Yesterday, in Lagos, the United States Consulate-General, in collaboration with the Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative (CRALI), hosted a panel discussion as part of its event to mark the International Human Rights Day for 2019. The theme of the panel discussion was “Respect for Human Rights: A Panacea for National Peace and Development and the roles of State Government in Nigeria”.
Attendees at the event included members of the judiciary, Nigerian Bar Association and civil liberties organizations, as well as human rights activists from different parts of the country.
In her address, the U.S. Consul-General, Claire Peirangelo, reflected on the Annual Human Rights Report which is published every year by the US State Department to document human rights violation-related issues in Nigeria. She emphasized the importance of civil liberties and the need for the government, as the custodian of power, to put in place strong institutions that would guarantee the rights of the ordinary citizen always.
Mr. Olumide Akpata (a Senior Partner at Templars and the immediate past Chairman of the NBA Section on Business Law), who was a speaker during the panel discussion, called on the Nigerian government to safeguard the rights of its citizens. In his words ‘there is only so much that civil liberty organizations can do; the government must play a critical role in guaranteeing the rights of its citizens’. He also noted that the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are necessary for peace and development in any society.
Other guests and speakers at the event included the Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Darius Ishaku, Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, and Former Ogun State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Olumide Ayeni.