Corruption is a human rights issue. Whichever form it takes, grand or petty, results in public officials not fulfilling their human rights obligations and in citizens not enjoying their rights. It seriously undermines the protection and promotion of human rights as it inhibits the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights.
Speaking on DoroCorruption radio program in Wazobia FM, Abuja, the executive Secretary of the National Human Right Commission, Barr. Tony Ojukwu said that the commission is working with the ministry of education to ensure that human right components form part of the education curriculum, added to the already existing human right clubs in schools, to ensure young citizens are enlightened on the issues of human right as it relates to corruption. He added that irrespective of social strata, every citizen should enjoy equal right.
He highlighted devastating effects of corruption on the availability, quality and accessibility of service delivery which is the right of every citizen in the country; poor power supply, exploitation by security officials, poorly equipped health centers, poor quality education, poor supply of clean water.
To contain human right violation in Nigeria, Barr. Ojukwu said the commission undertakes sensitization campaigns and seminars across states in the country to equip citizens with information on how corruption affects their right; from merely emphasizing its interference with the protection of human rights to looking into how it impedes states from fulfilling their human rights obligations, in other to get them interested and committed towards the anticorruption fight. He also expressed willingness for the commission to collaborate with the Say No Campaign Team in spreading the anticorruption message across the country.
Responding on the need for a human right angle to corruption charges, He said, ‘’there are some human right violations that are also criminal offences, there are some that are not criminal offences, otherwise, human right violation is a civil matter. For any criminal offence that is also a human right violation, we allow agencies that have the right to prosecute to do so because we don’t prosecute crime in the commission, but the offended can maintain a civil claim afterwards for the violation of his/her human right. If the human right violation is a civil action, then the offended will be entitled to restitution”.
Barr. Ojukwu decried that citizens successfully promote the spread of corruption by idolizing corrupt public officials in their communities, instead of shaming and reporting them to the appropriate quarters for investigation. He also urged listeners to arm themselves with information on their rights as citizens of Nigeria and be willing to fight for it.