The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), state Attorneys General, Inspector General of Police (IGP), heads of the various courts and relevant authorities in the criminal justice sector to take urgent steps at ensuring that victims of domestic and sexual violence get prompt justice.
This call was contained in a communiqué released and signed its Chairman, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, after the third 2013 statutory meeting of the Governing Council of the commission, held at Ikeja, Lagos Tuesday.
According to the body, victims of violence against women and children do not have access to remedies. “Access to remedies is always constrained by breakdown in communication between the agencies in the criminal justice system which sometimes results in delay in processing legal advice from the Ministries of Justice and a cumbersome trial process by the judiciary, particularly lower courts.”
The council while underscoring the negative psychological and sociological consequences of sexual and domestic violence on women, children and society at large, noted that, victims must get prompt remedies including fast-tracking of trials of offenders and appropriate sentencing.
It expressed concern over “alarming rate of incidents of domestic and sexual violence in the country, particularly rape of young persons” hinting that it had received and considered reports on 336 cases and complaints in various stages of investigation alleging different violations of human rights.
The body therefore urged heads of competent courts to issue appropriate child protection orders in accordance with Child Rights Act/Law and other relevant laws, adding that “There is the urgent need for a societal orientation to stamp out this scourge.” The group also expressed concern about the increasing number of children out of school despite the fact that the education of children up to junior secondary school is free and compulsory in Nigeria. It therefore implored state governments to make their counterpart contributions to the Universal Basic Education Commission fund as a way of ensuring that education is qualitatively and free up to junior secondary school level.
Impeachment: Five Lawmakers Stall Hearing on Amaechi, Assembly Suit Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt An application by five lawmakers yesterday stalled hearing of a suit instituted by Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, at the
High Court in Port Harcourt, seeking to stop the state House of Assembly from impeaching him.
Amaechi had approached the court, presided over by Justice George Omereji, seeking an injunction restraining the 32-member House of Assembly from illegally and unconstitutionally removing him from office before the expiration of his tenure in 2015.
While the assembly had through its counsel, Emenike Ebete, replied to the summons, five of the lawmakers believed to be loyal to Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, filed an application seeking to be joined as parties, insisting that they hold a different view from the other 27 members of the assembly.
The five lawmakers are Michael Okechukwu Chinda, Victor Ihunwo, Micheal Amaewhule, Godspower Kelechi Nwogu and Evans Bapakaye Bipialaka.
At the resumed sitting yesterday, Omereji adjourned the matter until July 2, for mention after counsel to the five lawmakers, who were also present in court, Emmanuel Okala (SAN), told the court that they were yet to reply to the counter-affidavit filed by Amaechi and the other 27 lawmakers, believed to be loyal to the governor.
Speaking to journalists after the adjournment, counsel to the governor, Belu-Olisa Nwafor (SAN), said Amaechi went to court to protect his tenure that was being threatened by current political developments in the state.
Counsel to the 27 lawmakers, Ebete, who also spoke to journalists, said the matter would be taken holistically, adding that the application of the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers had revealed that there were people, who would want to impeach the governor.
However, Okala said his clients came to court because they shared a different view from the other 27 lawmakers, adding that their rights might not be protected by counsel to the assembly.