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SERAP tasks Nigerian leader on ending deteriorating state of rule of law

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to end the deteriorating state of rule…

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to end the deteriorating state of rule of law in the country.SERAP told Buhari in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, that he should “use the sixth anniversary of his government in power as an opportunity to halt Nigeria’s backsliding from constitutional and international obligations, reverse a steady deterioration of the rule of law and persistent breach of human rights, including the rights to a corruption-free society, and to life and security of Nigerians”.

“We urge you to publicly give an assurance that you and your government would end the worsening rule of law crisis, obey court judgments, genuinely combat grand corruption, and address the systematic and egregious violations of Nigerians’ right to life and security in several parts of the country,” SERAP said.

According to SERAP, the call followed the recent celebration of the sixth administration of President Buhari, which swept to victory on three cardinal promises – tackling insecurity, fixing the economy, and fighting corruption.

It recalled that on Friday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said that Nigerians would appreciate this administration better at its expiration in 2023.

But SERAP expressed serious concern over what it describes as the continuous attacks on the rule of law.

“We are gravely concerned about persistent attacks on the rule of law. Millions of people are falling into preventable poverty and live in a state of insecurity,” SERAP said.

“This government’s effort to use anniversary celebrations to deflect attention from its record of assault on the rule of law isn’t going to work. Instead, it should use the occasion to create a rule of law-friendly environment that would make Nigerians safer.”

According to SERAP: “Systematically breaching the rule of law is not a sign of strength. Your administration should urgently comply with Nigeria’s constitutional and international obligations to respect the rule of law, if it is not to leave behind a legacy of impunity and attacks on the rule of law, and ultimately, on the system of protection of human rights after your tenure in 2023.”

The letter, read in part: “Should your government fail and/or refuse to urgently implement the recommended measures, SERAP would approach the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to invoke their charters and treaties to restore the rule of law and human rights in Nigeria.”

“Attacks on the rule of law have made it harder for your administration to fulfil your oft-repeated promises to combat corruption, and to protect Nigerians’ right to life and security.”

“SERAP is seriously concerned that a culture of attacks on the rule of law has adversely affected the functioning of the country’s judiciary, undermined the integrity and authority of our courts, and reduced their ability to function effectively as the fundamental safeguard of rule of law in the country.”

“SERAP believes that respect for the rule of law and human rights is vital if your administration is to be able to effectively and satisfactorily address the growing poverty, inequality, and insecurity across the country.”

The organization expressed the hope that the next two years will show your administration’s commitment to consistently uphold democracy, the rule of law, human rights, including the right to a corruption-free society, and the right to life and security.

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