The civil society group also urged Lawan to sponsor bills that will ensure access to justice and reparation for the victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
In a letter dated February 28, 2020, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, it said:
“This bill erodes justice and makes a mockery of the suffering of victims, and the unspeakable human tragedy, humanitarian crisis and appalling atrocities committed by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“By calling Boko Haram members ‘ex-agitators’, the bill mocks the victims of appalling atrocities committed by the terrorist group, and is a blatant affront to victims’ dignity. ‘Repentant Boko Haram terrorists’ are not ‘ex-agitators’; they are terrorists under Nigerian and international laws.
“Boko Haram members should not be allowed to enjoy foreign education while over 13 million Nigerian children of school age are roaming our streets.
“Alleged perpetrators of gross violations should not get the benefits at the expense of these and other deserving children.
“Rather than allowing perpetrators to access public funds to enjoy foreign education, the Senate should be promoting reparation for victims, to prevent future criminality and ensure the best interest of justice.”
Consequently, SERAP challenged Lawan to urgently initiate four separate bills, to compensate victims of Boko Haram atrocities; the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those much in need; access to free, inclusive and quality education to Nigerian children from socially and economically disadvantaged sectors of the population.
“Any such bill should remove school fees and charges to ensure all students can access school equally, and target financial support for girls at risk of dropping out through girls’ education strategies; and accelerate effective prosecution of alleged repentant Boko Haram members and other members,” it noted.
The group vowed to “take all appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to challenge the legality of any such law, should the Senate go ahead to pass the bill, and should the bill be supported by the House of Representatives and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“Prioritising the education of Boko Haram members over the rights of Nigerian children to quality education is discriminatory, as it violates Nigerian constitutional provisions, international and regional human rights obligations, and will undermine national development,” it further stated.