By Jacob Simon
"The best way to enjoy continuous freedom is to stay out of trouble especially as an ordinary citizen,the court cannot guarantee that,at least not in Nigeria..." echoed resignedly by F.S Ameh.
The enjoyment of certain inalienable freedoms,rights or even privileges appears to be the thinnest line that distinguishes man from other specie of animals in his class.
Many learned in the art of books call some of these elements enjoyment 'Natural or human rights' as they perceive it to be innate(i.e a core part of human existence),the incorporation of these Rights into the constitutions of most countries further affirms the imperativeness of the departure from the 'State of Nature' where life was painfully short,nasty and brutish.
However,the protection of these irreducible and phenomenal human enhanced system of Rights or privileges is twice important than just a mere lips-service of it's existence.
The judiciary of any democratically civilized nation is primarily saddled with the responsibility of upholding,preserving and protecting the rights of it's citizens come what may, infact,many treaties entered since the internationalization of human rights expects government's policies,actions and inactions to be tailored towards ensuring that optimum priority is given towards advancing the protection of these rights.
Nigeria has undoubtedly embraced the ideals of civilized democratic practices(at least ideally),core rights like, Freedom of expression,religion and conscience and freedom to personal liberty and so many others found in the threshold of the Nigerian grundnorm which seems to concretize the assertion that the country is not in a state of Nature.
It is appalling that in the umbrella of these constitutional rights and other mechanisms set up to avoid abuse, that people are still less convinced about their protection, the confidence of the public in the judiciary is extincting drastically,no thanks to the continuous victimization of ordinary citizens who tried to enjoy their rights;no thanks to the continuous violation of court orders(especially grants of bail),no thanks to unjustified detention of prisoners of concience,no thanks to attempts to stiffle the usage of the mass media especially when it is unfavorable to the powers that be,no thanks to the expeditious adjudication and determination of "ordinary class cases" with maximum penalties while high profile corruption cases are determined with Plea bargaining strategy that leaves the people hopelessly stranded and baffled.
The judicial system dubbed the "hope of the common man" is a cliche that offends the psychological sensibilities of ordinary Nigerians and resentment for the elites and their cronies who appears to be the biggest beneficairy of such modern model of government.
The citizens of the United States of America appears to be the envy of their peers in other nations simply because these natural rights are not only recognized but protected to highest possible level,little wonder every one wants to have a taste of this wonderland.
A government that respects it's citizen's rights and uses every possible resources to ensure it's protection exhibits the highest hallmark of responsibility and sensitivity.
The government that does not expect you to be an expert in siphoning,diverting ,mismanaging and squandering of the common patrimony as the cost of continuous enjoyment of freedom enjoys public acceptance and international recognition. Nevertheless,it appears the best way to enjoy little freedom in Nigeria now is not to be hell bent on exercising and enjoying your rights,just stay out of their way.