Senate investigates ‘lopsided’ appointment of NHRC council members

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The Senate has mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, to investigate the alleged lopsidedness in the appointment of the members of the Board of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

This followed a petition by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), to the Senate requesting it to advise President Muhamadu Buhari to withdraw appointees of the board of the commission.

Mr Falana said the president should ensure compliance with Section 14(3) of the constitution and Section 4 of the Federal Character Commission Act in the appointments.

The petition was laid on the floor of the Senate by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

His petition came about three weeks after the president sent the names of 16 nominees appointed to the board and governing council of the commission and sought the Senate’s approval.

The nominees were screened last year but are yet to be confirmed.

In the letter dated April 19 and addressed to the Senate President, the lawyer noted that three of the four nominees representing the North-east are from Kebbi State – including the chairperson of the Governing Council, Salamatu Suleiman.

He said the South-east and South-south zones have four representatives each while the South West and North-central zones have two representatives each.

He also said the North-east Zone has no representative – even as the rate of human rights abuses in the region was higher than any other region in the country because of the counter insurgency operations being prosecuted there.