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Nigeria’s human rights situation worsening – PLAC

As Nigeria marks the world human rights day, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, PLAC, has expressed worry on the worsening human rights situation in the country.

The organization, which issued its report at a Media briefing in Abuja, said the country is drifting away from its responsibilities as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended and various international human rights treaty obligations.

The report which was read by the Executive Director PLAC Dr Clement Nwankwo, was part of activities lined up for the commemoration of Human Rights Day on Saturday December 10.

According to PLAC, not only has the country failed to protect a vast majority of its citizens from the erosion of their basic and fundamental rights, the government was often found complicit in actions that deny rather than enhance those rights.

“One key finding made in the report is that Nigeria is going through a period of great economic difficulties that have formed the backdrop, or often provided the impetus for many of the rights violations that happen in the country”.

“In the midst of severe economic difficulties, the ideal conditions for meeting the most basic of rights are non-existent. The fact that the country is at the same time going through a political transition amid plunging revenues makes the situation even more precarious”. Nwankwo said

According to him “The result has been a worsening of social tensions, a further escalation of a long-simmering grazing conflict that follows ethnic and religious fault lines, leading to the emergence of insurgent and secessionist groups in different parts of the country”.

Dr Nwankwo stressed that the biggest dangers to the fundamental rights of Nigerians have come in the forms of threats to life, personal liberty, human dignity, rights to private property and family life. “These have come mostly from a failure of the state to ensure the welfare of its citizens, which is one of the fundamental objectives of government”.

He pointed out that most of these rights have been violated during the period under review due to activities of kidnapping for ransom, heinous killings, various communal conflicts, insurgencies and secessionist movements. “These violations, by mostly non-state actors, take place largely because the State has failed the Citizens through its inability to guarantee as well as maintain law and order”.

“Many of these abuses are related to the administration of justice, the application of the principle of fair hearing, the protection of the right to freedom of expression, movement, association, thought, religion and conscience”.

Dr Nwankwo, while urging government to redouble efforts in tackling pervasive insecurity in the country and reassert its control over the country’s territory, also advised federal government to ensure that state laws that are in violation of the Constitution are called to orders.



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