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Train attack: SERAP sues Buhari govt over failure to secure release of kidnapped victims

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THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the President Muhammadu Buhari administration over its failure to secure the safe release of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.

The suit, marked No ECW/CCJ/APP/20/22, was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, before the ECOWAS court.

The group sought a declaration of the court that the Buhari government failed to protect Nigerians and prevent gross violation of their human rights.


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SERAP said it was seeking an order directing the Buhari government to protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of Nigerians, including travellers across the country, by ensuring adequate security and taking measures to prevent attacks.

The group is also seeking an order by the court to direct the Buhari administration to urgently find and identify all the passengers, victims, and their families, and pay adequate monetary compensation of N50 million to each of the passengers and victims and their families.

Terrorists had, on March 28, 2022 attacked a Kaduna-bound train using an improvised explosive device to derail it.

Some of the passengers of the train were killed and injured, while about 146 passengers were kidnapped by the terrorists.

In the suit, SERAP noted that officials of the Buhari government had publicly said they had information that an attack on the train was imminent, but the government failed or neglected to take measures to prevent the attack.

Given the admission, SERAP said, the government should be held accountable for failing or neglecting to guarantee and protect human rights regardless of whether such violations were directly or indirectly attributable to the government or its officials.

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SERAP prayed the court to declare that the failure of the government to provide an effective remedy and reparation for the passengers and victims of the train attack was unlawful, as it amounted to breaches of obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights.

The group further noted that no date had been fixed for the hearing of the application for an expedited hearing and the substantive suit.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian Senate passed a bill to criminalise ransom payment to secure the release of a kidnapped victim.

The bill has not been signed into law. Security analysts have, however, expressed the fear that the bill, if signed into law, would worsen the situation of kidnapped victims who are sometimes killed for not paying ransom.

The ICIR had reported that lack of proper intelligence and reluctance of security operatives to find or rescue kidnapped victims had contributed to rising cases of kidnap for ransom in Nigeria.

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Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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