The judicial organ of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Court of Justice, has ordered the Nigerian government to pay the arrears of 244 soldiers whose employment into the army was terminated in 2016.
The soldiers were part of those dismissed for various offences including refusing to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast because of complaints about insufficient equipment. 5000 officers had been dismissed but most were pardoned and redeployed.
A verdict summary released on Friday recalled that the court had in 2019 ruled that the dismissal was a violation of the soldiers’ rights to work and fair hearing.
In its supplementary judgment delivered on Thursday, the court reviewed the 2019 ruling and ordered the government of Nigeria to pay the soldiers their arrears, allowances, and entitlements from January 2016.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Keikura Bangura who said, “The judgment of the court in ECW/CCJ/JUD/21/19 delivered on May 15, 2019, is hereby supplemented with an additional paragraph no (vi).”
The soldiers’ application for an order to be reinstated was, however, denied by the court.
“The court did not omit to give a decision on reinstatement of the applicants in the original judgment,” Justice Bangura held.
In a supplementary application filed on June 14, 2019, the applicant-soldiers had asked for an order “mandating the respondent (Federal Government of Nigeria) to immediately reinstate them, including to their respective ranks, having found that their dismissal without arraignment, prosecution, and sentence by a duly constituted court-martial is illegal, null and void”.
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