Court declares Nigeria’s deportation of Cameroonian activists illegal

Federal High Court, Abuja. [Photo credit: OfCounsel Nigeria]
Federal High Court, Abuja. [Photo credit: OfCounsel Nigeria]

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday declared as illegal and unconstitutional, the deportation of 47 Cameroonians from Nigeria on January 26, 2018.

The judge, Anwuli Chikere, also granted all the reliefs as prayed by the key Cameroonian separatist leader, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and 46 others who were deported from Nigeria after their arrest in Abuja.

The applicants who are Cameroonian citizens seeking asylum in Nigeria were abducted at Nera hotels in Abuja on January 7, 2018, while they were assembled at the said venue for a meeting.

They were subsequently detained by the National Security Agency at an underground detention center in Abuja without access to their families, lawyers and doctors.

They had approached the court through two separate suits with number FHC/ABJ/CS/ 85/ 2018 and FHC/ABJ/CS/ 147/ 2018 respectively.

In her judgement on Friday, Mrs Chikere agreed with the counsel representing the applicants, Femi Falana, saying that the Nigerian government lacks the power to deport refugees and asylum seekers from the country.

Mrs Chikere however granted all the reliefs sought in both suits and awarded N5 million to each of the applicants in the first suit while in the second suit granted N200, 000 to each of the applicants.

Apart from awarding the damages to each applicant, Mrs Chikere ordered the federal government to ensure that the deportees are brought back to Nigeria forthwith.

Meanwhile Mr Ayuk, the president of a self-declared Ambazonia state, made up of English-speaking part of Cameroon, was one of 15 people whom Cameroon issued an international arrest warrant for in November 2017.

The Nigerian government is yet to react to the ruling but has the options of appealing or obeying the judgement.

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