Human Rights in Nigeria: A Reflection on the 75th Anniversary of the World Declaration
As the world commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the World Declaration of Human Rights, it is essential to reflect on the state of human rights in Nigeria. Despite being a signatory to the declaration, the nation grapples with persistent challenges, leading to the violation of people's rights on various fronts.
Freedom of Expression:
In Nigeria, the freedom of expression, a fundamental human right, faces recurring threats. Journalists, activists, and ordinary citizens often find themselves targeted for expressing dissenting opinions. Cases of intimidation, harassment, and even violence against those who dare to speak out on critical issues are alarmingly common.
Right to Assembly:
The right to peaceful assembly is another area where Nigeria falls short. Protests and demonstrations are met with excessive force by security forces, often resulting in injuries and fatalities. The suppression of citizens' right to assemble and voice their concerns hampers the democratic ideals the country aspires to uphold.
Rule of Law and Impunity:
A robust legal system is the cornerstone of protecting human rights, yet Nigeria grapples with challenges in this area. Impunity, where individuals or groups evade accountability for human rights violations, remains a persistent issue. This lack of accountability erodes public trust in the justice system and perpetuates a culture of impunity.
Gender-based violence is a pervasive issue in Nigeria, affecting women and girls disproportionately. Despite efforts to address this concern, instances of domestic violence, sexual assault, and discrimination persist. The government's response to this crisis needs to be more comprehensive and effective in ensuring justice for survivors.
Economic and Social Rights:
Access to basic amenities such as education, healthcare, and clean water is a human right that many Nigerians struggle to enjoy. Economic disparities and inadequate social services contribute to a situation where a significant portion of the population is denied these fundamental rights, perpetuating cycles of poverty.
The security situation in Nigeria also plays a role in violating people's rights. Armed conflicts, terrorism, and communal violence not only result in loss of life but also displace communities, robbing them of their right to live in peace and security.
While Nigeria has made strides in addressing some of these issues, there is a pressing need for sustained efforts to fully uphold the principles outlined in the World Declaration of Human Rights. International collaboration, domestic policy reforms, and community engagement are crucial in creating a Nigeria where the rights of every citizen are respected and protected. On this significant anniversary, it is imperative to renew our commitment to the ideals of human rights and work towards a more just and equitable society in Nigeria.
Charles Ndukauba is a Nigerian writer. His work has appeared on City People Magazine. He is a speaker and the founder of Lifelong Connect.