22 March 2013

Nigeria: Aliyu - The Nation's Human Rights' Abuses On the Increase

Minna — The Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, thursday said despite efforts by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to curb rising cases of rights violations, stating that the cases were assuming frightening dimension in the country.

Aliyu, who was represented by the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG), Alhaji Saidu Ndako, while declaring open a retreat for the newly constituted governing council and management staff of the NHRC in Minna, said weak laws of the land, lack of political will for enforcement were some of the reasons for the high rate of human rights abuse in the country.

"Ignorance, greed and excessive quest for power, religious fanaticism. Insecurity and insincerity of leaders as instruments that have grounded the guarantee for the protection of human rights and dignity in the society.

"The prevalence of these vices have frustrated genuine efforts aimed at protecting human rights and have made it a fruitless exercise. The high incidences of rights abuses in this country has prompted the Human Right Watch to list Nigeria on its list of corrupt countries," he said.

Aliyu blamed some security outfits in the country for human right abuses, adding that the abuses were on the increase from security outfits compared to abuses by individuals, groups and other government establishments.

"Apart from civil rights and political rights, citizens are also to be guaranteed economic and social rights which include rights to free health, education and other social amenities. The current situation in the country shows that majority of Nigerians are denied these rights which has resulted in citizens living in abject poverty. The continued occurrence of these situations poses serious threats to our existence as a nation," he said.

The governor, who emphasised the need to take bold steps towards rebuilding individual, private and public lives for the nation to get out of the woods, adding that the protection of human rights was now an instrument for assessing the success of any democratic government.

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said the federal government was working towards ensuring that citizens enjoy their rights in the country adding that there have been effective investigation and prosecution of criminal offences such as defilement, sexual assault, rape, neglect, abandonment, drugs, arms and human trafficking are being encouraged.

The SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Dr. Jemila Shuarah, said government would support the private sector, individual and civil society organisations in pursuing processes leading to the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of human rights violations as stipulated in the treaties and Nigeria law.

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