FORTY-EIGHT hours after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for his second-term of four years in office, the Amnesty International has set an eight-point human rights agenda for his administration.
In the document, Nigeria: Human Rights Agenda, launched in Abuja on Friday, Amnesty International said the inauguration of president Buhari on 29 May, presents an opportunity for the incoming administration to demonstrate its oft-stated commitment to human rights and undertake urgent and concrete actions to strengthen their promotion and protection in Nigeria.
It explained that the document appraises the human rights situation in Nigeria and provides information regarding cases of human rights violations and abuses across the country.
While noting that the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) in Chapter IV contains provisions on human rights and Nigeria has ratified several international and regional human rights treaties, the organisation lamented that the country is plagued with decades of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by state and non-state actors respectively.
Amnesty International said it has documented many and various forms of human rights violations and the victims continue to lack redress.
“As the new administration takes office for a 4-year term, Amnesty International is recommending some concrete measures to ensure that human rights are better respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled in Nigeria,” it said.
“In this regard, Amnesty International calls on the new administration to: 1. End all forms of violence against women and girls, 2. Protect the rights of children, 3. Ensure accountability for the Niger Delta clean-up, 4. Guarantee freedom of expression, 5. End torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, 6. Secure Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 7. Protect the civic space and improve the operating environment for human rights defenders and activists, 8. Abolish the death penalty and commute all death sentences.”
It further noted that the human rights situation in Nigeria is marked by serious human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, violence against women and girls, restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, mass forced evictions, environmental pollution and lack of accountability for human rights violations and abuses.
Despite Nigeria’s overwhelming ratification of human rights treaties and commitments at the international and regional level, Nigerians continue to face worsening human rights crisis across the country, Amnesty International said.
It reiterated that the incoming administration of president Buhari can address the perennial human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria, adding that the Nigerian government has clear national and international obligations to promote, protect, respect and fulfil human rights.
“Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian government to seize this opportunity to end decades of human rights violations and pervasive impunity including by making human rights central to its agenda and ensuring that human rights are not suppressed.”
It emphasised that the government must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by taking concrete actions on the proposed recommendations made as a matter of priority.
“Amnesty International will continue to assess the human rights situation in Nigeria and to call for greater protection of everyone’s human rights,” it concluded.