The United Nations’ Human Rights Committee Slams Nigeria on Human Right Violation, Corruption & Weak Implementation of Legislation

This was at the conclusion of the review of the implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Nigeria by the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee. Audu Ayinla Kadiri, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, In his opening remarks said, the composition of the Nigerian delegation was a testimony to its commitment to the implementation of the Covenant. He apologized for Nigeria’s inability to submit its second periodic report. Nigeria had implemented many initiatives to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, accountability, transparency and fairness of the justice system, such as the development of justice sector reform action plans and the establishment of judicial research and training centres. The Nigerian Government was firmly committed to promote and protect the human rights of Nigerians. While much had been done in this regard, across a broad range of fields, the Government acknowledged that challenges remained, he noted. Committee Experts thanked the delegation for their presence stressing that the purpose was to find common ground where the Committee could formulate recommendations aiming to help the Government to move forward. They pointed out that corruption remained rampant and that implementation of the legislation was weak. They also asked the delegation to comment on recent events of human right violation, notably the killing of people in Biafra region and the killing of 350 people in Zaria, in Kaduna state . Experts asked if there was a law that prohibited discrimination that would cover direct and intersected forms of discrimination. Was the Government considering repealing article 214 of the criminal code which criminalized sexual acts between persons of the same sex? What measures were in place to address the discriminatory effects of legislation on polygamy and repudiation? Mr. Kadiri, said that the dialogue had been interesting and illuminating adding that the delegation had done its best to answer the Experts’ questions. “All is well that ends well,” he said, stressing that the delegation and the Committee shared a common purpose. The delegation looked forward to cooperating further with the Committee. Ahmed Amin Fathalla, Committee Chair, in his concluding remarks, thanked the delegation and recalled that parties to international legal instruments had to abide by their obligations. It had been a fruitful debate, he said. The delegation of Nigeria consisted of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the Department of State Services, the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

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