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Human rights bills in Nigeria up for consideration

A set of human rights bills under consideration in Nigeria could – if passed – significantly improve human rights observance.

Kole Shettima of CDD writes,

“As this current Parliament winds down its life span, about 9 important human rights-related bills are pending actions in the National Assembly. Among these are the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, which mandates that no one can be held without trial for more than three months, and anyone awaiting trial must be released by a Magistrate after 3 subsequent adjournments and within 3 months. The Freedom of Information Bill is aimed at promoting accountability and transparency in government. The Violence Against Persons Bill aims to bring wider public attention to bear on domestic abuse and to eliminate practices that discriminate against minorities, including women.”

Implications

Shettima writes, “The point about all this seems obvious: passing even half of he above mentioned bills will significantly improve observance of human rights in Nigeria. Internationally, Nigeria would have re-established itself as a strong member of the cultured community of committed nations who do much more than endorse regional and international conventions, but also engage practically to domesticate and implement them.

"I believe also, that the press, civil society, and civic minded groups can play a positive role toward achieving this goal by continuing to pressurize legislators and emphasizing the positive gains anticipated from the passage of these important bills.”

It’s worth mentioned that if the government lets all bills slip away, it will have shown an unwillingness to address human rights issues that could haunt Nigeria for years to come.

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Sources:

Searchlight Centre for Democracy and Development, Oct 2010, pg 4, 5
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/CDD_Oct 2010.pdf#page=4

C. Hitz and M. Radka in "Environmental negotiation and policy: the Basel Convention on transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal", International Journal of Environment and Pollution, vol1.1 No.1/2, 1991, p.55.

H. Yakowitiz, , Environmental Science and Technology, 1989, p. 540.

Resolution 1153 (XLVII) of 25 May 1988