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Nigeria: Amnesty Int’l, Falana, Others Task Media On Human Rights Abuses

AMNESTY International and some human rights activists in Nigeria, including Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; Richard Akinnola, and Omoyele Sowore, yesterday, tasked the media to report human rights abuses by the current administration.

Speaking at a one-day parley with select media and human right organisations, Amnesty International and some notable activists said there is need for the media to keep the current government on its toes by ensuring that all cases of human rights abuses are reported.

In his remarks, Amnesty International Nigeria’s Board of Trustees Chairman, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said: “The purpose of this synergy is to provide media practitioners with a unique opportunity to engage directly with representative of Amnesty International. Through this forum, we will provide answers to your questions and concerns so that the media can gain insight into our human rights agenda and strategy. We will indeed be looking forward to collaborating more with the Media in our pursuit of fairness and justice for everyone throughout the country.”

In his remarks, Mr Falana lamented that Nigeria has very good human right laws but fails to implement them when the need arises.

Also speaking, Mr Akinnola said the media must not let its guard down as past histories of human rights abuses might gradually begin to creep into the country.

He said: “The public looks up to us and if the press must discharge its responsibility as enshrined in Sections 22 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution, it has to sharpen its antennae to pick the signals of human rights infractions, thereby effecting social changes within our environment. The press also needs to form a partnership with the human rights community, particularly the Amnesty International. It’s a synergy that would be mutually beneficial. If we fold our arms and turn away our focus from these infractions with an attitude of nonchalance, we may be unwittingly shooting ourselves in the foot.” On his part, Sowore warned that the country might begin to witness an informal kind of right abuses where government uses proxies to commit all manners of rights abuse.

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