RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

The User Fee Charge and Its Implication on Persons Living with HIV and AIDS

By Blessing Mase

The-Number-Of-People-Living-With-HIVAIDS-In-Akwa-Ibom-Will-Shock-You-»-Naijaloaded

According to a “U.S –Supported Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey,” about 1.9 million people are still living with the virus and 80% of them are living below poverty line. As a result of this, they find it difficult to access HIV treatment due to the fact that they are being asked to pay what is called the ‘User Fee.‘

Now, what is user fee charge? User fee charge is seen as money paid to access services in health care center.

Facts about User Fee Charge

Research has been carried out concerning user fee charge which has been a burden to PLWHIV (persons living with HIV and AIDS) and it was discovered that a lot of people pay user fee in other to access the ARV drugs which has and is causing a lot of pain to them as a result of the state of poverty they are in.

Over the years, donors like PERFAR (Presidency Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)  have been the ones sponsoring these ARV drugs but since there was lack of fund to continue with the funding, PLWHIV are been asked to pay this fee. The fee includes opening of files which cost N200, consultation to see a doctor in which series of test is administered to them like viral load test, CD4 test, Eye test, Liver test. As a result of the multiple test that has to be carried out in other for them to access these drugs, it becomes so difficult for them to pay for the test which will go for as far as N4,000-N5,000, considering the fact that most of these PLWHIA cannot afford three square meal or  even a meal or two  a day. According to Claire Pierangelo, a US Diplomat, such fee constitutes a major barrier to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Another test that got my attention was the “Genotypic Resistant Test.” This test is an antiretroviral resistance test that is used to help select drugs regime that will likely be effective in treating a person with HIV infection The test go as far as N35,000 while other hospitals collect N60,000-N65,000. As a result of these huge amounts placed on this test, it was reported that three persons who could not pay for the test in other to access the drugs died at Nyanya General Hospital.

It has gotten to a point where some doctors now write proposals without the knowledge of the management in other to source for fund to help pay for these test in other not to stain their reputation. It is a way to help save lives of these persons living with the virus. Some of them are orphans, unemployed youths and parents who can’t afford the money.

Way Forward

The government needs to ensure that the user fee imposed of PLWHIA is removed. The Government should ensure that the 1% budget that is allocated to health sector for ARV drugs is implemented.

The United States Consular General, Claire Pierangelo has advised that an increase in the funding of antiretroviral drugs would enable these people to leave healthy, productive lives until the day a cure is found.

Reference: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/health/health-news/360312-u-s-diplomat-wants-user-fees-for-people-living-with-hiv-removed.html

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN FIGHTING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE

By Ifeyinwa Onochie

human rights now

In recent time, social media has become an important part of our daily lives from shopping to connecting with friends, information and education etc. Social media plays a vital role in transforming the way we behave today. Let me start with a definition; Social media are computer tools that allow people to share information, discuss opinions, ideas, as well as share images and videos online.

Since the emergence of social media networking sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, these networks have become a day to day routine for most people. The ability to share photos, events and opinions as they happen in real-time has changed the way we live and do business.

Research has shown that in 2017, users spent more than 2 hours on average per day on social networks and messaging services, which amounted to about one third of their entire daily computer time (Mander, 2017). In addition, it is statistically estimated that more people spend time on the internet and on social media than time spent on TV or newspapers.

Consequently, for organisations, this means social media would improve customer service, marketing, public relations and other business activities that rely on quick and efficient information exchanges. However, the addictive part of the social media is bad and can disturb personal lives. Teenagers are mostly affected by addiction to social media. They get involved extensively and may eventually cut off from the society. Similarly, social media can waste individual time that could have been used for productive activities.

In relation to this, human rights abuses around the globe have drawn global criticism and attracted the attention of international communities such UN, African Union, and other international organisations (Kaluge, 2013). However, despite efforts by these organisations, Nigeria still faces human rights abuses. This could be because violations are usually not reported.

Hence, linking social media to human rights violations in Nigeria, the rate at which citizens’ rights are violated is alarming. Almost on a daily basis, Lawyers Alert receives reports of violations. In the same vein, violations are reported in the newspapers and online. To prevent violations of human rights, human rights organisations should encourage people to ask questions and demand reparation when abused.

