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SERAP UN petitions for “ferocious assault” on justice Odili seeks independent investigation into incident

SERAP also urged him to “ask the Nigerian government to ensure that any investigation into the aggression is based on human rights principles and protected from undue influence.”

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability (SERAP) Project urged Mr. Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, to “put pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a credible, thorough, impartial, independent, transparent and effective investigation into the ferocious assault on the Court Supreme Justice Mary Odili by rogue officials ”.

SERAP also urged him to “ask the Nigerian government to ensure that any investigation into the aggression is based on human rights principles and protected from undue influence.”

He added that the “The outcome of the investigation must be made public and the alleged perpetrators and their sponsors must be brought to justice.”

SERAP’s petition followed the recent invasion of Judge Odili’s Abuja residence by armed personnel.

In the petition dated November 13, 2021 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization stated: “The intimidation and harassment of Judge Odili is a flagrant assault on the independence of the judiciary, and apparently aims to further weaken the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Nigeria.

“The inconceivable attacks on Nigerian judges appear to be a deliberate attempt by the authorities to exert pressure on the judiciary and undermine its independence and authority. These attacks are jeopardizing the freedoms of Nigerians.

“The current investigation by the Nigerian police does not respect international standards, as it is neither independent nor effective. As such, the investigation is unable to identify all the alleged perpetrators and their sponsors and to make justice in the matter credible ”.

The group, in the petition, then urged the UN Special Rapporteur to “push for the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council to establish an international, independent and impartial investigative mechanism on the attack on justice Odili and on other unresolved cases of intimidation and harassment of the judiciary and aggression against the rule of law in Nigeria from 29 May 2015 “.

has continued, “An international investigation into cases of intimidation and harassment of judges in Nigeria will meet the highest international standards and best practices and help Nigerian authorities take steps to improve respect for judicial independence, the rule of law and access to justice for human rights victims.

“If not addressed urgently, attacks, intimidation and harassment by the judiciary can render judges unable to uphold the rule of law, to hold accountability for the country’s numerous serious human rights violations or to protect the rights of the Nigerian people. .

“The Nigerian authorities have a legal obligation to take measures to protect the independence of the judiciary and ensure the safety and security of individual judges.

“SERAP urges you to visit Nigeria to carry out a mission to investigate cases of intimidation and harassment of judges, assess the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and continue to monitor the situation.

“The proposed visit would help support efforts to bring the Nigerian judicial system into line with international standards and free from political interference.

“The Nigerian authorities continue to fail to fully, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate cases of aggression, intimidation and harassment of judges, the same people who protect and guarantee human rights.

“While Nigerian authorities have arrested some of the alleged perpetrators, at least ten other people reportedly involved in the assault on Judge Odili are still fugitives.”

According to SERAP, the invasion of Judge Odili’s residence is not an isolated incident.

He said there have been several violations of judicial independence and the rule of law in the country.

“In 2016, for example, the Nigerian authorities allegedly invaded the homes of some judges of the Federal High Court and of the judges of the Supreme Court in the middle of the night.

“So far the authorities have failed and / or refused to identify the suspects of being responsible and bring them to justice”, he added.

Security officers, who identified themselves as members of a joint government task force, invaded Judge Odili’s Abuja home on Friday, October 29, 2021.

They claimed to have information that “illegal activities” were taking place at the residence.

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