Nigeria Human Rights Commission to commence hearing on forced evictions by June

National Human Right Commission, NHRC logo

The commission received an Amnesty International delegation.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said it will by next month commence a nationwide public inquiry into complaints of forced evictions of persons in the country’s six geo-political zones.

A statement by Muhammad Ladan, Director of the Commission’s Public Affairs and Communications Department, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday.

The statement quoted Professor Bem Angwe, the commission’s Executive Secretary, as announcing the development when a delegation from Amnesty International paid a working visit to the commission.

The delegation is looking into the right to adequate housing in Nigeria.

The statement said the NHRC had already called for memoranda from all concerned and affected persons in order to find a lasting solution to cases of forced evictions of persons in the country.

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It further said that Mr. Angwe told the team, led by Oluwatosin Popoola, that the public hearing on the cases of planned and forced evictions could not start in May.

“This was due to the nation’s prevailing security challenges,’’ Mr. Angwe said.

Mr. Angwe also told Amnesty International that the commission successfully prevailed on Lagos State, Rivers and the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to stop further demolition of houses.

The statement said the houses were in Makoko, Waterfront and Mpape communities respectively in Lagos, Rivers and Abuja. It said Mr. Angwe further told the team that there were sufficient provisions in the constitution as amended to pursue the issue of economic and social rights of Nigerians.

“These rights are the ones often regarded as `none justiciable’. But they have been protected by the constitution,’’ he said.

The statement said the executive secretary noted that the problem was rather lack of awareness among Nigerians who hardly approach the commission or the courts to enforce such rights.

The Executive Secretary said that the visit was to ascertain the extent of forced evictions in Nigeria and the roles to be played by the commission to address the problem.

“(Mr.) Popoola had remarked that his organisation was interested in finding out the specific steps already taken by the commission to address cases of forced evictions which had serious human rights implications on the victims,’’ the statement said.

(NAN)

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