Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP and 116 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court Abuja to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to ensure the arrest of soldiers and police officers indicted by the Lagos #EndSARS panel report for the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll-gate, and police brutality cases.
In the suit number filed on Friday, SERAP wants the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, including adequate compensation.”
SERAP is further seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that those still being detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released, and all charges against them are dropped.
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi read in part, “The Buhari administration has the constitutional responsibility to allow victims of human rights violations to find out the truth in regard to acts committed, to know who the perpetrators of such acts are, and to obtain justice and adequate compensation.
“The right to life is an inherent, core, and non-derogable human right, regardless of the circumstances, and even in times of armed conflict or states of emergency. Summary, extrajudicial, or arbitrary executions are clearly prohibited under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and international law.
“The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary, and Summary Executions affirm that ‘extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions’ cannot be carried out under any circumstances.’
“According to the principles, ‘governments shall prohibit orders from superior officers or public authorities authorizing or inciting other persons to carry out any such extra-legal, arbitrary or summary executions. All persons shall have the right and the duty to defy such orders.’
“International law requires that the use of lethal force, such as firearms, is an ‘extreme measure’ that should only be considered when strictly necessary in order to protect life or prevent serious injury from an imminent threat.
“Articles 2(1) and 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party require State Parties to ‘undertake to respect and ensure’ and provide effective remedies for violations of the rights in the Covenant.
“The remedies must be accessible and effective remedies and take into account the special vulnerability of certain categories of person.
“The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of principles relating to states’ obligations to the victims of serious violations of international human rights law that makes clear that states are obligated to investigate violations of international human rights law thoroughly and impartially, and where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible.
“States also have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for violations.
“President Buhari has a constitutional duty, being the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, and that there is no impunity for allegations of human rights violations.
Joined in the suit as Respondent is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN.
This followed the submission of the Lagos #EndSARS panel report citizens were actually killed at Lekki tollgate, despite denials by the army and the Buhari government.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.