The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before the ECOWAS Court of Justice over the rampant killings by Fulani herdsmen.
Naija News reports that ECOWAS has fixed 22 April 2021 to deliver judgment in the case seeking to hold Buhari administration responsible for the killings, raping of Nigerians by the herdsmen.
ECOWAS arrived at the decision after listening to arguments from SERAP’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), and the lawyer of the federal government, Adedayo Ogundele.
The court heard arguments seeking “justice and accountability for the authorities’ failure to prevent, account for and investigate killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property across the country by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators.”
In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/15/16, SERAP is arguing that, “the continuing attacks, killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators across the country amount to serious violations of human rights of the rights to life, to the security and dignity of the human person, and to property.”
Femi Falana, arguing the case, said: “The government has not denied the serious averments by SERAP. The government is responsible for the unlawful killings by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators, which have not been adequately prevented, investigated or prosecuted by the authorities. These responsibilities are heightened when an observable pattern has been overlooked or ignored, such as is the case in this suit.”
Falana also argued: “The government has a responsibility to protect and ensure the security of life and property of everyone in Nigeria. It is not enough for the government to say that civil cases have been brought by some of the victims. The government has a responsibility to investigate, fish out the perpetrators and prosecute them, and to compensate the victims.”
The suit, reads in part: “SERAP also contends that the obligation to secure the right to life is not confined to cases where it has been established that the killings were caused by an agent of the State. Nor is it decisive whether those affected or their families have lodged a formal complaint about the killings with the competent investigatory authority.”
“It is contended that the mere knowledge of the killings by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators on the part of the authorities have ipso facto given rise to an obligation under Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to carry out an effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings and to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and to provide reparations to victims.”
“Moreover, the Defendant has a responsibility for those killings, raping maiming and destruction of property where authorities knew or ought to have known of an immediate threat and failed to take measures that might have been expected to avoid those attacks and killings.”
“SERAP further contends that the Defendant has positive obligations to provide a framework of security for the protection of life, and to protect the lives of those individuals at risk from unlawful attacks by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators. The lack of accountability for the attacks by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators across the country has continued to create a culture of impunity which clearly is not compatible with the rule of law in a democratic society.”
Source: Naija News