The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) was awarded the 2014 Anti-corruption Defender Award of the 9th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting for a stern stance for human rights that transverses Nigeria and indeed Africa, and for making substantive, the full implications of human rights as a tool of remaking communities, and for uplifting the human worth of citizens.
Founded in 2004, the SERAP is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with the aim to use human rights law to encourage the government and others to address developmental and human rights challenges such as corruption, poverty, inequality and discrimination.
It offers pro bono legal advice and services for victims of corruption and economic and social rights. It also supports the cause of those whose economic and social rights are violated to obtain redress.
SERAP regularly brings cases before Nigerian courts, ECOWAS Court, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which raise issues of fundamental importance in human rights and anticorruption laws and standards, and potentially can help to influence positive legal reforms, policy development jurisprudence or shape public opinion. SERAP also works to ensure Nigeria’s full compliance with the human rights and anti-corruption treaties to which it has voluntarily subscribed.
In a ground-breaking decision, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja declared that all Nigerians are entitled to education as a legal and human right after SERAP dragged the Nigerian government to court over the right of citizens to education thereby making the denial of the right to education justicable as against the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian constitution.
2009 SERAP filed a suit against the Federal Government of Nigeria and six oil companies over alleged violation of human rights and associated oil pollution in the Niger Delta.
Following the discovery that $16 billion budgeted for supply of electricity to millions of Nigerians was stolen or mismanaged, SERAP in 2009 sued the government in court “over the failure to effectively tackle corruption in the power sector.” In 2010 it went before the Federal High Court Abuja seeking publication of report on missing $12.4 billion oil windfall. From Nigeria, to Libya, to the Gambia, SERAP holds government and public officials at all levels accountable.
SERAP has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, the Gambia, and works closely with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria.
SERAP is also a member of the UN Global Compact, an agency dedicated to upholding the principles of human rights in the private sector, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Transparency International, and Amnesty International in London. It is also a key member of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Coalition, which is a global network of over 310 civil society organisations in over 100 countries.