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COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST GUINEA, AMID CLAIMS OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY

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COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST GUINEA, AMID CLAIMS OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY

By: Michael Mike

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has dismissed a case brought by a Guinean alleging violation of his rights to fair, impartial and independent court proceedings by the State of Guinea.

In its judgment delivered by Hon Justice Sengu Mohamed Koroma, Judge Rapporteur, the Court affirmed it had jurisdiction to hear the case and declared the application admissible. However, it held that the Applicant – Mr Souleymane Bah’s rights were not violated as claimed.
In addition, the Court dismissed the preliminary objection of the Respondent – State of Guinea challenging the admissibility of the case before the Court as well as Mr Bah’s application to compel a witness to testify before the Court. It also dismissed all other reliefs and claims sought by both parties, and ordered Mr Bah to pay a symbolic cost of 10,000 CFA Francs to the State of Guinea.
In the case with suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/24/19, filed on 3 June 2019, Mr Bah claimed the violation of his rights to fair, impartial and independent tribunal as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Mr Bah, who was represented by his lawyer – Mr. Alpha Yaya Drame, told the Court that a partial Order was issued against him under his nickname “Thia’nguel” but that he was neither notified of the allegations against him nor was he given an opportunity to respond to the same. He also told the Court that he learnt of his conviction to life sentence from the press.
He averred that he was tried in absentia which contravenes the provisions of the Guinean Code of Criminal Procedure and asked the Court to order the State of Guinea to, inter alia, pay him general and economic damages as his conviction has equally affected his contract with an international organisation.
On its part, the Respondent – State of Guinea represented by Mr. Joachim Gbilimou, denied Mr. Bah’s claims adding that Judgment No 03 of 9th January 2018 involving Thia’nguel was not the same person as Mr. Souleymane Bah and that Thia’nguel was never identified as Mr. Bah during the trial.
He further argued that Mr. Bah should have opposed the decision of the national court if he felt he was the same person, and moreover, the nickname was not indicated as a party to any contract with an international organisation as claimed. The Respondent therefore asked the Court to dismiss all the claims of Mr. Bah and award costs in its favour.
Concerning Mr Bah’s request for the Court to compel the Attorney-General of Guinea to give evidence before the Court, the Court noted that the facts and evidence before it did not establish a connection between Mr. Bah, the indictment and or the said judgment from the national court, and therefore dismissed his application.
However, the Court ordered the Guinean government to refrain from arresting or detaining Mr. Souleymane Bah in relation to Judgment No 3 of 9th January, 2018, following the government’s earlier submission that “the criminal Judgment n° 03 of 09/01/2018 of the Tribunal of First instance of Dixinn did not target Mr Souleymane BAH”.
The Court dismissed all other claims after noting that ‘the so-called Thia’nguel was never formally identified at any of the judicial stages’ and therefore Mr. Bah cannot claim his rights were violated because he was neither served any notice of action, nor given opportunity to defend himself, and he could not have appealed or challenge the default judgment of the national court as Mr. Souleymane Bah.
Furthermore, Judgment no 03 of 9th January 2018, could not have caused Mr Bah, the termination of his contract because the agreement between the parties allowed for the possibility of non-renewal of the said contract.
The Court also dismissed Mr. Bah’s claim for compensation on the grounds that media report which is not a usual channel of court communication cannot be taken as a court process.
It awarded a symbolic 10,000 CFA Francs as cost in favour of the State of Guinea.
Also on the three-member panel were Honourable Justices Gbéri-Bè Ouattara(presiding) and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves (member).

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has dismissed a case brought by a Guinean alleging violation of his rights to fair, impartial and independent court proceedings by the State of Guinea.

In its judgment on Monday delivered by Hon Justice Sengu Mohamed Koroma, Judge Rapporteur, the Court affirmed it had jurisdiction to hear the case and declared the application admissible. However, it held that the Applicant – Mr Souleymane Bah’s rights were not violated as claimed.

In addition, the Court dismissed the preliminary objection of the Respondent – State of Guinea challenging the admissibility of the case before the Court as well as Mr Bah’s application to compel a witness to testify before the Court. It also dismissed all other reliefs and claims sought by both parties, and ordered Mr Bah to pay a symbolic cost of 10,000 CFA Francs to the State of Guinea.

In the case with suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/24/19, filed on 3 June 2019, Mr Bah claimed the violation of his rights to fair, impartial and independent tribunal as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Bah, who was represented by his lawyer – Mr. Alpha Yaya Drame, told the Court that a partial Order was issued against him under his nickname “Thia’nguel” but that he was neither notified of the allegations against him nor was he given an opportunity to respond to the same.

He also told the Court that he learnt of his conviction to life sentence from the press.
He averred that he was tried in absentia which contravenes the provisions of the Guinean Code of Criminal Procedure and asked the Court to order the State of Guinea to, inter alia, pay him general and economic damages as his conviction has equally affected his contract with an international organisation.

