Judgment of the Court 1. Chief Emefo Etudo - for the Plaintiffs 2. Nnanna O. Obom - for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Defendants 3. Muhammad Danjuma Alhassan - for the 3rd Defendant The Parties 1. The Applicants are Members of crew of ship/vessel MT CAPBRETON, represented by their Learned Counsel Bar. Chief Emefo ETUDO. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Defendants are namely, the 1st Defendant is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Member State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The 2nd Defendant is Minister of Justice, Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The 4th Defendant Inspector General of Police of Nigeria and the 5th Defendant is the Comptroller of prisons of Nigeria, all represented by Nnanna O. Obom. The 3rd Defendant is the Chief Naval Staff of the Nigerian Marine represented by Mr. Mohammad Danjuma Alhassan. The Facts of the Case 2. After fifteen Applications dated from the 30th November 2006 and lodged in the Registry of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, the learned counsel to the Applicants brought a motion that the fifteen claims should be consolidated into one Application. The learned counsels to the Defendants did not oppose the application and the Court granted their demand by consolidating the said Applications due to the reason that they were the same in nature, subject matter and the reliefs sough; the facts of case are the following: 3. The said Vessel MT Capbreton, a foreign Vessel flying the flag of St Vincent and Grenadines Islands with its identified registration Number, was arrested on the 17th day of July 2003 at the coast of Forcados, a port on the high seas, sixteen (16) nautical miles of the coast of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the crime of dealing in crude oil within the Nigerian territorial waters. 4. The said vessel originally belonged to a petro-marine and its principal Barnex Holding SA, was sold to All Shore Marine Services Ltd, which by letter of reemployment, the said crew members were reemployed. The vessel was chartered by African Sea Shipping BV, a Geneva Branch, to which she was loaded with cargo of LPFO (Low pour fuel oil) at Abidjan for discharge at Cotonou, Benin Republic. On arrival at Cotonou, the discharge was delayed as the jetty was busy and thus deviated from her goal of discharging her cargo to render help to a nearby vessel in distress, named M.T Zogu, as she could not sail due to a faulty engine, problem of shortage of clean water and diesel for both the crew and the power generator. The said vessel could not put on its lights at night due to the shortage of Diesel; which constituted a serious danger to navigation. 5. The Vessel, MT Capbreton and her crew, which are the Applicants, set to sail towards the distress vessel off the coast of Nigeria at 16 nautical miles where she anchored. It was only blue waters insight and also, there were no installations within 200 meters of the vessel. While rendering assistance, the vessel MT Capbreton was spotted and arrested by a naval ship of the 3rd Defendant, NNS Kyenwa on the allegation that she was taking Nigerian crude oil into her; the alleged act being a crime under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The vessel MT Capbreton, cargo, documents, vessel log book and the letter of reemployment of the Applicants were handed over to the Defendants, Nigerian Naval officers. The Applicants were arrested and detained in prison while the investigation was going on, in which the cargo documents alongside the substance removed from the said vessel were analyzed. The analysis showed that the cargo from MT Capbreton was actually fuel oil 180 cst (LPFO) Low pour fuel oil and not crude oil. 6. Notwithstanding, the above mentioned cargo documents and the result of the investigation of the substance, and despite the conclusions of the findings, the Defendants continued to detain the Applicants, during which the Applicants were paraded before the National and International press as thieves of Nigerian crude oil. Consequently, they were charged to the Federal High Court of Nigeria on two count charges on the 27th of July 2004. Following this arrest the Defendants sought and obtained consent of the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to prosecute the Applicants who were foreigners but ECOWAS Community citizens. During the trial, the Defendants called fourteen witnesses while the Applicants called four witnesses. The judgment of the criminal case delivered and annexed to the 2

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