ECOWAS Court orders Nigerian govt to pay German N53m for unlawful detention

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Federal Government to pay over N53 million to a German, Mr. Martin Gegenheimer, for unlawful arrest and detention.

The court’s communications department disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

The court delivered the verdict on Thursday.

According to the statement, the court ordered the payment of N53 million as special damages to Gegenheimer for various losses he suffered during his detention.

It explained that the costs were incurred while Gegenheimer was under unlawful arrest and detention by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

The statement read: “The cost related mainly to hotel expenses incurred by the German while under forced detention by the government.

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“Delivering judgment in a suit filed by the German, a panel of three judges headed by Hon. Justice Edward Amoako Asante, also ordered the government to pay another N10 million in general damages.

“As reparation for all violations and moral prejudice suffered for the violation of his rights and another $10,000 being the expenditure incurred by the applicant to secure his bail.

 “The court also ordered the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of the German passport which was ‘arbitrarily and unlawfully’ seized by the government as well as his removal from the government’s watch list.

“The court, however, ruled that it found no evidence of the violation of the plaintiff’s right to torture.”

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“In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/23/20 Mr. Gegenheimer, who is married to a Nigerian citizen but based in Nairobi, Kenya, through his Counsel, Mr. Festus A. Ogwuche, sought the enforcement of his fundamental human rights along with those of his children arising from his wrongful arrest and unlawful detention and the seizure of his German Passport.

“The applicants, which also included SAT Swiss Aviation Nigeria Limited, the company at whose invitation he visited Nigeria, are contending that the German legally entered the country for business purposes.

“But he was wrongfully arrested and detained while on his way back to Kenya, resulting in the violation of his rights to fair hearing, freedom of movement, and dignity of his human person.”

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