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A Non Governmental Organization in the state, the Niger Delta UPR Coalition has ended a one day Media Sensitization Pogramme with journalists in Rivers State. The programme which took place at the Conference Hall of Nana Hotel, Igbokwu Street, D/Line was held on Friday, 27th April 2012.
The National coordination of the Group Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara in his introductory remark expressed concern on the need for journalists to know the rudiment and the application of the Universal Peer Review which is a new instrumentality of the United Nation to check the violation of Human Rights by the State actors.
Mr. Legborsi who is the head of several Non governmental organizations in Nigeria and African said, journalist who are whistle blowers and watch dogs of society need their capacity to be built in other to meet the new challenges of both governments and individuals to respect the right of persons. The coordinator used the occasion to explain the formation of the UPR in the united Nation as one of their instruments to respect people’s right for the betterment and peace in the society.
He explained that under the review programme of the United Nations, Countries are reviewed every four years to check their violation against individuals in such country; such review will enable the United Nations to investigate the Human Right record of any country under review. The United Nations also allows alternative view on the human Right record of any Country to be presented on the floor of the UN, called the shadow report.
Mr. Legborsi further explained that it is important for journalists to be in tune with the UPR so that they can expose those who violate the right of people whether by individual or by the state powers.
It will be recalled that the UPR is coming out from the operation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which gives recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family which is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Mr. Legborsi stated that the role of the press is key to realization of the UPR, the example where journalists will expose corrupt officers to face trial will be of great help to the country. There was interactive session, during the workshop.
Earlier, one of the Resources person Barr. Ken Atsuwete on the topic “International Human Rights Law and the Media: The Role of journalists in monitoring UPR Outcome” said the court of Public Opinion is the Media, therefore they should be bold to report all cases no matter who is involved.
He said a situation where the Nigerian leaders trample on the rights of its citizenry must be exposed by the media. Explaining further, Bar. Ken stated that the media is the stronger than any atomic bomb, hence every government tries to divide, separate and weaken them. He said while the media in the International Scene has done much, the situation in the Niger Delta is entrapped by wealthy individual and those in the authority of power.
He called on the judiciary to rise up to the challenge and defend the rights of the masses. The Human Right activist said oil companies obey law in their countries, but the case of divide and rule operates in the Niger Delta.
He blamed judges who undermine obvious evidence in court to promote the evil committed by the multinationals.
The case of former Governor James Ibori, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and Lucky Igebendion was among few cases messed up by cur Nigeria court. It could be recalled that it was the media that exposed the horror of first and Second World War which led to the formation of the United Nation. It is on 15th March, 2o06 the UPR was fumed with 192 members state with the first session in 2008. ###

Pius Dukor

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