Lawyers Without Border Gets 3 Successful Judgments on the ProCAT Project, says Head of Nigeria Office

By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna

The Head of Office, Avocats Sans Frontières France also known as Lawyers Without Borders (ASF France), Angela Uwandu, has disclosed that its “Promoting the United Nations Convention Against Torture” (ProCAT) project in Nigeria, has successfully recorded three judgements in Nigeria.

According to Angela, in a statement which was made available on Tuesday said, “in continuation of its efforts in eradicating torture in Nigeria, Avocats Sans Frontières France/Lawyers Without Borders France (ASF France) recently enforced the fundamental human rights of three victims of torture in Imo and Enugu States on the platform of its “Promoting the United Nations Convention Against Torture” (ProCAT) project in Nigeria.

“The three (3) successful judgments which followed fundamental rights applications brought by ASF France on behalf of Messrs Oguchi Kelechi Ihejirika, Elvis Davis and Jude Agha were received in July, 2020. In Oguchi Kelechi Ihejirika vs COP Imo State, a High Court in Imo State ordered for declaratory reliefs for the torture meted out on the victim. Monetary reliefs in the sum of N2, 000,000 was also granted as compensation for the unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional violations of the victim’s rights as enshrined in Sections 34 & 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Costs in the sum of N20, 000 was also awarded in favour of the victim.

“Also, in Enugu State, a High Court granted freedom to Mr Elvis Davis, on 28 July, 2020. The Court in its ruling acknowledged that the detention of Mr Davis, without trial from 2016 to 2020 is unconstitutional and violates his fundamental human rights to personal liberty and fair hearing as enshrined in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. He was consequently released from custody on 29 July, 2020.

ProCAT promotes the ideals of the United Nations Convention Against Torture of which Nigeria is a signatory, it is currently being implemented in Enugu, Edo, Imo, Kaduna and Lagos States with support from the United Nations Voluntary Funds for Victims of Torture.

She further explained that in the third case handled by ProCAT legal team, a High Court in Enugu State, on 27 July, 2020, ordered the release of Mr Jude Agha, citing Order IV of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.

She said, “ASF France remains committed to Fundamental Human Rights enforcement as well as the development of human rights jurisprudence and practice in Nigeria.

“Our deployment of resources in litigating cases of torture by security agencies will definitely help to draw the attention of the Nigerian government to the plight of torture victims and to take steps to curb the practice of torture by security agencies in Nigeria.

“ASF France plans to continue its action against torture in Nigeria to deepen and consolidate its intervention in the area, leveraging on an already established relationship with stakeholders with a possibility of an extension to new state.”

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