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FG urges ECOWAS court to refrain from unenforceable orders

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has advised the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States to avoid issuing orders and judgments that are practically incapable of enforcement.

The call was made by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, during the opening session of the ECOWAS Judicial Council’s statutory meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday.

In his address, the AGF highlighted the importance of considering the peculiarities of member states, expressing concern over some ECOWAS court pronouncements that are challenging to enforce. He emphasized the need for the regional court to promote and deepen alternative dispute resolution measures within the region.

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The AGF stated, “It is important for the Court to pay attention to the peculiarities of member States and refrain from issuing orders and judgments that are practically incapable of enforcement.”

Moreover, he commended the justices of the ECOWAS Community Court for their efforts in resolving disputes and contributing to peace and stability in the region. He also stressed the necessity of the ECOWAS Judicial Council’s role in recruiting judges with the requisite experience and capacity.

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who chairs the ECOWAS Judicial Council, affirmed the Council’s commitment to safeguarding the autonomy of courts and judges. He advocated for the harmonization of laws and legal practices within the ECOWAS region to promote regional integration and cooperation.

The President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. H. E. Omar Touray, highlighted the challenges in enforcing judgments of the Community Court and called for deliberate action to address this issue. He emphasized the crucial role of the justice sector in conflict prevention through the promotion and defense of the rule of law and human rights in the face of instability and insecurity in the community.

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The meeting, attended by Chief Justices of ECOWAS member states, aimed to address issues affecting the effective operation of the Community Court and ensure excellence, high standards of conduct, independence, impartiality, and diligence among the judges.

The ECOWAS Judicial Council intends to institutionalize more regular meetings to provide consistent review and guidance for the activities of the Court.

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