Furthermore, there is every need to protect and defend citizens’ rights. In view of this, social media is an effective tool that can be deployed to protect the rights of citizens as well as help to fight human rights violations. One way to do this is by putting up information online on the need to end human rights violation and urge persons to report violations.

Lawyers Alert has a Facebook, twitter Instagram, blog and website where it reaches out to people, monitor and document violations. In addition, Lawyers Alert has a web based tool called LADOCKT which it developed. LADOCKT is used to capture, monitor, document and analyse human rights violations in trends, demographics, age and gender.

After analysing the violations, the report is shared with partners and the general public. It is essential to note that the reason human rights violations continue unabated is because people do not usually report. And because violations are not reported, perpetrators continue to violate citizens’ rights with impunity. There is need to encourage citizens to report violations, and one effective way to do this is to reach out to people through the social media.

After encouraging people to report violations the next step to take as a human rights organisation is to put your contacts address on Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc. Lawyers Alert has its contacts on all social media platforms where citizens report violations.

Conclusively, as a human rights organisation, Lawyers Alert will keep protecting and defending citizens’ rights and with the support of citizens, we are ready to take up issues of human rights violation and pursue them to logical conclusions.

 

Below are our contacts for purpose of reporting violation from all and sundry

 

Telephone Numbers: +234  92202090, Toll-Free Line:080 99937318
Email:
info@lawyersalertng.org (OR) lawyersalert@lawyersalertng.org

 

Facebook: Lawyers Alert Nigeria

 

Twitter: @lawyeralertNG

 

Instagram : @lawyersalertnigeria

Reference

Mander, J. (2017). Daily time spent on social networks rises to over 2 hours. Retrievedfrom https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-day/daily-time-spent-on-social-networks Accessed 10 June 2018

Kaluge, D.(2013). Human right abuse. Available from http://davidkaluge.hubpages.com/hub/human-right-abuse

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

BY: D.U INNOCENT ESQ.

Human-rights

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

There has been an outcry, on the gross violation of human rights that has ravaged Nigeria in recent times. These violations have led to massive loss of lives, properties and the displacement of families and communities. These violations have also led to the rise in the insecurity and the volatile nature of our society presently. It is important to note that victims of these violations are innocent civilians whose lives are being disrupted and even destroyed. Who should we hold responsible?

The European Union reported at the end of 2018, that 7.1 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 850,000 people in Borno are estimated to be in areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian organizations. The conflicts between farmer communities and herdsmen escalated markedly in 2018, becoming the deadliest crisis in Nigeria with thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands internally displaced. While the root causes are fundamentally economic and lack of governance, the violence increasingly takes on a worrying ethno-religious dimension.
Federal and State governments are being criticized for the failure to ensure security, rule of law and for not addressing the widespread impunity. [1] The brutal violation of Human Rights in Benue, Nigeria which occurred in January 2018 caused by decades of old communal conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt further exacerbated the security situation in the country. As at least 1,600 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced as a result of the violence.

In June 2018, at least 84 people were killed in double suicide bomb attacks attributed to Boko Haram at a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State. The heightened political tensions ahead of the 2019 elections led to the violations of human rights of Nigerians through Abductions, suicide bombings, and attacks on civilian targets by Boko Haram. At least 1,200 people died and nearly 200,000 were displaced in the northeast in 2018.[2]

As of 2019, 1.8 million Nigerians have fled from their homes and are internally displaced, the majority in Borno State – the epicentre of the crisis. 80 per cent of internally displaced people are women and children, and one in four are under the age of five.   [3]                                                                                                              Civil societies have led campaigns against arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture exposed human rights abuses by security agencies, including by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).[4]

On the 11th of October 2019, the Punch Newspaper reported that the ECOWAS Court indicted the Federal Government over 2018 Benue Mass killings. This judgment was given by a three member panel of the Community Court of Justice ECOWAS with suit number: ECW/CCJ/APP/16/18. The judgment was presided by Justice Edward Asante, President of the Court, Justice Keikura Bangura, and Hon. Januaria Costa.[5]

Between 2018 and 2019 Nigeria has lost millions of human resource to human rights violations both reported and unreported. The above stated scenarios are only a tiny fraction of the reports of human rights violations in Nigeria, as writing about more would turn this piece into a documentary. The list of violations in Nigeria is almost listless and cuts across almost every strata of the society. The government is supposed to be the hope of security for the common man, but today in Nigeria that hope has been shredded in pieces as Nigerians are being violated even in their homes. The apparent case of Nigeria’s hopelessness in tackling human right issues is seen in the plethora of violations by both state and non-state actors.

