An International Civil Group, Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), has dragged President Bola Tínubu of Nigeria before the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, invoking the Protocols of the Court to stop the planned military action against the Republic of Niger over the coup plot.
The group in the suit instituted on its behalf by a Nigerian lawyer, Dr Oluwakayode Ajulo, is praying the Regional Court to invoke relevant ECOWAS treaties and international laws to stop the military invasion of Niger Republic being spearheaded by the Nigerian Government.
The grouse of the Civil Group, among others, is that the planned military action or invasion will run foul of the obligations in the ECOWAS treaties and therefore amounting to illegality.
The suit emphasized categorically that ECOWAS treaties prohibit aggression among member States.
Apart from the Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), other plaintiffs in the matter are a former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of the Internal Affairs (NIIA), Professor Bola Akinterinwa and a Nigerian Northern Region lawyer, Hamza Nuhu Dantani.
Defendants are ECOWAS, Authority of Heads of State & Government of ECOWAS, President of ECOWAS Mission, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Niger.
A military group led by General Abdourhamane Tchiani had on July 26 toppled the civilian and democratic government of President Mohammed Bazoum who has since been clamped into unlawful military detention.
Although the three plaintiffs in the regional suit described the coup as most unfortunate, they however warned that Nigeria should not travel the dangerous road of military hostilities that may further escalate the crisis in the Niger Republic.
According to them, over 300,000 refugees, mainly Nigeria citizens, have already fled the Niger Republic adding that military action against Niger Republic would lead to breach of fundermrntal rights to life, rights to dignity of human persons and liberty to life.
The plaintiffs therefore prayed the ECOWAS Court of Justice for a restraining order against any form of military action in Niger Republic that may undermine the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Niger Republic.
Besides the Court action, the plaintiffs’ Counsel, Dr Ajulo wrote a strongly worded letter to President Tinubu, notifying him of pendency of the suit and invoking the Protocol of the ECOWAS Court on the need to respect and obey the rule of law as well as to refrain from doing that will militate against the subject matter.
Written by: Elizabeth David