ECOWAS court grants Nigerians N20m compensation for death row sentence

ECOWAS Community Court of Justice has awarded  ₦10m each as compensation in favour of two Nigerians, Abu Dennis Uluebeka and Mary Bahago, who were subjected to inhuman treatment while on death row.

A panel of three judges led by Justice Dupe Atoki ordered the Nigerian government to pay Uluebeka and Bahago N10 million each for the inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered in Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, and Suleja Prison, Niger State, respectively, Punch writes.

The 88-year-old Uluebeka and 48-year-old Bahago were said to have been convicted for murder and sentenced to death by hanging. While Uluebeka had spent 15 years on death row, Bahago stayed in prison for 20 years while on death row.

However, Bahago’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment from Oct. 2018 while Uluebeka was released from prison custody.

Reading the judgment on behalf of the panel, the Judge Rapporteur, Justice Januaria Costa, held that their rights were infringed upon for being subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.

In awarding the compensation, the court ruled that “the prolonged delay while awaiting execution in conditions of severe detention where they experienced constant anguish, fear, physical and mental suffering reached the level of severity that constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment prohibited by the African Charter.”

The court then awarded the sum of  ₦10 million each in favour of the applicants and ordered that the defendant should pay the cost of the suit. It also held that the judgment be complied with within three months from the date of the judgment.

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