The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari at the ECOWAS court.
This was made known in a statement issued on Sunday by the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare over the failure of the Federal Government “to protect the rights to life, security, and dignity of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, and the failure to secure the safe release of those held captive by the terrorists.”
On March 28, terrorists attacked the AK9 Abuja–Kaduna train, killing at least nine people, wounding several others, and abducting an unknown number of passengers.
The victims have remained with the terrorists for a month, despite repeated appeals for the government to free them from captivity.
The suit followed reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) failed to approve funds for surveillance equipment that could have helped to prevent the train attack.
In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/20/22 filed last week before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, SERAP is seeking “a declaration that the train attack, abductions and killings of passengers by terrorists amount to a failure by the government to protect Nigerians, and to prevent these grave human rights violations.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order directing the Buhari government to protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of Nigerians, including travellers across the country, by ensuring adequate security and taking measures to prevent attacks.
“The Buhari government has a legal duty to protect individuals from real and immediate risks to their lives and security caused by actions of third-parties such as terrorists.
“The Buhari government has failed to protect the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights of the victims of the train attack to life, dignity and security, and their right to an effective remedy.”
The Buhari government’s refusal to protect and ensure the passengers’ and victims’ rights to life, security, liberty, and dignity violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Nigeria is a signatory, SERAP noted in the statement.
As a result, SERAP is also asking the ECOWAS Court for the following relief amongst others:
A DECLARATION that the Abuja-Kaduna train attack amounts to a failure by the government to exercise due diligence to prevent the attacks, abductions and killings, and cannot be justified, and therefore constitutes a serious breach of Nigeria’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A DECLARATION that the failure of the government to provide an effective remedy and reparation for the passengers and victims of the train attack is unlawful, as it amounts to breaches of obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights.
AN ORDER directing the government to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of Nigerians, including travellers across the country.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application for expedited hearing, and the substantive suit.