Latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited has revealed that most victims (76 percent) of human rights violation in Nigeria do not report incidents of violations committed against them.
As such, these rights are frequently violated and these situations remain overlooked. To address human rights infractions, the constitution empowers “any person who alleges any infraction “in relation to him” to apply to the High Court for redress.
However, during the course of this survey, respondents disclosed that they do not report such cases due to lack of trust in the judicial system and law enforcement agencies.
In gauging the level of human rights awareness in Nigeria, poll results revealed that most Nigerians (77 percent) are conscious of their rights as humans and as citizens of the country. Further findings also showed freedom of movement as the highest mentioned human right enjoyed by Nigerians with (57 percent), other rights cited include right to life (39 percent), right to peaceful assembly and association (26 percent), right to freedom of expression and the press (22 percent), amongst others. The ‘right to dignity of human person’ (22 percent), ‘right to freedom of movement’ (21 percent) and ‘right to fair hearing’ (12 percent) were the most frequently mentioned rights which had been infringed upon,
In addition, the poll revealed the Nigerian Police as the biggest culprits of human rights violation as attested by 30 percent of the (50 percent) respondents who had personally experienced or know someone who has been the victim of human rights violation.
This is further corroborated by the Amnesty International Report of 2015 that over a period of three years, almost 1 billion naira (US$5 million) has been paid out as compensation to victims of human rights violations by the Nigerian police. Like every other law enforcement body in the world, the Nigerian Police has been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties, but in performing these duties, many have been accused of human rights violation, ranging from extortions, to arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions.
Therefore, violators should be diligently prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others, this could be achieved rapidly by putting modalities in place for the proper enforcement of the laws that ensure that human rights are protected and promoted.
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