The National Human Rights Commission has recorded an alarming increase in human rights violations in the last two years in Nigeria.
The human rights commission said it recorded about one million cases of human rights violations in the country between 2017 and 2018.
This news was disclosed in an interview with newsmen by Mr. Anthony Ojukwu, the NHRC Executive Secretary at a Judicial Actors Coalition meeting in Maiduguri.
Mr. Ojukwu attributed the large number of recorded cases to the numerous conflicts and killings going on in parts of the country. He cited the Boko haram insurgency as well as the herdsmen killings in the middle-belt as some of the direct causes of human rights violations
Mr. Ojukwu further revealed that the commission had recorded more than 100,000 cases of violations and abuses in Borno state alone, where Boko Haram had wreaked so much havoc.
He also listed some other cases of human rights violations to include sexual abuse, child molestation, gender based violence, torture, extra judicial killings as well as other forms of extreme violence.
According to Mr. Ojukwu,
“There are more than 56,000 unclaimed children in the IDPs camps, who are deprived of their rights to health, education and so on. There are more than 25,000 women widowed by Boko Haram, many of these women had suffered degrading and inhuman treatment and other forms of violence.
“It is the firm belief of the commission that working with the Search for Common Ground in the past 5-6 years; so many conflicts have been prevented in the communities through timely monitoring, investigations and peaceful resolution.’’
Mr. Ojukwu further revealed that due to the fact that the human rights commission intervened in several instances and prevented some conflict from snowballing into full scale hostilities most people, including key government personnel sometimes lose sight of the contributions to peaceful development through the effort of the commission and other partners.
According to him, the large sums of money being spent by the Nigerian government to contain some of these conflicts could have been much higher without the efforts of organisations like the NHRC.
He continued further, “It is in the light of this and other factors that poor cooperation from some security agencies to the work of the commission and the partners is deplored. All of us, be it government agencies or our partners, should be seen by security agencies have a joint responsibility with the commission for protection of human rights.’’
The National Human Rights representative assured Nigerians that despite the numerous challenges faced by the commission, it had not relented in its efforts to protect human rights in the country.
“The greatest challenge of the commission to implement its mandate has been poor budgetary provisions of 2018, but the provisions are still a far cry from what the commission requires to operate optimally. The commission is poorly funded when compared to the funding of the NHRIs in smaller countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.” He bemoaned
“We urge other development partners to seize the opportunities and challenges of the moment offered by human rights challenges in the North East, North Central, South-South and South Eastern parts of the country, to assist the commission. Such assistance can be in the nature of capacity building, infrastructure, computers, vehicle for monitoring and vehicles for investigation of violations, furniture, building for state offices.” he appealed.
The NHRC further made demands which included building of shelters for women and children who suffer from domestic abuse as well as funding projects of concern like monitoring and facilitating the mainstreaming of human rights into the resolution of the Fulani herdsmen killings in the country.