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ECOWAS Court Rejects Nigeria’s Request To Review Judgment On Death Row Inmates

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has dismissed an application brought by the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a review of the court’s judgment of November 18, 2020 in which it awarded N20million to two former death row inmates for the treatment meted out on them while in prison.

The court had, in the 2020 judgment upheld a fundamental rights enforcement application by the death row inmates – Abu Dennis Uluebeka and Mary Bahago – and awarded each of them N10m for the violation of their human rights as a result of the inhuman treatment they suffered while in custody at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison in Lagos State and the Suleja prison in Niger State.

Abu Dennis was released in May 2019 from custody due to old age after fulfilling the conditions necessary for his release while Bahago, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment remains in the Suleja prison.

Shortly after the judgment last year, the Nigerian government applied to the court for a review of its decision, arguing that there were new facts on which the court could reverse itself.

In a judgment on Tuesday, the ECOWAS court, currently sitting in Abidjan, held that it could not entertain the application by Nigeria.

According to a statement by the court, Justice Januária Costa, who read the judgment, stated that the application by Nigeria was inadmissible, because of the country’s inability to disclose any new fact to the court in accordance with its Rules.

The panel of three judges, led by Justice Dupe Atoki, further held that what the Nigeria relied upon as a new fact seemed to be an ordinary appeal, which cannot be brought to the court, because of the finality of its judgment.
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