The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has appealed to the Gombe State Government to domesticate the Child Rights Act to curb the increasing cases of child sexual abuse in the state.
The Gombe State Co-ordinator, NHRC, Mr Mohammed Ayuba, made the appeal in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Gombe on Thursday.
He said that culprits were not being convicted as a result of the absence of the Child Rights Act in the state.
According to Ayuba, with the increase in cases of child rape, every girl child is at risk of being abused and as such all hands must be on deck to fight the menace.
He said that the dignity of every girl child was at stake if this menace was not properly addressed with the right laws in place, saying “convicting culprits is difficult because of the absence of the Act.
According to him, child rape is becoming alarming and a major concern for NHRC in Gombe State.
“The government should for the sake of the girl child domesticate the child rights act.
“This act will go a long way to address the threats against the girl child that are being almost endangered.
“We have to domesticate the act in line with the socio-political factors of the state and send a strong signal to those who may want to attempt such heinous crime.
“The psychological impact of rape on the girl child is shattering. Dreams can be shattered by this menace. Our girls and children must be protected because they are our future,” he said.
Ayuba identified the lack of strong adherence to legal framework by the society, parents, and women groups as major factor contributing to the increasing menace of child sexual abuse in the state.
According to him, people should jettison the option of settling rape cases out of court.
“We have been hearing of several cases of rape, which are neither reported to the police, nor NHRC but it is happening.”
He decried the refusal of most parents to speak out whenever their daughters were violated, blaming victimisation from members of the public as the major reason for parents’ silence.
“In most of the cases of child rape taken to court, hardly will you find that a culprit was convicted; in 10 rape cases, hardly will you find two convictions.
“The child right act will help to break the technicalities of the rigorous nature of our law because the act specifically seeks to address violations against children.”
He advised that the acts should incorporate other means of getting evidence in addition to the medical evidence that currently prove or disprove rape cases in a court.
“When a child is raped in rural areas without medical facilities that are equipped enough to examine such case and gather the evidence and in matter of days such evidence would have been wiped out.
“How will the evidence be gathered to ensure justice for the person that has been sexually violated or abused? The Act must put into consideration extreme cases in rural communities,” he said.
NAN reports that 9 states alongside Gombe, are yet to domesticate the Act and the states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.(NAN)
Edited by |Felix Ajide
NHRC, NTA to collaborate on rights promotion, education, protection
Abuja, July 29, 3020 (NAN ) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Wednesday in Abuja, agreed to collaborate in the areas of human rights education and promotion in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, made this known during a courtesy n the Director-General of the NTA.
In a statement by Ms Fatima Agwai, Assistant Director Public Affairs of the NHRC in Abuja on Wednesday, Ojukwu said there was an urgent need to partner with the NTA to take the message of human rights to the doorsteps of every Nigerian.
“The Commission cannot do this without the media and NTA is well positioned to do so, due to it’s wide coverage.
”The promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria is every body’s responsibility and the media industry plays a pivotal role in accomplishing the task.
”There is need for more to be done to enlighten Nigerians on the effect of human rights violations.
”Nations are judged by their human rights records and display of political will at accountability for violations” he said.
According to Ojukwu , the Commission receives over a million complaints of human rights violations yearly .
He solicited the support of the NTA in coming up with human rights programmes.
He also called on NTA to use its platform to educate the public as the knowledge of human rights can result in a drastic reduction of cases of human rights violations in the country.
Responding, the director-general, Yakubu Muhammed, pledged commitment to strengthen the existing relationship between the two organisations in the area of human rights education and promotion in Nigeria.
Muhammed said the world has become one large theatre of war where criminality, insurgency, and other forms of human rights violations occur.
” When this happens, human rights is the first casualty in the face of the barbaric acts.
”Wars and conflicts are as old as mankind , we cannot stop the war, conflict, and insurgency but we have to ensure that people’s rights are protected.
”And for you to protect other people’s rights, you have to know and understand that your right stops where the other person’s rights begin” he said.
He called on the commission to strike a balance between human rights and criminality saying “there are fraudulent people who fall back on human rights to perpetrate crimes”.
He commended daunting task of the commission in handling cases of prolonged detentions, arbitrary arrests, police brutality and other forms of violations by law enforcement agencies.
He added that the rights of every Nigerian must be protected in line with the mandate of the Commission. (NAN )
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
NGO, NHRC partner on cultural, religious tolerance in Plateau
Speaking at the end of a three-day training in Jos, Mr Cletus Aloke, Project Coordinator for CCFN’s “Zaman Tare” project, said the training was aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence and unity in the communities.
He explained that the training also aimed at sensitising critical stakeholders toward addressing the victimisation of some members of the communties due to their cultural and religious beliefs.
“Over the years, we have come to know that some of the problems that our communities are faced with revolves around intolerance.
