ABUJA – The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged Nigerians not to allow constituted authorities or individuals to trample on their rights as human beings.
The commission’s Deputy Director, Legal Services, Ms Aver Gavar, told newsmen in Abuja that Nigerians needed to claim and assert their rights at all times.
Gavar gave the advice against the backdrop of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Day observed annually on December 10 to mark the anniversary of the presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Nigerians have sat on their rights for a long time based on ignorance and this is traceable to a long period of military regime.
“So we need to create confidence in the public that when you know your rights and you claim or assert them you will be supported.
“That is the role of the commission – to make people confident that the commission will support them.“
According to Gavar, the theme for the 2014 Human Rights Day: “Human Rights 365“, is a call on all Nigerians to ensure that they know their rights and assert them every day of the year.
“This year’s theme talks about 365 days; it is about living your life; it is about knowing your rights and living your rights every single day of the year.
“It is about speaking out; it is about building confidence; it places a lot of burden on the commission that we need to do more sensitisation, more awareness creation.
“It places a lot of responsibility on all human rights institutions globally that there needs to be more human rights education until the citizens can speak out and claim and enforce their rights.“
The deputy director said that the commission was working hard to be pro-active rather than reactive as part of its commitment to ensuring that Nigerians had the right information on what to do when their rights were violated.
“The overall mandate of the commission is to create an enabling environment for the enjoyment of human rights.
“And the easiest way for us to achieve this is to create awareness. To bring about public awareness on human rights so that citizens and people resident in Nigeria would become aware of their rights.“
Gavar said that the 2012 amendment of the Act