The Community Court of Justice of ECOWAS, has told the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to resolve the boundary dispute between Kogi and Enugu states.
The dispute over boundaries between the two states had resulted in alleged attack and displacement of members of Ette Community in Kogi State.
In a suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/11/15, members of the community situated in Olamaboro local government area of Kogi State, had through one Raymond Oguche and six others, dragged the federal government before the court over alleged violation of their rights.
In the suit, the plaintiffs had alleged that the government did nothing to protect them from the 2014 attacks by unidentified armed men, who they claimed had come from a community in Enugu State to dispossess them of their land.
In the judgement delivered by a panel led by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the court held that Ette community by virtue of being a community under the state of Nigeria is clothed with the rights of a people to challenge the alleged violation of their rights under the African Charter of Human Rights Protection.
The court however held that the substantive issue of the case bothered on an unresolved inter-state dispute between two ethnic groups under Nigerian states, for which the Supreme Court of Nigeria has ordered the matter to be revisited by the NBC with a view to finding amicable settlements to the boundary disputes.
“The responsibility to settle, demarcate and determine the true ownership of boundary disputes in Nigeria lies on NBC.
“Boundary disputes are matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the defendant; to determine which people, parts of people and or place, belong to its component parts.
“The court will be a busy body to delve into such matters bearing in mind Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter, which recognises that matters of this nature is within the reserve domain which international law has no competence to deal with”, the court held.
The judge added that if the Supreme Court of Nigeria, being the final arbiter in the case has ordered the parties involved to resort to the NBC, and did not demarcate the boundaries, “who is this court to do so on their behalf?”
Justice Nwoke further held that in view of the foregoing, the alleged violation of Article 20 and 22 of the African Charter as raised by the plaintiff was unfounded.
He added that the case was therefore inadmissible for not being within the human rights mandates of the court as it hinged on boundary dispute, and was consequently dismissed.
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