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NBA-SPIDEL Seeks Protection Of Nigerians’ Socio-Economic Rights

The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) is in the final leg of its planning for a town-hall meeting billed for 28 February, 2022 at Marriot Hotel in Lagos.

The aim of the town hall meeting is to arouse the consciousness of the various institutions that are under the mandate to provide socio-economic rights to Nigerians.

The town hall meeting will specifically seek to bring to the awareness of the Nigerian judiciary the abiding responsibility it owes the citizens of Nigeria to interpret the 1999 constitution to give life to the spirit and letter behind it.

NBA-SPIDEL, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Monday Ubani, said the town hall meeting will gather judicial officers, political actors, legislators, lawyers and civil society leaders to ruminate over this very important topic that has the capacity to redefine the art of governance in Nigeria.

The socio-economic rights of Nigerian citizens, like education, free health and employment, etc, are provided under Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution. Sadly, the same constitution provided that those rights are not enforceable, Dr. Ubani said.

The NBA-SPIDEL Chairman regretted that the penchant of the Nigerian judiciary to wash its hands whenever the citizens through public interest litigation sought to hold the government accountable over electoral promises.

“We are not ignorant that some developing countries like India, Pakistan with similar ouster provisions like Nigeria have adopted a more proactive interpretative module in deciding that the government cannot shirk from its basic responsibilities,” Dr. Ubani said in the statement announcing the town hall meeting.

“We are of the view that the government of Nigeria must be made to awaken from its slumber in realising that promises made during electioneering campaigns ought to be fulfilled,” he said.

Dr. Ubani said the time has come for the judicial arm of government, whose responsibility it is to interpret and enforce the socio-economic rights of Nigerians, to be roused from sleep to take up its role in holding the government accountable over these rights as provided for in the constitution.

The town hall meeting, which will take a hybrid form, will have not more than 200 persons attending physically while the rest will link up online.

The NBA-SPIDEL chairman confirmed that Olumide Akpata, NBA president and Chief Host of the event, has thrown his weight behind the town hall meeting and has nominated technical persons on programme planning to complement the Section’s Planning Committee.

He expressed the NBA-SPIDEL’s gratitude to Mr. Akpata for his support to matters of public interest and development law and urged prospective attendees of the town hall meeting, both online and physical, to get registered in time, as registration will be opening soon.

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