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NHRC: FG working on national policy to protect civilians during conflict

NHRC: FG working on national policy to protect civilians during conflict
September 13
18:57 2022

The National Human Rights Rights Commission (NHRC) says the agency is working on a policy document on the protection of civilians during conflict.

Salamatu Sulaiman, chairperson of the NHRC governing council, said this during a visit to Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF).

According to a statement by NHRC on Tuesday, the visit was part of efforts to push for the federal executive council (FEC) to approve a national policy on promoting human rights.

“The Chairperson of the NHRC Governing Council said the objective of the visit to the HAGF is to among other things, seek collaboration of the Minister in the presentation for approval by FEC, the National Action Plan (NAP) for the promotion and protection of Human Rights in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

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“The senior lawyer said the NAP document is a roadmap and guiding policy which specifies how the promotion and protection of human rights in the country should be.

“She disclosed that ‘a draft was earlier presented to Mr. President when we newly came on board and we got his keen support for the document. She urged the Minister to through his weight behind the NAP document, preparatory to presentation to the President. Being a promoter of human rights yourself (AGF), we are optimistic of your support’.

“According to the two-time Minister of the federal republic of Nigeria, the NHRC Council also seeks the support of the AGF to facilitate the presentation and approval, by FEC of the National Policy for the protection of civilians during conflict, pointing out that the NHRC and the MOJ have both worked on the document which seeks to protect the civilians during conflict situation.

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“Determined to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the demands of the Commission, Dr. Sulaiman said the Council is also using the opportunity of the visit to urge the federal government to create direct access to the African court on Human and People’s Rights by individuals and NGOs.”

She also spoke on the need to “ratify the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa, as well as signing and ratifying the protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of persons with Disabilities in Africa”.

On his part, Malami said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to promoting human rights in the country.

He added that payment of compensation to the families of the traders killed by police officers at the Apo axis of Abuja in 2005, shows that the federal government is committed to human rights

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“The President Buhari administration has advanced the services, functions and responsibilities of the NHRC which has risen from the position of barking to biting,” he was quoted as saying.

“The compensation paid to victims of Apo killing is a testimonial of the government’s commitment to human rights in this country.

“The government will support the approval of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria, as well as the National policy for the protection of civilians from harm during conflict, this is a consolidation of what we have been doing in the area of promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria.”

On June 7, 2005, Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Augustina Arebu, Anthony Nwokike, Paulinus Ogbonna and Ekene Isaac Mgbe were driving home from a nightclub when they encountered a team of police officers on patrol at Garki junction in Abuja.

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The policemen were said to have opened fire on their Peugeot saloon and four of them died on the spot — the last two victims were allegedly killed later on.

The victims were buried in two shallow graves in Utako, Abuja.

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In December 2021, NHRC announced the payment of N146 million to 27 victims of police brutality, among which were the families of the Apo victims.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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