Stakeholders seek improved enforcement of human rights laws in Nigeria

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By Angela Atabo/Esther Mamudu

Stakeholders at a dialogue on the state of human rights in Nigeria, have called for improved enforcement of human rights laws to ensure protection of citizens’ rights.

The meeting was organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in collaboration with the National Assembly with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Abuja.

Sen. Mohammed Monguno, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, said the promotion and protection of human rights was an essential aspect of democracy.

Monguno said that the state of human rights in Nigeria could be termed as double edged, adding that while there had been commendable efforts, there remained persistent and troubling patterns of violations demanding urgent attention.

“The issues we are confronting in the area of human rights are not merely matters of policy or politics; they strike at the very core of our humanity and our commitment to justice and dignity for all.

“One of the most pressing issues we must address is the protection of freedom of expression and the press, a free and vibrant media is indispensable to a healthy democracy.

“Yet, journalists and media workers in Nigeria continue to face harassment, intimidation, and even violence for simply doing their jobs.

“We must reaffirm our commitment to press freedom and ensure that journalists can work without fear of reprisal, confront the scourge of impunity for human rights abuses,” he said.

Monguno said there was need to strengthen Nigeria’s legal framework, enhance accountability mechanisms, and empower the judiciary to hold accountable those who violated rights of others.

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“As legislators, policymakers, activists, and concerned citizens, we have a collective responsibility to uphold and defend human rights in Nigeria.

“This dialogue presents an invaluable opportunity for us to come together, exchange ideas, and chart a path forward toward a more just, equitable, and rights-respecting society,” he said.

Rep. Abiola Makinde, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, said that Nigeria was faced with many human rights challenges, such as poverty, corruption, violence,
discrimination and environmental degradation.

Makinde said the solution required the collaboration and commitment of various actors, like government, judiciary, legislature, media, private sector, civil society organizations, international community and the citizens themselves.

“By addressing the root causes and consequences of human rights violations, Nigeria can overcome its challenges and realise its potential as a democratic and inclusive nation.

” As a committee, we will continue to make relevant laws, oversight NHRC and relevant agencies, as well as investigate cases, while ensuring the implementation,” he said.

Sen. Aminu Tambuwal (PDP- Sokoto) said that the human rights condition in Nigeria had remained a challenge for all.

Waziri said that those challenges had continued to pose obstacles to the exercise of freedom and human rights in the country.

“The National Assembly members in the human rights committee are working to help citizens realise the values encapsulated in the constitution of Nigeria that protects human rights and freedoms,” he said.

Mr Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC, said that the meeting was organised to bring to the lime light the human rights challenges in Nigeria toward finding solutions to them.

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Nwankwo said that the meeting was also aimed at providing the National Assembly Human Rights Committee with a balanced narrative of the human rights situation in Nigeria.

He added that the  meeting  would serve as a platform to amplify the voices of citizens who had suffered human rights violations as they shared their experiences.

He said it would  also provide an opportunity for government institutions, including law enforcement agencies to share their perspectives on the application of human rights protection measures in the discharge of their responsibilities.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
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Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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