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Kogi election: ECOWAS court fixes date for judgement in Amb Ocheni’s case against FG

The ECOWAS Court of Justice will deliver its decision on October 31 in the case between Amb Ali Ocheni and four others and the Federal…

The ECOWAS Court of Justice will deliver its decision on October 31 in the case between Amb Ali Ocheni and four others and the Federal Republic of Nigeria in relation to the alleged violation of the applicants’ human rights.

The applicants, Amb Ali Ocheni, Hajiya (Chief) Rekiya M. Abaji, Dr Sebastine Abuh, Suleimane Akpa and Dr Ojoachele Akor Felix, all Nigerian citizens, invoked Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights; Articles 3, 4, 7, 13, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 6(1) 7, 9, 20 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and Elections and the African Union Declaration on Democracy and Elections.

They accused the respondent state of violating their right to freedom of movement, right to freedom of expression and right of association.

The applicants argued that the respondent state failed to fulfill its international obligations by failing to protect the citizens of Kogi State who live in widespread insecurity.

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They criticised Nigeria for its inaction with regard to Kogi by refusing to take security measures to protect the applicants and citizens.

They added that they were living in fear and intimidation ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial elections in November 2023.

The respondent state denied the applicants’ allegations, pointing out that the election period is globally characterised by unrest.

It contended that it was fully aware of the upcoming election and had put in place security measures to protect the citizens.

It argued that the applicants were impatient. In addition, it challenged the applicants’ capacity to bring this action before the court and asked the court to dismiss their application.

During the hearing on October 27, 2023, the court heard the arguments of both parties. It granted the respondent’s request for an extension of time to file its defence.

In addition, it granted the applicants’ request to withdraw its application for default judgement.

It also heard the parties on the applicants’ application for interim measures and accelerated procedure and decided to give its ruling jointly with the judgement.

It heard them on merits and decided to deliver its judgement on October 31, 2023.

The panel of three judges on the bench is composed of Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara, presiding; Justice Dupe Atoki; Judge Rapporteur and Justice Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves, member.

 

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