No fewer than 28 civil society organisations have shown solidarity with Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over what they termed as intimidation and harassment by the government.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had called out SERAP activities against the government, describing it as “public stunt.”
The civil society groups expressed concern, stating 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.
“We, the undersigned civil society organizations urge the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the 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.
“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”.
“According to Mr Shehu, “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.””
The organisations also stated that cContinuous 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 organisations, 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.”
The solidarity move was signed by
Amnesty International Nigeria
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)
Femi Falana SAN
Access to Justice
Sterling Centre for Law & Development
Justice Support Network
Connected Development (CODE)
Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA)
Justice for Peace and Development Initiative
Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD)
Baobab for Women’s Human Rights
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Alliances for Africa (AfA)
Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)
Centre for Impact Advocacy
Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre (REPLACE)
Premium Times Centre For Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)