Amnesty International, 26 others slam Buhari regime over alleged intimidation, harassment of SERAP 

Posted by News Express | 10 December 2021 | 384 times

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Amnesty International Nigeria, foremost human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, and 25 other civil society organizations on Thursday slammed the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged “intimidation and harassment of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), an independent anti-corruption watchdog, and end escalating intimidation and aggression towards human rights defenders and journalists.” They urged the administration “to put an end” to the hounding of SERAP.

The request was contained in a statement signed by Amnesty International Nigeria, Falana SAN, and the 25 others: Human Rights Watch; Adopt A Goal Initiative; Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre; Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria); Access to Justice; Sterling Centre for Law & Development; Justice Support Network; Paradigm Initiative; Connected Development (CODE); Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA); Justice for Peace and Development Initiative; M.H.O.G Foundation; TechHerNG; Sesor; Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD); Baobab for Women’s Human Rights; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Global Rights; NOPRIN; Alliances for Africa (AfA); Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF); Centre for Impact Advocacy Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre (REPLACE); and Premium Times Centre For Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

They noted in the statement that “following SERAP’s public interest cases brought against the Government, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, issued a statement warning the organization to “desist from putting out its divisive, irresponsible, and bare-faced publicity stunts”. They slao quoted Shehu as saying: “SERAP should stop the publicity stunt and end the repeated ridiculous claims that it is bringing legal action against the Government and/or President of Nigeria.” 

Berating the Buhari administration, the activists said in the statement: “We are seriously concerned that this intimidatory tactic by the government against SERAP solely for peacefully carrying out its mandates illustrates the growing repression of civil society, attacks on journalists, and restriction of civic space in Nigeria. 

“Continuous and increasing attacks and intimidation against civil society organizations, human rights and journalists in the country is antithetical to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights both of which the country has ratified. 

“We are concerned that the attack on SERAP is clearly aimed at creating a climate of intimidation against civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and journalists in the country. The targeting of civil society organizations and human rights defenders will have a chilling effect on the promotion and protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law in the country. 

“The Government must strongly condemn the threats, harassment, and intimidation of SERAP and other groups, human rights defenders and journalists and ensure a conducive environment for them to carry out their work and operate freely without any fear of reprisals.” 

Source: News Express

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