President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Mr. Anthony Ojukwu as the new Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) subject to the confirmation of the senate.
His request for the senate’s confirmation was contained in a letter read during plenary on Tuesday by senate president Bukola Saraki.
Ojukwu is currently the Director of Monitoring Department at the NHRC. The current Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission is Mrs. Oti Ovrawah.
Quote: “In accordance with provisions of Section 8 of the National Human Rights Commission Act 2010, I have the pleasure to present Mr. Anthony Okechuwku Ojukwu for confirmation as the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission by the Senate,” Buhari said in his letter.
Ojukwu’s big thing:
- He was the head of a six-man Special Investigation Panel (SIP) set up by the NHRC to probe the clash between the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and men of the Nigerian Army between December 12 to 14, 2015. The clash resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Shi’ites (as members of IMN are popularly known) including women and children.
- Among the recommendations of the panel was that the federal government and the Nasir El-Rufai administration in Kaduna state should pay compensation for the dead and others whose property were demolished without recourse to due process by the state government. “There was the mass demolition of properties by the Kaduna State Government as a result of the incident, without due process, thereby violating the right to property of the victims,” the report noted.
- The Ojukwu-led panel also pointed out that the El-Rufai government refused to provide figures for number of dead and missing persons, the cause of death and the value of assets lost during the incident, when the panel visited the state. It blamed the government for the hurried mass burial of the victims without allowing specialists at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital to conduct the necessary examinations and tests of the corpses. “Kaduna State Government did not give figures of numbers of dead persons to the SIP when it visited the state government to request for this and other information on the dead persons,” it said.
- It urged both the Federal Govt and the Kaduna State to assume responsibility for the care and settlement of the medical bills of those injured in the incident, including El-Zakzaky and his group’s members.
- The report also recommended prosecution of men of the Nigerian Army who used disproportionate force on the Shi’ites leading to several deaths.
- The report also asked the FG to prosecute the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and members of his group found culpable for the blocking of the highway and infringing on the right to freedom of movement by the Chief of Army Staff.
- End Result: Nothing has been done.
On the cruel activities and unlawful detention by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force, here is what Ojukwu said in October 2017 during a visit by a delegation of the United States Embassy led by its Fraud Prevention Manager, Rachel Atwood Mendiola to the NHRC:
“The NHRC is investigating the alleged human rights violations by the Police with a view to holding erring officers and men of the Force to account. The Commission has continuously received complaints on such violations and it is becoming worrisome to the institution,| he said.
He said the essence of the pubic hearings was to enable the Commission invite and interrogate officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force who were alleged to have committed such violations, with a view to ensuring that justice is done to all the parties concerned without unnecessary delay. u
End Result: Nothing has been done. In fact, a citizen movement on social media over the last week has brought the reprehensible action of SARS operatives to the front-burner of national conversation.