By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA—National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has said that lack of office accommodation in Abia State is hindering its operations in the state.
Director of Planning of the commission, Mrs. Emily Herbert, who stated this in an interview with newsmen at the sideline of a human rights workshop in Ukwa West council area, Abia State, disclosed that the state does not participate in the programmes of the commission.
She said: “In other places, the state government gave us offices. When we have meeting, we invite people from all the states; but Abia does not attend. Abia should emulate other states and wake up. You journalists should help us create awareness about the Commission in Abia. We have offices in Imo, Rivers, Enugu and Anambra states.
“We cannot do much, because our resources are limited. What we considered most is treating human right violations. If there is any violation, we will come for investigation. We need an office to operate in Abia state.”
She explained that the lawmaker representing Ukwa federal constituency, Mr. Uzoma Abonta, had domiciled his constituency project in the commission on the need for a sensitization workshop for his people about human rights.
“It is a question of priority, if you have your constituency project in your area, and you think that National Human Commission is a priority, we will come. In any area you think the Commission can come in, you tell us and partner with us to make impartation to the people.”
While emphasizing that NHRC is an extra- judicial body set up by Decree of 1995 now known as National Human Rights Act which engages in promoting, protecting and enforcing the rights of the citizens of Nigeria, Mrs Herbert insisted that the Commission is no longer a toothless bulldog because NHRC can issue warrant of arrest against people as well as award compensation.
“Any decision of the Commission is at par with any High court in Nigeria. We are not particularly interested in conviction, we promote amicable resolution between parties because you can get a conviction and at the end of the day, there won’t be peace. It is always better to promote reconciliation.
“We are not only empowered by the Nigerian constitution but also international treaties and agreements, in ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations. Even when the laws are not domesticated in Nigeria, but by the fact that we are signatory to such conventions and treaties, we can invoke international conventions.”