The core litigation programme of HURILAWS is the strategic impact litigation programme, a broad-based test case Litigation programme to bring selected human rights cases before the superior courts to establish and advance judicial norms on human rights in Nigeria law.
HURILAWS has since 1998 litigated on constitutional matters in the following fields:
- Expansion of Access to Courts,
- Justiciability and Enforceability of Social and Economic Rights,
- Environmental Rights Enforcement,
- Housing Rights,
- Administrative Detention,
- Freedom of Information,
- Constitutionality of the Death Penalty,
- Death Row Conditions,
- Bail Procedure,
- Prison Condition,
- Election Tribunal Petitions
- Electoral Law Reform
- Death row conditions in Nigeria prisons
- Litigation to expand the process of registration of political parties, etc.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SUCCESSFUL HURILAWS SIL LITIGATIONS INCLUDE:
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) programme has produced landmark decisions in diverse fields of the public interest litigation and such of cases are:
AGBOKABA V. DIRECTOR STATE SECURITY SERVICES (1995)
The Court of Appeal held that the state could not withdraw a citizens passport as that would amount to denying the citizen the means of exercising his right of exit and entry into Nigeria as guaranteed by the Constitution.
PETER NEMI V. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE (1997)
The issue of the constitutionality of prolonged incarceration in dehumanizing conditions of death row prisoners and the rights of prisoners to humane treatment was brought before the court. The Court of Appeal held that prisoners have enforceable rights as citizens and suggested that prolonged incarceration of convicted prisoners could constitute breach of their right to dignified and humane treatment.
BAYO JOHNSON V. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE (1997)
The Court of Appeal held unconstitutional the holding charge system whereby police arraign suspects on token charges to secure their detention in prison for lengthy, unspecified periods of time. This decision becomes pertinent when considering the usual refrain from the police that investigations are continuing while the suspect is kept away in perpetual detention. Johnson also influenced the passage of Lagos State’s Administration of Criminal Law.
ONUOHA KALU V. THE STATE (1998)
HURILAWS litigated the constitutionality of the death penalty in a bid to abolish the death penalty in Nigeria. Though the Supreme Court agreed with most of HURILAWS submissions, it held that the death penalty is constitutional since the Constitution of Nigeria explicitly permits it. The Court, however, stated that the National Assembly can take steps to tackle the issue of the practice of the death penalty in Nigeria. Additionally, the Court left open the question of whether remaining on death row for a significant amount of time might amount to a procedural rights violation, but hinted that such prolonged detention is improper.
OLISA AGBAKOBA V. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & MINISTER OF EDUCATION
The Plaintiff sought a declaration that the Administrative acts of the Defendants which prescribes and applies different requirements including cut off marks for candidates seeking admission into Federal Government colleges, based on gender, ethnicity, states of origin violates section 42(1) of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While deciding the case, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos granted an order mandating the Federal Government to apply a uniform cut-off mark to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, also known as Unity Schools, irrespective of their states of origin. The judge in the landmark decision declared as unconstitutional, the state-based admission inequality in Federal Government colleges.
OTHER PENDING CASES OR ISSUES:
HURILAWS VS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF FEDERATION & ORS
The matter is currently in court. We are seeking an Order compelling the 2nd and 3rd Respondents to discharge their duties under sections 470 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and the Enforcement of the Rights of the Awaiting Trial Persons in Nigeria prisons in that their Rights are being violated by the long detention in the prisons without trial.