…Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Respecting human rights in this time of prevailing issues confronting the dignity of the human persons as expressed nationwide by Nigerian youths is crucial for attaining desired results. The Special Monitoring Mission of the International Human Rights Commission in the Niger Delta has condemned in strong terms the gross misconduct and grave violations of human rights by the Nigeria Government and her citizens. Peaceful protest should adhere to the rule of law and the killing of unarmed young people is unexpectable.

This was made a few days following the very disturbing incidents of vandalism, killings, and attacks on private individuals and institutions by hoodlums in the guise of #EndSARS protesters in Edo State and other States of the Federation. Lives matters, everyone lives either security or non-security agencies.

According to Fidelis Onakpoma, IHRC SMM Coordinator in the Niger Delta said that “We cannot hope for sustainable development without peace, stability, human rights, and effective governance, based on the rule of law. Some persons enjoy peace, security, and prosperity, while others fall into seemingly endless cycles of conflict and violence.
Armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, affecting economic growth, and often resulting in grievances that last for generations”.
The report has it that by the end of 2017, 68.5 million people had been forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations.

Violence, crime, exploitation, and torture which are also prevalent where there is a conflict or no rule of law, has become the narration of the current day Peaceful Protest.
These are disturbing efforts to exploit the protest to advance anarchy and vulnerable groups such as women and children would suffer in deep impact.
This is not inevitable and must be addressed and Nigeria must take measures to protect its citizens, Security agencies inclusive.
Human rights put people center-stage. Responses that are shaped by and respect human rights result in better outcomes in dealing with situations like this, the need to ensuring safety for everyone, and preserving human dignity cannot be overemphasized.

Recall that the SDGs aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to end conflict and insecurity; Promoting the rule of law and human rights are key to this process.

We are appealing to the Federal and State governments to manage violence to prevent anarchy, build more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow, and bring justice to victims of the #EndSARS protesters.
Let us remain law-abiding and the government should create a more friendly environment where democracy is not seen as demon-crazy!

Fidelis Onakpoma,
IHRC ZVC, Niger Delta


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