Falana warns FG against intimidation of critics with state machinery

Posted by News Express | 19 November 2015 | 3,015 times

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Mrs Funmi Falana, wife of human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has condemned the use of state security agencies to harass private citizens and critics of public officers.

Mrs Falana spoke on Wednesday in Abuja, while delivering an address at the inauguration of a committee of experts to examine all existing and proposed human rights legislation in the country.

While commending the National Human Rights Commission for instituting the committee, she noted that public institutions had continued to violate the people’s rights in spite of the clear provisions of the constitution.

“Public institutions have continued to violate human rights of the Nigerian people in spite of the clear provisions of the constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

“The use of state machinery to harass whistle blowers and critics of public officers and private citizens is illegal and unconstitutional.

“It is pertinent to remind the police and the anti-graft agencies that, as far back as 1983, the right of the Nigerian people to criticise public officers was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

“By virtue of section 28 of the ICPC Act, whistle blowers are protected, while the right to access information is protected by Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act.”

Falana noted that in spite of the avowed commitment of the government to put an end to the systematic abuse of powers by the police and other security agencies, people’s rights were continually infringed upon.

Speaking on the report from the Presidency on alleged corruption in arm deals, Falana urged the government to ensure that all indicted persons were brought to book in line with the rule of law.

She, however, called on the Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami to “call the SSS to order without further delay on its refusal to follow certain court orders in Sambo Dansuki’s case.

“Dansuki was admitted to bail by the trial court, his application to travel abroad for medical attention was equally granted.

“But in utter contempt of order of the court, the SSS prevented him from travelling abroad while his house has been occupied by armed gendarmes.”

She urged the Federal Government to fight corruption, end impunity, and uphold the respect for the rights of all persons.

Prof. Bem Angwe, Executive Secretary NHRC inaugurated the four-member committee to examine all existing and proposed legislation in the country.

The committee members are; Dr Castro Ginigeme as Chairman, Mr Abdulwahab Oyedokun as Secretary, Prof. Alphonsus Alubo and Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa as members.

Angwe charged them to review all federal, state and local government laws in the light of human rights provisions contained in the Nigerian constitution, international and regional human rights treaties.

The committee was given four months to submit its recommendation for onward transmission to the National Assembly. (NAN)

•Photo shows Mrs Falana.

Source: News Express

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