HomeNewsFG Seeks Review Of ECOWAS Court Procedure

FG Seeks Review Of ECOWAS Court Procedure

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The Nigerian government has advised the ECOWAS Court of Justice to review its practice and procedure to avoid conflict with national courts.

Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, made the call on Monday at the opening ceremony of the statutory meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council in Abuja.

Mr Fagbemi urged the ECOWAS Judicial Council to promote uniform rules of practice and procedure in the administration of justice in order to reduce conflict of laws in the subregion.

In February, the Justice Minister advised Chief Justices of ECOWAS member states in February to avoid making orders that are unenforceable.
In his address at the event on Monday, Mr Fagbemi reiterated his advice, calling on the regional court to desist from making orders that are in conflict with national courts of member states.

He said while the ECOWAS block strives to fashion out uniformity in economic policies and institutions, the judiciary should not lag behind.

Challenges

The minister identified key problems confronting the judiciary in West Africa like lack of judicial autonomy and inadequate funding leading to infrastructure deficits.

He also highlighted the challenges confronting the region concerning migration, integration, insecurity, and enforcement of fundamental rights.

The Nigerian government continues to disregard ECOWAS Court orders regarding fundamental rights enforcement of many Nigerians whose rights were violated by law enforcement agents.

Mr Fagbemi admonished the ECOWAS Judicial Council to peer review the court’s operations among member states to achieve greater efficiency and independence.

CJN admonishes on rule of law

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, said the regional court is determined to ensure a just and equitable society.

Mr Ariwoola tasked ECOWAS member states to safeguarde the principles of justice, uphold the rule of law, and advance the cause of peace and prosperity.

“Let us reaffirm out Commitment to the protection of human rights, the promotion of regional integration, and the resolution of disputes through peaceful means,” he said.

The CJN Justice urged participants at the meeting to contribute meaningfully to the deliberations for the two days ahead and develop concrete recommendations to be sent to the Authority of Heads of State and Government to improve regional justice delivery in the subregion through the ECOWAS Court.

The President of the Community Court of Justice, Ewar Asante reiterated the commitment of ECOWAS Judicial Council to upholding the principles of justice, equity and the rule of law within the ECOWAS Community.

Mr Asante said the ECOWAS Court of Justice serves as a beacon of hope for the people of West Africa.

He said the court provides a platform for the resolution of disputes and the protection and enforcement of
fundamental rights.

Recalling February’s meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council in Abuja, Mr Asante said the council set up two crucial committees saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the court’s judgements, and review of the court’s rules of procedure.

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