Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project v. Nigeria

Communication No. 300/2005
Download Judgment: English
Country: Nigeria
Region: Africa
Year: 2008
Court: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Health Topics: Poverty
Human Rights: Right to education
Tags: Indigent, Low income, Poor, Underprivileged

The Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (“SERAP”) sued the government of Nigeria, alleging that the state violated its citizens’ right to education because of large-scale corruption. The issue was whether the Communication submitted by SERAP was admissible or not.

In 2005, it was alleged that the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives took bribes from the Federal Minister of Education in order to increase the budget for education. SERAP alleged that this corruption contributed to violations of the right to education, among other rights, and had serious consequences such as lack of teacher motivation. SERAP alleged that the Nigerian government deliberately failed to investigate all allegations of corruption and contributed to impeding its ability to utilize Nigeria’s natural resources for the benefit of its people. SERAP noted that millions of children studied in dilapidated classrooms, teachers were not devoted to work given their low salaries, and tuition fees increases in 1997 had caused a brain drain in academia.

The Court held that the Communication submitted by the SERAP was inadmissible because SERAP did not utilize the domestic remedies available and did not demonstrate why this could not be done.

The admissibility of Communications before the African Commission is governed by the requirements of Article 56 of the African Charter, which provides seven requirements that must be met. The Court held that SERAP had not met the requirment that the Communication be sent after local remedies have been exhausted unless the Complainant has due reason.