By Sylvester Thomson
Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, a legal practitioner in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has advised the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that citizens’ rights are enforced.
Agbonlahor, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, also urged the commission to educate Nigerian citizens on their rights.
He said that the NHRC should channel most of its funding to enlightenment and education of citizens on their rights.
The legal practitioner said many Nigerians were ignorant about their rights, adding that there was the need for the commission to raise awareness on human rights issues through enlightenment.
This, according to him is one of the core responsibilities of the Commission enshrined in its 1995 Act as amended.
According to him, Nigerians, especially the uneducated have their fundamental human rights infringed upon without their knowledge.
“This makes them vulnerable, suffering unjustly without remedy.
“If citizens are properly enlightened and educated, it becomes easy for them to be able to assert their rights,’’ Agbonlahor said.
He urged the Commission to create enlightenment programmes on radio and television as well as social media platforms, to be aired at prime time.
Agbonlahor also stressed the need for the Commission to organise seminars and symposiums, in collaboration with civil society groups on the rights of citizens.
“They should bring up topics and invite people to come and talk about people’s rights because there are various cases of domestic abuses in which women suffer the most.
“As I speak, there are thousands of women who are being beaten to death by their husbands but nobody knows about it because those poor women do not know their rights,’’ he said.
The legal practitioner faulted the process by which the Commission handles cases of human right abuses, “from file opening to the invitation of the other party for hearing and so on and so forth’’.
“How does that in any way assist in the enforcement of right of the individual?’’ Agbonlahor asked.