A new study by the international agency Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) has revealed that Nigeria has a “very bad” human rights record, which is even worse than average in sub-Saharan Africa. The New Zealand-based organisation that evaluates nations’ human rights records wrote and issued the report on Thursday. The report found that the country performed worse than average compared to other Sub-Saharan African counterparts, giving credibility to the statements made by observers and rights activists regarding the Nigerian state’s awful human rights history and Nigerians’ increasingly dismal everyday reality.
The HRMI revealed that successive administrations in Nigeria have failed to uphold their human rights responsibilities to the country’s citizens, as shown by the country’s consistently poor quality of life ratings, all of which fall under the ‘very bad’ category. The HRMI measures the quality of life by evaluating how well a nation uses its resources to improve the lives of its citizens. According to their findings, Nigeria has access to sufficient resources to improve its performance significantly. All of Nigeria’s component scores are very low, meaning that the country’s citizens are suffering while it has the resources to improve their standard of life.
Right to good education gets the poorest score of 5.5%.
In contrast, Nigeria received a score of 62.7% for the right to food, 47.9% for the right to health care, 40.4% for the right to gainful employment and 37.1% for the right to a safe and secure place to live. The right to a good education fares the poorest, with just 5.5% of the score. As the country with the highest percentage of out-of-school children worldwide, which is nearly 10 million, its extremely low score in education may not come as a surprise to most observers.
Further findings of the HRMI research noted that Nigeria performed lower than the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for all four rights. According to HRMI, there is no valid explanation for why any nation would receive such a poor score. Not only do countries with a score lower than 75% fail to set in place a variety of policies and frameworks that help people exercise the right in question, but the structures and policies that are already in place most likely prohibit a significant number of people from exercising their rights.
Many of the citizens’ rights are not adequately upheld.
Two distinct measurement approaches were developed by the organisation, one for civil and political rights and another for economic and social rights, which are two of the most important categories of human rights. For civil and political rights, where violations frequently take place in secret, and reporting is not consistent across various nations, the organisation has stated that it uses a multilingual skilled survey strategy to gather information straight from human rights experts that keep track of events in each country.
However, in terms of economic and social rights, they capitalise on national statistics provided by governments and international bodies. Additionally, HRMI employs the Social and Economic Rights Fulfilment (SERF) Index methodology to evaluate countries’ human rights results with their income in order to quantify the idea of “progressive realisation.” The report’s findings paint a picture that is different from the government of Nigeria’s frequent assertions that the country’s record regarding the issue has gotten better.
Child health right has seen significant progress in the last 20 years.
Along the same lines as the report from the previous year, the data from 2023 highlights the severity of the situation in Nigeria. This significance is conveyed by the citizens, along with observers’ persistent concern about increased injustice as well as the continued separation between democratic transition and democratic standards. However, the report showed that Nigeria had made the most progress with respect to the right to child health over the course of the past 20 years. There have been consistent advances in this area.