AbUJA-THE National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has said the inability of the citizens especially the vulnerable to challenge abuse of their fundamental human rights had emboldened security agents in the act.
The commission which said most complaints in its possession were those involving security agents,especially men of the Nigeria Police, against the vulnerable,tasked the people to seek enforcement of their fundamental rights.
The charge came as Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre,WARDC, a non profit civil rights organization promoting respect for human rights, gender equality, equity, rule of law, accountability and social justice in Nigeria,attributed low enrollment of women in politics, education,economic empowerment programmes among many others to corruption.
NHRC,speaking Tuesday,in Abuja, through its Deputy Director, Monitoring, Mrs Titilayo Samuel,at an interface meeting with women groups,Public Complaints Commission,NHRC,National Orientation Commission among other service providers,organised by WARDC,said the vulnerable’s rights were being trampled unchallenged.
To this end,she released the commission’s hotlines to the meeting’s participants who were mostly women to reach out to the commission whenever they felt their rights had been abused.
“It is unfortunate that the vulnerable especially women perhaps due to ignorance of the law don’t seek enforcement of their rights when their human rights are abused. The development has spurred security agents,” she said.
She counselled: “Is is important to know that you have some fundamental rights as a person. If for instance, you are being arrested,you have the right to ask them why.
“You have a right to know why you are being arrested and you equally have the right to demand to see the arrest warrant by those arresting you and the right to be allowed to inform your partner or close persons to you to know where you are.
“You need to know where you are at any particular time. It is very important for us that we show know our right and knowing your right has nothing to do with whether you are educated or not educated.”
The Executive Director, WARDC,Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi,said the event was aimed at bringing women together to assist fight corruption which she said,had become the bane of the country’s development and growth.
Regretting that women were not being given centre stage in politics, access to justice, education and rights to be free from all forms of violence due to corruption in the country, the foremost activist warned that the trend must end if the country would move forward.
Hear her:”WARDC believes that corruption can be successfully reduced if we put women and the right mechanisms at the centre of the equation. One of the aim of our intervention in the fight against corruption is to ensure a reduction in corruption by changing public attitudes that increasingly disapprove of corrupt activities.
Corruption has played a great role in hindering women’s political participation, women’s access to justice, women’s peace and security, women’s economic empowerment, women sexual and reproductive rights, women’s right to education and women’s right to be free from all forms of violence.
“Corruption impact is more magnified amongst the vulnerable group in the society of which women belong.
“Therefore,it is right to say that women suffer more than men do when corruption hinders development.
“Hence, we believe that through this meeting with the Nigerian service providers, we will have a great opportunity to increase the influence of citizens’ participation on decision making and women will be able to negotiate in the development and implementation of strategies in areas of development which has been hindered by corrupt practices.
” We. are hoping that this meeting will create a synergy between service providers and the Nigerian women in the fight against corruption and we will all be upright for Nigeria and stand against corruption.”