This Day reports that a civil society organisation, SERAP has written a petition against 11 state governors owing workers salaries. Eleven state governors have been dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over their failure to pay workers salaries. In the petition dated July 7, and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group accused state governments owing workers salaries of committing crimes against humanity.
The group said it was concerned that non-payment of workers’ salaries by several state governments in Nigeria has made life impossible to live for the workers and their families. SERAP urged the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to probe the collective punishment and crimes against humanity on workers owed salaries. The petition read:
“The state governors ought to know that their actions and/or omissions would likely cause serious physical or mental suffering or a serious attack upon the human dignity of workers whose salaries are not paid. Non-payment of salaries for several months has reduced Nigerian workers to ‘bare life’, or life not worth living, thus taking away their human dignity.”
“The inhumanity of the non-payment of workers’ salaries is illustrated by the serious threats this poses to the workers’ physical and mental health, and family life as well as their ability to contribute to the development of the country. The non-payment of salaries has created an environment of powerlessness for several workers and perpetuated a system of impunity in many states.”
“SERAP believes that the non-payment of salaries of workers amounts to a serious attack on human dignity covered in the definition of ‘other inhumane acts’ under the Rome Statute, and fit within the ICC’s mandate. The gravity of non-payment of workers’ salaries for several months should not be dismissed a priori as lesser than that of the radically egregious acts the ICC has so far prosecuted.”
The civil society organization argued that depriving workers of their salaries amounts to depriving them of their livelihood and necessities to the right to life and human dignity and also cause them suffering. SERAP therefore, urged the ICC to bring to justice anyone who is responsible for the inhumane acts committed against Nigerian workers as prohibited under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to which Nigeria is a state party.
The group listed the 11 governors it dragged before the ICC as; Rauf Agbesola of Osun state, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Nyesom Wike of Rivers state.
Others are Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state, Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state and Simon Lalong of Plateau state.