Again, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has inducted another set of executives from higher institutions of learning into the SERAP, Accountability Club, SAC, in Lagos recently.
Some students from Lagos State University, LASU and University of Lagos, UNILAG, would be the next generation of accountability campaigners who would be able to buy-in into promoting transparency and accountability, advance and defend human rights.
Currently, the SAC intervention has been taken to 14 higher institutions of learning across Nigeria, where accountability cause, promotion of human rights are being championed among students.
Past executives of the club had campaigned on different themes, such as water, health and electricity.
Kolawole Oluwadare, the Deputy Director, SERAP, urged the new executive officers who will drive the affairs of the club, to ensure that they key into campus civic space campaign, priotising accountability conversation, so that government obey the law that it has signed on as an institution.
Kolawole also advised the students to also be accountable in what they do in their private lives.
He said, “In what you do, you also must be accountable.”
He spoke on the possibility of replicating conducive environment in the country if Social Economic Rights are respected.
He noted that the migration syndrome, known as Japa, currently bedeviling the country, would not be enticing to citizens if all is well.
He argued that advanced countries are Social Economic Rights compliant, and that is why their citizens can enjoy amenities like roads, light, water and other basic rights.
According to Kolawole, “The aim of public interest litigation that we do is to ensure that government obey the law that it has signed on to as an institution.
“Knowing fully well that accountability is about government, …the reason about processes and the duty and the accountability include what you do in your own private lives, in what you do, you also must be accountable.”
Kolawole urged the newly inauguarated officials to take the conversation further and key into a sort of symbiosis relationship with SERAP.
The new officers were sworn-in on Thursday at SERAP’s civic engagement campaign titled “Stand-up for Human Rights” III.
The campaign was put together by SERAP with support by the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.
The students swore to oath, where they pledged to uphold human rights and be accountable.
To further impress on them what their assignment would involve, issues were explored by the participants, particularly on data rights, corruption and electoral violations peculiar to election.
These were highlighted with dramatisations, while recommendations to combat the ills were exposed to the students during a parliamentary debate session.
According to SERAP, “The aims at engaging members of SAC across tertiary institutions in Nigeria in a dialogue to discuss human rights, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly and to encourage students and student bodies to promote, advance and defend human rights,” was critical to enjoying rights.
Also, the students had a feel of issue-based situations where campaign for accountability must be amplified.
SERAP Valentino Adegoke also explained how the participants could use the Freedom of Information Act to demand accountability from school authorities, politicians and government’s ministries.
The new coordinators for UNILAG, Akoka Chapter of the club included the Coordinator, Nwaigwe David Ugochukwu; the Assistant Coordinator, Ifeoluwa Williams and Secretary, Obed Covenant Daberachi.
The respective coordinators for LASU included Zainab Eniola Jaji, Obega Favour, and Olayemi Ayomide Elizabeth.
One of the past executives, who served as secretary, Zainab Eniola Jaji is now Coordinator for the LASU Chapter.
Those who had served in SAC were also presented with commendation certificates.