The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers has commended the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for initiating the Human Rights- Military Dialogue saying, “it is a step in the right direction”.
The UN special Envoy who gave this commendation when he led a delegation of UN officials on a working visit to the Commission pledged the support of the UN system towards supporting the Human Rights-Military Dialogue because of its relevance in addressing allegations of human rights violations by the Military.
Mr. Chambers who is the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Nigeria also stated the readiness of the UN system to support the Commission’s Electoral Accountability Project saying that free and fair electoral process is the hallmark of democracy and therefore should be supported by all the stakeholders.
Continuing, the UN Special Representative lauded the role played by the NHRC during the 2015 General Elections particularly, the nationwide sensitization campaign on right to political participation and safe exercise of right to vote and be voted for as well as the need to guard against hate speech and violence which contributed in no small measure to the success of the General Elections. He urged the Commission to continue this great work as the country commences preparations for the 2019 General Elections.
Responding, the Acting Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mrs. Oti Ovrawah thanked the visiting UN Envoy and his entourage recalling that his visit ahead of the 2015 General Election “bolstered the Commission’s engagement with other stakeholders on the need to sanitize the electoral process and the same impacted positively on the outcome of that election”.
Mrs. Ovrawah used the opportunity to inform the UN delegation that the Commission “has done a lot of work with the UNDP, UNHCR towards assisting the Internally Displaced Persons through protection, monitoring in the North East of Nigeria”.
She said that the Commission had continued to work closely with the Military which according to her has “opened up so much in the counter- insurgency operations as it benefits from series of training programmes being organized by the Commission.
On the issue of killings before, during and after the 2015 General Election in Nigeria, Mrs. Ovrawah observed that much of the killings during the said period happened as a result of internal conflicts within the political parties and that the Commission has held meetings with the two major political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party in a bid to guard against future occurrence.