Nigeria Human Rights body concerned over illegal detention centres

Chidi Odinkalu, Chair, National Human Rights Commission

The commission also worries that the deteriorating security situation in the North-East has led to “serious and massive” violations of human rights.


The National Human Right Commission, NHRC, has expressed worry over the growing number of illegal detention centres run by unauthorized persons across Nigeria.
In a communiqué issued, Sunday, by the Governing Council of the Commission at the end of its 2nd statutory meeting in Gombe, the NHRC also described as worrisome the detention practices by several public security institutions.

“Council notes that the power of detention being an exception to constitutionally guaranteed personal liberty, can only be exercised by statutorily authorized institutions in gazetted facilities,” read the communique signed by Chidi Odinkalu and Bem Angwe, NHRC’s Chairman and Executive Secretary respectively.

The commission also expressed concern that the deteriorating security situation in the North-East has led to “serious and massive” violations of human rights.

“Council observes that these atrocities constitute a pattern of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed particularly, by the insurgents.

“Council acknowledges the efforts of government at both Federal and State levels as well as those of security agencies in addressing these security challenges,” said the communique.

“Council also welcomes the support from regional and international partners towards the search and rescue operations for the Chibok girls as well as other measures taken to enhance effective protection of lives and security in the affected states,” it added.

The NHRC further called for a regular and continuing inter-governmental cooperation and dialogue in solving security challenges; development and urgent deployment of a comprehensive humanitarian plan for the North-East; and sustaining regional and international cooperation for the amelioration of the sufferings of the victims in the region.

The council stated that it considered and disposed of 134 cases and complaints mostly concerning allegations connected with demolitions and forced evictions as well as violations of rights of women and children.

“Council expressed concern about the growing trend of the abandonment of children, neglect of parental responsibilities and the absence of effective institutions to address these as provided by laws such as the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act.

“Council, therefore, directed the Executive Secretariat to liaise with the relevant institutions of government to take necessary steps towards responding to this situation,” the Council added.

The NHRC further considered the Same Sex Prohibition Act and its provisions in line with its statutory responsibility to examine any existing legislation, for the purpose of ascertaining whether such enactments are consistent with human rights norms.

“Council, however, noted that there are several pending court processes concerning the law and therefore directed the Executive Secretariat to monitor the proceeding and keep Council duly advised,” the communique stated.


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