By Ameh Gabriel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more, and everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.
This was the crux of the one-day Lecture held in Abuja, with the theme, “Nigerian School Children; Insecurity and Human Rights”, organized by the civil right advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria ( HURIWA).
Speaking at the Lecture on Wednesday in Abuja, the Chairman of the day who is also the Grand Patron of HURIWA, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) stated that human rights and insecurity in Nigeria has gone beyond state of emergency, following the incessant killings, banditry, kidnapping of school children from their schools,while the kidnappers will request money, food and other items from parents of the kidnapped children which has become a business venture in all parts of the country.
He disclosed that more than 70 million Nigerian children are out of schools while 69.9 percent of the children are in the northern part of Nigeria.
He stated that the government has failed to secure the people and the killings have continued as they failed to provide security of lives and property for their citizens which is their primary responsibility as entrenched in section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“This is very sad and it is an indication of a failed Nigeria state”, Ozekhome said.
Speaking also at the event, the National Coordinator, HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, noted that Customs and Immigration heads have failed as they have refused to do their work to stop the influx of small arms and other sophisticated weapons into Nigeria, despite the border closure, adding that the border closure has contributed about 25 percent to the crime rate in Nigeria.
He further called for the sack of all the heads of security architecture, especially internal security—Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), noting that they have all failed to curb the security issues in the country.
According to him, “Due to the border closure, a lot of legitimate businesses have suffered and the government has pushed people into crime by closing the borders”.
While delivering his lecture, Professor Abiodun Adebiyi, Head Mass Communication, Baze University Abuja, stated that children sustain the system in a process through generations.
He noted also that children are supposed to be molded for a next cohort and that is the reason there is need to priorities their concerns as a social segment; just as women, the elderly and the youths, because the rights of children are the rights of the future, and mortgaging this right is mortgaging the right of the future of a nation.
According to professor Abiodun, mortgaging this right is a path that no nation can afford to follow and a path we must all walk away from.
The event also witnessed the conferments of National Human Rights Recognitions and Awards to few Nigerians who have made tremendous contributions to the advancement of human rights including; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who was represented by Ikyui Nathaniel, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor; Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Of Enugu state, represented by Mr Chijoke Edoga, Commissioner of Environment; Speaker, House of Assembly, Cross River State, Mr. Eteng Jonas Williams represented by Mr. Jonathan.