By Jonathan Ugbal
The Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC has called for an end to anti-democratic laws by State Governments in Nigeria, urging the Federal Government to stop such practices as they lead to the violation of human rights.
PLAC’s Executive Director, Clement Nwankow made the call in Abuja while presenting the 2022 human rights report where he said state actors and an ineffective administration of the criminal justice system have aided the violation of human rights in Nigeria.
“Both the Federal and State governments have also demonstrated a lack of tolerance for criticism. They have often chosen to clamp down on critics by deploying regulatory powers, citing bogus laws, and using security forces.
“Examples include the ban of Twitter and the numerous occasions government officials, including the President’s wife, unlawfully arrest and detain critics and journalists.
“The absence of an effective and transparent system of the administration of criminal justice that ensures fair hearing and commands the trust of citizens has led to a loss of faith in the existing system and the resort to self-help. One of the consequences is the proliferation of mob action and the public lynching of suspects.
“It was also noted that some states were implementing religious laws that are in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution. As the law provides, the Constitution takes precedence whenever there’s a conflict with existing law,” Nwankwo said.
He lamented that five bills designed to improve the rights of women failed to get the approval of a male-dominated National Assembly and pointed out that the worsening economic situation will, “inevitably affect the state of human rights.”
In a related development, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has, in line with its mandate, commenced the assessment of the implementation of supported recommendations by the country during the 3rd cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, UPR, on Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, SAN said this is in line with the guidelines of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC resolution of 18th June 2007 while declaring open a workshop in Abuja, midweek.
The last review by the UNHRC was between 2014 and 2018 and 290 recommendations were made to the country on how to improve the realization of human rights, out of which 230 got the support of the federal government.
The workshop is expected to produce an audit of the human rights situation in Nigeria in the last four years and make policy recommendations to relevant stakeholders on the implementations during the 3rd UPR cycle, an assessment of the implementation, among others that will contribute to the Commission’s independent report for the last four years which will serve as a documentation for the 4th Cycle.