By Shola Akingboye, 1st October 2023
The Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN, while congratulating Nigerians on the 62nd independent anniversary celebration has pledged the Commission’s commitment to tackle human rights violations and seek appropriate redress for victims of abuses in the country.
Chief Ojukwu, pledged in his message commemorating Nigeria’s independence, says as many Nigerians encounter various degrees of human rights violations in the country, that the Commission is determined to put smiles on their faces by assisting them to address the myriad of complaints it receives every day.
He noted that violation of rights is a global issue occasioned by a lot of reasons, “the world is going through dire economic and security challenges which have also affected our nation, and these situations are breeding grounds for human rights violations that occur in different forms”.
In Nigeria, we have to contend with violations perpetrated by security forces, insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, cases of sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence, violation of the rights of the child (e. g child hawking and begging, out-of-school children) etc.
“However, we are assuring all citizens and foreigners living in Nigeria that the Commission will strive to promote, protect and enforce their fundamental human rights at all times, despite the obvious challenges”, the NHRC Boss added.
Ojukwu reiterated the eminent position of Nigeria in the comity of nations and the greatness ahead for the country which according to him can only be achieved with hard work both individually and collectively as patriotic citizens.
He further stated that the Commission now has offices across the federation and can be assessed by every person, “with this we are bringing our services to the door steps of Nigerians for free, so that we may wipe the tears of the violated”
He advised citizens to invest their time in productive ventures that could aid development especially as we are preparing for the 2023 general elections. “election periods are periods where rights are easily violated through hate speech, dis-enfranchisement, physical violence etc. we should be wary of all these, we have the population of over 200 million people endowed with talents which must not be put to waste in unproductive ventures, we must begin to get it right by respecting each other’s rights, this is key to any development” he added.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria admonished Nigerians to use the occasion of the celebration to reflect on the human rights challenges facing the nation and the role individuals can play in addressing them. The fight for human rights is the fight for all.
He noted that the current security challenges have further underscored the need for us to be more united to frontally confront our common enemy.
“Realization of independence and celebrating nationhood are not enough if we do not collaboratively as individuals and ethnic groups pursue a common goal of human rights protection and socioeconomic emancipation”, he advised.
Therefore, the celebration should be a wake-up call for us as citizens to eschew ethnicity, tribalism, and religious bigotry and embrace the time honoured principle of unity in diversity, even in the face of daunting challenges, occasioned by insurgency, armed banditry, kidnapping, hate speech and sexual and gender-based violence, just to mention but a few.