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Malami urges holistic observance of human rights

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AGF Abubakar Malami


Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that the realisation of civil and political rights without the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights would be impossible, as human rights are universal, indivisible, inter-dependent and inter-related.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) made the observation in his keynote address at the third annual lecture of the Epiphany Azinge Foundation themed ‘Nigeria: 40 years of Engagement with Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy’ at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The minister’s views were contained in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, yesterday in Abuja. Describing the provision of social, economic and cultural rights as a form of social contract, the minister said the provisions of those rights would avail every citizen the acceptable yardstick for assessing the performance of government and political parties.

Malami, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of the Federation, Adedayo Apata (SAN), stressed the need for the enlargement of the concept of human rights in which economic, social and cultural rights are duly incorporated in Chapter IV of the Constitution as justiciable rights.

According to the minister, doing that will clearly be in tune with the progressive global trend that have drifted to the justiciability of socio-economic rights of the citizens, such as the Optional Protocol on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 10, 2008.

“It is therefore my submission that though the Chapter II rights retain their toga of non-justiciability, the courts, including the Supreme Court, have made several pronouncements on the need to observe and implement the provisions of the fundamental objectives that incorporate the social contract.”

“It further remains my view that notwithstanding that the provisions of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy are considered non-justiciable by virtue of Section 6(6)(c) of the 1999 Constitution, in view of the fact that same forms part of fundamental objectives of government, deliberate efforts should be made to commence the implementation and attainment of Chapter II objectives,” he said.


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