Home Human Rights Blog Competition 2012 Let EVERYONE That Has Breath LIVE!

Let EVERYONE That Has Breath LIVE!

A time to be born and a time to die … a first breath and a last one… these two breaths are common to all human beings. So also are all granted the time in between these two breaths: the time to live.

Everyone has a time to live and according to article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Furthermore everyone means everyone! “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion … national or social origin, property, birth or other status” – and that includes every member of our society.

This third right is the very one I believe our society needs to preserve the most; because all other rights stem from this one.

We all, without exception, have a right to life. And in the time we live, we also have a right to liberty, i.e. a right to be free; and we have a right to security of person, i.e. a right to be safe. My paraphrase of the third right is thus: everyone has a right to live, free and safe from everything that is a constraint or threat to that life.

  • Mrs. Ignorant stays in an abusive marriage, where she has been kept silent by fear of her husband, and remains for fear of the stigma of divorce in an African society, all because she knows not that she has a right to a free and safe life.
  • Mr. Indigent, genius-potential, yet can barely construct a sentence in proper English and may end up an ‘area-boy’ living under the bridge, all because poverty afforded him a lousy education on the streets.
  • Little baby Ailing, born with the chronic sickle cell disease, because his parents had not the necessary education on genotype testing and life partnerships, may not live to see his 16th birthday, and worse, may live his brief life-span believing himself to be somehow less of human being.

On and on, thousands of sad tales fill our society, of illiteracy, disease, poverty, ignorance and the many other threats to our very lives. We desperately need to build in this society the structures required for our people to live, free and safe. Every Nigerian regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or status should have access to a balanced diet, clothing, safe shelter, healthcare, education, employment and dare I say good governance, these are the basic things that will allow us live, freely and safely. The gross lack of these things for the average member, and the greater majority of our society is what threatens the very lives of our people and thus the very fabric of our society.

In the UNDP 2011 Human Development Report, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide, Nigeria ranks 156 out of 187!!! Our adult literacy rate is just 70% when there are over 45 countries with a 99% adult literacy rate, our life expectancy is age 47, a whopping 30% below world average2. Based on these statistics it is painfully evident that as Nigerian’s our third right is at stake!

The masses depend daily on hand-outs from the philanthropic few in the wealthy class – they are being given fish instead of being taught how to fish! This is just not good enough. We need the Millennium Development Goals to become Millennium Development Realities – as much to the man in the state house as the man in the mud house in the most remote village in the country; otherwise we are indirectly saying that the man in the mud house is less than a human being. We need to transit from a bare existence to a bountiful life, sadly the majority have a longer way to go in that transition, and this is what adds to the greatness of the need!

If I could shout it from every Nigerian rooftop I would: “Let EVERYONE that has breath, LIVE!!!

The farmer, the fashion model, the housewife, the student, the rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate, the good, the bad and the ugly: all have a right to life, liberty and security of person. And it’s your right too, so fight for it!

What is life worth to you? Bearing the components of the third right in mind my estimation of the worth of life is as follows: though I speak the most polished of grammar, and dine at the table of kings, if I be wiser than professors, stronger than athletes, and smarter than geniuses, without liberty, what I have would be acutely insignificant, without safety, what I have would be painfully meaningless, and without breath in my nostrils, all of it would be less than nothing!

William Shakespeare wrote: ‘To be, or not to be: that is the question, I beg to differ. For when it comes to life, the question is never ‘to be, or not to be.’ Actually there is no question; because every man, woman, boy, girl and baby that breathes has the God-given, man-declared third right simply TO BE – alive, free and safe!

Comments

  1. Avatar of Christine Ogaje
    wrote on February 4th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Christine Ogaje

    Absolute truth, every human being does have the right to live a happy, healthy and secure life!.
    This article is great motivation for each of us to look around and see how we can encourage and/or assist someone else to live their full potential and contribute positively to the world around them.
    Nicely written, keep it up!

