Nigeria to partner with US in human rights protection

Ebele Okoye, Abuja

NHRC Boss Bem Angwe

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has given its word to work hand in hand with the United States Department of States in ensuring that the rights of Nigerians are protected as the fight against terrorism and insurgency wages on.

Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bem Angwe made this commitment while receiving delegates from the US State Department at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Professor Angwe, while highlighting the importance of human rights protection during conflict situations, expressed gratitude to the United States government for helping Nigeria recover alleged looted funds which politicians have deposited into foreign accounts.

He also solicited for the help of the US in stopping insurgency in Nigeria.

“We would first of all let you know, that the National Human Rights Commission has continued to maintain the fact that there is a need to strike a balance between security and human rights, and we have in the same manner continued to maintain that issues of human rights should not be considered as soft tissues in comparison with the issue of security because security and human rights were born together, they live together and shall continue to live together.

On the other hand, we would also continue to appreciate the efforts of the United States government, but urge that the government should continue to support Nigeria by ensuring that these weapons are not allowed to be imported into this country again, and we also wish to say that it is very very clear that the present administration is committed to end terrorism in this country,” he said.

He went on to explain that NHRC will not unnecessarily protect any Nigerian to the detriment of the fight against corruption and insurgency.

“Let me also say here that the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria will not be used as an instrument by anybody in the guise of seeking human rights protection to defeat the effort being made by the present administration, not only to curb corruption but to end insurgency in this country.

However, this commission will continue to insist that there must be a balance between the fight against corruption and the protection of human rights. This simply means that in all situations, we must strictly adhere to the rule of law, both in the fight against insurgency and in the fight against corruption.” The human rights boss explained.

In his response, leader of the delegation, Ambassador Stephen Nolan, expressed his delight on the willingness of the President Muhammad Buhari led administration to end corruption in Nigeria.

He also explained that the National Human Rights Commission is a very essential institution which the United States wishes to strengthen.

“From what we heard from Prof. Angwe, the commitment of the National Human Rights Commission is indeed strong. I think what we have heard in our consultations is equal commitment from other parts of the government. This is something that I think that your President Buhari takes very seriously and is committed to changing at the root level, but I think that to build strong institutions is a matter of time. It isn’t a day, it isn’t a week, it isn’t a month. It’s an ongoing commitment; it’s a matter of years. Our mission here is to seek points of engagement that can contribute to the strengthening of key Nigerian institutions and I think that one of the key institutions that can guarantee human rights here in Nigeria is where we are sitting today, the National Human Rights Commission,” he said.

The US States Department, will not only aid the human rights commission in its fight to protect the rights of citizens, but will also look into other key areas of government to see how they can help the country improve efficiency in governance and reduce corruption to its lowest minimum.