Award-winning Nigerian rapper, actor and singer Folarin Falana professionally known as Falz has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the letter titled: “REQUEST FOR RECONSTITUTION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE DISCHARGE OF ITS FUNCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO CASES OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA,” he demands for a reconstitution of the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission
“It has been brought to my knowledge via a statement by your Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, that the Federal Government has accepted the 5-point request of the ENDSARS protests presented by well-meaning Nigerian youths. This statement went on to state that there will be an independent investigation panel to look into the violations of Human Rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigeria Police.
Quoting Mr Adeshina’s statement: “the Forum agrees to the setting up of this independent panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week’.
“As it stands now, the National Human Rights Commission has remained without the Governing Council since 2015 and still remains without it The unfortunate circumstance has led to the aggravation of human rights abuse,”
It is pertinent to note that Section 5 of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 empowers the National Human Rights Commission itself to receive complaints and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and mak appropriate recommendations to the president.
The detailed and concise provisions of this section adequately empower the Human Rights Commission to look into these cases by itself. The commission need not set up another panel for the exercise of its functions.
More importantly, the National Human Rights Commission ought to have a Governing council under Section 2 of the National Human Rights Commision (Amendment) Act consisting of the following people:
(a) a chairman who shall be a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria or the Court of Appeal or a retired judge of th High Court of a State;
(b) a representative each of the following Federal Ministries-
(i) Justice; (ii) Foreign Affairs; (iii) Internal Affairs;
(c) three representatives of registered human rights organisations in Nigeria;
(d) two legal practitioners who shall not have less than ten years post qualification experience;
(e) three representatives of the media, at least two of whom shall be from the private seector.
(f) three other persons to represent a variety of interests; and
(g) the executive secretary of the commission.
According to section 7(3) of the National Human Right Commission Act, the Executive Secretary of the Commission does not have the power to act without a Governing Council.
In the light of the foegoing, I hereby call on Your Excellency to immediately reconstitute the Governing Council of the National Human RIghts Commission and to do so publicly as well as transparently in order to restore the confidence of young Nigerians in your proposed police reform process.
“Failure to do this would force young Nigerians to believe that the continuous refusal to re-constitute the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission is a deliberate attempt to mislead us into thinking genuine efforts are being made at reforming the Nigeria Police, when in truth the opposite is the case.”
I am confident that Your Excellency will grant my humble request in order to guarantee the protection of the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians”
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