By Emma Okereh
The Board of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has resolved to meet presidentMuhammadu Buhari to intimate him on the state of human rights in the country.
The resolution wastaken at the the 5th Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commissionheld on 16th September, 2021 at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja.
The meeting which waspreceded by a 3-day Council/Management Retreat attracted several dignitariesincluding the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives’ Committeeson Human Rights, the Administrator of the NJI, two former Executive Secretariesand a former Member of the Council together with the Management of theCommission. Other participants were from the Network of African National HumanRights Institutions (NANHRI), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for HumanRights (UNCHR), the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions(GANHRI), the Solicitor General of the Federation, the Permanent Secretary,General Services Office (GSO) of the Office of the Secretary to the Governmentof the Federation (OSGF), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Media.
Part of the resolutionsof the council was that ‘’the Council should pay a courtesy call on thePresident, Commander- in-Chief of Nigeria to intimate him on the state of humanrights in Nigeria and the need to prioritize human rights issues as a wayforward to fulfill Nigeria national and international obligations and attractdirect foreign investments to boost the economy’’.
A statement signed bythe executive secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu explained that at the 1ststatutory meeting of the 5th Governing Council of the Commission, several memosto chart the course of the Council and the Commission were discussed.
In addition, somecomplaints of human rights violation from the four thematic complaintdepartments were considered.
At the end of thedeliberations, the following resolutions were passed:
That four StandingCommittees on Appointment and Promotions, Finance and General Purposes; ComplaintsHandling; and Thematic Areas of Focus; be approved for the work of the
Council.That an Adhoc Council Committee be set up to conduct research, develop Terms ofReference (TOR) and concept, for the implementation of the provisions of theNHRC Amendment Act 2010 relating to the Human Rights Fund. And that theCommittee’s detailed report is expected within a time frame of two weeks fromthe adoption of the terms of reference.
It also resolved that theCouncil develops a comprehensive Human Rights Agenda for the Year 2022 and forsubsequent years in order to properly focus the work of the Council. It wasfurther resolved that the Secretariat proposes the human rights priorities forCouncil consideration with basic focus on the right to education for vulnerableand street children.
‘’That theInternational Human Rights Day activities on 10th December, 2021 should be usedto mark the presentation of the Human Rights Agenda of the Council for 2022 andthe roadmap for resourcing the Human Rights Fund amongst other programs andactivities of the Commission which should all be given adequate publicity andvisibility.
‘’That a total ofthirty five (35) complaints initially presented by the Secretariat shouldbe considered. Ten (10) complaints were considered from each of the complaintdepartments of the Commission except the vulnerable Groups Dept that had five(5) and they are:
The Council decidedthat some complaints should be closed having been fully investigated andsettled.
‘’The Council furtherdecided that some complaints required further investigation while some weredecided to be inadmissible because the issues were not within the mandate ofthe Commission or did not disclose any human rights violations.
‘’That the NationalAction Plan for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NAP) once finalizedand approved by the Federal Executive Council should be escalated to theMinistry responsible for National Planning and all development partners so thatany intervention for funding on human rights in Nigeria should be within thescope of the NAP document.
‘’That the Councilshould pay a courtesy call on the President, Commander- in-Chief of Nigeria tointimate him on the state of human rights in Nigeria and the need to prioritizehuman rights issues as a way forward to fulfill Nigeria national andinternational obligations and attract direct foreign investments to boost theeconomy.
The Council assuredNigerians that despite the numerous security challenges confronting Nigeria, itwill do its best to champion the promotion and protection of human rights ofall Nigerians and people living in Nigeria including the vulnerable groups andthe poor such as; Persons with Disabilities, Women and Children, Street urchinsand Almajiris, Internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants, traffickedpersons, key populations and Older persons, amongst others.