CHINA could be made to compensate Nigeria for the debilitating effects of the coronavirus pandemic after a coalition of legal luminaries dragged the Asian giant to court demanding $200bn in compensation for the damage the virus has caused.
Late last year, the coronavirus started in China’s Wuham province and has since spread all over the world, forcing government to introduce lockdowns to curtail the spread. Like most other nations, Nigeria has been hard hit by the restrictions as she cannot trade and crude oil, the country’s lifeline is selling for less than production cost as the moment.
Due to a combination of absent demand and low prices, Nigeria is unable to sell her crude oil, so her export terminals are packed with barrels of petroleum nobody wants. In addition, the country’s urban areas are facing a food crisis as the government has not distributed enough foodstuffs to the populace, who are not allowed to work due to government restrictions.
Nigeria’s cities are particularly vulnerable to lockdowns because their economies are dominated by petty artisans and traders who earn their living on a daily basis. After having had to endure a month of economic lockdown, the youths in these cities are now getting restless, demanding that the government lift the restrictions.
Blaming China for all these problems, a coalition of Nigerian legal practitioners has filed a lawsuit, demanding $200bn as damages for the loss of lives, economic strangulation, trauma, hardship, social disorientation, mental torture and disruption of the normal daily existence of people in Nigeria. Their lead prosecutor, Professor Epiphany Azinge, filed the suit on their behalf, stressing that they had concluded pleadings for the class action against the Chinese government.
He added: “The team of legal experts planned a two-phase line of action. First is with the federal high court of Nigeria and secondly to persuade the government of Federal Republic of Nigeria to institute a state action against the People’s Republic of China at the International Court of Justice at the Hague
“The legal experts will be claiming damages to the tune of 200bn and the Chinese Government will be served through its embassy in Nigeria.” Professor Azinge is currently a member of the Commonwealth Arbitral Tribunal London, representing Nigeria and Africa.