Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 organized training for University Students in Rivers State to create awareness on Human Rights among the youths. The event was held at Ignatius Ajuru University of Education organized in partnership with Society for Women and Youths Affairs (SWAYA). The program which is tagged “Sensitization and awareness creation on human rights among youths and high school students in rivers state” is part of a bigger project titled “Youths Training On Conflict Resolution And Alternative Livelihood Through Modular Refineries For Environmental Sustainability In The Niger Deltabeing implemented by SWAYA with the support of Development and Peace, Canada with Advocacy Centre as the implementing partner.

Declaring the program open through a welcome address, the executive director of SWAYA, Stella Amanie congratulated the students on their academic pursuit in the university and said SWAYA and YEAC were in their school to train and sensitize them on human rights. Speaking further, Stella said “Human rights abuses and violations in our country Nigeria today is on the high side. That according to Dr. Ifeanyi I. Onwuazombe, despite the universal declaration of human rights, abuses and violations of human rights in Nigeria and in the oil producing communities in particular cut across the entire spectrum of rights”. The SWAYA Director told the students that “abuses come in different forms and could be direct or indirect and that the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region are subjected to regular rights abuses and violations by the state security agents and the oil corporations. Adding that the perpetrators of the rights violations are hardly or never held accountable or brought to justice due to the myriad of problems besetting the judicial system in Nigeria. These are burning and vexing issues that require that we all stand up together to ensure that human rights education is taken to everyone. The students are not an exception in this, reason we are here today to empower you with knowledge about basic facts about human rights to become human rights defenders and educators in the school environment and the society at large. Stella concluded by calling on the young students who are leaders of tomorrow to put their strength into human rights education to change the narratives in Nigeria. Adding that they should know others and understand themselves as students different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds studying together to enable them tolerate themselves and strengthen their individual rights.

In a lead training, sensitization and PowerPoint presentation on human rights, the Executive Director of the project implementation partner organization Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) took the students on a brief historical tour of the development, struggle and voices behind contemporary concepts of human rights. He particularly mentioned the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 leading to the international movements on human rights and its adoption into the constitutions of many countries including Nigeria as currently captured in Chapter Four of 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

Mr. Fyneface create awareness cultism, human rights, their exceptions and conditions under which such rights can be denied an individual as well as how to seek redress when one’s rights are violated. He named some fundamental human rights as contained in Chapter Four of the Nigeria Constitution to include Right to Life, Right to Dignity, Right to Personal Liberty, Right to Fair Hearing, Right to Privacy, Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, Right to Freedom of expression, Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association, Right to Freedom of Movement, Right to Freedom from discrimination and Right to Own Property. More time was given to the teachings and explanations of human rights bordering on right to life, right to fair hearing, freedom of thoughts, conscience and religion, right to expression and right to freedom of assembly and association as they directly impacts the students.

Participants at the event were male and female students from different departments and faculties of the university who turned out in their numbers to receive the training and sensitization on human rights. Over 400 students benefitted from the training and requested that it should be regularize for more students to also benefit and consolidate on their knowledge on human rights and ant-cultism. The event was covered by the media and televised watchable here

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