By Eric Tataw – Friday March 1, 2019.
The Federal High Court of Abuja in Nigeria has on Friday, March 1, 2019, handed down a decisive judgment in a matter pitting ten (10) Anglophone pro-independence leaders and the Nigerian government, National Telegraph has learned.
Hon Justice Anwuli I Chikere, the presiding judge at Court IV of the Federal High Court Abuja has ruled that the Nigerian Government must now ensure all refugees deported, a total of fifty-seven as the case file suggested must be returned to Nigeria with immediate effect, Barrister Abdul Oroh, one of the lawyers of the Anglophone leaders based in Nigeria told National Telegraph by phone from his head office in Abuja, early Friday, March 1, 2019.
According to Barrister Oroh, the first case was brought under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement (Procedure) Rule of 2009, on the violation of the fundamental rights of Sisiku et alia, their rights to movement, family, amongst others.
On this count, the court has ruled that the abduction at Nera Hotel was illegal and the violation of the Nigerian Law, the violation of African Charter on Human and People’s Right, consequently, the court then ordered that they should be paid five million Naira (₦5.000.000) each and that the Nigerian Government should be restrained from further violating their rights, Barrister Oroh narrated.
Barrister Oroh went on that according to the Judge, the Nigerian Constitution and the United Nations Convention of the Status of Refugees in 1951 in its article 32 and 33 were violated and consequently all ten Anglophone Pro-Independence leaders must be sent back to Nigeria.
The court again ordered that forty-seven (47) others arrested from Gembu in Taraba state and deported to Cameroon should be returned to Nigeria and be compensated with the sum of two
The Federal High Court Abuja also said there’s no evidence that those extradited were involved in any illegal act that warranted their arrest and deportation, Barrister Oroh hinted, adding that the judge opined that even if they were involved, the due process wasn’t followed.
Barrister Oroh disclosed that they would in the days ahead apply for the certified true copies of the Judgement which would now empower the Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria who is also Minister of Justice to give effect to the Judgement by ensuring that the refugees are returned and compensated.
The Nigerian Government had raised an objection that no one had the right to represent Sisiku et alia in
In a statement, Barrister Abdul Oroh thanked the Judge for upholding Justice, adding that such milestone judgment would cleanse the image of Nigeria that was already so badly dampened by the extradition saga.
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius and nine others were arrested in Nera, a hotel in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, January 5, 2018. They would later be extradited to Yaoundé, Cameroon, an act that has been described as a bootleg. They’re being accused of fueling an armed conflict that has broken out in Cameroon. They’ve all denounced their Cameroonian Nationality, insisting that they’re of Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia, a self-proclaimed new nation.
Another set of lawyers in Cameroon who are defending the decad from the Cameroon Government at the country’s military court in the capital city of Yaoundé on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 during a hearing, submitted documents from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), corroborating the defendants are refugees and asylum seekers.
On Thursday, February 21, 2019, they filed a Notice of Appeal at the Yaoundé Military Court that has been hearing the matter of their clients, and on Friday, February 22, 2019, a Memorandum and Grounds of Appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal of the Centre Region over the same case. The trial in Yaoundé is due to resume on Friday, March 7, 2019. The judgment coming from Nigeria would greatly affect that in Cameroon.
Friday’s judgment is considered crucial for the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon since the matter is not unconnected to an armed conflict that is said to be deepening in the two English-speaking regions of the North West and South West with Anglophone militias battling pro-regime soldiers as they aim to uphold a new country; Ambazonia.