THE CIVIL RIGHTS COUNCIL AND THE CITIZENS ACTION FOR JUSTICE
The Civil Rights Council, a Human Rights group of Nigerian citizens mostly of rural and sub-urban backgrounds with the support of Alone – Alone carried out series of activities in their campaign for the respect of the rule of law, human rights and justice for deprived citizens in Nigeria.
These activities have become important in view of the incessant cases of human rights abuses by security agencies across the country and impunity by state actors in the hems of affairs in government. In pursuance of the above goals of the political education project, the Civil Rights Council has been embarking on series of educational programs and other activities across many states in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.
Human Rights Education and Sensitisation of the Nigerian Police
In other to reduce the incidences of police brutality across the country as seen in the many cases of extrajudicial killings, torture and unlawful detentions in the country, the Port Harcourt Civil Rights Council took up the programme of police sensitization and education on the issues of the fundamental human rights guaranteed in chapter 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended. The chapter enunciates the basic rights of all Nigerians and hence, cannot be denied anyone except by the provisions of the constitution.
Figure 1. Zero Tolerance to Human Rights Abuse organised by the Warri CRC
In an expedition of lectures across the Choba Area Command of the Nigeria Police, the Civil Rights Council group toured six out of the eight police divisions in the command including the Area Command headquarters itself. The police divisions visited were Ozuoba, Agip, Kala, Rumuepirikom, Rumukpakani, Rumuokoro special division and the Choba Area Command Headquarters. With the aid of a guest lecturer at each outing, the CRC was able to engage officers and men of the police force on the need to follow due legal procedures in their daily routine to avoid the numerous cases of human rights infraction.
The training process also provided an opportunity for the officers and men to express the challenges and hazards associated with policing in Nigeria and sought the help of the CRC to lead a campaign on issues of their social welfare. The Civil Rights Council made it clear that they will keep in touch for a human right review of inmates and other detainees in their custody.
Within the period in focus, the Civil Rights Council in Port Harcourt also mobilized the citizens and intervened in one of the cases of an attempt by a police officer to abuse a detained inmate in the Rumuokoro special division of the police force- one Mrs. Mary Ejaigba. The effort of the CRC resulted in disciplinary measures against the officers involved, recovery of money already extorted from the said lady and her immediate release from police custody with apologies from the police authorities.
Figure 2. Intervention of CRC Port Harcourt for the treatment of Mrs Richael Paul who was shot by a security detail to the Chairman of Port Harcourt Local Govt. Area
The Warri unit of the Civil Rights Council joined comrades of Edo Civil Society Organization in protest against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company. The protest was informed by the many cases of monetary extortion by the company from their numerous customers without the provision of Electric power. The CRC together with the Edo Civil Society organization extended the protests to the Federal Government at Abuja, where they lodged their complaints with the necessary government agencies.
Figure 3. Members of CRC Warri Conference
The Warri CRC also carried out a public awareness campaign on the need for a violent free general election in Delta State. This was in response to the citizens’ outcry to stem the tide of violence usually witnessed during elections in the State. The violence-free election campaigns involved rallies, road walks and education seminars.
Borri and Abuja CRC
The Bori and Abuja Civil Rights Councils also carried out a series of interventions on cases of human rights abuses in their various units of operation. For instance, the Bori CRC carried out a series of campaigns against incessant cases of police extortion, intimidation and torture in Bori Rivers State often resulting in deaths of innocent citizens in the Area. In one of their interventions, five persons arbitrarily arrested and detained at the state CID were released. The CRC intends to deepen its campaign in the coming months with the hope of providing the platform for citizen’s action for social justice.