The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr. Tony Ojukwu, has said that the Commission will support the Hauwa Shekarau-led EXCO of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch and has proposed partnership with the branch.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission was earlier today paid a courtesy visit by the EXCO of NBA Abuja Branch led by the chairman, Ms. Hauwa Shekarau.
The Chairman in her address thanked the Executive Secretary for granting the EXCO audience despite his very busy schedule. She commended the efforts of Mr Ojukwu for his antecedents since he assumed the substantive office of the position as the Executive Secretary of the NHRC. The Chairman also commended Mr Ojukwu for setting up the committee on sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria and assured him of the support of the NBA.
Ms. Shekarau added that she is aware of several partnerships and collaborations in the past between the Commission and the NBA. She stated that within the next two years of her tenure, she will ensure a robust engagement with the NHRC and that the branch committee on human rights headed by the vice chairman, Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko will work closely with the Commission. The Chairman also added that the branch is ready to provide pro bono services for matters as they are referred to the branch.
The Chairman of the branch urged that the Commission should look towards the NBA as it sets up committees on different aspects of rights as NBA Abuja Branch is a veritable resource that is available to the commission. She requested that the commission carries the branch along so that they can work together to achieve justice for all which is the cardinal mandate of the commission.
Ms. Shekarau also solicited the support of the Commission for the building of the NBA Abuja branch bar center. She stated that it is part of her 10-point agenda to ensure the commencement of the project as the branch has already acquired a piece of land for the project.
Lastly, she informed the Executive Secretary of the monthly meeting of the NBA Abuja branch coming up tomorrow, 10th July, 2020 and urged the commission to encourage members of staff who belong to the branch to attend and others who are lawyers but yet to register to do so.
The Executive Secretary in his response thanked the EXCO for their courtesy visit and stated that even before the visit, the Commission had decided to work with the EXCO led by Ms. Shekarau.
He further stated that the NBA and the Commission are partners in progress and have the same objectives. He added that traditionally, most of the panels of the commission have NBA members as the the commission always relies on the support of the NBA. Mr. Ojukwu also stated that the Commission will find a way to assist the branch with the bar center project.
Mr Ojukwu proposed that the NBA and the Commission work as partners in providing legal representation for suspects in police custody that require lawyers as mandated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. He also proposed partnership with the branch in the area of sexual and gender based violence, training of the police, sensitization of citizens on their rights and legal clinics.
The Secretary of the branch, Prince Adebiyi Adetosoye in giving the vote of thanks, expressed appreciation on behalf of the EXCO to the Executive Secretary for the opportunity and assured that the branch will not take it for granted.
He also expressed gratitude to the Commission for identifying with the branch and stated that the branch is happy to have the commission as its partner.