By Jonathan Ugbal
18 Months after ordering the Federal Government of Nigeria to pay CrossRiverWatch publisher, Citizen Agba Jalingo NGN30 million as compensation for the dehumanizing treatment meted out on him, the President of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Edward Asante on Monday bemoaned what he described as “poor enforcement of its decisions,” at the opening of the court’s new building in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
According to Mr. Asante, “the effectiveness of the court has been circumscribed by the poor enforcement of its decisions.” He added that 70 percent of the court’s judgments are being disobeyed across the sub-region despite the court’s contribution to promoting regional peace and stability by exercising its human rights jurisdiction.
One such is that of Mr. Jalingo which was given in July 2021 after a suit was instituted against the Federal Government by a non-profit organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.
Also, Premium Times reported in August 2022, how the court’s verdict of 2016, regarding the payment of about NGN 400 million judgment debt owed by a firm, Vision Kam-Jay Investment Limited, was being disobeyed by the ECOWAS Commission headquartered in Abuja.
However, Mr. Asante solicited the support of the FCT minister in offsetting the rent of the new office accommodation which was the end of a decade-long negotiation with the Nigerian Government when it became clear that the previous Headquarters along Agadez crescent in the Wuse area was inadequate.
On his part, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, commended the Nigerian government for its support of the effective operations of the community institutions. He hoped the new office would provide the court with the necessary resources and facilities to function efficiently.
He said the court would temporarily occupy the new office space pending the delivery of its new headquarters in 2025.