Human rights lawyers have reacted to a plan by some aggrieved Nigerians to file a lawsuit against the Chinese Government for damages and alleged negligence which has led to many deaths and paralysed the global economy.
The Nigerians had, in a petition, given China 14-day ultimatum to pay the sum of $200billion as compensation for the losses incurred as a result of the pandemic, saying failure to do so would lead to legal action.
A human rights lawyer, Tope Akiinode, said the proposed lawsuit was dead on arrival, adding that the processes ought to have been instituted by the Nigerian government instead of individual citizens.
He added that the issue of jurisdiction would be a stumbling block for the suit to sail through; adding that since Nigeria and China are sovereign states, the decision of Nigerian court cannot be binding on China government.
He said, "You cannot sue the Chinese government before a Nigerian court and expect the jurisdiction to be binding on them.”
Akinode explained that if such should happen, there would be a contractual agreement between the two governments or international treaties in which the two governments had agreed and ratified in their various laws.
"The tenure of the treaty will now determine which court has jurisdiction. Even with that, it is the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) that will have the jurisdiction to determine such suit.
"There is no hope in it because it is entirely clumsy and I don't know the kind of law they are relying upon. I don't know where they get the locus standi. I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel of that lawsuit.”
Also reacting to the issue, a lawyer, Jiti Ogunye said those Nigerians threatening to sue have no locus standi and mandate of those who were affected by the virus.
He wondered what would be the legal mechanism to sue a foreign government and the court that would assume jurisdiction in the case.
The 14-day notice given by the group of Nigerians suing China would elapse June 1.