Human Rights Commission to intervene in Fayose’s travel ban

Ebele Okoye, Abuja

Leader of the delegation and Chairman, Ekiti State House Committee on Health, Dr. Samuel Omotoso.

The National Human Rights Commission NHRC has promised to investigate and make recommendations based on its findings on the alleged abuse of the rights of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, South West Nigeria by the Department of State Services, DSS.

Executive Secretary of the Commission Prof. Bem Angwe, made this promise while receiving representatives of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, who paid a visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital, to file a formal complaint against the DSS for alleged abuse of the freedom of movement of Governor Fayose, who according to the legislators, have been asked by the security outfit not to travel out of the country without the permission from the agency.

Leader of the delegation Dr. Samuel Omotoso, while submitting the formal complaint to the executive secretary of the commission, also said that the DSS has failed to honour a court order to pay a reparation to the Ekiti State House of Assembly for the damage done on the their property by their security agents. He therefore called on the commission to intervene on the issue which they have brought forth to it.

In his very words, “on behalf of the Executive Governor of Ekiti State and the Ekiti State House of Assembly, we present this petition on the alleged Human Rights abuses and on the inability of the States Security Services from paying the damages that the court of law awarded against them on the in their Human Rights violation of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and again, to put it on record that the idea that the Ekiti State Governor should take permission from the DSS before he travels is unacceptable and it cannot stand because the State Governor is under Nigerian immunity in Section 308, he cannot be arrested, he cannot be imprisoned, and in section 41, he has the freedom of movement.”

In his response, Executive Secretary of NHRC Prof. Bem Angwe lauded the initiative taken by the lawmakers to submit the petition on behalf of the governor of the state. This he said should be an example to other State Governments as it highlights a great level of harmony among the different arms of government of the state.

The Human Rights boss went on to explain that to submit a petition such as that on the infringement of the rights of the governor to travel out of the country without a formal evidence is only an expression of fear over an impending rights abuse and it is also the responsibility and duty of his commission to investigate and prevent such abuses.

He promised the delegates that the National Human Rights Commission would immediately swing into action on the issue to find out the causes of the squabble and make suggestions to how the issues can be resolved.

“In the course of your desire to uphold the constitutional provisions of this country, you seek to advance not just your rights, but the rights of other members of this society. I wish to on behalf of the National Human Rights Commission, inform you that the commission will critically look into these allegations and come up with a fair decision on it. Let me restate the fact that the commission is a home to every Nigerian,” he stated.

Prof. Angwe also went on to shed more light on the independence of the National Human Rights Commission which is a government agency but does not take sides with the government or any of its arms.

“let me use this opportunity to inform all Nigerians that even though the National Human Rights Commission was established by Government, the commission is in no way and will in no way, be the mouthpiece of Government and the commission will not in any way dance to the tune of any Government in this country. What the commission assures you is fairness to all Nigerians and what the commission commits itself to doing is a firm commitment to ensure the promotion and enhancement of the life of Nigerians but in line with our rules of procedure, we would give a fair hearing to all the parties involved in this, we would balance the issues and will get back to you.” The Executive Secretary explained.

He also seized the opportunity to call on all Nigerians to not keep quiet about any Human Rights related issues which they experience in any form as his commission is able and always willing to see that the rights of every Nigerian both as an individual and as a group are upheld and protected.