The federal high court sitting in Abuja has declared illegal and unconstitutional the deportation of 47 Cameroonians from Nigeria in January, 2018.
At its sitting on Friday, Azanwuli Chikere, a member of the panel which heard the case, said the federal government lacks the power to deport refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria.
The move had generated criticism from far and wide, with the US saying it violated the rights of the detainees.
Delivering a ruling on an application filed by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, the court awarded N5 million damages to each of the applicant and also ordered the government to ensure the Cameroonians are brought back to Nigeria.
Among those deported were Julius Tabe, Nfor Nfor, Fidelis Che, Henry Kimeng, Awasum, Cornelius Kwanga, Tassang Wilfred, Eyambe Elias, Ojong Okongho and Nalowa Bih.
Issa Bakary, communications minister of Cameroon, had said the separatist leaders would “answer for their crimes”.
“A group of 47 terrorists, among them Mr. Ayuk Tabe, has for some hours been in the hands of Cameroonian justice, before which they will answer for their crimes,” he had said.