Nigeria is Committed to the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedom of the Citizens – Apata

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Federal Government of Nigeria

Abuja (FEDERAL MINISTRY OF JUSTICE) The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Dayo Apata , Esq.,in Abuja  disclosed during the  National Stakeholders Workshop to Review and Validate the Treaty Reports on Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,  that the government is highly determined to demonstrate to the world, that Nigeria is a not jungle where anything is permissible, but a responsible member of the comity of nations, committed  to the protection of the fundamental rights and freedom of its citizens, including the foreigners living within its territory.

The Solicitor-General, represented by the Director, International and Comparative Law Department, Justice Stella Anukam, mentioned that efforts were made to solicit support to ensure that the Federal Ministry of Justice has the mandate to carry out the review, even if it runs out of time.  He commended the unflinching support of the United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, for graciously rising to the challenge and providing Nigeria with two competent Nigerian Consultants to assist in the preparation of the treaties.

He stated that Nigeria has a duty under International Law, to periodically carry out review of its implementation and application of some notable international treaties, particularly treaties on international human rights and fundamental freedoms.

According to him ‘’this is done as a way of carrying out self-assessment on how far and well the country has gone in implementing her obligations incurred in the various treaties that it is a party to’’.

“This year, Nigeria is expected to carry out the Review on the following treaties, amongst others; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED); and Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”, he explained.

He added that the above mentioned treaties all have monitoring mechanisms that are geared towards ensuring that State Parties fulfil their obligations of faithfully implementing the provisions of the treaties. The reporting process by government all over the world to identify problems and shortcomings encountered in the process of application and implementation of the treaties.

He emphasised that the reporting process by State Parties enable them to properly coordinate a response at the international level and to benefit from the experience of international experts. It creates an opportunity for national dialogue, raises awareness among the populace and enlists assistance from the civil society groups.

He also disclosed that Nigeria was expected to have made this periodic report since 2018, but due to paucity of funds arising from irregular and inadequate allocation of funds to the Ministry, it was impossible to carry out the periodic review as expected in 2018.

Apata commended the efforts of Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, and Mr.  Yakubu Abdulrahman who worked tirelessly in preparing responses to the list of issues (LOI) on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the Human rights Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)  and drafting reports to the Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CED) and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CSCR).

He also commended the Director, International and Comparative Law Department, and members of staff for their coordinating efforts that have resulted in the success of the review process of this year.

In her presentation, the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo explained that Nigeria as a member of many international Organisations has ratified several international and regional instruments that preserve and protect human rights.

She further stated that Nigeria has ratified all core international human rights treaties and has equally ratified many regional instruments within the African Union and the economic community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In attendance were National Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Women Affairs, Police Service Commission, Civil Liberty Group, Independent Electoral Commission, Legal Aid Council, Army and Immigration.

Ogundoro Modupe                            

Deputy Director