(A text of a media conference to mark 2020 international Human Rights Day Today December 10th 2020)
Whereas the rest of the members of the global human community are about celebrating the 2020 world human rights day, we in Nigeria have found ourselves in a quandary of collapsed state of security- human and food.
Sadly, human rights situation in Nigeria has deteriorated just as persons who hitherto were using their public offices to fight corruption are being roped into phantom charges. We will give you the example of the Enugu State Commissioner of Lands and Urban Development; Mr. Chukwuememeja Nnam who has been framed up by the police working in cohort with some alleged land speculators.
Commissioner for Land and Urban Development in Enugu State, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nnam, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, over alleged gross illegality and use of Special Fraud Unit (SFU) by Private Estate International to witch-hunt him.
In a letter addressed to the IGP and signed by Nnam’s lawyer, Obinna Ugwu, he called on the IGP to review the investigation conducted by SFU of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Lagos, which gave rise to the charge the commissioner is currently facing in a Federal High Court.
Part of the letter read: “It is also pertinent at this stage to state that our client was never at any time invited by the police over any complaint against him as all that the police did was to visit our client in his office and sought our client’s statement in respect of a certain case of forgery in the registration of Aruga Layout which the Milverton Police, Lagos was investigating and which statement our client freely volunteered to the police.
“It is therefore surprising that the entire case was turned against our client whose only involvement was the registration of the said layout following his briefing by the representatives of village involved.
“Recently and while this charge was still pending in the court, our client authoritatively learnt that the witnesses listed in the said charge who are indigenes of Obunagu village of Obeagu community through an affidavit completely dissociated themselves from the said charge and in that regard, wrote a letter to our client’s former office stating their resolution to continue working with our client’s office for the perfection of the registration of their Aruga layout while also appointing one Mr. Sunday Ngene to be their representative in relating with our client’s office.
“In view of the above, particularly the stance of the witnesses intended to be used by the prosecution in the said charge against our client vis-à-vis your position towards changing the face of the entire Nigeria Police Force for good, we do on behalf of our client humbly appeal for your intervention by causing the investigation as allegedly conducted by SFU in the above matter to be reviewed by another section of the police so as to unravel the people behind this embarrassing situation and save the institution of the Nigeria police Force from a further embarrassment in the face of the general public.”
In another development, four witnesses listed in the ongoing trial of Nnam, have disassociated themselves from the case. They’re Chigbogu Eze, Oguejiofor Egbo, Sunday Ngene and Christian Okoh.
In their separate depositions at the Federal High Court, Enugu, the four witnesses said they were withdrawing because of the poor investigation carried out, leading to the ongoing prosecution of the commissioner.
They further added that they can only be part of the case if a thorough investigation is conducted by the Police.
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.
2020 Theme: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights
This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.
10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want; the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.
Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals
Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot hope to drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights. Find out how UN agencies strive to put human rights at the centre of their work.
For millions of Nigerians, the conversations around how to beat back the consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic has inevitably become compounded by the hydra-headed monsters of insecurity and massive poverty.
The unfortunate scenario that has characterized the emergence of this global health emergency is the pandemic of economic collapse and the affliction of economic adversities by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of costs of electricity power and the pump price of petrol.
Now, more than ever before, millions of Nigerians go to bed hungry given the obvious parlous state of their family economies marred by mass unemployment, collapsed of socio- economic infrastructures, high crime rate and fast declining value of the National Currency the Naira.
Our roads have become death traps in such a devastating way that armed kidnappers have now made life unbearable for millions of Nigerians even as there is a clear nexus between the collaboration of top government officials with these kidnapping barons.
Can we ask the question why kidnappers negotiate successfully with families of their victims and still go ahead to pick up ransom payments but the security forces, the CBN and the NCC are not aware? These three segments of the central government must be put on surveillance for there is no how the kidnappings will succeed without them.
Why are the public universities still shut whereas the political elites have all their children in foreign jurisdictions?
*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @www. huriwanigeria.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.thenigerianinsidernews.com.