Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an appeal to the Commonwealth to sanction Nigeria on account of the reported violations of the rights of protesters and other forms of misgovernance.
The appeal routed through Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, is urging her to use her “leadership position to apply the Commonwealth Charter to hold Nigerian authorities to account for widespread and persistent attacks on peaceful protesters, reports of human rights violations and abuses, corruption, impunity, as well as disregard for the rule of law.”
The organization asked Ms Scotland to “urgently consider recommending the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth to the Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Chair-in-office, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, to push the government to respect the Commonwealth’s values of human rights, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.”
In the Urgent Appeal dated 10 October 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Such action by the Commonwealth will be commensurate with the gravity of the human rights situation in the country. A government that attacks its own citizens for peaceful protests severely undermines its credibility as a democratic regime that respects human rights and the rule of law.”
According to SERAP, “Respect for Commonwealth values is essential for citizens to trust Commonwealth institutions. The Commonwealth ought to make clear that respect for human rights, transparency and the rule of law is fundamental to the integrity, functioning and effectiveness of its institutions.”
SERAP said: “Persistent attacks on protesters have severely constrained the ability of the people to participate in their own government, and to hold authorities and public officials to account for alleged corruption, and human rights violations and abuses, thereby causing serious hardships for ordinary Nigerians, and undermining their rights, livelihood and dignity.”