Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja over the alleged “brutal crackdown, repression, and grave violations and abuses of the human rights of the people of Rivers State.”
In a suit, which was filed last Friday, SERAP said: “Governor Wike is using COVID-19 as a pretext to step up repression and systematic abuses against the people of Rivers state, including by carrying out mass arbitrary detention, mistreatment, forced evictions, and imposing pervasive controls on daily life.”
According to SERAP: “Governor Wike is using executive orders 1 and 6, 2020 as instruments to violate and abuse the rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, to a fair trial, and to property, contrary to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
SERAP said: “This suit is primarily against Governor Wike and the Rivers State government for failing to respect, protect and ensure the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights of the people of his state.
“The governor has used executive orders 1 and 6 to run roughshod over the human rights of Nigerians.
“Ultimately, the Federal Government, being the signatory to ECOWAS treaties and protocols, cannot escape its responsibility to ensure that the human rights guaranteed under human rights treaties, to which Nigeria is a state party, are fully and effectively realized throughout Nigeria, including in Rivers state.”
“Suing the Federal Government alongside Governor Wike is entirely consistent with article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which provides that a state may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”
SERAP is asking the court for an order of injunction to; “restrain and stop Governor Wike from further using, applying and enforcing executive orders 1 and 6 or any other executive orders to harass, arbitrarily arrest, detain and demolish property of the people of Rivers State.”
SERAP is also seeking an order directing: “Governor Wike and the other defendants to pay adequate monetary compensation to the victims of human rights violations and abuses, and to provide other forms of reparation, which may take the form of restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition, and other forms of reparation that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant.”
The suit filed on SERAP’s behalf by its solicitors; Kolawole Oluwadare, Atinuke Adejuyigbe and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “SERAP contends that several people were arbitrarily arrested and detained in various police stations and isolation centres in Rivers State and without any regard for due process of law.”