21 January 2013

Nigeria: Human Rights Commission Investigates Aepb Abuses

Executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe has disclosed that the commission is currently investigating several reported cases of alleged human right abuses involving officials of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).

Under section 35 of the AEPB Act of 1997, street begging, trading and prostitution are prohibited. But in the bid to enforce this law in Abuja, the AEPB enforcement squads carry out raid and seize the hawkers' article of trade.

There are reported cases by some of the hawkers that they were in most cases conveyed in their vehicles and made to cough out some amount of money in exchange for the return of their wares.

Others have alleged that the AEPB squads are in the habit of converting their articles of trade for their personal use especially if they were unable to pay the right fee to collect their wares back.

Angwe told journalists in Abuja during a press briefing in the evening of Thursday that the commission has received several complaints from the victim of such alleged misconduct by the officials of the board and has since commenced investigation into the allegations.

Angwe also revealed that the commission has also called on the chief of army staff, Lt.-Gen. Onyeabor Azubuike Ihejirika and the FCT command commissioner of police, Mr Adenrele Shinaba to investigate the allegation that some men in army uniform abducted and raped some women in Abuja under the guise that they were prostitutes.

"The commission which gathered that the matter is already before the Federal Secretariat Abuja police station however condemns in its entirety all forms of rights violations and is ready to ensure that the rights of the victims are enforced", Angwe added.

The chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), Mrs Dupe Atoki, who is also a member of the NHRC board said ACHPR was a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples') rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter.

She however noted that the NHRC board which is one of the principal partners of the ACHPR appeared to have been on holiday for the last six years. Consequently, she urged the NHRC board members to return the commission to its proactive and dynamism of the past in order to address cases of right abuse and impunity in Nigeria.

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