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Adegboruwa decries alleged silence by rights groups

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 Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

A human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, on Saturday called on human rights groups and activists to rise up for the defence of the constitutional rights of the ordinary Nigerian.

Adegboruwa made the call at the 2016 World Human Rights Day celebration organised by the Committee For the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Lagos.

Delivering a paper on the theme: “Over Four Decades of Human Rights in Nigeria: The Pains and Gains”, the lawyer decried slow justice administration and extra judicial killings.

He also decried illegal detention of citizens, urging human rights groups to rise up against the situations.

According to him, the culture of silence among human rights organisations in the face of human rights abuses and untold hardship is condemnable.

He said, “We as human rights organisations must have the courage to speak to the wicked of his wickedness. Let’s rise up and speak for the people and in defence of their rights.

“If you visit Ikoyi and Kirikiri prisons, you will weep for human beings; some innocent persons who have been roped into crisis, ended up in custody suffering.’’

Adegboruwa said that many innocent people were languishing in prison or police custodies over petty reasons, including commercial motorcyclists and commercial vehicle drivers.

“The culture of silence of activists in the name of politics is criminal; we must rise above politics and look at areas where people’s rights are being eroded, go to the hinterlands and see how people are suffering.

“If Nigerians cannot feed, trade and express their minds, there is no human right. Offenders must be charged to court within constitutionally specified time.

“In a bailable offence, an offender should not be detained for more than 24 hours,’’ he said.

Adegboruwa called on CHDR and other human rights organisations to constitute a committee that would visit prisons and other police detention camps to address illegalities.

The activist condemned illegal seizure of citizens’ landed property and automobiles , adding that estimated billing and continuous detention of accused already granted bail should be challenged.

He urged governments to regard the rule of law and protect the rights of ordinary citizens.

Dr Osagie Obayuwana, also a lawyer and rights activist, said that Nigeria needed to protect the rights of all its citizens.

Obayuwana, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Edo, urged the Federal Government to unbundle the Department of Public Prosecution for effective prosecution of cases.

Earlier, Mr Alex Omotehinse, Chairman, CDHR in Lagos, called on all Nigerians to stand up to defend their rights.

He urged the three tiers of government and their agencies to respect the rights of ordinary Nigerians.


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