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In today’s Civic Education class, We will be discussing the Protection of Human Rights and the Rule of law by Individuals. We hope you enjoy the class!
Protection of Human Rights and the Rule of Law by Individuals
Human rights and rule of law are being protected by individuals through the following ways:
- Representing the Affected Persons in Court: On several occasions, individuals with genuine cases of human rights abuse have been defended in law courts by lawyers. Late Gani Fawehinmi was known for such struggle for the defence of human rights in his lifetime. He used to take it upon himself to defend heights of the underprivileged in court. A good example was the case of Dele Giwa which he pursued for many years before his death.
- Writing in Print Media: Some individuals expose human rights abuse by extensively Writing cases of human rights abuse in newspapers and magazines.
- Special Programmes on Electronic Media: Some electronic media do have special programmes which help individuals to expose cases of human rights abuse in their offices, neighbourhood and communities.
Groups that assist in Protecting the Human Rights of Citizens
The following bodies normally assist in protecting human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria. These include:
- Civil Liberty Organization (CLO]: It is the foremost indigenous rights organization in Nigeria. It is a non-profit, non-governmental human rights initiative. its objectives include the enhancement of human rights awareness in consonance with universally accepted norms of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- Trade Unions: These are groups of workers pursuing common aims and objectives for the benefit of their members. Examples include Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Medical Association and so on. All these are under the umbrella of Nigeria Labour Congress. Nigeria Labour Congress has been a mouthpiece of Nigerian citizens. It has fought vehemently against anti-masses policies particularly under the dynamic leadership of its former president Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
- Students Unions: These are groups of students pursuing common aims and objectives for the benefit of their members. The Nigerian Students’ Association has fought against unpopular government policies such as Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), Petroleum Products Increase and cases of injustice in Nigeria.
- Ethnic Associations: These include associations like Oodua People’s Congress, Arewa Consultative Forum and so on.
- Legal Aid Council: The legal aid council is a parastatal under Federal Ministry of Justice which has the responsibility of giving free legal assistance and advice to poor citizens who cannot afford the services of private legal practitioners. Its headquarters is in Abuja with offices in each State of the Federal and Supervisory Offices in six geo-political zones.
Methods of Protecting Human Rights and Rule of Law
The following are the ways human rights can be protected:
Protest Marches: A protest march is a way through which people express their displeasure against human rights abuse. During such marches, placards are carried. These placards reflect what the protesters are fighting for. For instance, in 1995 when Ken Saro-Wiwawas imprisoned and killed, there were protest marches against the Abacha government.
A protest march is always intended to be peaceful. The protesters may march chanting various Songs and carrying placards to express their mind. The march could be to an important Government official like Governor, the Minister or the President. In Nigeria, people like Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chief Gani Fewehinmi had led such protests against human rights abuses at one time or the other.
Media Coverage: Human Rights abuses could be fought against using the mass media like Radio, T.V., newspapers, Press Conferences etc. They highlight human rights problems.
Many journalists have used their pens to fight military terrorism in Nigeria. For instance, Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were convicted under Decree 4 by Buhari/ Idiagbon Administration but were released later.
Many media houses had been shut down during the military era in Nigeria for fighting against the human right abuse during the military era in Nigeria.
Hunger Strike: Some individuals show their grievances by fasting for some time until something is done about their requests.
We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.
In our next class, we will be talking about Consumer Rights and Responsibilities. We are very much eager to meet you there.
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