Article1, 2,3,4,5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right, Chapter 10 LFN 1990 and Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution enshrine the Protection of the Human Rights of Nigerians. The Federal Government is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Human Rights of her citizens. It is therefore in the interest of the peace and development of our country that our governments should take up their responsibility of protecting the human rights of her citizens.

 “When the fundamental principles of human rights are not protected, the center of our institution no longer holds. It is they that promote development that is sustainable; peace that is secure; and lives of dignity.” – Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

[1] https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/nigeria/62580/eu-annual-report-human-rights-and-democracy-world-2018-country-updates-nigeria_en

[2] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/nigeria

[3] https://www.unocha.org/nigeria/about-ocha-nigeria

[4] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/nigeria

[5] https://punchng.com/ecowas-court-indicts-fg-over-2018-benue-mass-killing/ 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

SEX FOR GRADES: AN IGNORED FESTERING SORE

By: D.U Innocent Esq.

hgytytt

Before I got into the university, I had seen movies where lecturers used undue influence to either extort money from students or sleep with female students. For those who dared to refuse, the lecturer basically destroyed their future by either failing them continuously or giving them lower grades than they deserved. So, I already had a fear for lecturers even before I got admitted into the university and all through my university days I did my best to avoid them.

There is a salient fear for lecturers especially male lecturers among students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria than even the fear of studies. For many years, Nigerians and indeed so many societies in West Africa have settled into this trend and some students have been forced to go even spiritual or diabolical on some lecturer s because of this seeming hole they put them in. These lecturers are seen as untouchable demi-gods.                                       As a student, I often heard a lecturer remark on how students prayed for him to die. He almost got it though, but he survived.

My name is Emma, in 2011 I got admitted to study Political Science in a prestigious university in Nigeria and like every other innocent 100 level student, I just wanted to get quality education.  I was made the class representative and by virtue of my office at the time, I had to interface with lecturers and students alike in carrying out my responsibilities. In the first semester of my first year, I encountered a lecturer, Mr. Ken. Mr. Ken is a core lecturer in the department and he lectured 2 important courses that had 3 point grade for each course in my time. His courses were very important for the success of my academic success, especially since they were core courses.  He was reputed for two things in the university community. First, his connection to a high management official and secondly his attraction and lust for fair slim girls.

On a fine day after lectures, he invited me to his office where he told me that he liked me and made advances at me, I left for my hostel bewildered. At this junction, I had two worries I am a fair complexioned, slim beautiful girl who just wanted to get an education. Secondly, this man in question was a force to reckon with because of his connection to the higher ups. It would be my word against his, who am I again? Yea that’s right; I’m a 100 level student.

This situation stressed my friends and I for months, it also got me depressed because Mr. Ken became even more hostile towards me as the exam period drew near. He kept threatening to keep me in school long after my mates, if I did not concede to his demands, I practically became depressed and on the verge of giving up. My school fees was about half a million excluding pocket money and my family only sent me here because of the quality of education we were promised I will get. During this period I was slowly becoming embittered and getting distracted from my studies. I was on the borderline of losing it because of my seeming helplessness. I was discouraged many times to attend classes but I knew I couldn’t give him anything to hang me on, so I kept pushing, showing up for classes and ensuring that I stayed on my lane as much as possible. We had more meetings were my pleas fell on deaf ears and his threats were blaring in my ears. I had already vowed to myself that I would not sleep with this man; I would not become a part of his statistics, trophy or prize.

Despite Mr. Ken’s threats, I forged ahead to write the exams without sleeping with him and Mehn! That man was true to his word. By the time results were out for the first semester the F and D on the board were staring at me, I had failed his two courses and those were the only courses I had issues with. My head kept whirring for the entire 1st semester break.  At this point, I knew that I couldn’t continue like this, I had three more years and because of his position in the department, he would be my lecturer for even more courses for the next three years, and I wasn’t ready for to continue going through the emotional and psychological torture I had endured throughout the 1st semester in my first year. I just needed my peace to enable me concentrate in school and I needed to act fast.

