Nigeria’s human rights record is “very poor” and is “worse than [the] average in sub-Saharan Africa,” a new report by an international organisation has said.
The report was authored and released on Wednesday by the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), a New Zealand-based organisation measuring the human rights performance of countries.
The HRMI “Rights Tracker” is the first global report to assess the 13 different human rights contained in United Nations treaties for around 200 countries.
“Compared with other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is performing worse than average,” the report said, confirming what observers and rights advocates are saying about the Nigerian state’s human rights record and the daily experience of Nigerians.
In the report, HRMI said Nigeria’s score for economic and social rights falls within a ‘very bad’ range.
The country scored 54.6 per cent for the right to food; 48.7 per cent for the right to health; 35.7 per cent for the right to housing and 32.0 per cent for the right to work.
For all the four rights, Nigeria performed worse than most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“There is no reason for any country to score this low,” HRMI said. “Not only are countries scoring below 75 per cent failing to put in place the kinds of structures and policies that help people claim the right concerned, but the structures and policies in place most likely prevent many people from claiming their rights.”
HRMI researchers adopted two different methods for appraising a country’s performance; with the first benchmark being ‘income adjusted.’
Using the income-adjusted benchmark, the report compared countries with other countries of a similar income level, to evaluate how effectively each country is using its available resources.
“The second benchmark is ‘global test.’ This benchmark evaluates country performance relative to the best-performing countries at any level of resources,” the organisation said, noting “each assessment standard uses a set of indicators that are commonly available and most relevant for these countries.”
“Every country gets assessed on both standards to the extent the information is available in international databases,” HRMI added.
“To measure Quality of Life – economic and social rights – we start with data from international databases. Then we use econometric techniques to combine the data with each country’s level of income, to produce a score,”
“The score, expressed as a percentage, shows how well a country is using its resources to produce good human rights outcomes. Every country should be able to get near its 100% income-adjusted target by improving policies and practices, even without more money.”
Data for the economic and social rights metrics were drawn from “the 2022 update of the International Social and Economic Rights Fulfilment (SERF) Index, which covers the period from 2007 to 2019.”
The findings of the report convey a picture at odds with the human rights record Nigeria’s government repeatedly claimed has improved.
On the right to health, the report ranked Nigeria 41st out of 42 countries it reviewed in Sub-Saharan Africa; sitting just behind Equatorial Guinea.
On the right to food, Nigeria ranked 37th, sitting above Sudan, Niger, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Burundi on the log.
The country was also placed 35th on the right to work, finishing ahead of Mali, Benin, Zambia, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, and Madagascar.
Eerily similar in tone to last year’s report, the 2022 data highlights the seriousness of the Nigerian situation, captured by citizens’ and observers’ persistent concern about impunity and the continued disjuncture between democratic transition and democratic norms.
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