Twenty-five Nigerians have taken the Peoples Republic of China to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court. They allege that it is culpable in the spread of COVID-19 and want China to pay $200 billion as compensation over the effects of the Coronavirus on their livelihoods.
They have engaged a team of 11 Senior lawyers of Nigeria ((SANs) and other advocates led by Professor Epiphany Azinge (SAN) to file the lawsuit. The advocates say the Coronavirus pandemic started due to China’s nuisance, negligence, and breach humanitarian and environmental rights of the Chinese government. The defendants in the suit were listed as the Minister of Justice China, Peoples’ Republic of China, Communist Party of China, National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, Minister in charge of the National Health Commission, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In the class action suit for themselves and other Nigerians affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, the claimants include; Chief Ekene Ebuzeme, Kingsley Obioha, Shehu Mohammed Bello, Goodland Nigeria Limited, Sir Mark Olajide, Prince Akin Oladipo, Chidi Onwuemere Mr. Tanko Beji, Chief Victor Nwosa andPasaya Travel and Tours Limited
Led by the 1st Claimant, Kingsley Obioha, a young Brilliant lawyer who has a big reputation in a class of legal practitioners in the country, he alleges that they have been unable to make appearances and conduct legal business because of the pandemic.
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They further allege the impasse and the attendant restrictions have made them incur heavy financial losses.
The second claimant, Shehu Bello, who is a Bureau de change operator representing the class of forex traders carrying on business across the country, emphasized that the forex market shut down due to the pandemic. This caused many forex traders to lose huge returns.
“Most of the businesses have lost their capital because of Covid-19 and with the easing of restrictions there has been volatility of the market-leading to a decline in investment,” the claimant said
They accused China of not acting in accordance with the Articles and the provisions of the International Health Regulations of 2005. The articles were ratified on June 15, 2007 (the IHR). They accuse the republic of failing to promptly inform the World Health Organisation (WHO) of its discoveries relating to the pandemic. China’s action constitutes a breach of the above Articles, they claim and admittedly a failure to observe an international obligation
They want the courts to find that China was negligent in their handling of the pandemic outbreak which resulted in untold disruption of socio-economic activities, death, hardship, and loss of livelihood.
“A declaration that China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak violated the humanitarian rights of citizens guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, loss of human dignity psychological trauma, resulting in social exclusion, and social deprivations,”