Oyogist.com reports that the Economic Community of West African States Court sitting in Abuja has awarded N50 (fifty naira) nominal damages against the National Judicial Council for failure to give one Justice S. E. Aladetoyinbo, formerly of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, fair hearing while probing allegations of misconduct against the judge.
A three-man panel of the ECOWAS Court, comprising Justices Edward Asante, Dupe Atoki and Gberi-Be Ouattara, faulted the composition of the committee set up by the NJC to probe the misconduct allegations against Justice Aladetoyinbo.
Justice Atoki, who read the judgment, however explained that the ECOWAS Court awarded only N50 damages against the NJC because the aggrieved Justice Aladetoyinbo failed to provide the evidence of the prejudice he suffered when the NJC violated his right to fair hearing.
The ECOWAS Court made its decision in the matter public on Wednesday in a statement titled, “Former Judge of Abuja High Court Awarded Fifty Naira Nominal Damages.”
The statement quoted Justice Atoki, who read the judgment, as holding that “where an applicant has established a violation of his/her rights but fails to prove the ensuing prejudice or harm/injury, the court will award only nominal damages, which is usually a symbolic token to recognise violation of the said right.”
According to the statement, Justice Aladetoyinbo was reported to the NJC by a judgment debtor, who was dissatisfied with the judge’s judgment in a matter.
Following the complaint, the NJC issued a warning to the judge and placed him on a judicial watch list for nine months.
In protest, Justice Aladetoyinbo sued the NJC, demanding the withdrawal of the warning letter and damages in the sum of N855m, as well as another N12.2m as the cost of filing the suit.
What he, however, got was N50 as nominal damages.