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Buhari appointed neophytes into NHRC board, HURIWA alleges

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National Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said President Muhammadu Buhari appointed neophytes into governing board of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The rights group lamented that it took the president five years to make the appointment.

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“It is a big shame that Mr. President rode roughshod on the letters and principles of the laws setting up that commission by failing to do the needful on time to reconstitute the governing council when the tenure of the last board lapsed.

“There was no rational, cogent, verifiable, and law-based reason under the sun for Mr. President to have spent five whole years to reconstitute the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission.

“The only reason, which is unjust, is that Mr. President has no regard/respect for the laws. He did not respect an extant law put in place to create an independent ombudsman to defend the human rights of the citizens,” the group said.

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In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA blamed members and leadership of the National Assembly, the senate particularly, for being allegedly reckless and lawless in carrying out their oversight functions.

“These men and women of the National Assembly of the 9th session are cowards otherwise they would have asked Mr. President the reason for the delay.

“However, they just turned the National Assembly into the machinery of garbage- in garbage out.”

On the composition of the governing board, HURIWA alleged that Mr. President has “polluted and diluted” the integrity of the commission.

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“What is the essence of appointing a politician (former minister) as the chairman of the commission? This is an unmitigated sacrilege.
It is a fact that some of the persons picked as members of the board are people of high reputation and integrity, but most of the persons lack human rights background, zeal, passion, and commitment.”

Though they will learn on the job, time is not on our hands, given the quantum of horrendous human rights violations under this government.

“Since 70 per cent of the governing council of the commission lack human rights background, how will they speak out against the infractions of the fundamental rights of Nigerians by the government?

“We are in a quandary as far as protection and promotion of human rights are concerned with this bunch of mostly O-YES men picked for the most critical job as governors of the NHRC,” HURIWA added.

The group recalled that a former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Salamatu Suleiman, has been named chairman of the NHRC.

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