Nigeria Senate Sees Alarming Rise of Human Rights Violations

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian lawmakers urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to adhere to the rule of law, saying allegations of human rights violations are on the rise in the West African nation.

“Nigeria’s democratic credentials have become questionable as a result of the alarming cases of alleged state-inspired human rights violations and consistent constitutional infractions perpetrated by agencies of government,” the Senate said in a motion it passed on Wednesday.

The continued detention of citizens whose release has been ordered by courts and the lack of accountability of security agencies were cited as examples in the motion, which called on the government to investigate cases of alleged human rights abuses by the police and the army.

Lawmakers mentioned the case of former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, in detention “for over two years in total disregard of over four court orders” granting him bail pending his trial over money-laundering charges. The leader of Shiite group Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is also still incarcerated despite the Federal High Court ordering his release, the motion said.

Military Purchase

Legislators said they were “alarmed” that Buhari had agreed to buy 10 A-29 Super Tucano attack planes from the U.S., using $496 million from one of the nation’s oil savings accounts, without consulting the National Assembly.

“There have been several instances of police impunity, disobedience of court orders, excesses on the part of the security services that makes the decision of the senate to investigate these a very welcome one,” Clement Nwankwo, executive director at the Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, said by phone.

Presidency spokesman Femi Adesina declined to comment on the motion when reached by phone Thursday. Another presidency spokesman didn’t answer a call.

Relations between Nigeria’s legislature and executive have been strained, with Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who both emerged legislative leaders against Buhari’s wish, often going against the party line. Both are yet to say whether they intend to join an opposition coalition formed this week to defeat Buhari in February elections, or stay with the ruling All Progressives Congress.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Sophie Mongalvy in Lagos at smongalvy@bloomberg.net

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