The Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu SAN has expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the “National Human Rights Commission Bill 2022 recently passed by the Senate, as soon as it is presented for his assent.
The Human Rights Boss who stated this over the weekend said the signing of the Bill entitled “National Human Rights Commission Act 2004 (Repeal and Enactment) Bill 2022 by Mr. President will be one of the giant achievements of the present administration in the area of human rights promotion and protection in the country.
He said with Presidential assent, the Bill will improve the performance of the Commission and place Nigeria in pride of place amongst National Human Rights Institutions.
He added that it will help to shore up Nigeria’s human rights records, given that the Commission would do more to deliver on its statutory mandate.
He said, “the bill will address the issue of inadequate powers and funding that have hindered the effective operation and functioning of the Commission since its establishment in 1995”.
“In the face of these challenges, the Commission is making efforts to better human rights protection as it grapples with numerous complaints that come before it on a daily basis”, the NHRC Boss said.
According to Ojukwu, “it is expected that when the law is finally signed by the President, it will sustain the grade ‘A’ status of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission as rated by the Global Alliance of Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in recognition of its compliance with the provisions of the Paris Principles”.
The Chief Human Rights Officer lauded the lawmakers, saying the passage of the National Human Rights Commission Act 2004 (Repeal and Enactment) Bill 2022 in the Senate complements the passage of a similar Bill in the House of Representatives in 2021
Objectives of the Bill are contained in the report presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi, he noted that the whole idea is to reposition and streamline the Institutional framework of the National Human Rights Commission for improved performance.
Speaking on the Bill, the legislator said adequate funding of the Commission as envisaged in the Bill would strengthen the Commission’s investigative capacity while enabling it to support CSOs who share a similar mandate with the Commission to carry out their various human rights activities.
According to the lawmaker, the Bill also makes specific provisions for the establishment of the National Human Rights Fund in the National Budget as well as provides effective means of sustaining contributions to the Fund.
“A virile and enduring democratic value system cannot be fully entrenched in Nigeria if we do not have an Independent and incorruptible human rights Institution with adequate funding mechanisms free from unnecessary interference from the Government”, Senator Opeyemi added.