IHRD

Nigeria below standard in rights protection, says Ubani

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As the world marks the 2022 International Human Right Day, human rights lawyer and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Dr Monday Ubani, has said he will sue the Federal Government over alleged violation of human rights in the country.

December 10 of every year is set aside by the United Nations to mark International Human Rights Day.

Speaking in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, Ubani said Nigeria had yet to meet the standard on human rights protection.

According to him, the Nigeria Police Force and other sister agencies have been found guilty of rights infringement.

“We have a provision in the constitution, which provided for human rights. If you place those rights in the context of Nigeria to see whether we have fulfilled our obligation towards respecting human rights, we are nowhere. We are almost zero. There are no rights that you can say we have respected.

“There was one day I was at a police station, and in my presence, the policeman was hitting somebody with a pestle, the one they use to pound yam. If he could do that in my presence, you can imagine what they do when no lawyer is there. And the man was eventually found to be innocent of the offence that he was been accused of.

“They would accuse someone of a crime and not allow him to defend himself; the next thing is that they would bump you into a cell. If you go to any of the detention centres, either army, police, or DSS you would see people that are there, who have been there for some months, and nobody even knows that they are there.

“Those who went to prison, when they come back and tell you how many innocent persons were there and whose fate is undetermined, it is because the cases are not in court, there is no file anywhere concerning their case. So, they just dump them there.

“Even during the EndSARS crisis, do you know there are many suspects still languishing in police cell, but what they do is that they didn’t charge them with EndSARS; they just came up with one charge, either murder or anything, most of them are in the detention centres across the country.

“I heard that in the East, most of these detention centres, including the army detention centres; people are there. They just accuse you of being an IPOB member or another thing and just dump you there. A lot of things are happening in this country that makes us know that we are not in any way meeting the standard of human rights protection,” he said.

Explaining that anyone that commits a crime should be investigated and taken to court based on evidence and be convicted by the court, Ubani said it was wrong to abandon any person who had not been tried in the cell and other detention centres for more than the expected time.

The human rights lawyer stated that he would be going to court to ensure that Nigerians were allowed to use their phones in police stations and premises of other security agencies.

Ubani said that he would also seek the right of citizens to record activities of policemen who were infringing on their rights, adding that it was the only way to provide evidence against policemen and get them punished.

“I would be suing the Federal Government, the Attorney General, ICPC, EFCC, and others who tell us to drop our phone at the entrance. They should come to court and tell us why we are not allowed with our phones inside,” he added.

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