ECOWAS Court decides on Uluebeka’s case, one of Nigeria’s oldest prisoners | Dailytrust

ECOWAS Court decides on Uluebeka’s case, one of Nigeria’s oldest prisoners

FILE PHOTO: A panel of ECOWAS Court justices during a ceremonial sitting
FILE PHOTO: A panel of ECOWAS Court justices during a ceremonial sitting

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has set November 18 for judgement in the murder application of the convict believed to be the oldest prisoner in Nigeria, Abu Dennis Uluebeka.

The regional court will also deliver judgment in the application by another prisoner on death row, Mary Bahago, on the same date.

Although Uluebeka, 90, spent 17 years in Lagos Prison after he was convicted of murder in 2003, he was released by the Amnesty Committee of the federal government on grounds of ill-heath, he is demanding the sum of N50 million reparation over the long years of imprisonment under cruel, degrading and inhuman condition among others.

Bahago, 50, has spent 20 years in Suleja Prison, Niger State, following her conviction for murder.

A three-member panel of the Court, presided over by Justice Dupe Atoki, fixed the date on 18th September 2020 after hearing their applications brought by their lawyer, Noah Ajare of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Management Africa.

According to a statement by the court, beside Atoki (Nigeria), other justices on the panel are Justices Keikura Bangura (Sierra Leone) and Januaria Tavares Silva Moreira Costa (Cape Verde).

Ajare argued that the applicants were not given adequate legal representation by the state, and were denied fair hearing and due process of the law.

Their application recalled that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had during the National Economic Summit in February 2018 pronounced the need for the execution of death row inmates in April 2018 as a means of decongesting the prisons. This was re-echoed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami in April 2018.

The applicants claimed that the comments put them in constant fear for their lives, adding that they received several threats of secret execution from the security agencies.

But Counsel to the federal government, Barrister Unyime Ebuk, urged the court to strike out the case for lack of coherence in their reliefs, adding that their claims cannot be substantiated.

Previously, the oldest prisoner was Pa Celestine Egbunuche, who was released from the Enugu Prison in 2019 after 18 years of conviction on murder charges, aged 100 years.

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