The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Thursday, lambasted the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu for allegedly going cap-in-hand to foreign operated businesses in Nigeria to beg for sponsorship.
HURIWA said the alleged move by Ojukwu was inappropriate and clearly violates the provisions of the enabling act setting up the rights commission as would be cited below.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko asked the management of NHRC to rescind its beggarly tendencies and properly discharge her mandates.
The rights group noted that the commission’s mandates did not envisage that the management could go to the ridiculous extent of becoming a corporate beggar to even companies set up by foreigners in Nigeria, which are amongst the largest abusers of the employment rights of Nigerians with many of them using Nigerian workers as modern day slaves.
According to HURIWA: “It beggars belief and is indeed an unprecedented act of betrayal and compromise that the public funded national rights commission that should act as an independent investigator of all human rights-related infractions including the pervasive human rights violations against Nigerians working in foreign owned and operated companies in Nigeria is seen openly or clandestinely in an unholy communion with these same entities that the commission ought to provide oversight functions.
“It is the height of ethical depravity and the greatest show of shame that the head of this government funded agency that became financially and operationally independent in 2010 with wide ranging amendments to its enabling Act costing the taxpayers’ hundreds of millions of Naira to be seen begging companies to fund a movie. So what will happen if these companies are accused by their staff members especially Nigerians of gross human rights violations given that in recent times there have been well documented empirical evidence of grave human rights abuses of Nigerians by owners of foreign administered businesses in Nigeria?
“There is no doubt that the commission is the only government institution statutorily mandated to promote, protect and enforce human rights in Nigeria, we cannot do it alone.
“Our determination to keep advancing the course of human rights has brought us here today to partner your esteemed organisation to support the commission in its quest to take the knowledge of human rights to the doorsteps of every household in Nigeria.”
HURIWA recalled that the NHRC (Amendment) Act, 2010 has conferred on the Commission additional independence and strengthened the Commission’s power with respect to promotion and protection of human rights, investigation of alleged violation of human rights and enforcement of decisions. The Amendment Act has also widened the scope of the Commission’s Mandate to include vetting of legislations at all levels to ensure their compliance with human rights norms.