By Jane Echewodo
THE National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, yesterday, came down hard on senior lawyers and others in the public service using human rights to shield corrupt people from prosecution and justice.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, who was represented at a formal public presentation of a report on impact of corruption good health delivery, noted that the commission believes that corruption is the biggest impediment to respect for human rights in Nigeria.
The report titled: “Health in decline: Human Rights Impacts of Corruption in Nigeria’s Health Sector,” was launched by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation.
The report also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to, “encourage anti corruption commissions and agencies to pro actively launch and follow through investigations into credible allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Health including, investigating other pervasive allegations of corruption in the health sector in greater depth and promptly and satisfactorily concluding any pending investigations on corruption in the spending of budget allocations and international aids to the ministry.”
Prof. Angwe, who was represented by Mr Wahab Oyedokun, said: “We recognize that we have to fight corruption to ensure human rights. There is a problem in the human rights community. The problem is that we have pretenders in the human rights and legal communities using the platform of human rights to advance corruption and to shield corrupt elements in our society.
“It is our responsibility to expose and delegitimise these pretenders and to make sure that our citizens recognize that fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators is really the cause to promote human rights. This is the right course to take as a human rights advocate.”
He noted that the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence is a shield and not a sword, and corrupt officials cannot claim not to be tried because they have human rights, especially given the massive stealing of our commonwealth.