The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has said that the Federal Government denies about 80 per cent (about 128 million) of Nigerians their social and economic rights, as it fails to provide the required infrastructure for the people.
It said the situation was worsened by the inability of the people to sue government for its failure to provide adequate infrastructure for their well-being.
The Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, in an interview with our correspondent, called on the government to use funds and property forfeited or retrieved from public officials convicted of corruption to provide social amenities for the citizenry.
He said, “While maximum punishment, which involves the killing of corrupt officials is not popular, the recovery of loots from corrupt public officials, aside their trial, conviction and forfeiture of the property they acquired illegally, is necessary. These loots could be used to provide infrastructure to the benefit of the public.
Mumuni explained that socio-economic rights included right to food, health care, education, water and other infrastructure. He added that the people should be empowered to make the government provide these facilities through legal means.
He said, “If we look at the situation in the country, about 20 per cent of Nigerians live below poverty line; this means that about 80 per cent of them live on less than one dollar daily. Nigeria’s socio-economic rights protection is next to nothing; it is at the lowest level.
“There should be an amendment of Chapter Four of the constitution to make it possible for people to sue the government for failing to protect their socio-economic rights. The amendment will equate the socio-economic rights with the civil and political rights, which have been placed higher.
“Nigerians should form the habit of putting the government on its toes; calling for their rights and asking questions about how they are governed. When election times come, they can vote out any government which failed to protect these rights.”