Students of Birabi Memorial Grammar Receive training on Human Rights Education

Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on Friday, November 8, 2019 organized sensitization on human rights for hundreds of students of Birabi Memorial Grammar School Bori-Ogoni, Rivers State. The sensitization is part of a project being implemented by Advocacy Centre in collaboration with Society for Women and Youths Affairs (SWAYA) with the support of Development and Peace, Canada.

Speaking as the master of ceremony, Comrade Basil Nkpodee of Social Action used the opportunity to charge the minds of the students by speaking briefly about Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other human rights activists and environmental justice campaigners that were killed by the Nigeria State on November 10, 1995 and said it was important for Advocacy Centre, SWAYA and Development and Peace Canada to be bring this sensitization on human rights to the students, two days to the 24th anniversary of the remembers of the Ogoni Nine on November 10. He used the opportunity to call on the students to join in the Ogoni liberation song and observed a minute silence for the Ogoni nine.

Declaring the program open, the Executive Director of SWAYA, Stella Amaniewho was ably represented by her member of staff, Collins Lebeteh thanked the management of the school for the opportunity to have its students sensitized on human right education. Mrs. Amanie enjoined the students to listen attentively to the sensitization on human right that would be delivered to them and asked questions for what they do not understand at the end of the lecture. She further said the students are “fortunate to get this awareness at your ages and time the Nigeria society is in an urgent need of human rights education especially the rights of women”.

Speaking as the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene thank the school management for the opportunity to create awareness on human rights among its students and the Social Master, Mr. Sample for organizing the students for the sensitization.

(The Executive Director of Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene speaking at the event)

Delivering the lecture on human rights to the students, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene explored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. He further briefly traced how the human rights principles were adopted and enshrined in the many constitutions in the world including that of Nigeria. He thus created awareness of the fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended). He identified the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution in its Chapter Four that the students need to know about as their rights, what to do when their rights are violated, where to seek redress and how not to violate the rights of others because one’s rights end where the other person’s rights begin. Mr. Fynefacesaid 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. Mr. Fyneface asked the students during the presentation whether a dead person has right. Majority of the students said no and he explained that a dead person has right to be buried otherwise the corpse would decompose, smell and violate the rights of the living to a clean and safe environment.

Hundreds of students participated benefited from the sensitization and became aware of their rights at the end of the lecture session. Thus, they ask some questions such as “Why is it that people would create a law and at the same time would be the one to break it? For example, a teacher will say don’t participate in examination malpractice but they will be the one to participate in it?”; drawing from the stickers printed with support from Development and Peace with the inscription “EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT” as shared to the students, Alison Neniibari, one of the students asked, “What are those steps to take in order to defend education as our human right?, etc.

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