In a significant ruling, the ECOWAS Court has held the Nigerian government accountable for the torture inflicted upon Sunday Olaniran Ayodeji by a police officer, resulting in the amputation of Ayodeji’s leg. The court has awarded N60 million in damages against the government and has ordered the immediate return of Ayodeji’s confiscated possessions, including a car and the sum of N900,000.
Ayodeji’s case was taken up by Avocats Sans Frontieres France, operating under the SAFE Project, which is funded by the European Union (EU) and Agence française de Développement (AFD). The court’s decision comes as a significant victory for Ayodeji, as he endured the permanent disability caused by the brutal act of the police officer.
Avocats Sans Frontieres France, in a statement, expressed satisfaction with the ECOWAS Court’s judgment and urged the Nigerian government to comply with the court’s directives. The organization emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders in the criminal justice system to establish a zero-tolerance culture towards torture in Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Mrs. Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria, expressed her delight at the successful pursuit of justice in this case despite the challenges faced. She remained hopeful that the ruling would serve as a deterrent against the systemic use of torture in Nigeria and restore faith in justice for Ayodeji and other survivors of torture.
Ayodeji himself expressed overwhelming joy and relief following the ECOWAS Court’s ruling. He expressed gratitude to Avocats Sans Frontieres France for providing him with a platform to seek redress and highlighted the significance of the judgment for all victims of torture in Nigeria.
The case was handled under the SAFE Project, an initiative by Avocats Sans Frontieres France funded by the EU and AFD, aimed at ending severe human rights violations in Nigeria, including torture, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary detention. This ruling is expected to contribute to the development of jurisprudence on torture within the regional court, underscoring the universal condemnation of torture as a crime against humanity.