NEWS

ECOWAS Court Orders Nigerian Government To Pay N60m To Gunshot Victim

According to Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria, the same police officer…..

By Olotu Amalagha

Sunday Ayodeji, who had his leg amputated due to a gunshot inflicted by a police officer in Kaduna State, has been granted N60 million in damages by the ECOWAS Court, which held the Federal Government of Nigeria responsible for the victim’s torture. The Court also directed the Nigerian government to conduct an internal investigation into the violation of Ayodeji’s human rights. This case was handled pro-bono by Avocats Sans Frontieres France (Lawyers without Borders France), an international human rights organization, as part of the SAFE Project funded by the European Union and Agence française de Développement. The project aims to put an end to human rights abuses such as torture, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary detention in Nigeria.

According to Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria, the same police officer unlawfully seized Ayodeji’s car and N900,000. The Court’s ruling includes the immediate return of Ayodeji’s confiscated belongings in addition to the N60 million awarded for damages.

Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said, “Avocats Sans Frontieres France commends the ECOWAS Court for its judgment on this case and urges the Nigerian Government to uphold the directives of the Court. ASF France is also delighted that this judgment is coming on the heels of the commemoration of the 2023 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which reemphasizes the need for collaborative efforts amongst all stakeholders of the criminal justice system to establish a zero-tolerance culture to torture in Nigeria.

“We are delighted that despite all challenges and legal hurdles faced by our legal team in pursuit of justice in this case, justice was served. We are optimistic that this will serve as a deterrent against the systemic use of torture in Nigeria. The amount awarded by the Court will not restore our client who has been permanently disabled by torture, but it has given hope to not just Ayodeji but other torture survivors that justice is possible even against powerful governments and institutions.

“We believe this symbolic case has contributed to the development of the jurisprudence of the regional court on torture and we continue to stand in solidarity with all victims of torture and reemphasize the fact that torture remains a crime against humanity all over the world.

“It is important to remember that torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and human dignity and it has no place in our world of today. Ending torture is a global challenge, we must all continue to work together to create a zero-tolerance culture to torture in Nigeria.”

Reacting to the Court verdict Ayodeji said, “My joy knows no bounds and I feel fulfilled and relieved from the inner pain that I have carried for so long due to the great injustice done to me which led to the loss of my leg. I am very grateful to Avocats Sans Frontieres France who provided a platform for me to obtain redress. I am also happy for what this judgment means for me and other victims of torture in Nigeria.”

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