Over the years, public impact and strategic litigation have become a major part of our work. Through research and consultations with our team of volunteers and staff counsel and other stakeholders we identify and pursue cases on critical human rights anti-corruption issues which if successful are likely to have a high impact nationally and regionally.

Apart from affording victims an effective remedy and redress, successful litigation can establish important legal precedents or effect changes in legislation, policy or practice. It can also positively influence public opinion. Any decision to litigate is based on defined case selection criteria, our own resources and expertise. Sometimes, outside experts are consulted to determine the potential for success of any particular case or research comparative jurisprudence on similar issues.

Our litigation efforts go beyond filing and arguing cases in court to researching and filing a third party or amicus curiae briefs.  We highlight below some of the cases we have filed and argued before national and regional courts in the years. These cases illustrate the breadth of our work and the durable effects that public impact and strategic litigation can have in promoting transparency, and accountability and full respect for human rights in Nigeria.


SERAP and another v Nigeria

SERAP together with the Women Advocates and Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) in 2012 filed a case against the Federal Government at the Federal High Court, Ikeja, asking the court for leave “to apply for judicial relief and to seek an order of mandamus directing and or compelling the government to disclose and make available up-to-date information on government/public spending relating to maternal death prevention for the past five years.”

Joined as Defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoke and the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu.

The suit followed a Freedom of Information request by the groups dated August 13, 2012.

SERAP and WARDC are arguing that “under the FOI, they have the right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.”

In their request, the groups expressed “serious concerns about the worsening rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, which is one of the highest ratios globally. Women in rural areas share a considerable percentage of this ratio. The main cause of maternal mortality suffered by the vulnerable sectors of the population is the lack of access of pregnant women to adequate, affordable and accessible healthcare services.”

They also said that, “This situation constitutes a violation of the human rights such as the right to life and the right to health guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which Nigeria has ratified and incorporated as national law through the Ratification and Enforcement Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

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