ODINKALU RAISES ALARM OVER POOR FUNDING OF NHRC
By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS - chairper son, Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Monday, condemned the lack of proper funding of the commission, insisting that NHRC remains one of the poorly funded agencies of the Federal Government.
Odinkalu, who spoke at a national dialogue on the state of human rights in Nigeria, organised by Partnership for Justice, PJ, in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation, in Lagos, noted that NHRC had been poorly funded to the level that workers lacked basic tools to work, such as operational vehicles and writing materials.
On the dialogue, PJ's Managing Partner, Mrs Itoro Eze-Anaba, said it was aimed at creating awareness among civil society organisations and monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan, NAP, on the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria.
Odinkalu, who chaired the opening session of the national dialogue, said as big as the commission was, it had only 19 operational vehicles, adding that the situation had made him to sacrifice his official vehicle for other staff, who were more in need of it.
He commended the recent passage of NHRC Act and the Freedom of Information Act, saying the two laws with the Constitution would assist in entrenching the culture of respect for rights of citizens in the country, adding that the agency had been strategised on preventing human rights abuses, rather than address same after the violation had been committed.
The guest lecturer at dialogue, Dr Laja Odukoya, noted that the lack of proper funding for the commission was a deliberate attempt by the government to subvert and suppress efforts at entrenching respect for human rights.
He stressed that Nigerians must join forces with Odinkalu to ensure that the commission takes its proper place with regards to funding.