Nine others state offices which include Akwa Ibom, Imo, Anambra, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Yobe, Edo and Delta will be opened in the next few weeks, while arrangements have reached completion stage to acquire offices in Kwara, Taraba, Ondo, Cross River, Gombe and Ekiti States.
Declaring the Benue State office opened, Rt. (Hon.) Dr. Gabriel T. Suswam, the Executive Governor of the State commended the proactive disposition of the Commission towards human rights issues in Nigeria, calling on the Management of the Commission not to rest on their oars.
Governor Suswan who expressed delight that his State took the lead to provide office accommodation to the Commission noted that human rights is a necessary ingredient of democracy. “Human rights is a cardinal principle of democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is a sin qua non for development”, the Governor said. Governor Suswam also called all Nigerians “to ensure respect for human rights, equal treatment before the law for both the weak and the powerful/the rich and the poor.”
The Governor pledged the support and cooperation of the Benue State Government with the NHRC for the purpose of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights in the state.
“Government will encourage monitoring and investigation of all alleged cases of human rights violations in the State in collaboration with the Commission and take appropriated steps to remedy them,” he said.
In his speech, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe lamented that 15 years after the establishment of the Commission’s services are accessible only to a small percentage of Nigerians. One effective way, he said, of enhancing access, creating awareness, protecting and enforcing human rights is the establishment of additional state offices.
According to Prof. Angwe, 10 such offices will be opened across the country before the end of this year.“Our aim is to ensure the presence of the Commission in all the 36 States of the Federation and build partnerships with human rights stakeholders at the grassroots, including community based organizations, so as to ensure the effective recognition and respect for the rights of all Nigerians.”
Prof. Angwe commended the Benue State Government for the support given to the Commission, calling all other State Governments to tow the same line in compliance with the provisions of the NHRC Act, as amended, which requires Governments at all levels to contribute to the Human Rights Fund and support the activities of the Commission.