“So, as part of our Zaman Tare project, we have decided to collaborate with NHRC to see how to raise the consciousness of the rural dwellers on how to use their fundamental human rights to promote harmonious coexistence in the communties.
“We believe that nobody should be victimised or be considered an alien because of their religious or cultural practices.
“So, we brought together these key stakeholders to enable them learn and draw a road map for a peaceful society.
“The challenge we faced in communities is that people failed to understand the need to live together, hence the training aimed at promoting unity in diversity,” he said.
The project coordinator called on the participants to “step-down” the knowledge gained from the training to other members of their communties to enable the project achieve its aims.
The Project is being funded by the European Union.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Water, sanitation, hygiene: NHRC calls for action on Coronavirus
The Executive Secretary of NHRC , Mr Tony Ojukwu, made the call in Abuja during a stakeholders webinar meeting on access to clean water and sanitation.
Ojukwu called on all actors, including governments to commit to measurable action at the community level to increase access to clean water.
” No responsible government can afford to play politics with such essential commodity.
“Our engagement today is to start the process of continuous creation of awareness about the citizen’s right to clean water and sanitation.
“We are all aware there is a nexus between clean water and sanitation. The lack of clean water and sanitation impacts on the wellness and wellbeing of citizens, he said.
He stated that the stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at strengthening and reinforcing the right to clean water and sanitation in Nigeria, through collaboration with the Commission.
Also speaking, the Head, monitoring department of the NHRC, Mr Benedict Agu reiterated the need to continue to involve “Community Gate Keepers”.
This he said are the traditional rulers, religious leaders, CSOs, LGAs), concerned MDAs and International Development Partners.
” This will help to create awareness for improved (WASH) policies, guidelines and strategies in order to mainstream human rights norms and tenets into Nigeria’s water resource and sanitation management” he said.
Speaking on the theme “Unsafe water , sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria’s public spaces: its effects on the COVID 19 pandemic on human rights, Mrs Oluwayemisi Akhile , Assistant director, legal in the commission tasked governments at all level to provide access to clean water.
“Theprimary responsibility of the Federal, State and Local governments in times like this is to ensure safe water, basic sanitation, and waste management disposal in communities, healthcare facilities and quarantine centres.
“There is the need to ensure that water utilities have the required financial and safe operational conditions to continue to deliver services in Public Spaces thereby promoting and protecting the rights of its citizens.
” Any action short of this, goes contrary to the core human rights principle of non-discrimination.
” This will in turn expose a certain section of the population to health risk and probably death based on their economic status or because of the community they reside in” she said.
Also speaking, Dr Bala Yunusa from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said that the Nigerian government has shown commitment towards provision of safe water and sanitation.
” The Nigerian government has demonstrated strong commitment towards the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDG.
” Institutional frameworks have been established at the national and sub-national levels to support effective implementation of the SDGs.
” The SDGs, cannot be achieved with stand-alone programmes and project rather, must be carefully integrated into national and sub-national policies and development plans” he stated.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
NHRC reiterates commitment to protect rights of people
Mr Tony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has reiterated the commission’s commitment to promote and protect human rights of all persons living in Nigeria.
A statement by the commission’s Spokesperson, Fatima Agwai, on Saturday in Abuja, quoted Ojukwu as making the pledge when he addressed the on-going 66th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in a virtual conference in Banjul, The Gambia.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission as an ‘A Status’ National Human Rights Institution to continue to work for the advancement of human rights in Nigeria.
“The pandemic has disrupted social and economic foundations of the society upon which the enjoyment of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights are based.”
He added that in a six-week period from April to May 2020, the NHRC received 231 cases of human rights violations.
These cases, he said, included: extra-judicial killings, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention.
The Commission, he said, also applied its normative and rule-making mandate to issue guidelines and advisory opinions to national and state governments on protecting the human rights of vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 response.
These include: The Standard Minimum Guidelines for Human Rights of COVID-19 Patients in Treatment Centres in Nigeria and the Advisory Opinion on the Protection of the Rights and Dignity of Almajiri Children in COVID-19 Response.
“These pieces of human rights norms have become best practices which different countries and organisations are now adapting to secure the human rights of the most vulnerable populations in the formulation and implementation of programmes as part of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The NHRC, he said, initiated a nationwide advocacy week of action which mobilised all stakeholders including the governments at national and state levels, the National and State Assemblies and law enforcement agencies to respond to the rising cases of SGBV in Nigeria” he stated.
The campaign according to Ojukwu recorded immediate success with the passage in the National Assembly of an amendment to the Criminal Code Act of 2004.
He also told the assembly that the National Assembly passed a Bill to “Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for Matters Concerned Therewith.
Ojukwu also commended the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the occasion of the 66th Ordinary Session .
Responding to Ojukwu’s address, the Chairperson, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Dr Solomon Dersso commended the NHRC for the “enormous work and leadership” which it has exhibited in the realisation of its mandate of protecting and promoting human rights, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. (NAN )
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)