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The Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Chapter, Barrister Chioma Onyenucha Uko has reflected on the activities of the Association nationwide and said the Bar has failed to advance the cause of human rights in Nigeria.

She spoke at a one day Human Rights Summit titled: “Is the state of Human Rights, still fundamental as constitutionally provided in Nigeria?”

She said the Bar failed to promote and protect the human rights in Nigeria as was supposed to embrace by many lawyers and non lawyers.">">

Participants at the summit were drawn from education sector, judiciary, civil society organizations, media and government ministries.

The purpose of the one day summit was to critically evaluate how the judiciary has fared in the expression of fundamental rights as encapsulated in the Nigerian

In her words: “The Nigeria Bar Association failed their responsibility as a body that supposed to protect the Human rights of its citizens.

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“What we saw #END SARs doing is what we as lawyers and Human right activists are suppose to do, but we did not live up to expectations of people towards us.”

“Why we mark today Human rights day with this summit is to tell ourselves the truth that human rights is being abused every day without anybody questioning anybody.”

J.S Okutepa, SAN. Who spoke on the topic, lamented that rigjts of citizens are being trampled daily including those of lawyers, adding that the Bar and the Bench may have failed to do justice to the concept of fundamental rights.

He.said: “If we are not living up to their expectations it will affect all of us”.

Prof. Femi Odekunle, a professor of Criminology and Social Science, blasts lawyers, saying they contributed to human rights abuse.

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Odekunle maintained that, “where justice is needed because of money you lawyers will compromise the truth and that is what is affecting the system now”.

Odekunle in his submission atated that, “there is an indisputable relationship between violation of human rights and police recruitment/training. The pandemic has shown our limitations as a society in handling the threats of human rights.
Inherent in Nigerian laws are discriminatory provisions.

Accordingly, Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola, a professor of Agricultural Economics who frowned over the constant disregard to the rule of law governing right to food like non observance of constitutional division of labor and the side lining of critical laws to avoid food as a human right pervades the economy.

Hunger and malnutrition persists for lack of a rights-based policy
environment that empowers the people to ask questions and hold
government accountable.

Professor Joy Ezeilo, a professor of Law speaking on legal and gender perspective, maintained: “Women do not have access to justice as violence against women and poverty are still the reality of women in the society”.

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She further highlighted that, “a lot of judicial officers do not appreciate the gravity of fundamental rights
and do not understand the rule of law.

“In the same development, Senior lawyers do not actively participate or demand for veritable persons to be in the judiciary or even occupy positions in the Association.

“Nigeria lacks cultural diplomacy which informs the institutional failure that is evident. The desecration in the profession has discouraged litigants from fighting for their human rights.

“It must be embedded in our work that Human rights encompasses women’s rights, marginalized people’s rights and vulnerable people’s rights; human
rights is for all and must be upheld.

“Constitutional review is necessary in order to demand for inclusion of a gender sensitive language, and revisiting the indigenity clause.”

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