Detention: ECOWAS court orders FG to pay German N53m

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Federal Government to pay over N53 million to a German national, Mr. Martin Gegenheimer, for unlawful arrest and detention.

The court’s Communications Department disclosed this in a statement at the weekend in Abuja, following the judgment of the court on the matter on Thursday.

According to the statement, the court ordered the payment of N53 million as special damages to Gegenheimer for various losses hehadsufferedfollowinghisunlawfularrest and detention by Immigration Services. Itexplainedthatthecostswereincurredwhile GegenheimerwasunderunlawfularrestanddetentionbytheNigerianImmigrationService.

The statement reads: “The cost related mainly to hotel expenses incurred by the German while under forced detention by the government. “Delivering judgment in a suit filed by the German, a panel of three judges headed by Hon. Justice Edward Amoako Asante, also ordered the government to pay another N10 million in general damages. “As reparation for all violations and moral prejudice suffered for the violation of his rights and another 10,000 dollars being the expenditure incurred by the applicant to secure his bail.


“The court also ordered the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of his German passport which was ‘arbitrarily and unlawfully’ seized by the government as well as his removal from the government’s watch list.


“The court, however, ruled that it found no evidence of the violation of the plaintiff’s right to torture. “In suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/23/20 Mr. Gegenheimer, who is married to a Nigerian citizen but based in Nairobi, Kenya, through his counsel, Mr. Festus A. Ogwuche, sought the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.


“Along with those of his children arising fromhiswrongfularrestandunlawfuldetentionandtheseizureof hisGermanPassport. “The applicants, which also included SAT Swiss Aviation Nigeria Ltd, the company at whose invitation he visited Nigeria, are contending that the German legally entered the country for business purposes.


“But was wrongfully arrested and detained while on his way back to Kenya, resulting in the violation of his rights to fair hearing, freedom of movement and dignity of his human person.” Accordingtothestatement, theapplicantallegedthathewasnotinformedaboutanyjustifying circumstances recognised by law neither was a warrant of arrest nor court order producedasthebasisforhisarrestanddetention.


“He also alleged that he was not afforded the opportunity of fair hearing before any lawful authority or competent court,” the statement added.




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