By Udo Akam-Alo, ABAKALIKI
The Ebonyi state coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Christopher Onyekachi, says most government officials are ignorant of human rights.
Onyekachi who spoke with newsmen on Monday, in Abakaliki, called on government to make provision for human rights education our various academic institutions.
“Most of the government officials are ignorant of human rights. There is need to help us through the program which UNICEF is ready to partner too.
“Human rights education should be inserted in the curriculum of the schools so that children from the primary, secondary and Tertiary school levels will be ready to know what their rights are because these are the major people that will form members of the society.
“So, when they learn their rights as the basic thing they will know and not just grammatically reading to write and pass.
When you know your rights, you will be able to voice out when it is violated,” he said.
He stressed the determination of the Commission in fighting for the rights of the citizens against the mindset of citizens who might have a different dimension of understanding, noting that women’s rights in major cases are violated for one cultural disadvantage or the other.
Christopher said further “Our core mandate is protection, promotion and enforcement of the rights of the Nigerian citizens and those living in Nigeria.
The Commission is not actually out there to tarnish or victimize but more of bringing about awareness. Most of human rights violations committed are mostly done out of ignorance and out of following extra cultural practices that are very harmful and they do that ignorantly.
“It is our duty to help in the sensitization and creation of the awareness and human rights, especially here in Ebonyi state and so we’ve gone to some communities in Iboko, Izzi Local Government to talk to some women groups. We equally visited some communities in Ebonyi Local Government like Abofia and talked to some women groups.
“Usually, the worst heat when we say human rights violation are women, not because they are considered weaker sex as some erroneously do but because culturally, they are disadvantaged in terms of accessing what belongs to them as their rights in the society.
“These awareness created so far has yielded us so many results. Some of the women came, complaining of domestic violence.
“We use each occasion to correct and sensitize and teach some couples on what their rights are to one another.
They come here and we correct them but after the correction and it persists, then we know there are some elements of malice and we then follow the legal process of getting the matter settled.
“Sometimes, the victim(s) you are trying to get justice for all of a sudden turns to us and begin to beg us not to continue and they come without any reason.
“We have problem in sponsoring most of our programs like visiting communities at ward, local and state levels. It is a problem for us to really diversify the much we can.”