leading to the disputed election held on August 26, 2017 and that the administrative court in Niger was biased in handling their various appeals.

Mr Chaibou therefore urged the Court to declare the Respondent liable and award compensation to the Applicants for the physical, moral and psychological damages suffered.

On their part, the Respondent submitted that a vacant post was published following the death of the chief of Canton and 32 persons applied to participate in the election for the post.

The Respondent added that the candidates were screened and shortlisted in accordance with the traditional chiefdom Law no 2015-01 of 13 January 2015 alongside other administrative considerations and that the Applicants’ names were not on the list that emerged.

The Respondent averred that the Applicants sought redress severally before the minister of interior and in judgment no 46/17/CONT of 24 May 2017, the State Council declared their claims unfounded and dismissed the application. In another judgment no 22/17 of 24/08/2017, their application for suspension of the execution of the contested decision was declared inadmissible.

The Respondent therefore urged the Court to dismiss the present application. 

With Justice Ouattara on the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Dupe Atoki.