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It is on record that the Nigerian government hardly give important attention to its abysmal performance on human rights violations and serial disobedience of court orders and judgements. That is why the news that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United Nations to protest the obstinate disobedience of court judgments by government. SERAP’s letter signed by Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale on May 11, 2018, was addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Diego García-Sayán, is gladdening.

The organisation, among other things, is that the Nigerian government is selective on the judgment it obeys contrary to constitutional provisions. SERAP specifically made reference to the cases of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and the leader of the Shi’ite movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenatu, who have been in military detention since December 2015 among others.

In part, the statement stated that, “Other court orders that the government continue to disobey include: the ECOWAS court judgment ordering the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination; the rulings by the Nigerian courts ordering the authorities to establish education banks to assist poor students to obtain loans to pursue tertiary education and the restoration of people’s bank to give loans without collateral to underprivileged citizens.

“At least two of the court rulings SERAP recently obtained from the Federal High Court have been disobeyed by the Nigerian authorities. The first involves a case with suit number FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011 delivered in March 2016 where Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria to widely publish details on the spending of recovered stolen funds by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.

“The details ordered to be published by the court include: detailed information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria; the amount that has been spent from the recovered stolen public assets and the objects of such spending; and the details of projects on which recovered stolen public assets were spent.

“The second court judgment involves a case with suit number FHC/CS/964/2016 delivered in July 2017 where Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordered the government to tell Nigerians the circumstances under which allegedly recovered stolen assets were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official”, it stated.

The Federal Government urgently needs to proactively take positive steps towards reviewing the bad human rights abuse records and violation of court judgement.

Only recently, the United States Department of State released a damning human rights report on Nigeria. On ‘Arbitrary Arrest or Detention’, the report stated that “Police and other security services have the authority to arrest individuals without first obtaining warrants if they have reasonable suspicion a person committed an offense, a power they often abused. The law requires that, even during a state of emergency, detainees must appear before a magistrate within 48 hours and have access to lawyers and family members. In many instances government and security officials did not adhere to this regulation without being bribed. Police held for interrogation individuals found in the vicinity of a crime for periods ranging from a few hours to several months, and after their release, authorities frequently asked the individuals to return for further questioning”.
We urge the United Nations to take a critical look at the protest letter and act on it accordingly. It reflects the feelings of many Nigerians that are being captured daily in the media. Concerned Nigerians and members of the international community are keen on seeing the response of the report.

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This post was syndicated from Nigerian Pilot News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.


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