By Bukar Bolori
The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr. Tony Ojukwu has sought the support of the federal government to strengthen the Commission’s efforts in the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in the country.
He made this request when he led the Commission’s management team on a courtesy visit to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi at his office in Abuja on Wednesday.
During the visit, Ojukwu provided a comprehensive overview of the NHRC’s history, mandate, functions, powers, organisational structure, and management since its inception.
He discussed the Commission’s growth, the challenges it has faced, and its struggle for independence in recent years.
He emphasized the Commission’s role in holding government accountable for policies and laws that promote human rights while mitigating human rights violations in the country.
He highlighted several key issues in the Commission to include: governing council appointments, financial constraints, staffing challenges,budgetary allocations.
He, however, highlighted some significant achievements, including the thorough investigation and resolution of 1,640,018 complaints, with notable compensations of N350 million to the families of eight victims of the Apo killings (Okada riders) by the Department of State Services in 2013 and 450 million naira in compensation paid to victims of the ENDSARS protests by the Commission.
Responding to these concerns, the Attorney General of Federation assured that the present administration has prioritized the National Human Rights Commission as an institution that could ensure peace, stability and the respect for and human rights in the country.
The Minister acknowledged the financial hardships confronting the Commission, urging for patience while the government addresses their needs, particularly with respect to acquiring vehicles.
He expressed his satisfaction with the Commission’s independence and its commendable commitment to non-interference from the government and other bodies.