ECOWAS Court of Justice: Nigeria’s appeal on death row case ‘inadmissible’

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has denied Nigeria’s request for a review of the court’s November 18, 2020 decision in which it awarded N20 million to two former death row inmates for the treatment they received in prison.

In a verdict issued in 2020, the court upheld a fundamental rights enforcement application filed by death row inmates Abu Dennis Uluebeka and Mary Bahago, awarding each of them N10 million as compensation for the inhumane treatment they received while in custody.

Uluebeka was freed from prison in May 2019 owing to his old age, having met all of the requirements for his release. Bahago, whose death sentence was reduced to life in prison, is still imprisoned in Suleja Prison.

The Nigerian government filed for a review shortly after the court published its decision last year, claiming that fresh information had emerged. However, the ECOWAS Court, now sitting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, ruled that the decision could not be reviewed on Tuesday.

According to a court release, Justice Januária Costa, who read the verdict, said the motion was inadmissible since Nigeria could not submit any new facts in compliance with the court’s rules.

The three-judge panel, chaired by Justice Dupe Atoki, also found that the Nigerian government’s reliance on new facts seemed to be an ordinary appeal, which could not be taken due to the finality of the court’s decision.

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