Big Ideas Podium, a public policy debate and engagement program usually hosted by the renowned thin-tank organization – African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), Enugu will take place on Thursday May 16, 2019, at the Institution’s Conference Hall. The theme of this edition of the program is “Human Rights and Democracy: Agenda for a new Era”. At the event, the keynote speech is expected to be delivered by one of Nigeria’s preeminent human rights advocates, scholar, activist and administrator — Professor Chidi Odinkalu.
Briefing the Press in Enugu on Thursday May 9, 2019, the Executive Director of AfriHeritage, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike revealed that issues of human rights are very important to the Institution, being a responsible corporate citizen of Nigeria who is equally concerned about good governance and nation-building. According to the executive director, fundamental rights of citizens and other institutions of the society are important for good governance and well-boing of any society. He observed that even though Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) expressly and unequivocally guarantees fundamental human rights which include: Right to life; Right to dignity of human person; Right to personal liberty; Right to freedom of expression and the press; Right to fair hearing; Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and Right to peaceful assembly and association, sometimes, these rights are trampled upon by even fellow citizens – “Sadly, however, most Nigerians do not enjoy the wide-ranging human rights (civil and political; social, economic and cultural), which they possess not only constitutionally but also by international agreements. The rights of individual citizens are often trampled in Nigeria sometimes by other citizens with no genuine recourse”.
“Today, you are well aware that serious journalism has become a massively endangered occupation in Nigeria due to official manipulations, highhandedness, and human rights abuses that have combined to weaken and impoverish journalists professionally”, he said.
Professor Chidi odinkalu will be joined in the program by two other discussants including the President of Nigerian Union of Journalist, Chris Isinguzo who is expected to speak on the various human rights abuses journalists have suffered in the hands of government and individuals since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.
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