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Legislators, CSOs Agree on Public Hearing for Human Rights Violations

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After listening to gory and egregious accounts of human rights violations in Nigeria, participants at the Dialogue Session organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) agreed on need for a public hearing in the National Assembly. At the Stakeholders’ Dialogue Session on the State of Human Rights in Nigeria, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights and representatives from the National Human Rights Commission, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Department of State Services and civil society organisations present agreed the need for legislative intervention to halt the growing incidence of human rights violation in the country.

The Dialogue Session was held on Thursday, 10th November 2022 in Abuja. It was aimed at driving conversations on the status of human rights protection in Nigeria, to identify specific rights violations, interrogate the reasons behind persistent violations and to proffer solutions for the enhancement of respect and fulfilment of citizens’ rights. This was with a view to adopting a coordinated approach to address human rights abuses and seek remedy for victims through legislative intervention.

At the meeting, presentations on ‘Current Human Rights Concerns in Nigeria’ were delivered by Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, SAN and Human Rights Watch Africa Researcher, Anietie Ewang, respectively. The presentations highlighted a plethora of issues, pertaining to a variety of rights, from civil and political rights, to environmental, gender, social and economic rights.

Following conversations at the meeting, the following resolutions were reached:

  1. The House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights will provide a platform to hear complaints of human rights violations via a public hearing, with the collaboration of civil society organisations working on human rights issues.
  2. Proposals for amendment of existing laws to enhance human rights protection framework should be submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights between Friday, 11th November and Thursday, 17th November 2022, for consideration and legislative action.
  3. The National Human Rights Commission will take forward conversations on the pending payment of compensation to victims of police brutality by State governments, following the recommendations of the #EndSARS panels set up in States to hear cases of police brutality perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.