The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has assured Civil Society Organisations of its readiness to oppose any bill that seeks to shrink the democratic space.
Receiving members of the civil society groups led by Samson Itodo of YAGA Africa on an advocacy campaign against some controversial Bills before the National Assembly, Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, stated that the Commission is mandated by law to review legislations to ensure that such are in consonance with human rights principles.
”We shall not shy away from collaborating with relevant stakeholders to campaign against any bill that infringes on the fundamental rights of the citizens.” he said
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, who stated this in Abuja when leaders of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) comprising of OSIWA, Yaga Africa, Amnesty International, among others paid a courtesy visit to the Commission in Abuja, noted that public outcry against the Civil Society Regulatory Bill is overwhelming and as such should be subjected to public hearing so that the interest of the people will be served.
Ojukwu stated that the Commission has the powers to monitor on-going legislations or existing laws to ensure that they are consistent with human rights principles and where any falls short of minimum standards, the Commission will intervene .
The Executive Secretary therefore urged CSOs not to relent in their
advocacy and sensitization efforts particularly on those issues that affect the freedom and dignity of the people. Regulatory Bill, Social media and Hate speech will make a whole lot of difference as everyone including the legislators will begin to appreciate the need to avoid making laws that will negate human rights and democratic principles.
The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria restated that any law put in place to reduce the enjoyment of human rights has no place in the modern society and therefore must be struck out for lacking in respect for human rights.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Samson Itodo had expressed fears that unless the Commission intervenes, the legislators may succeed in passing certain laws that may shrink the democratic space, gag the CSOs, the press and and silence free speech
He charged the Commission to as matter of responsibility issue an advisory to the National Assembly reminding government of the implications of passing laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution and anti human rights.
The civil society groups in attendance include OSIWA, Amnesty International, Actionaid etc.