  2. Avatar of Joy Isa
    wrote on February 4th, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Joy Isa

    Well said. It is important to reiterate this point severally, until the powers that be in this nation rise up and take responsibility for its citizenry. Having the majority of the citizens living below $2 a day is an absolute nightmare. I dare say on this platform that: when the poor get hungry, they eat the rich so we must speak up! I trust that more privileged young people will speak up and the words emphasized in this article will be shouted out indeed: we All have a right to live!

  3. Avatar of Ifueko Fex Ogbomo
    wrote on February 5th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Ifueko Fex Ogbomo

    @Christine Ogaje – thanks, it is true, we should all help each other protect our third right! We all have a part to play, and writing this article is my way of fulfilling my part as a writer.
    @Joy Isa – “when the poor get hungry, they eat the rich …” – profound indeed and a word is enough for the wise. Thanks.
    It is my prayer that the powers that be in this nation will indeed rise up and act for positive change in defense of Nigerians as a people. Amen!

  4. Avatar of Hendrick O. Onuh
    wrote on February 5th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Hendrick O. Onuh

    Fantastic article!
    If there is no life, there is no discussion. If we are ranked 156 out of 187 on a scale that measures life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, it means in other words that on the global scale Nigeria is not on the list of countries people should desire to live in if they intend to live either well or long and this is no laughing matter.

    As a matter of fact, when you take into account the Boko Haram upsurge and other similar threats to our very lives and security I would have to agree completely that our third right, the right to life, liberty and security of person is severely threatened indeed and is the one we need to preserve the most!
    And may God have mercy on us all.
    Well done Fex, you have a voice – keep using it!

  5. Avatar of Charity Gabriel
    wrote on February 5th, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Charity Gabriel

    Wow! … “every man, woman, boy, girl and baby that breathes has the God-given man-declared third right simply TO BE – alive, safe and free!” it couldn’t have been said better! I concur, absolutely!!!
    Nigerians need to know this truth and fight for it. We need to speak against any policies and governance that denies or hampers this right to any Nigerian whatsoever. The standard of living of most of us is not acceptable globally and we have come to embrace it as ‘the Nigerian way’ and this should not be so. The arguments put forth in this article are well stated and well supported and I hope this gets the attention of the right persons in power because we desperately need a society where each of us can live well, free and safe.
    I must say, this article is right on point. Ifueko, keep the pen full and flowing!

  6. Avatar of
    wrote on February 5th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Obukohwo Ujorha

    This article is simply beautiful!
    A wiser man said that the best of happiness is the power and the will to be useful.
    If each privileged person can touch one other person, we can spread wealth, even if only the wealth of ideas, as opposed to the present consistent spread of poverty.
    Ifueko, thank you for spreading not just an idea, but a powerful truth. Indeed, life is far too precious and must be preserved, and a good standard of living for all Nigerians is absolutely worth striving for.
    Cheers.

  7. Avatar of Kikelomo Taiwo
    wrote on February 8th, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Kikelomo Taiwo

    Awesome post. i believe this is the heart cry of every Nigerian including myself. We don’t just deserve to live, it is our right to LiVE but unfortunately, we have leaders who dont even understand the fundamentals of the Nigerian constitution. Thanks for this post . its high time we made our voices heard as advocates so that we will see the change we desire.

  8. Avatar of ejuwa lanre
    wrote on February 8th, 2012 at 7:37 am

    ejuwa lanre

    nice article.GOD WILL HELP US.

  9. Avatar of ejuwa lanre
    wrote on February 8th, 2012 at 8:14 am

    ejuwa lanre

    I love your post. It basically express my view of Human Right. We all should have a conducive environment that helps us to become productive and reach our full potentials.The saddest thing is that the leaders don’t know the people. There is no direct link between the people and the policies that exist, how then can we really LIVE. Our leaders have no clue what the core principles of leadership are, There is no better time than now for us to continue to raise our voices. Indeed, Let everything that has breathe LIVE. Its not just a wish. it is our RIGHT. Thanks again for this post.