Corruption: Violation Of Human Right -By Oluwaleye Adedoyin Grace
The word ‘corruption’ breaks my already broken heart into multiple shreds whenever I remember Cynthia, a childhood friend who forfeited her admission because the slot meant for her was given to Khadijah, AL haji Sule’s daughter because of the amount he paid so his daughter could be admitted despite her low post UTME score. She went for an interview to secure a job with her secondary school certificate but the position meant for her was given to Eniola whose mother had bribed the employer earlier that day. Had nowhere to stay, she took refuge under the bridge, she was assaulted and raped that night, when she reported to the nearby police station, she was not attended to because she was unable to pay the sum of two thousand naira. She is somewhere out there, somewhere on the street of Ibadan; hopefully one day, luck would take her in.
WHAT IS CORRUPTION?
According to Anti-corruption basics, corruption can be defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. If we are to talk about corruption in Nigeria, indeed it would be as if we are talking about a habit that seems to be running in our blood for centuries. Corruption is one of the pest eating deep into our society; and up till now, instead of it decreasing, it never stops creating its bitter venom which has grown deeply into undermining the human rights.
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WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?
According to Amnesty International, human rights are the fundamental rights and freedoms that belong to every single one of us, anywhere in the world. Human rights apply no matter where you are from, what you believe in, or how you choose to live your life. Also, according to Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, human rights are norms that aspire to protect all people everywhere from severe political, legal, and social abuses
Types of human rights include:
- Civil Rights e.g. right to life, liberty and equality.
- Political Rights e.g. right to vote and to be voted for, right to aspire for a political position, right to hold public office and right to criticize and oppose the government.
- Economic Rights e.g. right to work, right to adequate wages, right to leisure and rest, right to social security in case of illness, physical disability ad old age.
However, these rights are inalienable and should be enjoyed by everyone in respective of their religion, background, tribe, status, races or colour but it is a pity that these rights are barely enforced because of those that corruption has been using as a vessel to operates its tactics. Indeed, human rights are sacrificed in the name of corruption.
People keep suffering every day because their rights are violated. Now I see why the rich are becoming richer and the poor, becoming poorer _ thanks to corruption which has in all aspects violates economic, political and social rights of the masses. We live in a world where money that is meant to be spent on the welfare of the people are looted by those that are meant to be our leaders; no wonder some projects are awarded for more than three times now but at the end of the day, there is little or nothing to show off. Maybe the corrupted should be reminded that a State should, as a matter of priority, seek to ensure that everyone has access to these rights.
Let’s ruminates on the right to life. Welcome to the world where the pauper would rather be killed for the sin of the wealthy man. Where the rights of the poor man are deprived due to the wealth of the rich man. I hope one-day justice would be served for Mr Desmond, a cleaner who was killed in place of Eliot whose father had bribed the police to take the poor man instead of his son for murdering a lady after being raped.
Let’s talk about our prison system where victims are in one way or the other requested to pay a bribe to obtain a good public services. In this situation, only those that can afford the bribe receives better treatment, and the rights of those that are unable to pay the amount are violated especially in Nigeria prisons where those that have enough money ‘enjoy’ their stay and those that have not, live a terrible life; these set of prisoners are vulnerable to any jeopardy because they are unable to afford the cost of the bribe. The last time I checked, we are all human that should be treated equally.
Furthermore, the health sector is nothing to write hope about. Funds that are meant to be spent on healthcare service are diverted into their private account. Many people have died due to this, what if there is a case of emergency? Maybe they had known the health care service here is not in good state probably that’s why they never had their sickness treated in their country but depends on the ones outside. What a disgrace to the nation.
However, Corruption in the judicial sector has a lot of damages in the right to a fair trial, independence and impartiality of the judiciary, independence of judges, efficient administration of justice, fair justice, independent and impartial tribunal, equality of arms, access to a court, and the presumption of innocence are sacrificed because of corruption. Individuals are deprived of equal access to justice when public officials demand bribes as a condition for accessing the judicial system or to speed up a court service. Our judicial system is going down the lane all because of the corrupt officials. Now I see why most people believe there is more of injustice than effective ones in the judicial system.
What about the deplorable condition of our roads that have been constructed over centuries ago that ought to have been replaced or maintained? Research has shown that thousands of people die each year due to road traffic accident caused by the bad roads; but our corrupt leaders move with their private jets as a means of transportation. if I remember correctly, we have right to good road for easy movement. Talking about agriculture, money that are meant to be given to help the farmers boost the production of food are stored or used for their selfish desires leaving the masses at the mercy of hunger, malnutrition, and diseases.
Welcome to the world where some lecturers forced female student to do some things that are not in line with the school protocols to have a ‘distinction’ in their course. A country where admission to higher education institutions is in no way based on merit but how much you paid to earn the admission or rather, should I say admissions now is based on whom you know? No wonder the word ‘connection’ is seen as an ultimatum for admission. My sorrow is in the pain of Adaeza who had 355 in her post UTME yet mulcted her admission because someone had already paid to earn the admission; I weep when I remember the poor Mr Adam who forfeited his chance to be a financing agent because one of the manager’s relatives whose credentials cannot stand a chance to compete with Mr Adam’s was given the job. No wonder the country seems never to move forward when those that are capable of making changes are not given the opportunity to. How I wish one day, those who really merit the position are given the chance to walk in.
The rights to equality and non-discrimination are also violated when non-monetary acts of abuse of power have taken place, and money that are meant to be spent on the masses are converted to private funds by the corrupt leaders. I drench in tears when I see people taking refuge under the street of Kaduna living at the mercy of mosquitos and dangerous insects. Should we talk about the harsh weather condition that has driven so many to their sick bed? Whereas their children are somewhere in London living in affluence. I wish one day the innocent Hauwa who has been on the street of Zaria for more than 9 years now would have a place to put her head_one day.
To wrap it off, I’ll like to use this medium to agitate for changes, there can be no progress if we keep sowing the seed of corruption. Obviously, no one can plant an onion and expects a potato, it’s impossible! The healthcare should be reformed, there should be more investment on the wellbeing of the people_ our lives also matters! Merit and hard work should take greater priority over connection, and finally, funds allocated for all projects should be used judiciously.
Well, I am just a lass agitating for a change. Corruption must be eradicated!
Oluwaleye Adedoyin Grace writes from Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State;
firstname.lastname@example.org or 08106289069