Thankfully, changing departments in my school at the time wasn’t a hassle and with advice from my friends and confirmation from my family, I switched to International Relations Department. Changing my department was at a cost. The cost was, not graduating from my dream department and course. Mr. Ken is a murderer; he murdered my baby in the womb of my spirit. He ended my dream of being a political scientist with his demands.

Now I think of it, I’m grateful for the strong girl I was in that season and for my amazing friends who stood by me through that period. That change was instrumental to what I have become today. Thankfully, in the International Relations department I had no lecturer issues and I graduated with my mates. I have served my country and I am currently working somewhere in Lagos Nigeria. I found a way out of that situation, but many girls in Nigeria are unable to escape and their experiences are much worse than mine. What these lecturers are doing is evil and their gory stories are beginning to come to light. I believe that this festering sore in the Nigerian tertiary educational system will at last begin to receive the treatment that will heal not just the educational system. It will also heal millions of Nigerian men and women who fell into the hands of these predators and very importantly it will cleanse our nation Nigeria and we will become great again.

PS:  This is a real life story of a Nigerian, but the real names of the characters are not used.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable

girl child

In recent times, we have seen the girl child break the bounds and limits society placed on her in the past. Now, the girl child can dare to soar alongside her male counterparts. Free to dream and live her dreams, with no shackles holding her down. Lawyers Alert acknowledge the millions of girls around the world who are yet to be set free and we celebrate their strength.

We join the rest of the world to mark the International Day of The Girl Child 2019, with the theme: “Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable”. We celebrate this day by raising awareness on the vulnerable status of the Girl child and the need to continue equipping her through quality education and skills acquisition.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ADDRESSING SOCIAL INJUSTICE THROUGH STRATEGIC IMPACT LITIGATION.. CASE STUDY OF LAWYERS ALERT.

By Chigoziem Ellen Onugha

SIL

For problems ranging from poverty to bad governance, laws and policies in a country like Nigeria with over 200million estimated human population, it is common to have most of its citizens vulnerable. Citizens encounter more problems than they do welfare and these problems often require professionals like lawyers to address them. Owing to the fact that lawyers also are sometimes vulnerable in certain situations, one will begin to wonder where lies help for the common man.

Help for the common man lies in the strength of a few determined professionals who are willing to stick both their necks and their resources out.

Lawyers Alert, a human rights organization that has its focus on free legal assistance to vulnerable groups and indigent persons in Nigeria, under “Strategic Impact Litigation”. Strategic Impact Litigation which is commonly known as “SIL” is a form of litigation which is aimed at addressing public issues for the sole purpose of making impact in the society.

Before this project, there were certain irregularities, for instance, prisons congestion, lives of citizens were lost without anyone being questioned, patients were detained in public health establishments due to their inability to pay their bills, persons were relieved of their jobs owing to their HIV statuses etc.

The objectives of this project are as follows:

  1. To make positive societal impact
  2. To address issues affecting the public
  3. To address problems of the common man who ordinarily does not have means of helping himself
  4. To maintain law and order
  5. To ensure that human rights are respected.

Lawyers Alert in recent times has approached various courts in Nigeria with the following cases for determination:

  1. Lawyers Alert V Government of Borno State & 1 Or

The government of Borno State demolished houses, living homes and hotels in Borno State without notice and compensation, thereby rendering people homeless, jobless and destroying people’s businesses. According to the said government of Borno State, the buildings inhabited criminals and formed hideouts for same. Lawyers Alert took up the matter and instituted an action against the government of Borno State in the Borno State High Court of justice, in the Maiduguri judicial division, for violating the human rights of its citizens, asking the court for the following.

  • A declaration that any residents of Galadima Area, Baga Road and indeed of the entire Maiduguri metropolis are entitled to own moveable and immoveable properties in Maiduguri and anywhere in Nigeria.
  • A declaration that the Defendants’ act of demolishing hotels, residential houses, restaurants, shops and other public places in Galadima Area, Baga Road, and indeed the entire Maiduguri metropolis on grounds of public interest, without the due process of law amounts to a violation of the constitutional rights of the concerned citizens.
  • A perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants from further demolishing properties of residents of Galadima Area, Baga Road and indeed of the entire Maiduguri metropolis, Borno state until the Defendants have fully compensated or resettled owners of such properties marked for further demolition.
  • An order of the court directing the 1st Defendants to take inventory of all the moveable and immoveable properties so far demolished in Maiduguri metropolis and to compensate and/or resettle owners of these properties
  • And for such further orders as the honourable court may deem fit to grant in the circumstances.

