The Federal Government should address the issue of human rights violations and abuses against the citizens to curb the spate of brain drain in the country popularly known as ‘Japa’, the International Human Rights Commission, advised on Saturday.
The organization also called on political leaders to prioritise the issues of infrastructure provision, internet penetration and promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises for sustainable development of the nation, saying it is not a matter of privilege, but the people’s right.
The IHRC’s Head of Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria, Dr Duru Hezekiah, said these during a symposium organized in Abuja by the commission to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
According to him, the absence of adequate infrastructure and other development indices predispose citizens to circumstances in which their rights are abused at home and in Diaspora.
He said, “A country like Nigeria has never celebrated 24 hours of electricity supply, the oil regime management is shrouded in secrecy, the state of roads have never at any time been in the best shape for travellers, the public education sector is at its worst times, and lives are been wasted through incessant killings everywhere. These are just a few of the human rights infringements and abuses against Nigerians.
“Many of Nigeria’s best brains are migrating to the Western world because of hardship and insecurity. Many of the girls are being used as sex toys in foreign lands because no hope for them in their fatherland. We are, therefore, calling on the Nigerian government to prioritize the issues of electricity, roads, internet penetration and MSMEs for the people. It is not a privilege, but a right of the people.”
Delivering the keynote speech entitled, ‘Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’, human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, Frank Tietie, said the quality of life is for both the rich and poor.
He said, “The only difference between rich and poor countries is the quality of life to the extent that a major reason people are flocking to the rich nations of the Western world is that they observe human rights while the poor countries disregard them. These facts can be proven empirically, mathematically, and historically.”
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said that every Nigerian has the right to free education at the elementary and fundamental stages, but regretted the insecurity in the North-east, saying it has impeded the country’s quest to adequately guarantee this right for the millions of out-of-school children in the region.
“Recently, we have seen so many issues that have brought education under attack, especially in the North-East. For instance, we’ve had cause to have children stay out of school. On the other hand, we’ve also had to see to it that there is peace, security, and an enabling environment for education. The Education Ministry has done so much in this aspect. The celebration today is saying that so much is being done on human rights and so much can still be achieved,” he said.
The Head of Nigeria National Office in the West African Examinations Council, Patrick Areghan, said education is not only a right but the passport to human capital development and that opens doors and expands opportunities.
“Education is the basic building block of any society, as well as the single best investment countries, can make to build prosperous, healthy, and equitable societies. The insecurity in our nation today is a big threat to the realization of this right. From the kidnapping of students and teachers to the burning of schools, there is an urgent need for a holistic approach in tackling threats militating against the right to education,” he said.