The National Human Rights Commission’s Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu (SAN), stated that the organization received over two million complaints in a single year. Ojukwu further stated that if each complaint were to be investigated for a fee of N5,000, the commission would have to spend at least N10 million to do so.
According to the head of the human rights agency, the commission has an annual budget of N4.5 billion, which it will use to fund its operations, including paying for the rent on its state offices, paying employees, and looking into complaints, among other duties.
He criticized the commission’s meager budgetary allocation and added that the meager annual budget allocation of N4.5 billion is woefully insufficient to carry out the commission’s duties.
“Together, we can raise awareness on human rights issues and spark meaningful conversations that lead to effective positive change,” .
Ojukwu bemoaned that the majority of the state offices occupied by the commission are on rented structures, which may expose it to notions of politics and interested landlords.
Regardless of their background, beliefs, or circumstances, every person’s rights must be respected and upheld, he said, adding that the NHRC is committed to its mandate of promoting, protecting, and enforcing human rights in the nation.
“The commission is here to serve as a beacon of hope, a refuge for the oppressed, and a watchdog against any encroachment on human rights,” stated Ojukwu.
Mr. Jide Oyekunle, Chairman, FCT Correspondent Chapel, Nigerian Union of Journalists, noted in his remarks that the police are typically involved in incidents of human rights violations.
He stated, “The Nigeria Police has evolved into a willing tool in the hands of the rich and few strong individuals in the society to frighten and victimize the common man or perceived adversary. Despite the hypocritical posters and television advertisements by the police authorities to create a positive image for the force, the lack of trust and confidence in the police by the Nigerian citizens continues to exist.“
He continued by saying that despite the political progress made, security forces continue to violate people’s human rights while no one is held accountable.
According to Oyekunle, the problem of human rights abuses in Nigeria has grown into a hydra-headed monster that needs to be slain by all of us before we fall victim to it.