Police and Government Officials Main Violators Of Human Rights In Nigeria – New Poll Reveals

Abuja, Nigeria. January 18th, 2022.  A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls has revealed that the Police and Government officials are the main violators of human rights in Nigeria as disclosed by Nigerians whose rights have been infringed on in the past. It is rather worrisome to note that the institutions and agencies of government that were established to protect and defend its citizenry are the ones mainly accused of human rights violations in Nigeria. 

Furthermore, the poll revealed that most victims of human rights violations in Nigeria do not report violations committed against them, although the constitution empowers “any person who alleges any infraction “concerning him or her” to apply to the High Court for redress.

Given that the police and government officials ranked highest, it is, therefore, essential for routine retraining and reorientation of law enforcement officers across all cadres and government officials on what constitutes human rights as part of efforts to protect the masses.

Finally, as recommended by 27 percent of adult Nigerians, frequent sensitization of the citizenry on their fundamental human rights through seminars, academic work, and books that portray such rights should be implemented. The sensitization campaigns should focus more on those who violate these rights. Lastly, as suggested by 15 percent of Nigerians, laws should be enforced to prosecute violators as this will serve as a deterrent to other violators of people’s human rights. These are some of the key findings from the Human Rights Poll conducted in the week commencing December 6th, 2021.

Survey Background

The International Day of Human Rights is celebrated all over the world to raise awareness on the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being regardless of colour, nation, gender, or class. It is also a day to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations in 1948. The celebration of the Day is geared towards encouraging government, social organizations, and stakeholders alike to further the cause of equality and protection of the rights of all individuals irrespective of colour, religion, or sex[1].

Human rights are the rights that people simply have but are not granted sometimes by some States. These rights are inherent to all irrespective of the status of the individual. Human rights range from right to life, right to food, right to education, right to health, etc. For instance, following the mass extermination of the Jews, people with disabilities, and others by Nazis, which shook the world, bringing together the need to protect the rights of people from various walks of life, against the inhumane abuses of governments and rulers cannot be overemphasized.

This year’s theme is about ‘Equality’ that refers to Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The theme is aligned with the UN’s 2030 agenda that has been drafted in a document, that talks about the international body’s approach towards finding sustainable solutions “for deep-rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies. Regarding this, NOIPolls conducted a public opinion poll to gauge the perceptions of Nigerians regarding their Human Rights in Nigeria.

Survey Findings

The first question sought to gauge the level of awareness of Human Rights in Nigeria and the result revealed that an overwhelming majority of adult Nigerians (78 percent) claimed to be aware of their basic Human Rights. This response cuts across gender, geographical locations, and age-group with at least 71 percent representation.

The survey further revealed that the issue of human rights violation is prevalent in the country as disclosed by an overwhelming 83 percent of adult Nigerians. This assertion also cuts across gender, geographical locations, and age-group with at least 76 percent representation.

Furthermore, 30 percent of adult Nigerians reported that their human rights have been violated before. The poll revealed that there are more males (36 percent) than females (23 percent) whose rights have been violated before. Also, respondents aged 61 and above have been violated more than other age categories as revealed by the poll. It is also observed that the issue of human rights violation is more common in the southern region than in the northern region. For instance, the total average of the respondents in the southern region (32 percent) whose rights have been violated is higher than that national average (30 percent) while that of the northern region is less than the national average (28 percent).

Out of the 70 percent who claimed that their rights have not been infringed on before, 23 percent indicated that they know someone whose rights have been violated before. The North-East zone accounts for the highest number of respondents who made this claim.

According to the respondents interviewed, the top five (5) human rights of Nigerians that have been violated are the right to freedom of movement (30 percent), right to life (27 percent), right to freedom of speech (20 percent), right to freedom of expression and the press (11 percent) and right to freedom of association amongst other rights infringed upon.

Consequently, respondents who claimed that their rights were infringed on were further probed and it is worrisome to note that the poll findings revealed that the Police (28 percent) are mainly responsible for violating these rights. Similarly, 26 percent disclosed that their rights have been violated by government officials while 24 percent blamed family and friends.   

Sadly, the poll showed that 67 percent of the respondents did not report the incidence, whereas 33 percent claimed to have reported the incidence.

Ironically, the poll findings revealed that 47 percent reported the incidence to the police who were primarily responsible for the violation of human rights in the country as earlier mentioned by  Nigerians polled. Also, respondents stated that some of the incidences were reported to human rights organizations (15 percent), family and friends (14 percent, the court (13 percent), and to community leaders (9 percent) amongst other channels.

With regards to reducing the issue of human rights violations in the country, 27 percent of Nigerians recommended that there is a need for frequent enlightenment on the importance of upholding human rights. Similarly, 15 percent suggested that government should enforce laws that will punish violation of people’s rights amongst many other recommendations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the poll results have revealed that most Nigerians disclose that human right violation is prevalent in the country. For instance, 30 percent of Nigerians reported that their rights have been infringed on before while few claimed that they know people whose rights have been violated. It is worrisome to note that 28 percent of adult Nigerians whose rights have been violated before reported that the Police and government officials ranked highest amongst others who violated these rights.

Given that the police and government officials ranked highest, it is therefore, imperative for routine retraining and reorientation of law enforcement officers across all cadres and government officials on what constitutes human rights as part of efforts to protect the masses.

Finally, as recommended by 27 percent of adult Nigerians, frequent sensitization of the citizenry on their fundamental human rights through seminars, academic work, and books that portray such rights should be implemented. The sensitization campaigns should focus more on those who violate these rights. Lastly, as suggested by 15 percent of Nigerians, laws should be enforced to prosecute violators as this will serve as a deterrent to other violators of people’s human rights.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing December 6th, 2021. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s teledensity put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as authors whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect the views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact, or any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as of the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/human-rights-day-2021-when-did-the-un-adopt-a-universal-declaration-for-human-rights-2645129