HUMAN Rights activists on Monday identified high cost of litigation and non-dependency of judiciary as major factors hindering poor Nigerians from accessing justice for the violation of their rights.
The activists made the assertion at a public lecture organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in collaboration with Peoples Against Corruption and Injustice (PACI), to mark the 2018 World Human Rights Day in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1948 instituted the Human Rights Day to be commemorated every Dec. 10, across the world to celebrate the relevance of human rights in daily living.
The lecture had the theme: “How Justiciable is Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria”.
Mr Bankole Solomon, Founder, PACI, said that the high cost of litigation discouraged many Nigerian’s from employing the services of lawyers to get justice for the violation of their rights.
Solomon said that the law profession was not a profit-making venture and urged lawyers to render Pro Bono services to build the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.
He also urged Nigerians to know and agitate for their right rather than remain docile due to religious and cultural beliefs.
“Many Nigerians are so docile to know and fight for their rights due to religious and cultural beliefs as well as misconceptions that some people are untouchable or cannot be challenged.
“When a wrong is being done to people or when their rights are being abused or violated, they will say it’s an act of God and will refuse to get justice.
“This is why impunity abounds in our country today. Security agents harass innocent people anyhow, the elite continue to oppress the poor, employers treat their employees anyhow and so on.
“No religion says you cannot fight for your rights, even the Bible says `God is a God of justice’; so, why will you allow your God-given rights to be abused and allow injustice to thrive? ”
Also, Mr Ebun Adegboruwa, a legal practitioner, blamed the high rate of injustice and human rights abuses on the non-dependency of the judiciary.
Adegboruluwa said that the executives in most cases dictated and influenced justice dispensation.
According to him, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Adegboruwa said that human rights freedom was not absolute as the government could infringe on human rights to protect public interest.
Contributing, Mr Beckley Abioye, also a legal practitioner, said there was a need for a new constitution written by the Nigerian people to reflect their interest and their fundamental human rights.
Abioye said that the present constitution was formerly a decree and was not written by Nigerians, saying that with such constitution, the rights of the people will not be justiciable.
“Unless we enthrone a new constitution written by the Nigerian poeple themselves, the fundamental rights of the people will continue to be abuse and violated,” he said.
Mr Gbenga Soloki, National President, CDHR, said that Nigeria was facing multitudes of challenges because many Nigerians were ignorant of the law and their rights.
Soloki urged human right activists to intensify public enlightenment to educate the public as well as help defend their rights to make Nigeria a better place.
According to him, understanding the human rights laws makes it justiciable.
Speaking, Mr Alex Omotehinse, Chairman, CDHR, Lagos branch, lamented that injustice was being perpetrated against innocent Nigerians on daily basis.
“It is so sad to note that Nigeria has been a signatory to all human rights charters and yet, human rights violations have become the order of the day.
“As human rights activists, we will continue to agitate until the rights of every Nigerian is respected,” he said
– Dec. 10, 2018 @ 15:55 GMT |