Paul Ebiala, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Calabar Chapter, has said that Nigeria needed to improve on the protection of its citizens’ human rights.
Mr Ebiala made the call on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Calabar, as the World commemorates Human Rights Day.
The World Human Rights Day is observed annually on Dec. 10, to reaffirm the importance of human rights in building the world we want, and the need for a global solidarity and shared humanity. The theme of the 2020 observance is “Recover Better – Stand up For Human Rights”.
The NBA Chairman said Nigeria had not done well with regards to human rights, adding that this was what explained the recent nationwide calls to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), who allegedly abused the rights of many citizens.
“I do not think that under a civilian regime, we still have the level of human rights abuses we had during the military days.
“It is important that we continue to draw attention to the human rights violations in the nation, so that the agencies involved would know that these rights are meant to be protected not violated.
“I say this because when the rights of Nigerian citizens are abused, it means that our Constitution is breached, so, we need to focus on the inalienable rights of our citizens to ensure that we do not witness what we saw few weeks ago”, he said.
Mr Ebiala, however, recommended that any Nigerian, whose rights were abused should approach a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, or a lawyer, who would go to court, to ensure redress instead of taking the law into his or her own hands.
Similarly, a Human Rights Lawyer, Mr James Ibor, concurred that Nigeria had not progressed in the area of human rights, as it had witnessed repressive attacks on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
“Today is an opportunity to let the Nigerian government know that the citizens are not happy, and we must not allow these frustrations to lead to a second wave of the #EndSARS protest,” he said.