HURIWA begs Senate to confirm human rights’ chief

Posted by News Express | 29 January 2018 | 1,444 times

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•NHRC Executive Secretary-designate Anthony Ojukwu

A civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Senate not to allow its frosty relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari to undermine the qualitative administration of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the rights group appealed to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to confirm the nomination of the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Anthony Ojukwu, to stop the escalation of human rights violations across Nigeria.

Similarly, the group urged President Buhari to quickly submit for confirmation the list of nominees of credible human rights practitioners to constitute the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission without further delay. The group warned against appointing career politicians and contractors to the rights commission "unless the current administration seeks to totally destroy the national strategic institution that has been built over the years to professionally pursue the elevation of respect for the rights of citizens especially the over 100 million absolutely impoverished Nigerians."

HURIWA expressed sadness that over a year after the tenure of the last governing board of the rights commission expired; the institution has been administered on an ad-hoc basis by an acting executive secretary without a governing board.

The group, however, applauded President Buhari for making a sound and qualitative choice in the person of Anthony Ojukwu to head the commission as substantive Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer.

HURIWA stated that the gradual undermining of the independence and integrity of the national human rights institution could damage her global rating and further limits the avenues for distressed Nigerians to obtain redress just as it blamed the non-appoinment of a professionally oriented governing board in compliance with the enabling law and the absence of a substantive Executive Secretary.

“The President must make hay whilst the sun shines by nominating independent -minded, credible human rights practitioners and civil society stakeholders to constitute the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission in order to arrest the rapid decline in constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens as enshrined in the chapter four of the 1999 constitution (as amended).”

It pleaded with the Senate to exempt the National Human Rights Commission’s presidential nominees from the blanket ban not to confirm them on the ground that President Buhari must adhere to the binding recommendation to drop the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Alhaji Ibrahim Magu who failed twice to be confirmed by the upper legislative chamber.

“Millions of Nigerians have most of their basic rights denied on regular basis. The Police are constantly violating the constitutional freedoms of millions of Nigerians who look on to the National Human Rights Commission for remedy and effective redress. The respect for the most sacred of rights which is Right to Life is being endangered under this dispensation, yet the capacity of the commission to wage relentless crusade for restoration of respect for human rights of citizens is gradually being weakened administratively.

“The new Executive Secretary should be quickly confirmed to address the emerging rots.  The lack of effective and efficient leadership because of the vacancies in those leadership positions, have weakened the capacity of the commission to deliver on its mandate. Let politics not stand in the way of providing remedial for the breaches of the human rights of citizens who are the constituents of the Senators.

“Mr. Ojukwu who is a very experienced and credible human rights lawyer. Then again, the President should send the list of governing board members made up of credible and non-partisan human rights lovers to constitute the governing board of the commission.”

Source: News Express

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