News Updates


by Joseph Sewedo Akoro

It is mind consuming to be preoccupied and very active in the defense of human rights especially in a situation where it is more than a job but also a belief. The last few days has been challenging as I fell into depression reading sad news related to human rights: from the situation of homosexuals in Uganda, new homophobic laws and implication in Nigeria, contemplation of homophobic laws in Kenya to the killing of school children by the Boko Haram sect in Northern Nigeria. Neither of this news is actually novel but what rendered me depressed is the consistency in the incidences being reported. This forced me to deactivate my facebook and twitter account for 24 hours, refuse to listen to any television and radio news. Fortunately, I recuperated quickly with the help of meditation.

The activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria are becoming unbearable. It is sad how we (Nigerians) carry on with our daily activities even when we receive terrible news of people being killed or kidnap by this sect. The level of insouciance by us (Nigerians) was also manifested by the governing administration that went on to celebrate what was tagged centenary award ceremony, when families of the children killed in an alleged Boko Haram attack were mourning.

The insouciance on the part of the citizen might be pardonable but that of the government is appalling. Going through the list of centenary award winners, I am left to believe that the situation of Nigeria can’t get any worse. It is terrible to recognize non-living people by presenting them vague award for contributing to national development and worst still to recognize people (dead and living) who have stinking record of human rights violations as well as mal-administration that will take the country another century to recuperate from. This is horrifying! Who can believe that General Sani Abacha will ever receive an award for “outstanding promoter of unity, patriotism and national development”? No wonder that Prof. Wole Soyinka whom I have so much respect for, had refused the award. It is indeed irritating to be listed amongst “other known killers and looters of Nigeria’s treasury.”- in the words of Prof. Soyinka. I have also read elsewhere that Prof. Soyinka considers it an insult. I reckon with this. It is a slight on the intelligence of all Nigerian- home or abroad. Shouldn’t there be another #OccupyNigeria? Shouldn’t we begin to denounce this stupidity?

It is in record that the insurgence of Boko Haram has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths since 2001. While this figure is still competing with the 30,000 Igbo people that were killed in Northern Nigeria during the Biafran War of 1967-1970, shall we wait until the situation get worse than that? Are other Nigerians keeping shut because it is Northerners killing themselves? This is not the time to remain nonchalant. We need to ACT NOW! Can we (Nigerians) unite against this as we did against homosexuals?

Although, I have a strong opinion against neo-colonialism and any guise of imperialism, I believe in globalization and the responsibility of the international community in maintaining world peace regardless of territorial boundaries. We should by now have learned about the situation of Rwandan genocide and the blame on the international community for inaction. The international community was handicapped by claim of territorial sovereignty and this landed the Rwandan people destitute by a crime against humanity committed by their own people. The like is happening in Nigeria now. Boko Haram is a parasite in Nigeria eaten up the Nigerian people, while the government expected to protect its own people are celebrating centenary gibberish.

In a few weeks time, Nigeria will be appearing at the United Nations Human Rights Council to commit itself to certain recommendations that has been suggested to her during the 17th Universal Periodic Review in October, 2013. Again, Nigeria will accept most of these recommendations of course, except those related gay rights, yet no significant change will be recorded in another 4years. It is high time regional and international human rights systems/institutions devised more effective ways in dealing with the implementation of the “responsibility to protect (R2P)” of course with reservation of military interventions but strategic economic sanctions.


  1. Glad I wasn’t born during the 70s *lol* brilliant write up yet again, it’s nt enough 2 feel sorry for an hour or a day. But we shuld take ACTION

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