Having worked as grassroot right defender over the years, I have come to realize the power of biro as one of the most powerful tools that if used adequately, can and has been yielding greater impact on the lives of people I and my team work with, even at no or at barest minimum cost.
Let me quickly share two of my success stories using biro as veritable working tool -
Right to fair hearing
He is a student, male and 16 years old, arrested with one other accomplice and detained for 14 days in police cell in Kaduna State on a case of homicide. The other was released because the parent could afford police bail, which is illegal. His parent could not afford the police bail fee neither afford a lawyer.
He was arraigned before the court and remanded in Juvenile Remand Home for adjournment. He was never brought back before the court and was abandoned for six months without trial in the remand home. Upon my visit to the remand home and after listening to his case, I picked interest in his case realizing that he has not been given right to fair hearing before a competent court of law.
So I picked up my biro and wrote a petition against the State Government for unfair hearing and wrongful detention of the inmate (a minor) for six months without trial to National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria. Four days after, he was released and set free and his right restored.
I and my team went to do SDG awareness program at Government Girls Secondary School, Doka, Kaduna. I introduce what SDGs are to the students whom never knew about it before now. As SDG 6 (water, sanitation and hygiene) was introduced to them, the students started asking questions how real these goals are or would be.
Questions on why they do not have toilet in a school of over 2,000 school girls. How that is affecting girl child education and enrollment. How that makes them absent from school and hates schooling and drop out of it. After the program, we went to inspect the toilet and it was unimaginable the toilet was in a bush with dangerous creeping reptiles, the road was inaccessible and a pit. We took pictures of the place and left.
We then forwarded a petition to the State Governor, demanding for construction of tiled water system toilets with borehole to the students. (Attached picture photographs of the depilated pit toilet to it)
Two days after, the State Government called and invited us for on-the-spot inspection of the toilet as described in our petition for confirmation. After that, State Government has since built new blocks of tiled water system toilets for the school. And the students are now happy coming to school now, even as school enrollment has increased.