The ECOWAS Court of Justice has fixed November 30, 2020, to adopt the terms of settlement in a third party proceeding brought by representatives of some communities and victims of mines and explosives remnants of Nigeria’s civil war.
On the reconstituted panel for the case are Justices Edward Amoako Asante (presiding), Dupe Atoki (judge rapporteur) and Januaria Moreira Costa.
Justice Dupe Atoki said the court was amenable to settlement while emphasising the need for diligence in the process to avoid time-wasting.
The judge added that the court adjourned for a period longer than requested by the parties to enable them conclude the settlement and file the terms of settlement.
The rapporteur warned that failure to do this before the adjourned date will cause the court to hear the preliminary objection filed by the plaintiffs, Vincent Agu and 19 others.
The plaintiffs had filed an application challenging the propriety of the Third Party Applicants’ suit.
At the resumed hearing, they informed the court of an ongoing discussion of the parties that had reached a substantive agreement stage.
In the initial suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12, Vincent Agu and others claimed the violation of their rights by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and five others.
They are the Ministry of Defence, Minister of Defence, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and two companies the government used to undertake the demining exercise.
In the present suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12TP consolidated by ten of the eleven third party claimants (TP1, TP2, TP4, TP5, TP6, TP7, TP8, TP9, TP10, TP11), excluding the third applicant TP.3, the applicants sought to be joined as parties to guarantee the adequate and equitable distribution of the benefits of the Court’s Consent Judgment no ECW/CCJ/JUD/14/17 of 30th October 2017.
The Third Party Applicants comprises traditional leaders of all impacted communities, sites and settlements as well as victims of mines and explosives remnants of war in the country’s Rivers, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Benue States.
In their application filed as representatives of the victims and affected communities, the Third Party Applicants are seeking an amendment and variation of the Court’s judgment to reflect their names.
They averred that the first defendant, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has consented to settle the plaintiffs and affected communities but they filed the suit so the court can order a variation of the mode of payment of compensations to include hundreds of other communities impacted.
They are demanding that the monies and compensations be disbursed through the solicitors of all parties including those of the Third Party Applicants, to ensure equity, fairness, transparency, probity and justice for all affected victims and communities.