The Special Investigation Panel of the National Human Rights Commission, on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV, in Nigeria commenced a two-day public sitting with a call to Nigerians to adhere strictly to the NCDC and guidelines on preventing the spread of the Covid19 scourge, and for law enforcement agents to respect human rights in the course of the Civic guidelines as any rights violations will be visited with the full wrath of extant laws.
The session will look at a total of 119 cases of which Enugu has 30 cases, in Enugu, Lagos, Ebony I, Cross River, Rivers, Sokoto, Adamawa, and Abuja.
The has among other schedules, review I of extant laws and regulations applicable to JointTask Forces in the country with emphasis on the FCT where the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, has been roundly accused of human rights violations, to ascertain the compliance of such laws with Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
Also, the will also hear complaints and investigate allegations of human rights violation in the light of the Nigerian constitution 1999, as amended, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Protocol of the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, is the Maputo Protocol, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, CCPR, the Convention against Torture, CAT, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It will similarly investigate matters of conduct of the Joint Task Forces, Police and other law enforcement agencies during raids especially as concerned women and girls in the last ten years; identify culprits involved in such violations and abuses, and make recommendations to relevant authorities.
The panel, in the words of the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Toby Ojukwu; ” members of the panel were carefully selected represent diverse interests of the society: the academia, gender experts, civil society and professional groups with Commission as the chair and secretariat with a firm commitment to the principles of a fair hearing in discharging its duties.
Ojukwu stated this while declaring open the second sitting of the Panel Monday, pointing out that” core mandate of the National Human Rights Commission is to promote, protect and enforce the human rgrightsf Nigerians and all living within the country.
In realizing this the Commission can investigate alleged cases of human rights violations as well as monitoring developments in various thematic areas of human rights, assisting victims of human rights violations through appropriate awards and compensation, bringing its findings to the attention of the government to ensure government compliance with its international and regional human rights obligations”.
The Chairman disclosed that in furtherance of its objective, the panel was set up following a petition written on April 28, 2019, about the activities of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the FCT Joint Task Force.
This coupled with reports from universities on sex-for-grades activities as well as cases rapes prompted the office of the Vice President to request the Com is I on to do something to promptly arrest the growing trend, hence the setting up if the Special Investigation Panel on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV.
He eulogized the Enugu state governor Rt Hon Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his support to the commission, to the panel and other state-based panels and for providing the enabling environment for proper investigative work to thrive.
He paid glowing tributes to the general public and the complainants for their courage to send memoranda to the panel just as he lauded the efforts of their partners such as UN Spotlight Initiative agencies, the UNDP, OSWA, PWAN and Rolac, for their past and present support, while comment the Enugu State AttorneyGeneral whose efforts he said helped in the resolution of several human rights cases before the Panel.