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The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN has called on the lawmakers to use the instrumentality of their office to make Socio-Economic Rights justiciable in Nigeria.

The Human Rights Boss who was the Keynote Speaker at the parallel side event at the margin of the 66th UN Commission on the Status of women, the hybrid event which held in Abuja, said the greatest gift that the politicians can give Nigerians is to make Socio-Economic Rights justiciable.

Ojukwu who was represented by his Senior Human Rights Adviser, Mr. Hillary Ogbonna, at the event which was organized by My Take Initiative and Co-hosted by the NHRC, said certain rights must be enjoyed by human beings for them to be dignified.

According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, these rights are non-justiciable in the Nigerian context, therefore no institution or person can be taken to court for being deprived of the enjoyment of these specific rights which he listed as; right to quality education, healthcare, housing and all those other rights that are encapsulated in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said the ongoing Constitutional reform should be geared towards emancipating Nigerians from the shackles of poverty through budgeting, poverty eradication programs, and policies that can help wipe away poverty from Nigeria, adding that poverty negates human dignity.

Ojukwu further stated that it has been observed that “Nigeria has the largest statistics of poor people in the world and that women are the worst hit”. He said, “women are subjected to the most dehumanizing kind of treatment, and the injustice women suffer is interconnected with poverty”. He noted that “Women can afford to sacrifice their rights to dignity in order to acquire food, shelter, and clothing for the entire family. He argued that “poverty does not allow women to get out of abusive relationships, women withdraw cases from courts and put their lives on the line just for others to live, indeed, poverty carries a woman’s face because women suffer more brunt of poverty” there has to be a concerted effort by everyone to put an end to this ugly trend in Nigeria and the world at large he warned.

The Executive Director of My Take Initiative, Rosemary Chikwendu called for women empowerment and inclusion in governance. She said that women are denied their rights and privileges due to poverty. “The lack of education and vocational skills due to childhood poverty, social norms, religious and traditional practices have a long-life effect on women,” she said.

Other speakers include Prof. Joy Ezeilo, Professor of law and a human rights award recipient, she emphasized the need for education and women empowerment to enable women realise their full potential in life.

On her part, Prof Luz Ortis who joined the event from the United States via zoom said corruption is the major cause of poverty in the world and that poverty will continue to adversely affect the lives of women unless corruption is eradicated.

The theme of the event is Interconnectedness between Poverty and other Societal Ills.