The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice has ordered the Nigerian government to pay a soldier by name, Barnabas Eli, 10 million naira as compensation for his dismissal from the Nigerian Army for the loss of his rifle in 2012.
The court also ordered the government to pay Mr. Eli the arrears of his salary and other entitlements from March 2015 to the date of his release from detention.
After losing his rifle, the soldier was sentenced to two years imprisonment by a court martial without recourse to the confirming authority before enforcement.
Delivering a default judgment under Article 90(4) of the Rules of the Court following a motion filed by the applicant on October 10, 2018, the court also held the government in violation of the applicant’s right to be heard within a reasonable time.
In determining whether the decision of the court martial required confirmation by the appropriate authority before enforcement, the ECOWAS Court relied on the provisions of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20, which stipulates the punishment for the loss of public or service property.
The law, however, said the punishment required that the decision of such a court martial must be transmitted to a confirming authority for the confirmation of the finding and sentence.