Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Court has held the Nigerian government liable for the torture of Mr. Sunday Olaniran Ayodeji whose leg was amputated due to a gunshot by a Nigeria Police Officer in Kaduna State.
The victim’s possessions including; a car and the sum of nine hundred thousand Naira (NGN 900,000) were also confiscated unlawfully by the same officer, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, Country Director, ASF France Nigeria said the verdict held on July 10, 2023.
The torture victim whose case was handled on pro-bono basis by Avocats Sans Frontieres France under the European Union (EU) and Agence française de Développement (AFD) funded SAFE Project was awarded Sixty Million Naira (NGN 60,000,000) with an order for the immediate return of his confiscated possessions.
The ECOWAS Court thereafter ordered the Nigerian government to internally investigate the human rights breach of Mr. Sunday Olaniran Ayodeji, Uzoma-Iwuchukwu in a statement.
The the case was handled by Avocats Sans Frontieres France under the auspices of its Strengthening the National Actors and Advocating for Ending Severe Human Rights Violation (SAFE) project funded by the European Union and Agence française de Développement (AFD) aimed at ending human rights violations of torture, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detention in Nigeria.
Avocats Sans Frontieres France also known as Lawyer Without Borders, France, commended the ECOWAS Court for its judgment on this case and urged the Nigerian government to uphold the directives of the Court.
It also delighted that this judgment is coming on the heels of the commemoration of the 2023 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (IDSVT), which re-emphasizes the need for collaborative efforts amongst all stakeholders of the criminal justice system to establish a zero-tolerance culture to torture in Nigeria.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Nigeria after the landmark judgement,, the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria Mrs. Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, expressed 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 Mr. Ayodeji but other torture survivors that justice is possible even against powerful governments and institutions”, Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said.
Reacting to the judgment of the ECOWAS Court, Mr. 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.
“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”, according to him.
TheNewspad reports 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.