Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending Abba Kyari, the Deputy Commissioner of Police and former Rapid Response Team head, over allegations of bribery by the FBI.
Nigerians’ rights have been well-protected as a result of government appointments to the National Human Rights Commission’s governing council.
“The Federal Government is committed to protecting the human rights of all Nigerians and other nationals living in Nigeria,” said Abubakar Malami, who inaugurated the Council on behalf of the government on Tuesday.
According to AGF, who spoke at the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja, “the federal government has demonstrated adequate capacity to defend the rights of citizens and foreigners residing in Nigeria following the indictments of some law enforcement officials”.
In the words of Malami, “the disbandment of SARS and the establishment of various panels of inquiry investigating and awarding damages for human rights violations by SARS is a clear testimony to the fact that this government is fulfilling its international obligation to establish an independent National Human Rights Commission for the promotion and protection of Nigerians’ human rights.”
Further, he noted, the government has paid reparations to victims of 2012 Apo killings by security personnel, as well as complied with 2018 White Paper recommendations on the Nigerian Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“The Executive Secretary and his management team have made enormous strides in delivering purposeful and effective leadership in the absence of a Governing Council,” he said.
As well, he reminded the new members of the Governing Council to adhere to the NHRC Act and related Government circulars on tenure, part-time mandates, emoluments, and other matters as outlined in those documents.
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Executive Secretary Tony Ojukwu noted a number of the Commission’s important successes in his speech but said that funding and operationalizing the Human Rights Fund (HRF) remained the Commission’s greatest challenges.
“Although the budgetary allocation to the Commission has recently increased, the increase, according to the Nigerian chief human rights officer, falls far short of meeting the mandate of the Commission, and even in comparison to other commissions in Africa, such as Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa.”
He also commended the federal government for establishing the Independent Investigation Panel on the disbanded SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force and asked the AGF and federal government for help in obtaining more funds to complete the investigation.
Nigeria cannot fall behind in developing a human rights culture that would be a reference point inside and outside the African continent, according to Dr. Salamatu Husseini Suleiman, who spoke on behalf of the new Governing Council Members.
To this end, she asked for the Minister of Justice’s help in enhancing employee welfare. She noted an improved welfare package would always be an incentive for employees, while a poor remuneration package could lead to workers leaving for greener pastures, possibly in Civil Society Organisations.
Mrs. D. Agba, Director legal; Ambassador Umar Salisu (Representing Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs); and Mrs. D. Adeshida (Representing Federal Ministry of Interior) were among the members of the Governing Council who took the oath of office at the ceremony. Dr. Salamatu Husseini Suleiman is the Chairperson of the NHRC, and Mr. Tony Ojukwu, ESQ, Executive Secretary ( Representing Federal Ministry of Interior).
Abubakar Mohammed (representing print and electronic media); Femi Okewo, N. Azubuike, Joseph Onyemachi, Ahmad Abubakar, S. Asiwaju and the Representation for the Women.