1st May, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari and his government have a case to answer at the ECOWAS court over their failure to protect the rights to life, security, and dignity of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
They are also being held to account for their failure to secure the safe release of those held captive by the terrorists.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is behind the new legal move against the government.
The suit was filed last week before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja.
Terrorists had on March 28 attacked the AK9 Abuja–Kaduna train, killing at least nine people, wounding many others, and abducting an unknown number of passengers.
The victims have remained with the terrorists for a month, despite repeated appeals for the government to free them from captivity.
The suit followed reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) failed to approve funds for surveillance equipment that could have helped to prevent the train attack.
In the suit, SERAP is seeking “a declaration that the train attack, abductions and killings of passengers by terrorists amount to a failure by the government to protect Nigerians, and to prevent these grave human rights violations.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order directing the Buhari government to protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of Nigerians, including travellers across the country, by ensuring adequate security and taking measures to prevent attacks.”
SERAP is seeking “an order directing the Buhari government to urgently find and identify all the passengers, victims and their families, and to pay adequate monetary compensation of N50 million to each of the passengers and victims and their families.”
In the suit filed together with an application for expedited hearing, SERAP is arguing that, “The Buhari government has a legal duty to protect individuals from real and immediate risks to their lives and security caused by actions of third-parties such as terrorists.”
SERAP is also arguing that, “A fundamental notion of contemporary human rights law is that victims of violations such as the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack enjoy an independent right to effective remedies. Rights without remedies are ineffectual, rendering illusory the government’s duty to protect such rights.”
According to SERAP, “The Buhari government has failed to protect the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights of the victims of the train attack to life, dignity and security, and their right to an effective remedy.”
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi.