Month: October 2018

Do Nigerians Still Have Right To Life?

Specifically, the UN Human Rights Charter which is considered one of the most significant documents of the 20th century specifically states that human life is the foundation of all other rights! The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages and is universally recognised and respected by all nations and peoples who consider themselves civilised! Of great significance and import is the preamble of this document which states that “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world; Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people; Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law; Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom; Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realisation of this pledge; Now, therefore the general assembly proclaims this universal declaration of human rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.” Article one states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Article two says that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.” Most importantly, article three recognises the Right to Life where it states as follows: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person!” This article three happens to be the most abused or neglected in recent times in our nation, thus a need for us all, both as citizens and leaders to once again acquaint ourselves of this inalienable right. From Zamfara to Delta, from Benue to Taraba, from Kaduna to Ekiti, the story has been the same. It appears that there is a competition for the number of persons killed both by state and none state actors! No day passes without some story of loss of lives either at the hands of bandits or at the hands of state actors. The recent losses in Kaduna and Zamfara cannot be overlooked” because those losses were at the hands of non-state actors. But the needless deaths of Shites was at the hands of state actors.

The recent losses in Kaduna and Zamfara cannot be overlooked” because those losses were at the hands of non-state actors. But the needless deaths of Shites was at the hands of state actors. It is important to remind everyone that the UN Charter also recognises the right of citizens to worship how they deem fit or whom they seem fit. The Shites to the best of my knowledge are covered by the Right of Freedom of Worship and should not be targeted or profiled on account of their religious leanings. Furthermore, they are also protected by the Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Association and the Freedom of Movement within the country! All these Rights are enshrined in the UN CHARTER to which our country is a signatory! It is therefore the considered view of this column that while the state reserved the right to secure its borders and its people, shites also being Nigerians should rather be protected and not dispersed violently by the use of disproportionate force as in this case. No one can say that live bullets was tended to scare only. As the works watches, Nigeria brand is daily being degraded and demarketed by actions such as these which ought not to have been avoided in the first place. Furthermore, some of these actions are considered crimes against humanity, as such perpetrators may find themselves on the receiving end of world anger and justice. The sooner state actors understand that we now live in a global village of instantaneous communication, the more circumspect they would be in their actions. It will certainly be a good idea for the UN Charter to form part of the training manual of all military and paramilitary formations in Nigeria. This training should also be extended to civil servants and citizens at large to ensure a safer country. People who know their rights also tend to know their duties! – Aluta Continua.

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STUART

Between Rule of Law and Corruption

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington

As we collectively work towards entrenching the principles and consolidating the practice of democracy in Nigeria, it is expedient to reiterate the need for the political class to respect the rule of law, which is the foundation for peace and order in society. Besides, political actors should note that disregard for the rule of law is the worst kind of corruption in any society. That was the point a top United States diplomat, William Stuart Symington was driving home to the political class the other day at the University of Ilorin convocation lecture where he had noted that injustice to citizens and disrespect for the rule of law were worse than corruption.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria who noted this in a lecture titled, Citizen, Leadership and the Link Between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance specifically observed that impact of ‘disregard for the rule of law is worse than the stealing of public funds.’ That was in a clarification interview at the venue of the convocation lecture. There is no ambiguity in this classic on the rule of law some political leaders would like to speak in tongues about all the time. Where the law does not rule, it is the rule of man that is being promoted as this newspaper noted when a curious thesis was being promoted to the effect that national security in the context of public interest should override the rule of law. We had said then that it was an executive faux pax and an unwarranted assault on the sanctity of the rule of law.

The executive, judicial and legislative arms of government are obliged to abide by defined and accepted codes of social engagement as prescribed and encoded in the law books and statutes of the land. That is the only way we can ensure justice, equity, fair play and respect from the followership, the long-suffering people of Nigeria. Very early in the documentation processes of Western society, the philosopher Aristotle declared that ‘it is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens.’ This indeed is the spirit of democratic norms- the primacy of rule, law and order in all our affairs as enunciated and enshrined in our law books.

What is the rule of law, we may ask? It is the prevention or ‘restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.’ In principle all members of a society are considered equal before the law. The rule of law prescribes certain standards of behaviour for individuals and institutions. It governs inter-ethnic and inter-governmental relationships in a sure and even manner. No one person or institution is superior to the other. By its very nature, adherence to the rule of law prevents arbitrariness of any kind. As a result overzealous state officials are called to order once the rule of law is contravened. Because human beings have the capacity to be overbearing and sometimes take the laws into their hands in the name of the overall interest of society, the rule of law ethically rules out excesses.

In dealing with persons who have broken the laws of the land, the rule of law promotes evenhandedness. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It is for this reason that the legislative arm of government is the anchor on which laws are made and interpreted by the judiciary.

Certain experiences in recent times suggest that some persons or institutions still believe that they are above the law. A government, which ignores court orders, creates room for anarchy. Under the rule of the law, governments and individuals are obliged to appeal against a subsisting court order if in their view the initial order is detrimental to the wellbeing of society. Nobody should in the guise of ‘over-riding national interest’ ignore court rulings and treat the courts with levity.

The courts are created by the constitution to safeguard individual and collective liberties. Personal vendetta is against the spirit of the rule of law. That a citizen openly disagrees with sitting government is no justification to lock up that individual except he is found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. We are aware of how the military undermined civil liberties in their years in power; vestiges of that attitude to civil liberties are still present in our polity.To be sure, these liberties are enshrined in the constitution and guaranteed by the African Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of worship are all a part of this broad framework. They are universal as well as being municipal. It is important to note that obeying or being guided by the rule of law is in the overall interest of both the ruler and the ruled. Political power is transient. A man who is in power today may not be in power tomorrow. If while in office he promotes impunity such acts have a way of returning in form of nemesis.

It is trite to observe that the rule of law implies that all citizens, high and low, are subject to the law. This includes lawmakers and law enforcers, that is, the men in charge of security in the land. Too many criminal acts or acts of brigandage have been carried out in the name of the state. The invasion of the National Assembly by men of the Department of State Security (DSS) for whatever reason was a subversion of the rule of law. When the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or any other regulatory agency in the country treats persons who have apparently committed the same offence differently it erodes public confidence in that institution. Nigerians are aghast that nobody has really been brought to book on the hundreds of acts of brutality, which herdsmen have carried out in different parts of the country. There is the impression that these scoundrels are above the law. This is dangerous to the polity. It challenges the very existence of the Nigerian state. It encourages impunity and self-help as a way of life in the country. Also, locking up journalists or any citizen for any reason without recourse to the courts is illegal. Judges and all judicial personnel are obliged to obey the laws of the land. So too are members of the Nigeria Police. Any act of impunity, any act, which contravenes the constitution is antithetical to the rule of law.

At the core of the rule of law is due process. A man who is accused of an offence cannot be arbitrarily punished without due process. Due process entails fair hearing and the opportunity to provide the other view. In the days of military rule, the late Supreme Court judge, Justice Kayode Eso, condemned what he termed ‘executive rascality.’ This was in reference to the penchant of the military to operate outside of the confines of the law. Law is no respecter of persons. No matter how highly placed a man is, the law should be the schoolmaster for mutual co-existence and progress.

Finally, the point must be made that when the rule of law is fully operative and respected, acts of corruption and other acts of impunity will be contained. Corruption is a cankerworm in our polity. But failure to observe the rule of law is more dangerous than corruption. This is because obedience to the abiding principles of law is an antidote to all forms of corruption. A lawless society will ultimately breakdown and serve as a breeding ground for all forms of vices. Therefore, any government, which takes fighting corruption seriously, should note that the rule of law is needed to guarantee its success. Nobody or group of persons or institution should by design or default be treated as being above the law.

Asante

ECOWAS Court Seeks Better Funding

Ahead of its resumption of hearings today, judges and workers of the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met for several days last week to work out ways of enhancing its operations.

They met at the court’s seventh judges’ retreat and the 10th judicial retreat, both of which held separately, at the Goshen City, Nasarawa State.

New judges of the court were sworn in on July 31 for a tenure of four years. They assumed duties on August 27.

The judges also considered the court’s 2019 draft budget and witnessed the presentation of the new digital case management system being developed by the court towards computerising its case management system and enabling online filing.

The judges include the President, Justice Edward Amoako Asante (from Ghana), Vice President, Honorable Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara (Cote d’Ivoire), Justice Dupe Atoki (Nigeria), Justice Keikura Bangura (Sierra Leone) and Justice Januaria Silva Moreira Costa (Cape Verde).

At the judicial retreat, with the theme: “The jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court of Justice: 2004 to 2018,” participants were taken through the court’s past decisions, its growing responsibilities, particularly as it relates to its bourgeoning human rights jurisdiction.

They also examined measures to improve the court’s operations, ease access to the litigating public, particularly the indigent.

The retreat, which frowned at member state’s reluctance to enforce the court’s decisions, the recent reduction in the number of its judges from seven to five and the shortage of personnel, resolved to work assiduously to overcome the challenges posed by these developments.

Presentations at the retreat included: “Jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court of Justice on access to the court; an overview of the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court of Justice; human rights in the jurisprudence of the court; non-exhaustion of local remedies as a distinctive feature of the ECOWAS Court of Justice human rights mandate” and “an analysis of the Community Legal Order as declared by the ECOWAS Court of Justice.”

The retreat also explored topics like: “State responsibility, sources of law and the application of Article 38 of the International Court of Statute by the ECOWAS Court; preliminary procedure, expedited procedure, provisional measures, consolidation and withdrawal/discontinuance in the practice and procedure of the ECOWAS Court of Justice; default judgment, revision, interpretation of judgement and supplementary judgement in the Jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court of Justice.’

There were also presentations on the “written and oral procedure, pleadings, witnesses and expert standard of proof and the role of the judge rapporteur in the practice and procedure of the ECOWAS Court of Justice,” and “‘Improving the image of the court.”

At the opening session of the judicial retreat, Justice Asante said the retreat was intended as an opportunity for the court’s judges and staff to reflect on the various issues that impact on the court and its effectiveness.

He regretted the reduction in the number of the court’s judges and the delay being experienced in the delay in the translation of court processes into the three working languages of the court – English, French and Portuguese. He noted that about 107 cases were currently awaiting hearing, while many more would still be filed.

Asante expressed displeasure that member states were not honouring their obligation under Article 24 of the 2005 Supplementary Protocol on the court, which required each state to determine the competent national authority for the receipt and processing of execution of the judgements of the court in accordance with the rules of civil procedure in each state.

He noted that only five of the 15 ECOWAS member states- Burkina Faso, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali and Togo- have notified the court of the designation of the focal points for the enforcement of the decisions of the court.

Asante, who disclosed that judges, at their retreat, (which preceded the judicial retreat) promised to give their best, noted that the court, between April 2004 and October 2018, delivered 318 decisions, comprising 190 judgments, 105 rulings,18 revision judgments and five advisory opinions.

He praised the court for its achievement so far, stressing: “Undoubtedly, the court has interpreted and applied numerous provisions in its Rules of Procedure and the Protocol on the court as amended. Through its decisions, the court has developed a rich jurisprudence on its practice and procedure and its human rights mandate.”

The court’s president urged all staff to be committed to duty and aid the court in the effective execution of its mandate.

When the curtain dropped on the retreat on October 27, participants were elated about the outcome of the week-long exercise. They said the objectives of the programme were achieved.

They called for enhanced funding, provision of adequate working facilities, including a befitting structure for the court. They also stressed the need for more personnel, particularly translators, to allow prompt translation of court processes into the court’s three languages, to address the current delay caused by the slow pace of translation.

Asante, who expressed delight at the success of the retreat, said the court was working on ways to ensure that its decisions were enforced. He noted that the non-enforcement of the court’s decisions has negatively impacted on public’s estimation of the court.

He said: “We are now working on measures to allow individuals come before the court to enforce judgments given in their favour.” According to him, the process will require that a judgment creditor is allowed to initiate a fresh suit to enforce the judgment, where the state is reluctant.

The court will then award certain compensation in favour of the individual, and as a result, the judgment debtor state is made to lose certain facilities it has in the commission (ECOWAS).

 

 

 

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Ochanya Rape: NHRC Receives Preliminary Report

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has condemned the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ochiga, by her guardian, Andrew Ogbuja of Benue State Polytechnic and his son, Victor Ogbuja.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, of the commission, Mr Lambert Oparah and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the incident led to the death of the victim.

Ochanya’s death attracted nationwide protests from various advocacy groups calling for justice to be meted on the two perpetrators.

Opara said the commission had requested the Inspector General of Police , and the Benue Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice to ensure that perpetrators of the dastardly act were brought to book.

He said the commission had received preliminary report on the matter, adding that the act was inhuman and therefore condemnable.

“The commission has received the preliminary report on the matter conducted by the Benue office of the commission.

“The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu who was visibly angry, expressed shock that the little Ochanya, a minor, could pass through the sad experience in the hands of the supposed guardian.

“The executive secretary promised that the commission will work with relevant authorities including the Benue State Ministry of Justice and the police to ensure that the culprits are prosecuted in accordance with the law’’, he said.

Opara said the commission had directed the Benue office of the commission to hold a watching brief on the matter throughout the prosecution of the matter in court.

He urged the police to intensify efforts to apprehend one of the suspects, Victor Ogbuja who was still at large.

He further said the commission would monitor all the processes and mount advocacy around protection of young persons and women from rape and other related sexual assaults.

He said the body would also create awareness of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.

Opara also said the commission was working assiduously to promote legislations that protect the rights of the girl-child.

The Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, noted that the Child’s Rights Act passed since 2003 had so far been adopted by 24 out of the 36 states in the country.

According to him, the commission will be carrying out another round of nationwide sensitisation campaign on Child’s Rights Act 2003.

He said such step would help to scale up awareness on the rights of the child, including sexual violence and other related human rights issues.

He noted that there were inadequate reportage of rape cases and other forms of sexual violence due to fear of stigmatisation.

Opara urged victims, their relations, and members of the public to always come forward and report such cases to the appropriate authorities so as to ensure accountability for such violations. (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edgal

2019: Lagos CP Assures Lagosians of Reformed Police

Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP) Imohimi Edgal has assured Lagosians of a refined and polished police during the 2019 general elections.

The command has been training its officers and staff on their constitutional responsibilities and human rights, Edgal said,  adding that people should expect better conduct from the police during the polls.

“Our training was designed to remind us of our constitutional responsibilities, functions and role during the election. I want to assure citizens of the state of better conduct from our policemen. They should expect competent and trained policemen during the elections,” he said.

CP Edgal spoke at a training programme organised by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Lagos State Command and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), at the Police Officers Mess, GRA, Ikeja. The theme was, “Towards a Reformed Nigeria Police Force”.

Edgal , who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Elkana Ayuba, said the command keyed into the programme because it centred on human rights and Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

He charged senior officers and men of the force to learn from the resource person provided them on matters of the law.

”You are not just here to listen but to learn and the resource persons are here to interact with us on the understanding of Human Rights under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015,” Edgal stated.

He said the senior officers have the opportunity to utilize and put what they learnt into practice when they get back to their duty posts, so that the image of the Police will be improved.

The police boss urged the trainees to pay attention and ask questions in  areas they feel will conflict with constitutional rights, pointing out that the resource persons are versatile and will put them through.

Mr Dele Adesina, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), reminded senior officers of their responsibilities during elections.

Adesina said: “Your responsibilities under Section 4 of the Police Act is prevention of crimes, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property maintenance of all laws and order.”

He explained that the role of the police force in an election cannot be over emphasised adding that they have an over-riding duty, not only to maintain security and enforce law and order, but also to arrest the non-conformist or an electoral offender.

Adesina reminded the officers of the Nigerian Police Code of Conduct unveiled January 10, 2013 by former Vice President,  Namadi Sambo, saying that the Code’s purpose is to provide all members of the force with a set of guiding principles and standards of behaviour while on duty or off duty.

“It is intended to be used by all police officers in determining what is right and proper in all their actions. The document stated further that with regards to the primary responsibilities of the police officer, a police officer must act as an official representative of the governor. A police officer should perform his duties with impartiality, that is, without favour or affection, without regards to status, race, religion or political belief. They shall conduct themselves, whether on or off duty in accordance with constitution provisions,” he said.

Founding Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu, Nurudeen Ogbara, in his lecture “Understanding Human Rights under the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015,” cited 26 provisions of the law which he identified as essential to understanding Human Rights in the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015, like in the ACJA 2015.

Ogbara argued that it is very essential for the police to issue a ‘notification of arrest’ to any culprit before carrying out the arrest.

“It is prohibited to arrest anyone unlawfully, that is, to arrest in lieu is prohibited under Section 264(2) of the ACJA”, he said.

He further stated that any arrested person should be given humane treatment and that the suspect has the right not to answer any questions until after consultation with his lawyer, unless the suspect declines legal representation.

Ogbara told the participants that in capital offences, the legal practitioner must be present before interview, adding that violation of this mandatory requirement could render the investigation process and its outcome a nullity.

He added that if the suspect wishes to confess to the crime, such confession must be in writing and also electronically recorded on Compact Disk (CD), as no confession obtained contrary to this will be admitted in evidence.

Another speaker, Mr Johnson  Esezoobo, urged policemen to learn to take responsibility.

”He is in the office to serve and not to use the gun he bears to kill innocent persons for whatever reason”, he said.

Esezoobo charged persons entrusted with the supervision of police personnel to live up to their responsibility of calling erring police officers to order.

According to him, no government since the return of democratic rule over 19 years ago has shown interest in police reform.

He argued that: “The inability to reform the police like any other sector, is a result of lack of interest of the government in the security and welfare of the people as entrenched under Section 14.(2) (b)  of the Constitution.”

Earlier, CDHR National President, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, said the committee had resolved that rather than waiting for transgressions to occur, both parties will come together as partners, discuss, understand the loop holes and the challenging areas.

Ugwummadu said the training was designed to reduce the challenges of policing in contemporary Nigeria.  “This is precisely at the heart of this programme,” he explained.

He added that the programme was also meant to draw the attention of all police officers to the ACJA 2015 and how it operates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NHRC

NHRC Rallies Stakeholders On Protection Of Civilians In Conflict Areas

Worried by the growing civilian casualties and multiplicity of violent conflict situations in Nigeria, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) organised consultative meeting of government and non- governmental organisations to adopt policy for the protection of civilians in conflict areas.

The meeting, which was held yesterday, October 29th in Abuja, had in attendance the NHRC executive secretary, Tony Ojukwu and the representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict, an international nongovernmental organisation with primary focus on protection of civilians in conflict situation.

In his welcome address, Ojukwu said the meeting is a consultation on the Draft National Policy on the Protection of Civilians and Civilian Harm Mitigation organised for all relevant stakeholders to set in motion the mechanism to safeguard the security and welfare of Nigerian citizens, especially in areas affected by conflict.

According to Ojukwu when there are conflicts and violence, human rights ordinarily suffer, and that has informed why the commission is working with other agencies of government and stakeholders to protect civilians in conflict areas of the North East and North Central regions of the country.

While listing features of the draft policy to include safety and security of civilians that are directed at minimizing the negative effects of conflict on the civilian population, Ojukwu warned that grievances linked to abuses contribute to the spread of violent extremism in the society.

“The National Security Strategy, which identifies the security and welfare of the Nigerian people as a core national interest, and the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Framework, recognises that grievances linked to abuses contribute to the spread of violent extremism’’.

The commission boss who gave details of the current draft policy urged the attorney general of the federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami ,SAN, to submit a council memo to the Federal Executive Council for the adoption of the policy as the official government of Nigeria’s response to protection of civilians, upon the validation of this draft policy document.

‘’With the conflict in both the North East and North Central Nigeria as well as other areas of internal Security operation in Nigeria, the time to adopt this policy for the protection of civilians is now.

“It is therefore important that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other stakeholders whose mandate have direct bearing on civilian protection appreciate their respective roles in this regard, and together, forge a common front towards achieving the letters and spirit of this policy,’’ he said.

Earlier, Ojukwu held that, “Law enforcement agencies and other security authorities continue to tackle the threat posed by violent conflict and insurgency in parts of the country, operational challenges to counter the menace in these places, particularly in high density populated areas where the operations take place are bound to record displacements, injuries and often times, death, with attendant human rights and humanitarian consequences. Indeed, this reality that confronts us as a country certainly requires concerted effort such as this gathering which, I am confident, will give the necessary impetus to achieving a policy direction on trainings, tactics and humanitarian interventions before, during and after the conflicts or operations in order to prevent excessive harm to civilians and civilian objects.

‘’This draft policy reflects our collective commitment to prioritize civilian protection during internal security operations and thus reduce the impact on civilians. This is as encapsulated in our extant laws as well as regional and international human rights and humanitarian instruments to which Nigeria is a party.’’

Meanwhile, Malami said the Policy on the Protection of Civilians and Civilian Harm Mitigation is a wakeup call to reflect on issues affecting citizens in places affected by insurgency.

‘’Upon successful completion of this consultation, I will be happy to receive the policy document so that I can present same for consideration and adoption by the Federal Executive Council in the shortest possible time,’’ Malami said.

On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said that effective implementation of this policy shall be a bold step by the federal government to ensure a coordinated approach by its agents.

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FG Pledges to Abide by Human Rights Obligations

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to live up to her international obligations on human rights.

Malami, made this known at the opening of the National Stakeholders Consultative/Validation Forum on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), pledging Nigeria’s 3rd Cycle to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

The AGF enumerated the steps taken by the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the outstanding human rights treaties and optional protocols, incorporate in national legislation the international human rights instruments to which Nigeria has acceded, and to reinforce anti-corruption laws.

“Let me reassure you of the commitment of the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to live up to her international obligations under the various human rights mechanisms,” he said.

Also speaking, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, explained that Nigeria’s third cycle report complies with general guidelines adopted by the council at its sixth session on September 27, 2007.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, disclosed that the organization is putting in place a National Policy on Protection of Civilians in times of conflict and a National Action Plan on human rights, which is currently undergoing zonal consultations.

I Will Continue to Support Women, Children in Nigeria – Aisha Buhari

Abuja – The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has reiterated her commitment to support women and children to improve their health and physical wellbeing.

Mrs Buhari said this on Saturday night during an award ceremony to mark the third anniversary of her NGO, the Future Assured Programme.

The wife of the President said Future Assured was borne out of her desire to address problems associated with the health and wellbeing of women and children in Nigeria.

“Future Assured started out of my passion for the health and wellbeing of women and children in the society.

“The overriding objective of Future Assured is to contribute to improve outcomes in Nigeria, especially in the areas health, empowerment, education and human rights.

“Primarily, Future Assured came about to intervene in addressing the deteriorating health conditions of women and children in terms of maternal, Neonatal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition,” she said.

According to her, one of the cardinal objectives of Future Assured is to complement Federal Government’s efforts to achieve universal health coverage.

She said that the NGO had achieved a lot through advocacy for girl-child education and provision of scholarship to indigent pupils as well as support for women to complete their education.

She noted that her collaboration with well-meaning Nigerians and development partners, especially the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, had enabled the NGO to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.

Mrs Buhari gave assurance that the NGO would continue to support victims of child and other forms of abuses as well as surgeries for children with congenital problems.

She also pledged to continue the advocacy and support to uplift the living condition of less privileged Nigerians.

The event featured presentation of awards to some Nigerians who had distinguished themselves in their Professional career.

One of the Award recipients and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, said he remained determined to continue the fight against armed robbery and kidnapping.

Kyari also expressed gratitude to the wife of the President for finding him worthy of the award, adding that the award would spur him to do more in the interest of peace in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Hospital, Yola, Prof. Auwal Abubakar, thanked the wife of the President for constructing a 70-bed-capacity maternity clinic in Yola.

Abubakar said the project would help to tackle the influx of patients from neighbouring states.

The event also featured the unveiling of Future Assured Magazine to showcase the humanitarian activities of Aisha Buhari Foundation and Future Assured Programme in the last 3-years. (NAN)

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