Prof. Friday Ndubuisi of the Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, has called on the Federal Government to provide a level playing ground for citizens to have access to social justice, regardless of gender and social status.
Ndubuisi made the call during the commemoration of the World Day of Social Justice, organised by Human Right Research and Education Centre (HURREC), on Tuesday in Lagos.
The programme had the theme: “The Scope and State of Social Justice: The Nigerian Example”.
According to him, this can be done by adjusting the chapter two of the Nigerian constitution which focuses on right to education and health, such that Nigerians can contest violation of their right.
“The right of Nigerians to education, health, environment and all, stated in the constitution are not justiciable. So, we need the federal government to re-enact laws that will ensure people gain access to justice when their right to education or health is challenged. Nigeria was founded on democracy and social justice, issues relating to human right must be upheld and looked into, let every Nigerian have access to justice.
“This has been done in South Africa and other African countries, it should be done here in Nigeria so that everyone can have access to social justice. A large number of Nigerians have suffered lack of access to health, education and all for too long,” he said.
Dr Augustine Agugua, Convener of HURREC, said the issue of access to social justice was quite germane at this critical time of the nation’s history.
Agugua said there was need to promote tolerance and cooperative relationships among Africans.
He said it has been noted from history that Nigerians are tolerant, accommodating, hospitable and demonstrate sacrifice toward their fellow Africans.
He noted that it was so disheartening that such gestures were never reciprocated but Africans must wake up to this and stay united.
Prof. Franca Attoh, Head of Sociology Department, University of Lagos, said that conscious efforts must be made by the government to ensure everyone gets access to justice to have a well structured society.
She said going forward, Nigerians should engage in “Class Action”, which is practiced in developed countries, where people go to court as a group to seek justice.
“The issue of social justice cannot be untied from governance, government has a lot to do on this. To have a society where everyone can contribute their quota in building the nation, we all must participate during the elections,” she said.
Also, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy of Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, noted that Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa and the poorest nation was paradoxical.
“This signifies that there has been lack of inclusivity in the country and no cohesion between the national and sub national levels. Social injustice is about bad governance and the way to reverse the situation is to be involved in the forthcoming elections,” she said.
Dr Dayo Kayode, an aviation safety expert and rights activist, suggested that to upscale social justice, government must embrace a pattern of budget which is “People’s needs analysis budget system”.
He said this system of budget would ensure that every citizens’ needs are met. He called on all Nigerians to be fearless but brave in electing their leaders to make a difference this time