Content                                                                                                                       Page

Title Page                                                                                                                    i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                    iv

Abstract                                                                                                                      v

Table of Contents                                                                                                       vi

List of Tables                                                                                                              vii


1.1       Background to the Study                                                                               1

1.2       Statement of the Problem                                                                               3

1.3       Objective of the Study                                                                                   4

1.4       Research Questions                                                                                         5

1.5       Significance of the Study                                                                               5
1.6       Scope of the Study                                                                                         5

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms                                                                     6

1.8       Plan of the Study                                                                                            7


2.0       Introduction                                                                                                    8

2.1       Views of early philosophers on human rights                                                 8

2.2       Contemporary Definitions of Human Rights                                                 12

2.3       Evolution of human rights in Nigeria                                                             15

2.4       Constitutional Provision of Human Rights                                                     16

2.5       Types of Human Rights                                                                                  23

2.5.1    Civil and political rights                                                                                  23 Civil Rights                                                                                                     23 Political rights                                                                                                 24

2.5.2    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights                                                            24

2.6       Types of Human Rights Abuses                                                                     27

2.6.1    Human trafficking and its forms                                                                    27

Content                                                                                                                         Page

2.6.2      Extrajudicial killings and its Forms                                                                33

2.6.3      Torture and other Degrading treatments                                                        37

2.6.4      Types of Human Rights Violation and the Human                42

Rights Commission’s Treatment (2011-2014)

2.7         Human Rights Advocacy Civil Society                                              45

Organizations in Nigeria

2.8         International dimensions of human rights                                                      48

2.9         Theoretical framework                                                                                    50

2.9.1      Theory of Natural Rights                                                                                50

2.9.2      Summary of Literature Review                                                                      52


3.0         Introduction                                                                                                    54

3.1         Research Design                                                                                             54

3.2         Population                                                                                                       54

3.3         Sample size and sampling Technique                                                  54

3.4         Research Instrument                                                                           55

3.5         Validity and Reliability of Instrument                                                           56

3.6         Data Collection Procedure                                                                              56

3.7         Method of Data Analysis                                                                               56

3.8         Ethical Consideration                                                                                     56

3.9         Limitations of the Methodology                                                                     57



4.0         Introduction                                                                                                    58

4.1         Respondents Characteristics and Classification                                             58

4.2         Purposive Questions and Discussion of Findings                                           59



5.1         Summary                                                                                                         68

Content                                                                                                                         Page

5.2         Conclusion                                                                                                      69

5.3         Recommendations                                                                                          70

5.4         Contribution to Knowledge                                                                            71

5.5         Suggestion for Further Studies                                                                       71

5.6         Limitation of the Study                                                                                  72

REFERENCES                                                                                                     74


                                                LIST OF TABLES

Table                                                                                         Page

1                                                                                              40

2                                                                                              43




  • Background to the Study

Attempting to totally eradicate crime and corruption in any society of the world may seem abortive. The reason for this is not farfetched. Conflict is innate in man. This implies that every human being has the propensity to defend himself/herself when there is perceived threat to one‘s life. This suggests the reason why Coser (2006) argues that conflict is instinctual for us, so we find it everywhere in human society. Humans have the ability to be both aggressive and altruistic in behavior. However, the behavior shown depends on a host of developmental, social and circumstantial factors. There is violent conflict which may involve the use of arms.But there is also the conflict that we find in our daily lives and relationships. Coser sees conflict as a normal and functional part of human life, and believes that most social conflict is based on the unequal distribution of scarce resources. This altogether brings into lime light the idea of allocation of rights to every citizen cut across the globe to reduce conflict.

Every person the world over is entitled to human rights. It has become a globally recognized and accepted notion that individuals possess certain definite political, civil, economic and social rights which governments have the duty and responsibility to protect and enforce such rights, (National Open University of Nigeria Study Guide, 2014). Wright posits that these rights include the right to life, the right to an adequate standard of living, freedom from torture and other maltreatment, freedom of religion and expression, freedom of movement, the right to self-determination, the right to education, and the right to participation in cultural and political life, (Yusuf, 2014).

The history of human rights can be traced to past documents, particularly the Al-Risalah al-Huquq (659-713),  Magna Carta (1215),  the English Bill of Rights (1689),  the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789),  and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution (1791).The idea of human rights in Nigeria dates back beyond the advent of colonial rule. Human rights and Fundamental freedoms were acknowledged in the traditional Nigerian societies. But the idea of rights was not conceived in the modern notion as we have it now. Such values as right to family, kin and clan membership, freedom of thought and conscience, speech, belief and association, right to enjoy private property and right to participate in governance of the affairs of the society were protected, (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2006).Subject to the fact that respect for human rights would engender peace both locally and internationally, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 48/134 of 20th December 1993 implored all her member states to establish National Human Rights Institutions relative to their environment, (National Human Rights Commission, 2007).

Through this medium, the National Human Rights Commission was established in Nigeria following the (NHRC) Act of 1995 which gained potency in 1996 to spring into action (although it was amended by the NHRC Act, 2010). The Act saddles the commission with the authority to deal extensively with human rights issues while taking into consideration the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It enforces its power by protecting the poor, weak and vulnerable, and other victims of human rights violation by offering free services which are supposed to be accessible to the public.

Series of incidents of humanrights violation give the impression that the rights of the citizens are not adequately protected by the commission. Such violations of rights which include torture, extrajudicial killing, human trafficking, unlawful detention, and so on are noted in details in subsequent chapters. Before the new beginning of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, successive military regimes violated the rights of Nigerians without remorse. The height of violations of rights was observed during the military rule of Abacha (1993-1998) with the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni non-violent human rights activists, (Alka, 2011).

After the dawn of democracy, civilian leaders similarly violated the rights of citizens. Unlawful and extra-judicial killings, torture, cruel and inhuman treatments from the armed forces were meted out to citizens under the civilian rule. An example of such according to Animashaun (2013) is the case of Godwin Anuka, a bus driver who was shot by a police constable on the 2nd of March 2005, due to his refusal to bribe the police at the check point in Makurdi, Benue State. This act is however contrary to section 33 of the 1999 constitution on the right to life, which states that: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, except in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria”


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