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Friday, 11 November 2011


HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, (HURIWA), a democracy inclined non-governmental organization has canvassed public support for the justice sector agenda currently implemented by the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice put in place by Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), the Chief law officer of the country. It also wants the Federal Government to respect fundamental human rights of citizens in the current fight against terrorism in the country.

In a position paper after a one day national policy dialogue on human rights in Abuja the Rights group stated that it was impressed by the extent of work done by the Federal Justice Sector reform co-coordinating committee set up by the Justice Minister Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) even as it tasked the Federal government to practically implement those measures because of the beneficial effects they will impact on the ordinary Nigerians.

In a statement endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media officer Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group also exonerated the federal Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke [SAN] of the alleged illegal acquisition of a choice property in Maitama, Abuja for allegedly facilitating a land transaction for a private business mogul as published by an online media.

HURIWA specifically stated that so far it has been unable to verify the allegation of misconduct against the Chief Law officer of Nigeria just as it called on critics to always cross check their facts and ensure that their claims are substantially verifiable, constructive and factual before rushing to the public media.

It stated thus: “after a pain staking and thorough independent probe of the allegation as published by an online site, we are of the considered opinion in our preliminary report that so far no nexus has been established on the ownership of the aforementioned massive housing asset in Maitama, Abuja to the person of the current Federal Attorney General. We have also found out that President Good Luck Jonathan has nothing to do with the transaction involving the Central Bank of Nigeria and the private business mogul in the sale and purchase of the former Nitel property in Garki, Abuja.”
On the achievements of the Justice Ministry so far, the Rights group said it was satisfied with the legal frame work against terrorism fashioned by the office of the federal Attorney General but cautioned the federal government not to abridge the fundamental freedoms including right to privacy as enshrined in chapter four of the constitution as amended.

The group said; “Even as we are shocked and worried by the unprecedented bloody violence and brazen acts of terrorism unleashed on Nigerians by armed and dangerous splinter groups in North East Nigeria, we are happy that the office of the Federal Attorney General has introduced an implementation guideline for waging war against terrorism in compliance with the provisions of the constitution and the validly passed legislation against terrorism in Nigeria”.

“However, we are worried that some basic rights and freedoms that are inalienable and inviolable which are constitutionally protected may be abridged if operatives of the security community are not professionally and competently trained to respect provisions of the fundamental human rights enshrined in chapter four of the constitution”, it stated.

The Rights group called for partnership between hierarchy of the security community and the federal ministry of Justice in the professional training of security operatives on the areas of respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry even while fighting terrorism.

HURIWA lauded the ministry of justice for introducing a new prison standing order which will guarantee the protection of the rights of anyone in lawful custody in any detention facility in Nigeria even as the Rights group tasked the justice ministry to rapidly implement measures to quicken justice delivery as one sure way of checking the heavy congestion of the nation’s prisons with awaiting trial inmates (ATI’s).

HURIWA stated that; “We are amazed that as at 2008, out of the 40,000 inmates in the prisons, about 24,250 of them are awaiting trial according to official figures. Right now we are aware that the figure of awaiting trial inmates has escalated. The justice sector reform agenda must be vigorously pursued”.   


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