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After several days of Campaigns through online activism, Criticisms by citizens on social media platforms and Protests on the streets across different States of Nigeria, and the announcement of the IGP on the disbandment of the FSARS on Sunday the 11th of October, 2020, Nigerians are still crying to the government of the day for a total reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
The disbandment of the FSARS and announcement of SWAT to take its place has only sparked more protests, as Nigerians say that they are not in support of the new Agency.
As a matter of fact, protesters in Lagos are not taking any break as they spend the whole night protesting at different locations. A good number of celebrities both at home and abroad have also lent their voices to this social milieu.
Just today, October the 15th, one of Nigeria’s renowned artistes, Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz sent an open letter to the President of the Federation, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his letter, Falz brought to the notice of the President, the fact that the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission which ought to play an important role in the protection of human rights is not even in place, thereby causing human rights violations to be on the increase. He urged the President to do the needful with impending alacrity as this would only assert that the government of the day is out to protect Citizens’ lives, and failure to do so only opens our eyes to the reality that the government is only making a deliberate attempt to mislead Citizens into thinking that genuine efforts are being made at reforming the Nigeria Police.
Quoting the letter which has gone viral on different social media platforms:
“Dear Mr. President,
REQUEST FOR RECONSTITUTION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE DISCHARGE OF ITS FUNCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO CASES OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN NIGERIA.
I hereby write to Your Excellency as regard the above Topic.
It has been brought to my knowledge via a statement by your Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Femi Adeshina, that the Federal Government has accepted the 5-point request of the ENDSARS protests presented by well-meaning Nigerian youths.
This statement went on to state that there would be an independent investigation Panel to look into the violations of Human Rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigeria Police.
Quoting Mr. Adeshina’s statement: “The Forum agrees to the setting up of this independent panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week”
It is pertinent to note that Section 5 of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 empowers the National Human Rights Commission itself to receive complaints and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violations in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendations to the President.
The detailed and concise provisions of this Section adequately empower the Human Rights Commission to look into these cases by itself. The Commission need not set up another panel for the exercise of its functions.
More importantly, the National Human Rights Commission ought to have a Governing Council under Section 2 of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act consisting of the following people:
(a) A Chairman who shall be a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria or the Court of Appeal or a retired Judge of the High Court of a State;
(b) A representative each of the following Federal Ministries –
ii) Foreign Affairs;
iii) Internal Affairs;
(c) Three representatives of registered human rights organizations in Nigeria;
(d) Two legal practitioners who shall not have less than ten years post qualification experience;
(e) Three representatives of the media, at least, two of whom shall be from the private sector;
(f) Three other persons to represent a variety of interests; and
(g) The executive secretary of the Commission.
As it stands now, the National Human Rights Commission has remained without the Governing Council since 2015 and still remains without it. The unfortunate circumstance has led to the aggravation of human rights abuse.
According to Section 7(3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Executive secretary of the Commission does not have the power to act without a Governing Council.
In the light of the foregoing, I hereby call on Your Excellency to immediately reconstitute the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission and to do so publicly as well as transparently in order to restore the confidence of young Nigerians in your proposed Police Reform process.
Failure to do this would force young Nigerians to believe that the continuous refusal to reconstitute the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission is a deliberate attempt to mislead us into thinking genuine efforts are being made at reforming the Nigeria Police, when in truth, the opposite is the case.
I am confident that Your Excellency will grant my humble request in order to guarantee the protection of the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians.
Folarin “Falz” Falana”
With this, Nigerians hope that the government would do what is expected of them, and keep the flag of democracy flying.
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