Nigerian Lawyers Are Latest to Sue Chinese Regime Over Spread of CCP Virus

April 27, 2020 Updated: April 27, 2020

A group of Nigerian lawyers has filed a class-action lawsuit against Beijing over the spread of the CCP virus.

The lawyers are demanding $200 billion in compensation for the “loss of lives, economic strangulation, trauma, hardship, social disorientation, mental torture and disruption of the normal daily existence of people in Nigeria,” a statement by professor Epiphany Azinge says, according to several Nigerian media reports.

Azinge, a member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal and former director-general of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, is championing the lawsuit through his law firm Azinge and Azinge.

Nigeria, a former British colony, is part of the Commonwealth.

The CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has since spread to over 200 countries and territories, causing more than 56,000 deaths in the United States alone.

Nigeria

To date, there are at least 1,273 confirmed cases of the virus in Nigeria, with 40 deaths in connection with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The lawyers have concluded legal procedures for the class action against Beijing, according to the Daily Post.

“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 statement says.

Nigeria, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters. The recent tumble in oil prices amid the global pandemic has hurt its economy.

“Nigeria’s economy is being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices,” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said in a statement published on April 7.

The IMF has projected that Nigeria’s GDP this year would shrink by 3.4 percent.

The CCP virus has also devastated Nigeria’s aviation industry. According to an April 2 press release by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there were 3.5 million fewer passengers on Nigerian airlines compared to last year, resulting in a revenue loss of $760 million, risking 91,380 jobs and $650 million in contribution to the local economy.

Post-pandemic, Nigeria has applied for more than $7 billion in emergency funds from international lenders, including the IMF, World Bank, and the African Development Bank.

On March 30, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari placed three states, Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory, under lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. Since then, local media have reported people crying out for food because they don’t have enough income.

Other Lawsuits

In the United States, attorney generals in Missouri and Mississippi have filed lawsuits against the Chinese regime over its coverup of the virus, while U.S. law firms have begun several class-action lawsuits.

The Chinese regime initially concealed the virus outbreak, including by silencing eight doctors who took to Chinese social media to warn people about a new form of pneumonia in late December.

Many U.S. lawmakers have criticized China for the lack of transparency about the virus outbreak, with some proposing legislation to hold Beijing accountable for the spread of the virus, including the elimination of a legal protection under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) that insulates countries from being sued in the United States.

In Italy, local nonprofit ONEurope Onlus, an advocacy group that helps integrate foreigners and immigrants into a new country, is behind a local class-action lawsuit that seeks to take Beijing to local and international courts, seeking compensation for damage caused by the virus.

Italy is among the hardest-hit by the virus, with almost 27,000 deaths and more than 199,000 infections.

Also in Italy, local consumers’ association Codacons is currently working with U.S. law firm Kenneth B. Moll to evaluate a possible class action against China, according to an April 23 statement.

Hotel de la Poste, a ski resort hotel in the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy, recently presented a legal complaint to a local court, seeking compensation from China’s Ministry of Health for its loss of business, according to local newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

In early April, Arab News reported that Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Talaat was filing a lawsuit against the Chinese embassy in Cairo, demanding $10 trillion in damages caused by the virus in Egypt.

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