UN Laments Deprivation Of Poor Nigerians At Stakeholders Gathering As NHRC, Others Make Recommendations
The United Nations, UN, has lamented the frequent infringement of the rights of poor Nigerians which it believes has been worsened by persistent denial to access to justice.
This was disclosed on Wednesday during the one-day stakeholders’ dialogue on rights of indigents in Nigeria which held at the National Human Rights Commission headquarters in Abuja.
The program was organised by ‘Miss Face of Humanity, Nigeria’ – a platform that enables young women to share their voices and passion thereby contributing to world peace and progress.
Miss Face of Humanity, Nigeria, is a franchise of TheCoaches.com, led by Blessing Inyang.
The UN position and recommendation comes about seven months after the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS disclosed that 133 million Nigerians have been thrown into multi-dimensional poverty.
The Senior Human Rights Adviser (SHRA) to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Adwoa Kufuor, advised relevant stakeholders to uphold standards for the survival, dignity, wellbeing, and rights of the indigents by protecting them against the discrimination they face, promote their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and ensure their right to remain distinct and pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development.
The UN official explained that while citizens entrust their powers to their governments to secure their rights and interests, it is incumbent on the government across all levels to strive to provide equal rights and opportunities for all persons.
“In Nigeria, the indigents are vulnerable to various human rights violations. Their guaranteed rights under the Constitution are being infringed on frequently and this is exacerbated by persistent denial of access to justice.
“They suffer severe deprivations of economic, social and civil rights further exacerbated by the economic meltdown that has increased the rank of the poor in Nigeria as they are severely feeling the heat of hardship and deprivation in all aspects of human endeavors.
“There has been numerous discussions and debates on the rights of the indigents in Nigeria, however, they remain the most at risk of abuse and are least able to protect themselves against the injuries and economic loss consequent upon such abuse.
“As we know, the recognition, protection and promotion of human rights lie at the heart of all that the United Nations aspires to achieve in peace and development,” Kufuor said.
The UN appreciated the NHRC, the Miss face of humanity (MFOH) and her team for what they are doing to ensure that the rights of the indigent citizens are protected.
In his keynote address, the NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu SAN represented by Mrs Agarase Arase, Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, commended the convener for the laudable project, adding that loving and caring for one another is what everyone should do, as a lifestyle.
At NHRC, she said it has a department that addresses problems of vulnerable groups and ensuring that they get justice.
“We protect by these little remedies so that what has happened before will not happen again,” she said.
On his part, the Ambassador of Mexico to Nigeria, Alfredo Miranda, while commenting on the developments in his host country, said Mexico and Nigeria have plenty of similarities like colonial history, indigenous traditions and huge population crossing over 100 million.
The diplomat gave insight into how the Mexican government is currently addressing the needs of about 11 million of its citizens living in extreme poverty.
According to him, social programs are good in helping the less privileged and government must implement different social programs to address the needs of indigents.
For instance, he cited a program in Mexico through which graduates who are unemployed due to lack of experience, can chose a place where they want to work and government will allocate funds for them while entering an agreement with the enterprise.
Sharing her views on the subject matter, the Chief Commissioner, Public Compliants Commission, Abimbola Ayo-Yusuf, said while the 1999 constitution did not accord special rights to either the rich or poor, the Commission has been empowered by law to “inquire into complaints by members of the public concerning the administrative action of any public authority and companies or their officials, and other matters ancillary thereto”.
The official urged anyone to approach the Commission with their complaints promising to subject it to preliminary investigations.
“Cases that actually fall within the mandate of the Commission are expressly entertained whereas those not within the jurisdiction of the Commission are referred to the appropriate agencies of government which have powers to take up such matters,” she said.
On her part, the 2023 Miss Face of Humanity, Nigeria, Ambassador Chika Ezenwa urged the guests to have empathy for those who are suffering by taking action to alleviate their pains.
“It requires us to treat everyone with dignity and respect,” Ezenwa said while calling for partnership with the brand so as to build ” a world where every person is able to enjoy their basic rights.”
The event was graced by federal government officials, Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and the media.