A Port Harcourt based national environmental andhuman rights organization, Centre for Environment, Human Rights andDevelopment, CEHRD, has expressed deep concerns over the rising rate ofinsecurity and human rights violations across the country and Rivers State inparticular.
The concern was raised during the organization’sstaff and board retreat held recently in Port Harcourt with support from theEmbassy of the Netherlands, Abuja.
In a welcome address during the retreat, thechairperson of the Board of directors of the organization, Constance Mejulamented that Nigerian roads and highways have been taken over literally bycommercial kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists even as Fulani herdsmen and BokoHaram terrorists unleash terror on communities in parts of the north and manyparts of Southern Nigeria without restraint.
She lamented that in Rivers State, no day passeswithout sad stories of spilling of human blood and sometimes, beheading ofpeople, with the culprits going scot free in most cases.
“Insecurity in the country is frightening andthere seems to be no end in sight the CEHRD board chairperson stated, noting,that it is the primary responsibility of the government to protect lives andproperty. She said the government has failed woefully in this duty ofprotecting lives and property of the citizenry.
Constance charged the human rights unit of CEHRDto step up its human rights campaigns and education to ensure that peoples’ rights, including rights to life,rights to security and rights to good governance are respected. She furthercalled on the Nigerian security operatives to rise up to their primaryresponsibilities.
Coordinator of CEHRD, Dr. Nenibarini Zabbey, inhis address, noted that the retreat was organized with support from the DutchEmbassy, to strengthen and reposition the organization for greater impact. Partof that impact is improvement in human rights situation, and CEHRD will pursueit vigorously, he stated.
Dr. Zabbey disclosed that CEHRD has a pool ofcommitted environmental and human rights activists who have been at theforefront of the struggle for social and environmental justice. He explainedthat the retreat was aimed at reviewing CEHRD’s strategies and setting up of anew strategic plan to achieve the missions and objectives of the organization.
Patrick Naagbanton, a veteran journalist andfounder of CEHRD in his remark, recalled that CEHRD was formed about 20 yearsago as an activist organisation to respond to issues of community development,human rights, environmental and social justice, among others, in thesociety. He noted that CEHRD has remained committed to her chosenmission and goals in spite of daunting challenges.
The founder commended staff, management, boardand supporters of the organization for their selfless commitments towardskeeping the flag of the struggles for which CEHRD was set up flying. He urgedthem to remain focused on the ideals of the organization.
Theretreat afforded the group an opportunity to deeply reflect on the state of theorganization, state of the nation state, and strategies for interventions inhuman and environmental challenges bedeviling the society.