The National Human Rights Commission was established by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Act, 1995, as amended by the NHRC Act, 2010, in line with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly
which enjoins all member States to establish national human rights institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.
The NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ACT is an Act to establish the National Human Rights Commission, for the protection of human rights, dignity and freedoms in Nigeria. Section 2 of the Act establishes the Governing Council of the Commission (referred to as”the Council”) which shall be responsible for the discharge of the functions of the Commission.
The Council shall consist of-
(a) 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;
(b) a representative each of the following Federal Ministries-
(i) Justice; (ii) Foreign Affairs; (iii) Internal Affairs;
(c) three representatives of registered human rights organisations in Nigeria;
(d) two legal practitioners who shall not have less than ten years post qualification experience;
(e) three representatives of the media, at least, two of whom shall be from the private sector;
(f) three other persons to represent a variety of interests; and
(g) the executive secretary of the Commission.
Section 4 provides for the cessation of office of members of the Council and they shall cease to hold office if-
(a) he becomes of unsound mind; or
(b) he becomes bankrupt or makes a compromise with his creditors; or
(c) he is convicted of a felony or of any offence involving dishonesty; or
(d) he is guilty of serious misconduct in relation to his duties.
A member of the Council may be removed from office by the President if he is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the public that the member should remain in office. Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Council, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his predecessor, so however that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the President.
Functions of the Commission include-
(a) deal with all matters relating to the protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other International Treaties on human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory;
(b) monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the President for the prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance;
(c) assist victims of human rights violation and seek appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf;
(d) undertake studies on all matters pertaining to human rights and assist the Federal Government in the formulation of appropriate policies on the guarantee of human rights;
(e) publish, from time to time, reports on the state of human rights protection in Nigeria;
(f) organise local and international seminars, workshops and conferences on human rights issues for public enlightrnent;
(g) liaise and co-operate with local and international organisations on human rights with the purpose of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights;
(h) participate in all international activities relating to the promotion and protection of human rights;
(i) maintain a library, collect data and disseminate information and materials on human rights generally; and
(j) carry out all such other functions as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its functions under this Act.
Also the Commission shall have power to-
(a) do all things which by this Act or any other enactment are required or permitted to be done by the Commission; and
(b) do such other things as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its functions under this Act.
For more information on the NHRC, you may visit this website http://www.nigeriarights.gov.ng.
Adedunmade Onibokun Esq