Rights Suit: ECOWAS Court slams FG, awards N18m damages in favour of actress Njemanze, two others


A three-member panel of the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has ordered the Federal Government to pay three aggrieved Nigerians including a popular actress, Dorothy Njemanze N18 million damages over violation of their fundamental human rights.

The two other aggrieved Nigerians who got judgment against the Federal Government are Justina Etim and Amarachi Jessyford.

In the unanimous judgment, the regional court ordered that the Federal Government should pay each of plaintiffs a sum of N6million as compensation for the humiliation and inhuman treatment they suffered during their arbitrary arrest and proclamation as prostitutes.

Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke read the leading judgment of the court.

Justice Nwoke, in the leading opinion of the court, 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.

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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 Gambari that there was no law in the Nigerian statute book prohibiting women from being outside in the late hours.