By Angela Atabo
Amnesty International, has called for stronger human rights regulations and protection in Nigeria.
Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, said this at the Write for Rights Fiesta Agenda 2023 organised by Amnesty International on Wednesday in Abuja.
Sanusi said that Amnesty International ran the Write for Rights campaign annually from November to December.
This, he said, was in celebration of the International Human Rights Day to encourage people to write messages of support to people around the world who have suffered injustice using the power of their words.
He said that Amnesty International was deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Nigeria and called for stronger regulations and adherence to rule of law.
“Consistent failure to address current and past human rights violations is emboldening impunity. The recent air strike on a village in Kaduna is yet another eye opener on escalating disregard for the sanctity of human life.
“We will continue to seek and solicit Nigerian authorities to thoroughly address human rights concerns in the country.
“President Bola Tinubu must not miss the opportunity to address the human rights challenges, ranging from impunity by law enforcement agencies and rampant attacks and kidnapping of rural communities by gunmen.
“There is a knowledge gap in human rights, and we are doing our best to address that gap,” he said.
Sanusi said that Amnesty International was running a human rights education programme targeted at young people in schools, especially tertiary institutions.
He added that the organisation also targeted informal settlements, where most of the atrocities, human rights abuses and violations took place.
Prof. Akinseye George, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and President, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, commended Amnesty International for its commitment to human rights protection.
“The criminal justice system at the moment is bogged down by too many cases.
“So, the poor people do not have access to justice, because they cannot afford to pay the expenses of lawyers, filing systems and so on.
“What we need is to create what I called simple claims courts for claims that are below maybe 20 million; because the majority of the cases in our courts are these cases and they cannot hear them all because they are too many.
“So, why don’t you create small claims courts, empower the magistrates, build their capacity, then introduce the use of technology so that cases can move?
“Now a judge has 50 cases on his course list. How do you hear 50 cases in one day? So, it is impracticable, thus the need to use technology to modernise the court system,’’ he said.
Goerge called for establishment of small claims courts and a pretrial case management for criminal cases to reduce delay.
“We need to make justice accessible and available to poor people because at the moment, only the rich can afford the justice system because they can engage the services of lawyers but the ordinary man who has a claim cannot afford that.
“So, we need to create a justice system that responds and responds quickly to the needs of the majority of Nigerians and the masses,” he added.
George said that although there were a lot of human rights guaranteed in the constitution, however, people were not really enjoying the rights.
He said that there was need for improvement in governance and to conduct human rights education for leaders because when human rights of the people are not recognized, leaders were bound to embark on unfavourable public policies.
“So, there is need to strengthen the educational system, the economy and provide jobs for the masses, particularly young school leavers and also address the challenge of out-of-school to curb social vices,” he said. (NAN)