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SPECIAL FEATURES: Nigeria’s Human Rights Record Abysmal by naijapikin04(m): 10:51am On Dec 13, 2018

As part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Human Rights Day, the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, organised an enlightenment programme at the Ikeja Local government office. Our Assistant Editor, CHINWE MADUAGWU, who was at the event reports that speakers scored Nigeria low on the human rights indices.

December 10, of every year is designated World Human Rights day. According to Wikipidia, the date was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR.

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Human Rights Day, and like every other year, countries, groups and organisations put together different activities to commemorate the day.

The Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, put together an enlightenment programme where they offered free legal services to members of the public and also created awareness on certain issues of rights abuse. The event held at the Ikeja Local Government office, beside the rail tracks, Ikeja Bus stop, Lagos.

Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo, a member of the Ikeja branch of the NBA, kicked off the conversation by explaining what human rights are.

According to him, “human rights are God given rights that under no circumstances can be taken away from man. They are those rights without which man would become brutish and would live in archaic time where strength becomes right.”

Sadly, though these rights are enshrined in the country’s constitution and other legal documents, he adjudged Nigeria to have the worst human rights abuse records.

He said: “Nigeria is the worst country with human rights abuse record. In virtually all aspects of life Nigerians face issues of breach or infringement of human rights. In a country like Nigeria, where the court will say release a man on bail and the government will say ‘no, I won’t obey the court order, because by my interpretation the person is a threat to national security;’ where you can file an application for bail for an offence that is bailable and the magistrate will tell you he or she is under pressure not to release on bail, that can only be a country where human rights is observed in the breach.

“Right in front of us here is the Lagos state environmental sanitation bus. You can see them watching the marketers selling, probably because people selling today have ‘settled.’ On a day they don’t settle as they are supposed to, they will raid them. In a civilized society if you say a place is not designated to be a market, you’ll ensure trading does not go on there at any time; but you can see the law enforcement agents here and you can see the market going on. Tomorrow you may see them raiding another set of people. You cannot talk about human rights in this type of setting.

“Just this morning a police man was standing right in front of us here and a vehicle drove through this one way, he saw the vehicle entering the street but didn’t stop the driver. He allowed the vehicle drive into the street only to run forward to stop it and arrest the driver; these are abuses.

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