By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq, has said the Commission and relevant agencies are working assiduously to ensure that the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to participate in governance and electoral processes are realized.
Ojukwu stated this at the end of year Review Meeting of the NHRC/ UNHRC IDPs/Returnees Protection Monitoring Project which took place in Yola Adamawa State.
As part of the review meeting which was organized by the NHRC in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), IDP Protection monitors were trained on IDPs Political Participation. The training focused on emerging protection issues occasioned by the commencement of political campaigns ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The NHRC Boss stated that the vulnerable nature of IDPs may compel them into compromising their rights to freely exercise their franchise; “this has necessitated the training of Monitors” he said. “we are training monitors so that they can sensitize the IDPs to among other things, not to allow themselves to be victims of vote buying considering their already vulnerable status” he added.
The Executive Secretary revealed that despite the paucity of funds the Commission has established 13 more State offices in addition to the already existing 24, “this move was driven by the determination of the Commission to make people have more access to its services across the country” he emphasized.
Ojukwu added that the presence of the Commission in all the states of the federation will make effective monitoring of emerging human rights violations especially those that relate to election a lot easier, now that all attention is geared towards the nation’s preparedness for elections.
He used the medium to call on government to increase the funding of the Commission to enable it deliver effectively on its mandates.
Some of the monitors expressed delight at the idea of the training on electoral participation of the IDPs in the upcoming election. They urged the federal government to intensify efforts in making electronic voting a reality as this will enable all eligible voters no matter their status to exercise their franchise without discrimination.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission says the celebration of the 70TH Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone in Nigeria’s resolve to stamp out impunity and bring human rights violations to the barest minimum.
The Executive Secretary,NHRC Tony Ojukwu Esq.who stated this in Abuja during the 70th commemoration of UDHR also used the occasion to honour a former Executive Secretary of the NHRC Mr Bukhari Bello who he noted played a pivotal role in repositioning the Commission.
Ojukwu stated that in recognition of Bello’s excellent performance during his tenure as the executive Secretary(2000-2006)the management of the Commission honoured him on the 10th December,2018 by naming the NHRC Auditorium after Him.
In His response to the honour accorded Him by the management of the NHRC,Bello said He felt elated that his efforts in ensuring that Global Alliance of Human Rights Institutions which accords ‘A’ status to the NHRC has been recognized.