By IJEOMA UMEH
ON December 2, the world stage snowballed into one common agitation ground with stakeholders drawn from both civil society and government clamouring for ‘real freedom’ in all ramifications as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was observed. Exactly eight days later, on December 10 to be precise, again, concerned individuals, corporate entities, particularly members of the civil society groups and related coalition agencies rolled out the drums to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.
For some stakeholders, these twin celebrations, coming head-to-head,, are important memorials, clear reminders of a people’s stand-point in the social equation of give and take. For others, they are sad reminders of the lacuna, or gaps, that exist in the social regimen of a people’s existence.
Two distinguished members of the civil society group, Humphrey Arheghan, Senior Pastor, Church of God Mission International and Head, Beshan Youth Organization, and David Ugolor, Executive Director, African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) himself a survivor of human rights abuse, spoke to our Principal Features Writer, Ijeoma Umeh, on the basis of these two remarkable events and what the commemorations portend for Nigeria’s corporate existence.
It’s class Failure By All Responsible – Humphrey Arheghan
On The Relevance of both international celebration to Nigeria.
It’s really difficult to make a summary, I will however state that both events are relevant, but not very relevant. Relevant in the sense that it keeps to memory the twin evil which need urgent and appropriate response from every segment of the society. Looking at the events with regard to these two problems in our nation, the celebration is nothing but a broken record.
Slavery is man’s inhumanity to man which is against the principles of God.
Human Rights are inherent benefits of God which every human being ought to enjoy without any subjugation, either by Government or powerful individuals.
The celebration reminds us of the debt that government and society owes to everyone, especially the vulnerable ones. On the status of Nigeria with regard to slavery, servitude or human rights abuses.
It’s unfortunate, but the Nigerian Community has done very poorly with respect to the dignity of individuals. We are constantly faced with slave trade, both local and international, and also the abuse of the fundamental human rights of her citizens both by government agencies and self acclaimed powerful individuals. Even more worrisome is the involvement and connivance of both parents and guardians in these evil practices.
Involvement of Parents/Guardians: Extent of culpability
We have heard parents or guardians either ‘sell’ or ‘lease’ their children/wards with the intention of reaping material benefits to better their lives without regard to the future of those young ones concerned, especially the psychological effect or trauma. It robs them of their self worth and dignity.
On the assumption that the Denial by the ruling class of the citizens basic amenities is a rape on their fundamental Human Rights.
I totally agree with that assumption. Knowing well that the primary purpose of government is to save the poor from the oppression of the rich, and establish an enabling environment for individuals to express themselves without fear or intimidation. It is high time leadership becomes more defined in Nigeria in deference to rulership.
Both government and parents/guardians should understand that it is a responsibility entrusted to them by God and therefore should know that they all will give accounts of their actions or inactions. They should also understand that the greatness of a nation is not dependent on the material wealth, but rather on the quality of persons in that nation. They owe every citizen education, both formal and informal, to give the people the understanding of their role, responsibility and duties.
The parents owe the children security and respect and the duty of care to every child they bring to the world. Parenting is more of a duty than a matter of pride.