Falana sues Nigerian govt over denial of access to African Court
Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has sued the Federal Government over denial of Nigerians to access African Court.
The legal luminary on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja sought an order directing the Federal Government to accept the competency of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights to preside over cases concerning Nigerians.
In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/356/2019, Falana argued that Nigerians are being denied the opportunity to access the African Court due to the fact that the Federal Government is yet to declare its acceptability of the continental court.
According to him, Nigeria which currently has a representative on the bench of the Court is among the 30-member states of the African Union that have ratified the protocol establishing the court which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Meanwhile, Article 34(6) of the Protocol for the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights requires every member of the African Union to make a declaration accepting the competence of the African Court to receive cases from Non-Governmental Organisations and individuals in the countries.
Contrary to this, only nine of the member states have declared their recognition to accept the competence of the court.
They include; Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Gambia, Mali, Malawi, and Tanzania.
An affidavit filed in support of Falana’s suit challenging the Federal Government read that, “Nigerian citizens whose human rights are violated in Nigeria and other African countries are unable to seek redress in the African Court due to the refusal of the Federal Government to accept the competence of the Court by making the declaration pursuant to article 34 (6) of the Protocol.
“On December 1, 2011 the Federal Government assured the President and Judges of the African Court that it would make the declaration accepting the competence to enable individuals and non-governmental organisations to access the African Court. Attached and Marked Exhibit 1 is a copy of the publication of the statement of the Vice President dated December 2, 2011.
“In spite of the said assurance the Federal Government has failed to make the declaration accepting the competence of the African Court.”
Falana said he had requested the office of the AGF to make the declaration to enable Nigerians access the African Court by a letter.
He stated that the AGF “acknowledged the receipt of the letter but has refused to make the declaration.”
“From time to time, our law office is inundated with complaints from Nigerians who are brutalised in some African countries,” he said.