ECOWAS Court Fines FG N6 Million for Human Rights Abuses During #EndSARS Protest

ECOWAS Court Fines FG N6 Million for Human Rights Abuses During #EndSARS Protest | Daily Report Nigeria


On Wednesday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice ruled that the Nigerian government is guilty of human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protest in October 2020. The court found the government’s actions, particularly the disproportionate use of force at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, to be in breach of several international human rights standards.

The court mandated the Nigerian government to pay N2 million in compensation to each victim named in the suit. The applicants, Obianuju Catherine Udeh (popularly known as DJ Switch), Perpetual Kamsi, and Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka, alleged several violations occurred during the peaceful protests at the Lekki tollgate on October 20 and 21, 2020.

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DJ Switch claimed that protesters were shot by soldiers, resulting in deaths and injuries, which she live-streamed. She also claimed she started receiving threatening phone calls that forced her into hiding and eventual asylum.

The second applicant, who was responsible for the protesters’ welfare, told the court how soldiers began shooting after a power cut, leading to her hospitalization due to police tear gas.

The third applicant related how she barely escaped being shot, how soldiers refused to let an ambulance in, and how she later saw victims receive subpar treatment in the hospital.

The applicants asked the court to grant them declaratory relief as well as monetary damages for these infractions.

However, the respondent denied all claims made by the applicants, asserting that the protesters unlawfully assembled at Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020, under the guise of protesting against the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police.

Judge Rappoteur Koroma Mohamed Sengu, who delivered the judgment, said the court dismissed the allegation that the right to life as guaranteed under Article 4 of the ACPHR is violated. However, the court found the government guilty of violations of the applicants’ rights to security of person, prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, duty to investigate human rights violations, and right to effective remedy.

The court directed that the respondent must adhere to its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, investigate and prosecute its agents responsible for these violations, and report to the court within six months on the measures taken to implement this judgment.


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