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Poverty Eradication: Make social, economic rights justiceable –  Ojukwu charges politicians

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…calls for concrete actions in budgeting, policy and implementation policies of poverty eradication

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu has said  that best way to eradicate poverty, which will as well serve as the greatest gifts the politicians can give Nigerians, is to make social and economic rights justiceable. 

Ojukwu, who was represented by the Senior Human Rights Adviser of the Commission, Hilary Ogbonna stated this on Friday during the UN NGOCSW Parallel event organised by “My Take Initiative’ in collaboration with the NHRC on the theme: “Interconnectedness between poverty and other societal ills in the context of climate change”.

According to him, “In a country like Nigeria, all the human rights that are supposed to eradicate poverty, empower the individual to be able to fight poverty as an individual or group are not justiceable – right to education, (which makes you an enlightened human being, gives you skills to be able to engage in a meaningful social or economic enterprise);  right to health, right to social impact of human right on the emotional, physical and psychological well being of a human person.

He therefore advised that the ongoing constitutional reform should not only target how to conduct election and how to context election, but should also be a constitutional reform process for the people of Nigeria.

This is also as he has called for concrete actions in budgeting, policy and implementation of poverty eradication programmes.

In the words of the Executive Secretary, statistically, Nigeria is hosting one of the highest population of poor people in the world and it’s a thing of concern because poverty has multifarious, multifaceted and multiple implications for human development, human security and also human existence.

He said that it’s because of the centrality of dignity to the enjoyment of human right that the universal declaration of human rights 1948, first paragraph said: “Universal declaration is a proclamation of human being on earth, irrespective of whether your country is a member of United Nation or not. Adding that it is a proclamation which starts by saying that “the recognition of the inherent dignity and equality and inalienable rights of human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

The ES stressed that poverty has been acknowledged in 2022 as a violation of human right and that there is also United Nation proclamation that poverty is an assault on the dignity of a human person. It goes to show that where there is poverty there is no dignity and where there is no dignity, there is no human rights, he added.

Ojukwu who stated that majority of our poverty is either caused by the state or non-state actors, condemned a situation where government will demolish places of business which renders female victims jobless, who in turn  take to prostitution and security agents with black Hilux turn around and arrest the on the ground that prostitution is prohibited in Abuja and the same women and girls are subjected to rape in detention.

He therefore advised that whatever development planning process Nigeria embarks on (10- year development plan or 30- year development plan), we should begin to integrate human rights into each and everyone of them. 

Earlier in her opening statement, the Executive Director, My Take Initiative, Dr. Rosemary Chikwendu noted that climate change have multiplied the level of Poverty in the land and the event will be interrogating how poverty contributes hugely to other societal ills, particularly as related to women and children.

She submitted that equipping women in other skills that are not solely dependent on nature could be a sure way to offer social protection to women.
Other online keynote speakers who made contributions were: Prof Luz Estela Ortiz-Nagle, Prof Joy Ezeilo and host of other dignitaries.

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