With the forthcoming general election in the country, the need to adequately sensitize citizens about their rights and responsibilities for growth and development readily comes to mind. To this end, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a non governmental organization; in partnership with Transparency International and Canada Global Affairs on Tuesday 23rd January 2018, held a one day sensitization programme for various communities at the Golf View Hotel and Suites, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
Delivering a paper titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Citizen”, at the event, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State, Mr. Waheed Ishola emphasised that when people know their rights, they would always want to ask questions from the state which by-law recognizes the rights as well as protecting them. He explained “rights in a layman’s perspective as the basic entitlement which every citizen should enjoy in any society; and responsibilities as those things a citizen is required to do as part of a job or legal obligation to the state and society.
In line with National Orientation Agency’s mandate of arousing the consciousness of all categories of Nigerians to their rights, privileges and responsibilities to the government in terms of orientation mobilization and sensitization, the Director noted that citizen’s rights, duties and privileges are explicitly enshrined in chapter 14 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as “Fundamental Rights”. He listed them as:
– Right to life.
– Right to dignity of human persons.
– Right to personal liberty.
– Right to fair hearing.
– Right to privacy.
– Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
– Right to freedom of expression.
– Right to freedom of movement.
– Right to freedom from discrimination.
– Right to property ownership.
However, there are exceptions to these rights because rights of citizens are correlated with functions of the state, so citizens are obliged to contribute to the social order. Similarly, with reference to chapter 11 section 24 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the responsibilities of the citizens are spelt out as:
– Respect for the ideals of the constitution/institutions.
– Respect for National Flag; National Pledge and Legitimate Authority.
– Enhance the power, prestige and good name of Nigeria.
– Respect the dignity of other citizens and their rights.
– Promote the spirit of common brotherhood and good neighbourliness.
– Make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and wellbeing of community of residence.
– Render assistance to appropriate agencies in the maintenance of law and order. i.e reporting of criminal elements in the society.
In his welcome address, the Senior Program Officer (Extractive Environment and Security) Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Mr. Kolawole Banwo revealed that through active advocacies, CISLAC had empowered communities mostly affected by the extractive industry sector, improved the levels of information dissemination and ensure due process and transparency in the payments made by extractive industry companies to the Federal Government and its agencies. It had also educated State and Federal legislators, their advisory staff, CSOs, the media, and key stakeholders on their oversight roles in legislation.
Other speakers at the event were: Mr. Jimoh Sulaiman of ICPC and a representative of Women Arise.