Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal Government and the Rivers State Government to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja. This is for infringing on the rights of the people. The suit was filed last Friday.
SERAP said: “This suit is primarily against Governor Wike and the Rivers State government for failing to respect, protect and ensure the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights of the people of his state.” This is following the demolition of two hotels by the governor in the state, few weeks ago. The owners of the hotels were alleged to have disobeyed the directive of the governor on the closure of all hotels in the state. The action has been generating reactions from stakeholders since then.
SERAP accused the Rivers State Governor of using COVID-19 as an avenue to suppress and systematically abuse the people of the state. They said Governor Wike has carried out mass arbitrary detention, mistreatment, forced evictions, and forcefully controlling the daily life of the people.
According to SERAP: “Governor Wike is using executive orders 1 and 6, 2020 as instruments to violate and abuse the rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, to a fair trial, and to property, contrary to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
SERAP noted that suing the Federal Government alongside Governor Wike is entirely consistent with Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which provides that a state may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”
They are requesting the court to restrain the Governor from hiding under the Executive Order, thereby using force to harass and punish the people of the state. They equally want the court to order Governor Wike to adequately compensate owners of the demolished hotels and equally stop him from repeating the act.