[JURIST] The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) [advocacy website] on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in the Federal High Court of Nigeria [official website] against Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Attorney General Muhammed Adoke [official profiles] and Muhammed Abacha, son of Nigeria’s former de facto President Sani Abacha [Independent obituary]. SERAP alleges that Jonathan and Adoke violated Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution [text, PDF] by prematurely withdrawing the corruption charges against Abacha [AllAfrica report]. In its complaint the group argued [press release]:
If the defendants want to exercise the power of withdrawing corruption charges/suit, it is mandatory that they meet the threshold of public interest, interest of justice and ensure non abuse of the court process. Thus, justice is required to be done in any case regardless of the status of anyone involved. It is submitted that the defendants in this case overstep the powers contained in Section 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution. The objective in the administration of justice is to do justice to all, irrespective of status and a cardinal value of any civilised nation.
SERAP urges the court to direct the defendants to reinstate the corruption suit [ThisDayLive report] against Abacha, claiming that there were no exigent circumstances to justify withdrawing the suit.
Last week Transparency International (TI) [advocacy group] condemned [press release] the Nigerian government when it dropped its charges against Abacha. TI claims that despite of stated governmental goals of prosecuting corruption, comparatively few people have been held accountable in spite of multiple high-profile scandals [BBC report].