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Nigerian musician, Falz writes Buhari to constitute NHRC Governing Council

FOLARIN Falana, a Nigerian musician popularly known as FALZ, has written an open letter to the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari over the non-existence of a governing council for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The open letter shared on his official Twitter page was titled ‘Request For Reconstitution Of The Governing Council Of The National Human Rights Commission For The Discharge Of Its Functions With Respect To Cases Of Human Rights Violations In Nigeria’.

According to FALZ, the letter was in line with the statement of Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Nigerian President who had said that the Federal Government has accepted the 5-point request of the #ENDSARS protesters.

The letter read that Adesina in his statement said “the Forum agrees to the setting up of this independent panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week’.

FALZ said in the letter that the Section 5 of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 empowers the Commission itself to receive complaints and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violations in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendations to the President while section 2 of the amended act provides for the constitution of the Commission’s governing council.

He further stated that the absence of the Governing Council can be attributed to the aggravation of human rights abuses across the country.

“As it stands now, the National Human Rights Commission has remained without the Governing Council since 2015 and still remains without it The unfortunate circumstance has led to the aggravation of human rights abuse,” FALZ stated.

The Nigerian singer added that the Governing Council is provisioned to consist of a chairman who shall be a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria or the Court of Appeal or a retired judge of the High Court of a State, a representative of each of the following: Federal Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Internal Affairs.

He added that the Act also provides that the Council should consist of three representatives of registered human rights organisations in Nigeria, two legal practitioners who shall not have less than ten years post qualification experience, three representatives of the media, at least, two of whom shall be from the private sector, three other persons to represent a variety of interests, and the executive secretary of the Commission.

While quoting Section 7(3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, FALZ noted that the Executive Secretary of the Commission does not have the power to act without a Governing Council.

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Stating the importance of reconstituting the governing council, he said the action must be taken in order to restore the confidence of young Nigerians in the proposed police reform process.

“Failure to do this would force young Nigerians to believe that the continuous refusal to re-constitute the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission is a deliberate attempt to mislead us into thinking genuine efforts are being made at reforming the Nigeria Police when in truth the opposite is the case,” the letter further read.

He also stated that due to the provision of the Act that vests the power to investigate cases of human rights abuses on the NHRC, the government needs not to constitute another committee to investigate misconduct by operatives of the defunct SARS.

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