African Court, FG Collaborates to Fight Rights Abuses

The Judge, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), Hon. Lady Justice Stella Anukam, has stated that very few Nigerian citizens and many other States of the African Union are not aware of the existence of the Court even when the countries have ratified the Protocol establishing the Court.

She made the statement at the Mini African Court Sensitization and Training for Media held in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja on Thursday, 25th April 2019.

She said the Court intends to do more to promote its activities among African Union (AU) member states to ensure improved awareness among the citizens, about the workings of the court.

She noted that there is so much that Nigerian citizens can do with the knowledge of the working of the Court, and believed that the media is the major stakeholder to work with in order to achieve the purpose.

Giving highlights on the mandate establishing the Court, Anukam said the Court has recorded many achievements from which the people and government of Nigeria can immensely benefit.

She disclosed that the people of Tanzania are taking full advantage of the presence of the Court located in Arusha, while encouraging the media to publicise the success story of the Court so that Nigerian citizens could also benefit.

Speaking, the Spokesman for ACHPR, Sukhdev Chhatbar in an interactive session with journalists reiterated that the mandate of the Court was established to complement and reinforce the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights often referred to as Banjul Commission.

He noted that Nigeria ratified the protocol in 2004 but has failed to take the final step of declaration.

Nigerians and civil rights groups in the country are currently disallowed from accessing the ACHPR because, after ratifying the protocol establishing the court, Nigeria was yet to take the final step of making declaration, recognizing the court’s competence.

Under Article 34(6) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, countries are required to, in addition to ratification; make a declaration recognizing the competence of the court to receive cases from non-government organizations (NGOs) and individuals.

He said it was sad that, out of the Africa’s 55 countries, 30 have ratified the protocol, while only nine have made the declaration. He urged Nigeria and Nigerians to take advantage of the services of the court in the area of human rights promotion and protection.

He pointed that the Media has a big role to play in publicising the activities of the Court and promised to organize more training in due course.

The Legal Officer, African Court, Oluwatosin Nguher said the Primary duty of the State is to ensure that the rights of the people are protected.

In a Press Statement issued by the Court’s Registrar, Robert Eno said that a delegation of the court, led by its President, Justice Sylvain Ore will arrive the country on a one-week working visit from April 29, 2019.

“The delegation, which includes three judge and senior registry staff, is expected to pay a courtesy call on the President of Nigeria… and meet key officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.

“The visit is part of the court’s on-going efforts to strengthen ties with Regional Court’s on the continent.”

Eno added that the visit to Nigeria is a follow up on a similar visit to the Court’s base in Arusha, Tanzania by officials of the Abuja-based ECOWAS Community Court in February 2018.

The Arusha, Tanzania based ACHPR, established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, began operations in 2006, two years after the protocol came into force in 2004.

Ogundoro Modupe

Deputy Director

Fed. Min of Justice

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