Title: Forever there for You
Author: Chioma Nnani
Publisher: The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium
Reviewer: Olamide Babatunde
The author, Chioma Nnani, studied Law at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, though she acquired her early education in Nigeria. Her passion revolves around human rights advocacy. She has now added the feather of an author to her cap with her debut novel, Forever there for You.
At 16, life had just started for Nadine, the central character in Chioma Nnani’s debut novel, Forever there for You. She had everything going on pretty well except her dislike for coffee and fish, which, incorrigibly, always made her want to retch. She was daddy’s little girl, the only child who wasn’t spared any moment of getting VIP treats. This was so much so until she had blossomed into a young woman who “needed the protection of a man”, as her father teased.
The narrative goes on smoothly, detailing a sparkling friendship that developed, as both Stella and Nadine made an exit to a spot simultaneously. They had the food, drink, and drag and down times as should be for college students. Having had a culture shock earlier, Nadine is quickly able to adjust and adapt to her new world.
London is nothing like Nigeria when it comes to food. She detested coffee, couldn’t understand soup poured out from tins and, worse of all, detested the less spicy dishes that made her miss home. After all, she came from Nigeria where you had the melon soup, Ofe onugbu, with assorted parts of meat rendered to an unforgettable taste that make taste buds thank you later on.
The African delicacies were good. She even made Stella ogle the first time they got a good opportunity. But, as soon as college reality dawned on them, Nadine prioritised; the continental dishes didn’t matter as such as the grades she had come for. She began working without meals and, soon suffered an ulcer.
Gradually, life became fraught with extremities in pursuit, tribalism and religion. The latter led to a drift in her relationship with Raymond, resulting in a new beginning for her newfound passion, leaving her marooned to whips, chains and a bloody rose garden.
After a botched attempt to make her mother understand what her travails were, she put up a brazen front, masking any trace of violence, and other tell-tale signs of her failing union.
By the time she admited she needed help getting away, a major damage had occurred. That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Our tragic heroine cuts out to be a fighter, and one can’t help but
emit pathos towards her plight forsaking all sense of embarrassment. Nnani makes us see our sisters, mothers, and aunties and loved ones in Nadine. Seeing as a helpless victim who needs respite, something will stir in the reader to run towards a moment where we can stick up for another life while it is still worth it, a much better option that hovering with a guilty conscience.
Nnani, in her tale, doesn’t just introduce the reader to her character; she opens up a world of taste and world destinations, having experienced these places herself. Described elegantly and flirtingly, she guides the reader and, together, they embark on a journey to Venice, Paris, as the romance spills unto the streets from her vivid beautiful descriptions.
While it is known that many women are in abusive relationships, the author delineates the realities, which underscore the beginning and end of an unconditional spousal love –one which gets bloody with every stem of rose. Our central character did not want to fail at anything much more her marriage.
She typifies the everyday woman who yearns to have an abusive husband turn a new leaf. Speaking for her part, self-preservation comes first on her list, unlike how some think there is something to be gained from Martyrdom.
This absurd message, she says, is recanted in the words like “women should be patient”.
A critical take on the theme of the book is that women need to be taught to place premium on their lives and be quick to see the ugly clouds gathering in before the rain begins to fall.
Forever there for You is a coming-of-age wakeup call for everyone to realise what is all shades of wrong in any relationship regardless of which side of the divide you are found.
Understanding human rights in Nigeria
Title: Human Rights Litigation in Nigeria: Law, Practice and Procedure with Forms and Precedents
Author: Frank Agbedo
Reviewer: Malachy Ugwumadu
This book, written by Mr. Frank Agbedo, one of Nigeria’s leading authors in human rights literature and jurisprudence, was recently unveiled at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) Kofo Abayomi Road, Victoria Island, Lagos, just a few years after his groundbreaking treatise on the rights of criminal suspects in Nigeria entitled Rights of Suspects and Accused Persons under the Nigerian Criminal Law.
Incidentally, only three days before the release of the current book, the world had, on 10th December, 2016, marked the International day of Human Rights, with a strident message calling upon everyone to stand up for someone’s rights. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch, Human Rights Committee, organised a successful summit on Thursday 8th December, 2016 while the National body commemorated the day with a world press conference held at the High Court of Lagos premises, Igbosere, Lagos.
It has been universally declared that “it is essential, if a man is not to be compelled to have recourse as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law” (see the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948). The value of human right is solely dependent on its enforcement. An un-enforced right is of no value to its owner. Just as the maxim, Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium (where there is a right, there is a remedy) remains rhetorical until the remedy is duly enforced in favour of the victim.
This book, which is consciously and albeit rightly, in my view, dedicated to two of Nigeria’s greatest civil rights advocates, both at the bar and the bench, namely: the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAM, SAN and Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi GCON, CJN Rtd, therefore, dwells extensively on the law, practice and procedure relating to enforcement of human rights in Nigerian courts.
Principal features of the book include but are not limited to the ABC of human rights litigation, an in depth analysis of the new FREP Rules 2009, A review of judicial attitude to enforcement of Fundamental Rights Cases, Prosecuting Appeals in Fundamental Rights Cases, the status of public interest litigation in Nigerian courts, the role of Amici Curae in human rights litigation, the justiciability or judicialisation of socio-economic rights in Nigerian courts and the future of human rights litigation. The book also features a comprehensive package of practice forms and precedents relating to practical applications for enforcement of fundamental rights, as well as a comprehensive index of cases and relevant statutes.
More than seven years since the advent of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, which had been described as representing the widest latitude to effective enforcement of fundamental rights, the volume of litigation relating to human rights have expectedly witnessed a quantum leap in Nigerian courts. It is therefore this floodgate of litigations that supplied the raison d’etre and compelling desire for this book. This is done with a view to updating practitioners with current decisions and contemporary developments on human rights law and practice, with copious references to salutary innovations from other jurisdictions overseas.
The peculiar strength of this new book, as attested to by renowned jurists and law lords who had the benefit of a preview of the content prior to this public presentation, is that it is almost a ready answer to all issues and matters relating to preparation, initiation, filing and prosecution of fundamental right cases in Nigerian Courts. The book is comprehensive enough to the cover of the field of human right law, practice and procedure and which could be better described as a One-Stop-Shop in human rights litigation.
According to Femi Falana SAN, “Frank Agbedo Esq has, through this book, simplified and facilitated the enforcement of fundamental rights in Nigeria in line with the provisions of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009. With the subjects analysed in the book and the relevant cases cited by the author, victims of human rights abuse will have no difficulty in seeking redress in the appropriate High Courts”.
One cannot agree any less with the above endorsement coming from a venerable icon of public interest litigation in Nigeria. The book, which focuses on the practice and procedure in human right litigation, is to the best of my well considered opinion, a well researched and comprehensive work on the subject. It is written in clear readable style that is quite informative. I believe that legal practitioners, judges, law students and any one interested in human rights litigation and issues will find it very useful. I warmly recommend it.
Malachy Ugwumadu, Esq., is the National President, Committee for
Defence of Human Rights. (GCDHR).