This matter is currently on appeal.

  1. Lawyers Alert V the Attorney-General of the Federation & 2 Ors

 

Pursuant to the provisions of the HIV and AIDS (anti-discrimination) Act, 2014, the duty to ensure compliance with the Act is vested on the Attorney-General of the Federation. Most unfortunately, five years after enactment of the said Act, compliance is yet to be made. Thus, noncompliance with the said Act has resulted in high discrimination of persons living with HIV, at workplaces. On that note, Lawyers Alert instituted an action in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja judicial division, asking the following reliefs:

 

  • A declaration that Employers of labour (Ministries, Agencies and

Departments, including the Private Sector) are bound to develop and register HIV&AIDS workplace policies.

 

  • A declaration that the Respondent is bound to ensure compliance with the provisions of section 21(1) (2) of the HIV and AIDS (Anti-Discrimination) Act, being the oversight body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the Act.

 

  • An order of court directing the Respondent to ensure that employers of

labour (Ministries, Agencies and Departments, including the Private Sector) develop and register HIV & AIDS workplace policy within 30 days of this Order.

 

  • And for such further orders as this Honourable court may deem fit to make in this case.
  1. Lawyers Alert V Benue State University of Agriculture, Makurdi

 

A school bus conveying students of Benue State university of Agriculture, Makurdi, from a part of the school to another part of the school. Unfortunately, it had an accident and a student was severely injured and due to the weight of the accident, the student went into oblivion. The injured student was immediately rushed to the school’s clinic by some other students who were at the scene. On getting there, the medical personnel refused to treat the student because on their demand for the student’s clinic card, the good Samaritans could not provide it. even when majority of the students who rushed the unconscious accident victim to the hospital testified that they knew her ad also went ahead to mention her department, the clinic medical personnel did not change their minds on treating the victim. Unfortunately, while the medical personnel was still hellbent on treating the victim, the victim lost so much blood and passed away. Students were devastated and a riot ensued. In the process, some of the school’s facilities were destroyed.

The school after the riot, demanded that each student should pay the sum of N10,000 for to enable repairs and replacement of all that were destroyed. On hearing this, Lawyers Alert took up prosecution of the case and immediately filed an action against the school at the Federal High Court of Nigeria, asking the court for the following reliefs:

 

  • A declaration that the 1st Respondent’s clinic’s act of refusing to administer medical treatment to the victims of the accident on campus for the reason that they were unable to produce the 1st Respondent’s identity cards, leading to the death of some of them, contravenes section 20 of the National Health Act, 2014 and amounts to a serious violation of the students’ rights to medical care and to life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999.

 

  • A declaration that the 1st Respondent’s clinic’s act of requesting students’ identity card before administering treatment to the accident victims even in an emergency situation amounts to a violation of section 20 of the National Health Act, 2014, the ethics and practice of the medical profession and a gross violation of the students’ rights to life.

 

  • A declaration that the Respondent’s action is illegal, null and void and of no legal justification.

 

  • A declaration that the Defendants’ action of imposing the sum of N10, 000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) fine or any other money or amount on the students of the 1st Respondent is illegal, mischievous, gold digging, null and void, and of no legal justification.

 

  • An order of this Honourable Court restraining the Respondents from collecting the sum of N10, 000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) or any other amount of money by whatever name or description from the students of the 1st Respondent as fine, damages, levy, fee or any other name whatsoever over the alleged students’ demonstration that took place on the campus of the 1st Respondent on the 15th day of August, 2018.

 

IN THE ALTERNATIVE

 

  • An order directing the Respondents to forthwith refund any amount of money by whatever name or description, already collected from the students of the 1st Respondent over the demonstration that took place on the campus of the 1st Respondent on the 15th day of August, 2018.

 

  • A perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Respondent’s clinic from further requesting for identity cards from individuals in emergency medical situations before treatment and medical attention.

 

  • Such incidental orders as the justice of this case may demand.

 

Effectively, with regards to all issues of access to justice, all hands must be on deck. Lawyers Alert is doing its best to ensure there is improved access to justice for vulnerable groups, but much more is still needed to be done.

 

Tags: , , ,

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that all articles on this page are of the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
 
%d bloggers like this: