Stakeholders call for collective responsibility in human rights activism

Stakeholders call for collective responsibility in human rights activism

By Our Reporter

Stakeholders yesterday called for collective responsibility in further pushing for human rights activism at all levels of the society.

This was contained in a communiqué of the Big Ideas Podium Conference on the topic, “Human Rights and Democracy in Nigeria: Agenda for a New Era” issued on Sunday in Enugu.

The conference, which was held on May 26, was organised by the African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage).

They noted that human rights was not about any group but specifically for everyone, adding that there should be shared mission and identity, without which, the protection of human rights in democracy is impossible.

The stakeholders called for making the nation’s legal, administrative and political institutions very functional, capable and fit for purpose of doing their own part in protection of human rights.

“Our system of education should be functional, especially from the primary schools, so from the early stage of life, children will know how to treat people with dignity.

“The Nigerian leadership should not be ethnic but one that embraces diversity.

“Personality of leaders matters in leadership with good examples seen in Lee Kwan Yu (Singapore), and Paul Kagama (Rwanda).

“We need a government that will connect to the people at the level of their feelings and manage the psyche of people through symbolic representation,’’ they said.

The stakeholders called on the need for a holistic national integration “as the history of integration is in existence and can happen in Nigeria.

“The contents of the 1999 constitution should be applied (chapter two and section 13 especially) and the security and welfare of the people should be the primary concern of government.

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“Strong institutions such as the likes of Olisa Agbakoba in prison reformation and that of the human rights commission which has done great job by using ‘settle out of court’ mechanism should be commended and supported,’’ they said.

In the conference, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the Governing Board of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), was the lead discussant on the theme of the conference.

While Prof Ogugua Ikpeze, a Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Mr Chris Isiguzo, President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), were the co-discussants at the conference.

The conference was attended by scholars, human rights crusaders, lawyers, clergymen and journalists.

The communiqué was signed by the Executive Director of Afri-Heritage, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, on behalf of the discussants and stakeholders at the conference.

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