The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr. Diego García-Sayán, to put pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a credible, thorough, impartial, independent, transparent and effective investigation into the vicious assault on Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili allegedly by rogue officials.
In the petition dated November 13, 2021, and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP also urged him to ask the Nigerian government to ensure that the outcome of the investigation is made public and the suspected perpetrators and their sponsors brought to justice.
The organisation said the intimidation and harassment of Justice Odili was a flagrant assault on judicial independence, alleging that it was apparently aimed at further weakening judicial independence and the rule of law in Nigeria.
The petition read in part: “We urge you to push for the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council to establish an international, independent, and impartial investigative mechanism into the attack on Justice Odili, and other unresolved cases of intimidation and harassment of the judiciary, and assault on the rule of law in Nigeria since May 29 2015.
“An international investigation into the cases of intimidation and harassment of judges in Nigeria will meet the highest international standards and best practices, and assist the Nigerian authorities to take steps to improve respect for the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, and access to justice for victims of human rights.
“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 to continue to monitor the situation.
“The proposed visit would help to support the efforts to bring Nigeria’s justice system in line with international standards, and free of political interference. Nigerian authorities continue to fail to thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate cases of attacks, intimidation and harassment of judges, the very people who protect and guarantee human rights.
“While the Nigerian authorities have arrested some of the suspected perpetrators, at least ten more persons reportedly involved in the assault on Justice Odili are still at large.”
Udora Orizu in Abuja