1.1 Background of the study
Human rights are those categories of rights that nature has bestowed on man. They presume the sacredness of the human person in any society in the world to doggedly resist any constraints upon this right as they underlie his humanity and freedom. In its modern form, where the dominant terminology has taken the phrase human rather than natural human right is defined as a universal moral right, something which all Men, everywhere, at all times, ought to have and something of which no one may be deprived without grave affront to justice Something which is owing to every human Being simply because he is human. Issa Shivji goes to opine that: There is only one universal conception and Formulation of human rights. Human rights are universal. They inhere in human beings by virtue of their humanity alone they are neither privileges nor contingent upon any duties by entitlements against the state. Conceptually, the dominate outlook on human right‘ centers around the concept of human nature‘. Human nature is an abstraction both from history as well as society. (Klenner, 208,p8).
This study demonstrates that the crisis of human right violation does not only threaten the citizens of a country and the “dividends” of democracy presumably expected by all and sundry, but also impacts negatively on the practice of human rights in Nigeria. The crisis of governance has become so pervasive in the country since independence. For Akinola (2000), “poor governance has been the plight of Nigeria since the country attained political independence in 1960”. Also, it has become pervasive because in the practical terms the various governments in Nigeria have tended to be non-transparent, irresponsible and non-accountable to those who supposedly elected them into office. Despite the yearnings of the people for good government, bad governments have over the years tended to remain with us. There is a general consensus that the operators of the Nigerian state have abysmally failed to live up to the hopes and expectations which the Nigerian people expressed while supporting the struggle for political independence. Nigerians had yearned, and hoped for among other expectations that, self-rule would engender good governance, furtherance of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people, and a comprehensive socioeconomic and political transformation of the society. However, shortly after the departure of the British colonialists, the Nigerian rulers crassly demonstrated that the noble virtue of promoting the overall well being of the Nigerian masses was not among the reasons for which they (the elites) had asked for political independence. Indeed, the quality of governance in Nigeria tended not only to steadily grind all efforts to achieve rapid socioeconomic and political development of the country, but also on several instances pose challenges to the peace, progress, unity and prosperity of the nation. In this paper, we shall attempt to draw attention to the grossly inept leadership and crisis of governance which have plagued Nigeria, and argue how these have facilitated the violations of the basic rights of the Nigerian people. Our analysis is drawn from the experience of the Fourth Republic (1999 to 2007). This paper is therefore structured as follows; the introduction; the concepts of governance and human rights in their proper definitional perspectives; some lessons drawn from history on the violations of human rights in Nigeria; the phenomenon of bad governance, and how it stimulated the violation of human rights in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic; conclusion.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Human right violation the world over, has become an ignominious act which attract the condemnation and attention of international organizations like UN, the Common Wealth, AU, Governmental Organization and others. Nigeria as a sovereign state has not fared any better in the protection of fundamental human rights of her citizens instead, it has been a situation of wanton abuses of their inalienable rights with impunity. The regimes of General Babangida and Sani Abacha witnessed widespread human rights violation. Both regimes ushered in unprecedented levels of political and economic regimentation in Nigeria,, and the scale of violation of human rights abuses reached such magnitude that it led to widespread dissatisfaction in all spheres of the society. (Owunwa, 198, p.189) For instance, the resulting absence of legal restraints on agents of the regimes gave free rein to human right violations. The human right abuses of the regime were perpetuated by the government through their agents operating in different institutions and agencies of the state. Most prominent were the armed forces, including the paramilitary organs of the state such as the State Security Services (SSS), the customs and Prisons Services, the National Intelligence agency, and the Police Force. They all collaborated extensively in launching an all-out war, on behalf of the ruling junta, against human rights issues and activists. Soon enough, civil officials of known human rights inclinations were suspended dismissed or retired from public service institution. Others, such as academic, intellectual and European Scientific students union a activists that also maintained similar posture as that of the human right activists, were either harassed, brutalized or arrested (in the case of the former two), or were rusticated or expelled in the case of the later In 1988, some leaders of the Nigeria Labor Congress were detained for criticizing the General Babangida regime on SAP and when in 1993 striking ASUU members refused to be intimidated by threats from the regime, which were expected to force them back to lecture halls without first of all meeting their demands, the regime issued the Teaching (essential Services) Decree under which teachers all levels of educations would lose their jobs if they went for more than one week. It is remarkable that in the opinion of Bola Ajibloa, violation of human rights was quite compatible with military rule. In an address that he delivered at the Nigerian Bar Association conference in Kaduna in September 1988, on the theme Courts and Liberties in Military Revolution, he opined thus If we accept that a military regime is an Aberration, then we should be prepared to Logically assume that it cannot satisfy the Condition of regular government in terms of Human rights. (Tell Magazine, 1993, p.6). To secure his regime, he clamped Chief M.K.O Abiola into jail. Shortly after, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Frank Kokori and countless others followed. The right to freedom of expression and the press was at best in abeyance, owing to the fact that newspaper houses were shut down on official orders or were fire-bombed by unknown persons who always were never apprehended by the police authority. The existence of the Strike Force, the Directorate of Military intelligence (DMI) and the State Security Services (SSS) further worsened the violation of human right On 10th November, 1995, Kenule Beeson Saro Wiwa- a renowned figure whose repute was known worldwide on account of his agitations for equitable appropriation and utilization of the oil wealth of his community in particular and Niger Delta in general-and eight other Ogoni environmental activists were sentenced to death by hanging. This was the climax of years of struggle by the Ogonis in creating general awareness about the environmental devastation that the exploration of crude oil in their communities by foreigners in collaboration with the Nigerian government, has wrecked on the indigenous peoples without noticeable improvement of their standard of living. (Aron, 1966, p.32) Herein lies the problem of the study, which is the establishment and evaluation of the dialectical relationship that exists between human rights, its violations and what this portends for the national security of the country such as Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the study
1. To ascertain the implications of human right violation in Nigeria.
2. To determine the extent of human right violation in Nigeria.
1.4 Research questions
1. Are there implications of human right violation in Nigeria?
2. To what extent is human right violated in Nigeria?
1.5 Research hypotheses
Ho: There are no implications to human right violation in Nigeria.
Hi: There are implications to human right violation in Nigeria.
Ho: The extent of human right violation cannot be determined.
Hi: The extent of human right violation can be determined.
1.6 Significance of the study
The problem we have sought to address entails a discussion on the status and dynamics of human rights violation from British to Post Independence in Nigeria. We shall equally be examining the extent to which genuine democratization can resolve the hydra-headed crisis of human right abuses. At the inception of the present Fourth Republic in 1999 under the leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerians had a sigh of relief that democracy and its twin sister, the rule of law, which is the basis for the protection of human rights, will come to stay. Unfortunately, everybody was amazed and disappointed at the level of human rights violation even in the democratic regime of Obasanjo.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the study
This study covered the implications of human right violation in Nigeria and the researcher was faced with a little problem while carrying out the research.
Limitations of study
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection through the internet, questionnaire and interview.
Time constraint- The researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. This consequently cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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