The National Human Rights Commission has expressed readiness to partner with, International Human Rights and Anticorruption Society, a non-governmental organization, to tackle the menace of corruption in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Prof. Bem Angwe, speaking at a courtesy visit to the Commission by the organization, noted that corruption has become a very dangerous weapon of human rights violation in Nigeria. He said the enjoyment of human rights cannot be guaranteed where corruption is deeply rooted and called for concerted and sustained action to contain the menace.
Prof. Angwe who stated that corruption and good governance is one of the thematic areas of the Commission said until corruption is tackled frontally, enjoyment of human rights like access to medical care and safe medicine, qualitative education and other social and economic rights will continue to be in jeopardy. To this end, he said, collaborative efforts with relevant organizations have become imperative in dealing with the menace of corruption, in order to ensure adequate promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in the country.
Earlier in his address, the Director General of the International Human Rights and Anticorruption Society, Dr. U. O. Udofia, disclosed that the primary concern of the United Nations and the international community in Nigeria and Africa in general, is the promotion and protection of human rights.
Dr. Udofia who described human rights as central to the existence of mankind and sustenance of modest civilization, said his organization has noted the unfortunate situation where corruption and human rights abuses permeate public and private life in Nigeria.
Also, the ECOWAS Court of Justice is to work with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as a partner in the Regional Court Process. Receiving a delegation of the NHRC, led by the Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, in her office, President of the Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Awa Nana Daboya, stated that the promotion and protection of human rights remains a serious issue in the West African Sub-region.
“We see the NHRC as active partners in our Court and together we can improve on the issue of promotion and protection of human rights in the Sub-region”.
She reaffirmed the commitment of the Court to work with the Commission in wide range of activities, adding that “…we can collaborate to build awareness on our mandates, which are similar and mutually reinforcing”.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, stated that the Commission has a new mandate not only to protect and promote human rights of Nigerians but also to enforce such rights. The Commission’s decision, he said, in any matter before it is binding and is enforceable as the decision of the high court.
He pointed out that the Commission is also empowered to review all existing laws and proposed legislations to ensure that they are in conformity with human rights norms. Similarly, Prof. Angwe pointed out that the Commission has powers to review government policies and measures and make appropriate recommendations, where such policies are found to be in conflict with the human rights norms.
To carry out this, Prof. Angwe said the Commission operates independently without interference from any quarters.
Prof. Angwe promised to justify the confidence reposed in the Commission by the Court by ensuring effective collaboration in human rights promotion, protection and enforcement with the Court.