• As Court’s president visits Buhari next week
Alex Enumanh in Abuja
Nigeria’s representative in the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Stella Anukam on Thursday urged Nigeria to avail herself of the huge benefits embedded in being a part of the continental court.
Justice Anukam, who is one of the two judges from the West Africa region on the bench of the 11 member justices of the continental court disclosed that the court over time had reached several remarkable decisions in protecting the rights of her citizens.
The judge of the African Court who disclosed this while declaring open a Mini African Court Sensitisation and Training Programme for the Media yesterday in Abuja, lamented the failure of the country to make the declaration recognising the competence of the Court to receive cases from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and individuals.
She said, “We want Nigerians to take full advantage of the court. The African Court was created to protect human and peoples’ rights.”
Justice Anukam disclosed that the parley with the media was aimed at increasing awareness of the court and its benefits to the people of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the court led by its President, Justice Sylvan Ore will make a one-week working visit to Nigeria where they are expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and some key officials of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
The officials of the court will also visit the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice.
A statement by the Registrar of the court, Dr. Robert Eno explained that the “visit will help to enhance judicial co-operation and share experiences between the two countries.”
According to the statement, the reciprocal visit follows the inaugural visit by the ECOWAS Court of Justice to the Arusha-based Court in February last year during which a memorandum of understanding was signed.
The visit, he added, was part of the Court’s ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Regional Courts on the continent. A similar MoU was signed by the African Court with the East African Court of Justice last month in Arusha.
A Senior Information / Communication Officer of the African Court, Chhatbar Sukhdev, said the AfCHPR was established in 1998 by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He said the African Court was meant to reinforce the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. It has 11 justices with a President who is resident in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.