Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved 2022-2026 Action Plan for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, Abuja.
According to him, the plan was formulated by stakeholders in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
He said this followed President Buhari administration’s compliance with National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC), judgement and payment of N135 million compensation to victims and family members of the September 18, 2013 Apo six killings.
He also said the report of the committee for the protection of Journalists, equally adjudging Nigeria as the only African country last year “that has been in full compliance in terms of the protection of the rights of the Journalists, taking into consideration that not a single incidence of death of a Journalist has been recorded in Nigeria arising from infractions, relating thereto.”
Malami stressed that the policy is intended and targeted, at consolidating and upscaling the Nigerian observance of the Human Rights posture in view of the successes and achievements of Nigeria, as it relates to human rights under the current administration.
His words: “As you will recall, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has established a record of being the first and only administration in the history of Nigeria that has indeed tolerated, accommodated and enforced the decision of the Human Rights Commission. And in this respect, talking of the Apo six, taking into consideration, the commission adjudged the government as being in breach of the human rights of certain individuals popularly referred to as Apo six, which unfortunate incidents predates the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Human Rights Commission, adjudged the government liable to pay about N135 million to the family of the victims of the alleged infractions.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari took steps to ensure payment of the N135 million to the Apo Six in compliance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, thereby giving teeth to the Human Rights Commission in terms of compliance with the recommendation.
“You are equally aware that the committee for the protection of journalists, which is an international committee had equally adjudged Nigeria, as the only African country last year that has been in full compliance in terms of the protection of the rights of the journalists, taking into consideration that not a single incidence of death of a journalist has been recorded in Nigeria arising from infractions, relating thereto.
“Now with those local and international successes in mind, the need has now arisen for Nigeria to indeed consolidate on the gains and upscale its provision from a local observance of the protection of the human right to international standard by way of ensuring compliance with the best practices.”
He explained that the new action plan will help prove that Nigeria is working in tandem with International best practices with regards to the protection of human rights.
“So, the essence of the presentation of the council memo today is to deliberate on the action plan, review it and seek approval for its conservation or presentation before the International Human Rights committee for the purpose of establishing the following: that Nigeria is no longer operating at a local scale in terms of the observance and promotion of human rights, but indeed upscaling its international observance to international best practices as far as the human rights, promotion and protection of human rights is concerned.
“I am happy to report that the council deliberated and the council approved the action plan presentation before the International Committee on Human Rights,” Malami further said.
FEC also at Wednesday’s meeting approved a request for the construction of the corporate headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Briefing newsmen after the Coincil meeting
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahammad Abubakar, said an initial sum of six billion naira would be used to commence the construction of the new headquarters.
According to him, the proposed headquarters would be a 10-storey building to be called Agriculture House.
He said: “The memo we presented was for the construction of our corporate headquarters here in Abuja. Since the relocation of the ministry to Abuja over 30 years ago, we’ve not had a corporate headquarters. We are currently using an office of the Federal capital Territory Administration which is just About three floors and cannot accommodate the entire ministry. We have about four departments which are outside the main ministry.
“So, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has allocated a plot to us in the cadastral zone, totalling about 1.84 hectares at a very strategic place for the construction of a 10-storey building which we will call Agriculture House.”
He said they had purchased a building in Abuja some years back but it later turned out not to be adequate for the services required thus, it will be sold and the proceeds would be added to a budgetary provisions (2022 and 2023) of the sum of six billion to commence the project.
The Minister added that the ministry will source for more funds through intervention from the presidency and other sources, to complete the project.
On the rising cost of rice in the country, Abubakar said a lot is being done to ensure availability of the product, to further cut down its price since Nigeria is the number one producer of rice in Africa.
“There are 10 rice mills that are being constructed under a Public Private Partnership arrangement and the President has given us intervention to complete those mills and we will commission some of them before the end of this administration,” he also explained.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja