Nwitte-Eze Onyekachi

Human Rights 121: A Course for Military Personnels

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Human rights, human dignity, Respect, Self-worth and esteem are important virtues in the life of man. Every sane human hates to feel disrespected and whenever people crush their spirits, it somehow affects their self-esteem and worth lowering their confidence. Kids are taught to not bully other kids; the nation is enlightened on terrorism and asked to report every act of terrorism. But yet, one of the most important parts of this country has slowly but surely become a terrorist group and a gang of big bullies: THE MILITARY. The perks of entering buses in Nigeria is that you get the opportunity to view the Nigerian conditions ranging from bad roads, poor infrastructures, oppression, intimidation, but  mostly, corruption at the root level.

I was enjoying one of such rides somewhere in Nigeria when my bus driver overtook a van of military boys. Now, that should be a normal occurrence in any civilized world but not in Nigeria. The next thing our bus had been shoved to the side and the driver was receiving slaps from every angle. At this point I am asking myself what level of human oppression and intimidation this is. This defiled the entire Geneva Convention on human rights.

This is one of many terrorist attacks we condone in this country because every act of terror is terrorism and every perpetrator of the act is a terrorist (see post on Terrorism for better insight). This has to be stopped at all cost. We cannot allow a group of ill-mannered uniform wearing, uninformed, common sense lacking folks to harass us in public and trample on our human rights simply because they were handed a gun and a khaki that can be bought in the market (I have no intention of shading the military). This is 2016 and I bet there are so many things we are tired of repeating. Military oppression being at the top of the list. We need to start copying a lot of sensibility from other countries. In any case, we love to copy and this is actually needful.

What is the solution out of this mess? I can think of a few. When these boys are at the academy, a course on respecting human rights should be taught. The course should be taught yearly. There is need to emphasize and reemphasize that this is basic human rights. After the academy, they need to be reoriented every passing year lest anyone claim that their knowledge of such faded with the wind as the year went by. Also, the human rights commission should please begin to understand their duties and come to the realization that the entire country is suffering from their inability to perform or their under-performance. It’s unfair and it’s becoming unacceptable.

These military boys should be held accountable for their actions. Even if it means suing the entire force to make the point clear. Something needs to be done for the common man to preserve whatever is left of our dignity. And if the military don’t come around and understand how childish their act is, they will end up losing whatever remnant of respect the Nigerian people have for them.

But we must admit there are always exceptions even in this case. So to the few who value human rights and dignity and do not indulge in such acts, we salute you. You are the reason we haven’t written the military off completely

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