Judiciary

‘Unfair prosecution’: ECOWAS court awards Agba Jalingo N30m against FG

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has awarded a N30m compensation against the Nigeria Federal Government for “ill-treating and torturing” the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, Agba Jalingo.

The Court in its ruling noted that “Agba Jalingo was arrested and chained to a deep freezer for about 34 days without being charged to court, brutalized and dehumanized.

“This action taken on Jalingo’s behalf by SERAP seeks from this court reparation for inhuman treatment and torture meted out to him. We have looked at the evidence before us.

“There was no answer as to the facts that Jalingo was arrested and illegally detained, brutalized and dehumanized.

“This is against international human rights treaties, particularly the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.

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“The Nigerian government has flouted the provisions of these treaties on international fair trial standards.

“For these reasons, on the claims of compensation for ill-treatment and torture, SERAP has been able to establish the claims.

“We condemn the Nigerian government for these acts, and hereby award compensation of N30m to Mr Jalingo for violations of his human rights.

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“The Nigerian government must comply with the order of the court within three months, and file a process to this court to this effect.”

The suit was filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the government of Nigeria and Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade.

The suit, read in part, “The harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecution and arbitrary detention of Agba Jalingo simply for exercising his human rights violate Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which the country is a state party”.

Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch. He was arrested on August 22 over a report alleging that Mr Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state.

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