By Innocent Anaba
Lagos — Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has filed a request before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, asking the court to “consider the effects of corruption on the poverty level in Nigeria, and whether the rising and systemic poverty violates specific human rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

SERAP is asking the court “to assess the legal and human rights consequences of poverty, including whether increased poverty breaches the right to equality and non-discrimination, right of the people to socio-economic development, and their right to natural wealth and resources.”

SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni in the petition filed before Dr. Robert Eno, the court’s Acting Registrar, urged the court to consider the “disclosure last month by the Statistician-General of the Federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Yemi Kale that 112.519 million Nigerians, that is around seventy per-cent of the country’s estimated 163 million population, live in relative poverty conditions.”

Although the 26-page report puts the 2010 poverty measurement rate at 60.9 per cent, the NBS stated that the figure might increase to 71.5 per cent when the 2011 figure is computed. The report also shows that income inequality had risen from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010.

SERAP said: “The question for determination has been framed in terms of law, and raises problem of human rights law as established by the African Charter. The request by its very nature is susceptible of a reply based on law; indeed it is scarcely susceptible of a reply otherwise than on the basis of law. As such, the request is not affected by the provisions of article 34(6) of the African Court Protocol, requiring declaration by states as a condition of access to the court.”


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