#EndSARS Report: ECOWAS Court gives FG 30 days to file defence suit

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ECOWAS Community Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has given the Nigerian government 30 days to respond to the suit seeking mandatory injunction to compel the Muhammadu Buhari-led regime and the Lagos State Government to implement all the recommendations of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and related matters on the lekki toll gate.

This order was contained in a court paper titled “Notice of Registration” obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday.

The court ordered the Nigerian government to lodge its defence within the stipulated days and failure to do so would compel the court to give judgment in the suit.

A human rights’ activist and founder of One Love Foundation, Patrick Eholor, had on December 3, 2021 in a suit marked ECN/CCJ/APP//71/21 through his lawyer, Ihensekhien Samuel, sued the Nigerian government on behalf of the members of his foundation who were brutalised and killed by Nigerian security forces at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.

The court order read, “Notice is hereby given that an application between PATRICK EHOLOR AND FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA was lodged by the applicant and registered by the court on the 3rd day of December 2021.

“You are required to lodge a defence within thirty (30) days after service of this application on you and take note that in default of your so doing, the applicant may proceed here in and judgement may be given in your absence.”

The suit is seeking an order of the court compelling the Nigerian government and the Lagos State government to give full effect to all recommendations and resolutions of the report of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and related matters on the Lekki toll gate killings as released on November 15, 2021.

The suit is also seeking adequate compensation for those brutalised and killed as contained in the report of the panel.

Other reliefs sought included; general damages of the sum of $100million for the inconveniences and damages suffered by the plaintiff, its group and its non-governmental organisation.

The suit noted that Nigeria is a state party to International, Regional and Sub-Regional treaties which protect and guarantee freedom of expression and press freedom such as Articles 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right; Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right 1976; Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States 1993, Articles 1,5,7,10,11 and 12 of the Supplementary Act (A/SAl/6/10) on Freedom of Expression and Right to Information in West Africa 2010.

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