Nigeria government has called on the European Union-EU to help in the repatriation of illicit financial assets of the nation stashed in European countries to enable Nigerians enjoy their national wealth.
The call was made by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaiye at the opening of 4th session of the Nigeria-EU Dialogue on Human Rights in Abuja.
“Illicit financial assets harboured abroad in safe havens, invariably denies the Nigerian people the enjoyment on their national wealth,” he stressed.
Ambassador Enikanolaiye urged EU member countries to help Nigeria in discouraging and defeating corruption by returning all ill-gotten financial assets and making it more difficult for such assets to be lodged abroad.
On human rights, the Permanent Secretary noted that the protection and promotion of human rights is a constitutional imperative for Nigeria which is embedded in the culture and has become a critical element of good governance in the country.
“The administration of President Mohammad Buhari is steering the country along the part of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and the creation of opportunities for our citizens to actualise their full potentials and enjoy the security and economic prosperity,” Ambassador Enikanolaiye explained.
He stressed that as an active and responsible member of the United Nations and conscious of its own intentional obligation, Nigeria had identified with and will continue to implement all relevant international instruments and conventions on human rights.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that Nigeria achieved a major milestone in her quest to enthrone human rights by successfully carrying out a comprehensive review of the Nigerian Human Rights Commissions Act.
“By the provision of the act, the National Human Rights Commission is now truly independent, more than ever before to pursue its agenda.”
“Our national action blue print for the protection and promotion of human right in Nigeria has been globally acknowledged as encapsulating best practices in human rights monitoring anywhere in the world,” Enikanolaiye noted.
In his remarks, the co-chair of the parley, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arrion acknowledged the fact that human right is the bedrock of the Nigerian constitution and that Nigeria is a signatory to many international human right instrument, and had passed and enacted many laws in the field of human rights.
However, he noted that “implementation and fulfilment of obligation remain a challenge, especially when in relation to national security interest or when security forces are involved.
Ambassador Arrion, who was accompanied to the meeting by 14 Ambassadors from EU countries, identified implementation of laws on Human Rights, alignment of voting patterns in the Human Right Council of the United Nations and gender, equal opportunities and violence against women as the three main areas of focus at the meeting.