Obasanjo’s letter: Human Rights Commission to hold public inquiry over allegations

The National Human Rights Commission said the allegations raised serious questions of human rights violation
After an extraordinary emergency meeting of its governing council, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has resolved to hold a public inquiry on the allegations contained in a letter written by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan.

In an 18-page letter dated December 2, 2013, Mr. Obasanjo amongst other allegations accused Mr. Jonathan of secretly training snipers and placing over 1000 Nigerians on a political watch list.

The NHRC acknowledged that it received a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, in relation to the allegations; but restated its independence from external influences.

“In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person,” the commission said.

It said the allegation raised serious questions of human rights violation.

“Council considered the allegations contained in the transmission from the HAGF [Honourable Attorney General of the Federation] to be quite weighty and grave and concluded that they raise issues of serious and systematic violations of the rights to life, access to fair hearing and justice, personal liberty, safety and security, equality before the law and the prohibition against discrimination.”

The council, therefore, constituted a panel headed by its chairman, Chidi Odinkalu, to investigate the following:

(a) Whether or not there is or have been state-sponsored killings or assassinations in Nigeria at any time since November 1995 to date;

(b) If so, what organizations, institutions, agencies or persons were or are involved in or affected by such killings;

(c) Whether there is or has been at any time since November 1995, a list of persons to be targeted for watching or for such killings;

(d) If, in any of such cases, the perpetrators, known or unknown, were brought to justice or assisted, facilitated or helped by any persons or institutions to evade justice;

(e) Whether the victims of any such killings were or have been afforded access to truth or to effective remedies; and

(f) Undertake any other or further tasks related to or necessarily incidental to the foregoing.

Other members of the panel are: Ben Angwe, Eugenia Abu, D.O.C Ezeigwe, and Ibrahim Nikau.

The commission said it would “immediately issue an invitation or call for memoranda on the above-indicated terms of reference.”

It also promised to release a calendar and schedule of the public sittings as soon as convenient time is determined.


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