The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has said several ground-breaking judgments it obtained so far during the tenure of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), have been left unimplemented.
SERAP Deputy Director, Oluwadare Kolawole, disclosed this during a press briefing tagged, ‘Failed Promises: Corruption in the Water, Health and Education Sectors in Nigeria’, held in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said the persistent and deliberate disobedience of judges’ decisions would ultimately encourage impunity and corruption.
He said, “SERAP has obtained several ground-breaking judgments that the Buhari administration has persistently failed and refused to implement. The failure and refusal to enforce and implement legally binding judgments of court is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”
He said the government’s disdain for the rule of law was also illustrated by the tendency to pick and choose which court orders it complies with, adding that the selective application of the rule of law invariably undermines the independence and integrity of the judiciary, and is counter-productive to the government’s own fight against corruption.
Kolawole further stated that access to basic public goods and services had become almost non-existent, in spite of the growing deficit in the national budget and increasing national debt profile.
He said, “In spite of the growing deficit in our national budget and increasing national debt profile, access to basic public goods and services such as quality education, affordable healthcare and regular and uninterrupted water supply has become almost non-existent due primarily to systemic and widespread corruption in these sectors.
“Yet, unresolved allegations of corruption in public institutions like the Universal Basic Education Commission and State Universal Basic Education Boards continue to undermine public confidence in the education sector, lead to the erosion of access to education, and if not urgently addressed will lead to an increase in out-of-school children, and exacerbate educational inequalities in the country. Due to the government’s inability to meet the demands of ASUU, academic activities were suspended for more than eight months across public institutions in Nigeria.
“Investigating the allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Nigeria’s resources, prosecuting suspected perpetrators and recovering any missing public funds would contribute to addressing the systemic and widespread corruption, which has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable and marginalised and entrenched inequality. This is in spite of alarming revelations by the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2018 and 2019 Auditor General’s report.”
He urged the president to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and appropriate anti-corruption agencies, to thoroughly, transparently and effectively investigate the cases of corruption in the water, health and education sector as well documented in the 2018 and 2019 Auditor General’s reports.
He said, “Unless the president makes good on his promises and constitutional oath of office, SERAP will consider exploring appropriate legal action to compel the Federal Government to act as recommended in the public interest.”