The death of the members of the NYSC during the post election violence is certainly not going to be easily swept underneath the carpet as SERAP Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has dragged the Nigerian Federal Government to the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
The group alleged that, “the failure of the Defendants (The Federal Republic of Nigeria & the Attorney General of the Federation) to exercise due diligence to prevent the post election violence that resulted in the unlawful killing of the NYSC members and others amount to violations of their right to life; to sanctity and integrity of human person; to equal protection of the law; and violations of the families’ right to family life, and to basic enjoyment of economic and social rights.”
SERAP said, “The post election violence commission established by the government may end up the same way previous commissions of inquiry set up to address the outbreaks of violence in the country have ended: without success, implementation or follow-up.
“Also, the payment of N5m to each of the families of the NYSC members killed is grossly inadequate and falls far short of the requirements of international human rights law. The compensation by the government is unfair as it does not fully reflect the cost of education and training of the victims; the potential future earnings of the victims, the irreplaceable loss to the families; the physical, emotional and mental suffering by the families; and the human value and economic cost to the country.”
SERAP also argued that the government’s failure to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly acts to book amounted to the denial of the victims’ rights to justice.
“The failure by the Defendants to promptly, transparently and effectively investigate the death of the NYSC members, and to bring suspected perpetrators to justice amounts to a denial of the victims’ access to a fair, effective and prompt system of justice. In effect, the government has shown itself unwilling or unable to promptly, transparently and effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for the unlawful killing of the NYSC members.”
“The Defendants have failed to discharge its positive obligation to take preventive operational measures to protect individuals whose lives were at risk.
“Granting compensation is separate from the additional obligation on states to conduct prompt, transparent and effective investigations and punish perpetrators,” the group added.
Whether or not SERAP wins the case, it is very interesting to see that unlike in most other incidents where the unlawful murder of Nigerian citizens within the country receives very little attention and almost no call to action whatsoever, a group has come forward to speak for the people. Since the demise of Late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), Nigerians have not had a strong voice to plead their cases against the oversights and nonchalance of the Government towards the welfare of the people and the administration of justice.
It appears that if the Nigerian Government thought N5million and a few incentives here and there would settle the dust the corpses of those Youth Corpers raised, they were terribly wrong.