On its part, the Respondent – State of Guinea represented by Mr. Joachim Gbilimou, denied Mr. Bah’s claims adding that Judgment No 03 of 9th January 2018 involving Thia’nguel was not the same person as Mr. Souleymane Bah and that Thia’nguel was never identified as Mr. Bah during the trial.

He further argued that Bah should have opposed the decision of the national court if he felt he was the same person, and moreover, the nickname was not indicated as a party to any contract with an international organisation as claimed. The Respondent therefore asked the Court to dismiss all the claims of Bah and award costs in its favour.

Concerning Bah’s request for the Court to compel the Attorney-General of Guinea to give evidence before the Court, the Court noted that the facts and evidence before it did not establish a connection between Mr. Bah, the indictment and or the said judgment from the national court, and therefore dismissed his application.

However, the Court ordered the Guinean government to refrain from arresting or detaining Mr. Souleymane Bah in relation to Judgment No 3 of 9th January, 2018, following the government’s earlier submission that “the criminal Judgment n° 03 of 09/01/2018 of the Tribunal of First instance of Dixinn did not target Mr Souleymane BAH”.

The Court dismissed all other claims after noting that ‘the so-called Thia’nguel was never formally identified at any of the judicial stages’ and therefore Mr. Bah cannot claim his rights were violated because he was neither served any notice of action, nor given opportunity to defend himself, and he could not have appealed or challenge the default judgment of the national court as Mr. Souleymane Bah.
Furthermore, Judgment no 03 of 9th January 2018, could not have caused Mr Bah, the termination of his contract because the agreement between the parties allowed for the possibility of non-renewal of the said contract.

The Court also dismissed Mr. Bah’s claim for compensation on the grounds that media report which is not a usual channel of court communication cannot be taken as a court process.

It awarded a symbolic 10,000 CFA Francs as cost in favour of the State of Guinea.
Also on the three-member panel were Honourable Justices Gbéri-Bè Ouattara(presiding) and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves (member).

COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST GUINEA, AMID CLAIMS OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

By: Our Reporter

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Sunday, said his administration cannot do more regarding distributing food items to internally displaced persons and vulnerable residents.

Zulum stated this in Mafa while addressing a group of internally displaced persons who have protested, threatening to go to the bush where Boko Haram terrorists camped.

The governor expressed displeasure over the action, and he said, “Yesterday, I received a report that some IDPs in Dikwa have protested that they will return to the bush because we could not provide food for them. This afternoon, others in Mafa have also done the same.”

Zulum said, “In the last couple of years, we have consistently provided food to internally displaced and vulnerable people. Believe me, what we are doing is even beyond our capacity.

“In the last four years, the Government of Borno State spent nothing less than N40b to provide food and non-food items to the people of the state.”

The governor said, “No government, be it state or federal, has the capacity to provide food to everyone and let me categorically state that I cannot do more than this,”

“The hardship we are facing is not only in Borno State but all over Nigeria. There are economic crises in all parts of the world. No state in Nigeria is doing better in the distribution of palliative than Borno,” Zulum stated.

He added, “We distributed food to IDPs and vulnerable communities every quarter. However, with the improvement in the security situation, we decided to reduce the number of our distribution because people have started earning their livelihood.”

“Most of you here (more than 80%) now have access to agricultural land, and I believe you have cultivated your farmlands and harvested your farm produce.”

“Both state and federal governments spend huge amounts of money on security. We have realised substantial progress in terms of development and security. Let me be frank with you that we will not condone mischievous acts by anyone.

The governor expressed gratitude to the federal government for providing the needed support to attain substantial peace in Borno State.

Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

By: Michael Mike

The disputed Business and Investment Forum (BIF) planned during the proposed official visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is now going to hold, the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria has revealed in an official correspondence with Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs.

It would be recalled that a leak official correspondence between The Qatari government and Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs last week had said the forum would not be holding during Nigeria’s President planned visit on March 2 and 3 due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

The leaked correspondence had also said Qatar’s ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Nigeria’s president desired to visit.

Qatar further stressed that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian side for business and investment purpose.

The country also added that its officials would be too busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Nigeria’s president planned to visit.

“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter stated.

But in the latest correspondence between the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria and the Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the event on 3rd March 2024, as proposed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the correspondence, the Embassy said it was glad to convey the readiness of Qatar Chamber of Commerce to host the forum to the Nigerian government.

Reacting to the latest correspondence in a statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir said the clarification has become necessary to clear deliberate misinformation and misrepresentations in the media on the purported cancellation of the event.

Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Members of the Council of European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) have arrived in Abuja to begin a four-day working visit to the country.

During the visit taking place from 26-29 February 2024, the COAFR members will engage with Nigerian authorities, government agencies, civil society groups, regional and international organisations and private sector actors in Abuja and in Lagos.

According to a statement on Sunday by the European Union in Nigeria, the Africa Working Party (COAFR) is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

The statement said in Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others.

They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.
In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent.

The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

According to the statement, this is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria, noting that in addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team.

The statement further revealed that this year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).

It said more than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country.

Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.
is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

In Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others. They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.

In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent. The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

This is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria. In addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team. This year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).
More than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country. Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.

Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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