HURIWA lambasts Rights Commission for begging foreign companies for sponsorship

Posted by News Express | 11 October 2020 | 535 times

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•NHRC Executive Secretary Tony Ojukwu


Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lambasted the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Tony Ojukwu, for going cap-in-hand to foreign operated businesses in Nigeria to beg for sponsorship.

“It beggars belief and is indeed an unprecedented act of betrayal and compromise that the public-funded National Rights Commission that should act as an independent investigator of all human rights-related infractions, including the pervasive human rights violations against Nigerians working in foreign owned and operated companies in Nigeria, is seen openly or clandestinely in an unholy communion with these same entities that the commission ought to provide oversight functions.

“It is the height of ethical depravity and the greatest show of shame that the head of this government-funded agency that became financially and operationally independent in 2010 with wide ranging amendments to its enabling Act costing the tax payers hundreds of millions of Naira to be seen begging companies to fund a movie.

“So, what will happen if these companies are accused by their staff, especially Nigerians, of gross human rights violations given that in the recent times there have been well-documented empirical evidence of grave human rights abuses of Nigerians by owners of foreign administered businesses in Nigeria?”

HURIWA further maintained that this move by Mr. Ojukwu is inappropriate and clearly violates the provisions of the enabling act setting up the Rights Commission.

In a statement in which it asked the management of NHRC to rescind its beggarly tendencies and properly discharge her mandates, HURIWA averred that the commission’s mandates did not envisage that the management could go to the ridiculous extent of becoming a corporate beggar to even companies set up by foreigners in Nigeria which are amongst the largest abusers of the employment rights of Nigerians with many of them using Nigerian workers as modern day slaves.

HURIWA recalled that the NHRC (amendment) Act, 2010 has conferred on the Commission additional independence and strengthened its power with respect to promotion and protection of human rights, investigation of alleged violation of human rights and enforcement of decisions.

According to it, “The Act has also widened the scope of the Commission's Mandate to include vetting of legislations at all levels to ensure their compliance with human rights norms.

“Specifically, the NHRC is mandated to deal with all matters relating to the promotion and protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international and regional instruments on human rights to which Nigeria is a party.

“It was also to monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violations in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the federal government for the prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance; assist victims of human rights violations and seek appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf.

“NHRC was also to undertake studies on all matters pertaining to human rights and assist the Federal, State and Local Governments, where it considers it appropriate to do so, in the formulation of appropriate policies on the guarantee of human rights.”

HURIWA recalled that the Executive Secretary of the Commission led his team on a courtesy visit to CHI Limited in Lagos on Wednesday and was quoted in the media as openly begging for financial sponsorship from this foreign company.

HURIWA said it would be writing to the National Assembly to ask the committee on Human Rights and Justice to call the management of the Human Rights Commission to order to stop disgracing the Federal Republic of Nigeria even as the rights group said the Commission should publish her annual incomes and expenditures in line with the principles of transparency and accountability. 

Source: News Express

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