Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) today appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to “urgently instruct the police authorities to stop increasing level of attacks against anti-corruption and human rights campaigners.”
The appeal was made against the backdrop of reports that a detachment of heavily armed Nigerian Policemen were today sent to seal off the NICON Luxury Hotel venue of a program by the Anti-Corruption Network.
The event tagged “Colloquium On Freedom Of Information Act 2011, was scheduled to be addressed by FOIA experts and anti-corruption activists from Europe, USA and Nigeria.
In a statement today signed by the group executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that, “Those brave enough to stand up against corruption and human rights abuse are coming under increasing attack. Unfortunately, next to nothing is done by this government to protect them.”
The group said that, “the president must make it clear that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the right to speak out about human rights abuses and that it is proper and legal for citizens to express opinions and concerns about their own government’s human rights and anti-corruption records.”
According to the group, “Voicing opinions on issues of national importance – whether human rights conditions or anti-corruption issues – is a critical part of a democratic society and a right that should be fully protected by the government.”
“Standing by and doing nothing while anti-corruption and human rights defenders are constantly targeted by the police amounts to a breach of the country’s constitution and international human rights and anti-corruption obligations and commitments, and an affront to the rule of law. The government must act fast to stop this disturbing trend, and address the impunity of perpetrators,” the group stated.
According to the group, “the government’s expressed commitment to combat corruption will mean little if it cannot allow citizens to freely express themselves about the conduct of their own government.”
The group therefore called “on President Jonathan to order immediate investigation of all attacks against human rights and anti-corruption defenders and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible.”