The former Liberian Government headed by President Ellen Johnson has been sued at the ECOWAS court to pay U$500 million as compensation for the violation of human rights, life, dignity, housing, property to a group of Liberians in Nimba County.
The lawsuit, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, was filed on May 8, 2018 by a Nigerian lawyer at the Community Court F Justice (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria.
The plaintiff, the Ganta Support Group Incorporated representing a total of 823 displaced and victimized families blamed former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf accusing her government of violating their human rights during her regime.
They told the court through their lawyer that in 2006, President Sirleaf established an Adhoc presidential committee headed by the Internal Affairs Ministry to resolve the Nimba land dispute that had the potential to plunge the country into conflict but the problem was not solved up to the end of the government.
“Apart from the illegal occupation of the plaintiff’s ancestral homes and landed properties the defendant (Government) has allocated the unoccupied area of the land to the former officials of the defendant including the immediate past President Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf” a portion of the lawsuit said.
The complainants are complaining to the ECOWAS Court of Justice that the forceful occupation of landed properties in Nimba County since 1990 by agents of the government is unlawful as it violates their human rights. They are therefore asking the Court to restore their rights.
The group informed the court that the violent attacks by government agents on a peaceful rally they were holding in Nimba County in November 2006 is unlawful as it violates their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assemble.
In another count, the group told the court the government was under obligation to restore the displaced Liberians to their ancestral homes and landed properties in the county.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the government, agents and servants from further attacking the affected citizens of Nimba County in any manner whosoever and howsoever,” the lawsuit said.
The group contends the government has not only failed or neglected to prevent the violation of their human rights, but wantonly violated their human rights through injustice, illegal but continued onslaught on the Mandingo people of Nimba County, a clear contradiction to their obligation to protect and guarantee the human rights of all.
Article 4 of the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS, in 1993 provides for the applicability of the provision of the African Chapter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to member states of ECOWAS. By virtual of Article 1 of the African Chapter the Liberian government is under obligation to recognize the rights, duties and freedom enshrined in the Chapter and undertake to adopt legislative or other means to effect to them.