As part of its oversight functions to train human rights advocates, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has empowered the University of Abuja Law Clinic, a body consisting of Law Students of the University who fight for the rights of the less fortunate, in the area of human rights advocacy.
The Executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Amgwe made this empowerment when he received a delegation from the University of Abuja Law Clinic who came on a courtesy visit to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
While giving the students words of encouragement, Prof. Angwe reminded the lawyers to carry out their duties as custodians of the law.
“I want to let you know that today as students of law, you have a singular responsibility of advocating for vulnerable Nigerians the way you are doing, as in touching the lives of persons who have come in conflict with the law, and are today incarcerated. While we recognize that you also need time to study, during your spare moments, you can achieve a lot and you are doing needs to be emulated by other campuses so that today, with the high number of universities that we have in the country, with the high number of Law Faculties that we have in the country, your efforts will be multiplied across the faculties and communities where these faculties are located will benefit from what you are doing.” He advised.
Leader of the delegation and the coordinator of the Law Clinic, Nelson Okara, while thanking the NHRC for the work and its effort in upholding and protecting the rights of Nigerians, explained that his group needs the backing of the human rights commission so that it can effectively carry out its mandate.
“In all these the human rights commission is doing, we want the Human Rights to take us into consideration, and to use us in furthering the mandate, and in doing so we are actually developing potential advocates who are going to take up this fight from us even when we are not there. This is actually why we are here and it is a privilege that we are here.” Nelson explained.
Delighted with their motive and what the student group had done so far, the Executive Secretary of NHRC registered his solidarity with the group and promised them the backing of the commission.
In his words, “I was deeply touched when I was listening to all of you particularly as you were telling us your achievement and the impact you have made. I want to declare here that you are already partnering with us. My declaration further is that we are making you formally our partners in this direction. With what you are doing, it has become very clear that in spite of the setbacks that we may be having in this country, in terms of activities of insurgents and persons who are bent on destroying not only the unity of this country, but the future of many young Nigerians, we still have very good young Nigerians who are prepared to ensure that they put on the table their capabilities and strengths to serve not only their country but to also serve humanity. This commission is going to partner with you to ensure that first of all, we recognize the rights of women and the rights of our youths to contribute to the development of this country.”
The students were presented with documents containing the mode of operation of the National Human Rights Commission which they would use as both a guide and a reference material in carrying out its rights protection activities.
In recent times, the Nigerian judicial sector has been the topic of many a developmental conference and a lot of workshops, all seeking for the improvement, growth and development of the Nigerian Legal System because indubitably, a healthy and well-functioning judicial system reflects in the wellbeing of a country.
Lawyers in Nigeria have therefore made it a point of duty to train upcoming lawyers in not only being incorruptible, but also in being people oriented, defending the rights of Nigerians.