Human rights activists have tasked President-elect, Bola Tinubu to be committed to respect the rule of law.
The activists made this known at the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival, PANAFEST Colloquium, 2023, on Thursday, in Ikeja, Lagos, with the theme: “Entrenching democracy in Nigeria: Bola Tinubu’s govt: The prospects and benefits.”
Senior Lawyer and Human rights activist, Femi Falana, who was the key speaker at the event, said that
“Nigerians should compel our leaders to respect our rights. Nigeria has one of the best human rights regimes on paper. We have our laws that are more modern than what we have in United States and United Kingdom, very comprehensive human rights laws, but to what extent are we prepared to enforce those laws.
“Our job is already done, what we should do as citizens is to demand for our rights Just like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, in one of his albums. Singing, human rights is my property, you can’t dash me my property. Once you believe in your rights, you will then find a way of fighting for those rights.
“The difference between military and democracy is that the President who knows his onions and committed to democracy and rule of law will question arrest of any citizen. Why have you done that, what has the man done because he has expressed his opinion, please can you release him, that’s what will make a difference.
“In our own case, we have the fundamental rights that are entrenched in whole chapter in a Constitution, chapter 4. We have always had human rights chapter, Bill of Right, since 1960, it was in chapter 3 until 1979. What are the rights, to dignity, life, freedom of association, liberty, religion, among others. Are these rights enforced and respected in Nigeria, No.
“Why they are not respected, because we are generally ignorant of our rights. We fear to demand our rights. Human rights is the way to go under this incoming government. The economic challenges must be addressed if Asiwaju must succeed.”
Worrey, a former Solicitor-General under the administration of Governor Tinubu, said,
“For me, the fundamental for me is the management of the fiscal, treasury, because he is an Accountant and Auditor by training and practice. He should be more particular about funding, about the kind of financial transactions we get into.
“Nigeria crisis is the crisis of mismanagement of the fiscals of the public trust. Tinubu will have much closer looks at figures and how to resolve the inconsistencies like any other President before now.
“Secondly, he will run a more humane government, with more interactions with his people than we have experienced under this outgoing administration. The outgoing government is very reticent, it was always aides speaking on-behalf of the President. This always irritates me because we did not elect aides, but Tinubu has always been a man of engagements.
“He won the presidency because of years of engaging all manner of people. We have to deal with criminality, terrorism and it boils down to the question of how much are we really spending on it. I think we can do better. We need a president who will be more demanding of accountability in the way national revenues are spent.
“Tinubu is the first truly democratic government we will have who fought for the post of the President without being given on the platter.
“The people should play their role. We are too more of an observer nation. With my experience with Tinubu, he supported all the reforms to do with
Criminal justice in Lagos. It is a fact, without the support of the Chief Executive, who is the approving authority you can do nothing.
“If Tinubu gets there and appoints a strong character as Attorney-General, between the two of them they can achieve a lot and achieve progress.”