By Clare Nwaiwu
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on government agencies and institutions that manage detention facilities to ensure that all facilities under their care are kept in line with minimum standards for the keeping of such facilities.
According to the Commission, prisoners and other detainees should be treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and values as human beings.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Barr. Tony Ojukwu made the call in Abuja when he led a team of Senior Officials of the Commission on an audit of the detention facilities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters in Abuja.
Ojukwu who inspected the detention facilities operated by the EFCC told the anti-graft body to ensure that detainees are allowed access to their lawyers, family members and medications.
The Executive Secretary who fielded questions from some of the detainees during the exercise urged the EFCC management to ensure quick dispensation of complaints before them in order to reduce congestion and prolonged detention.
[penci_blockquote style=”style-2″ align=”none” author=””]It is therefore in the interest of the Commission to join hands with the EFCC through sensitization and awareness to reduce corruption as this will also reduce violation of human rights[/penci_blockquote]
The NHRC boss reminded the EFCC management that detainees under their custody are not convicts and therefore efforts should be made to accelerate the determination of their cases including diligent prosecution.
He stressed on the use of intelligence-led investigations to ensure speedy trials. He also reiterated the need for EFCC to reduce its workload by concentrating on high profile economic crimes so as not to congest their operations and cells with case files that could be handled by the Police or other law enforcement agencies.
Earlier, while meeting with the management of the EFCC, the Executive Secretary commended the work of the EFCC which he described as intelligence driven and challenging, applauding the whistle blowing policy of the government as a wonderful innovation in combating corruption. “It is like bringing in additional hands to fight corruption”, he said.
He further noted that behind all human rights violations is the issue of corruption, be it abandoned road projects, poor healthcare, service delivery or infrastructural deficit. “It is therefore in the interest of the Commission to join hands with the EFCC through sensitization and awareness to reduce corruption as this will also reduce violation of human rights”, he said.
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In this regard, he called for closer working relation between the Commission and EFCC as both share common values.
EFCC Ag Chairman, Ibrahim Mustapha Magu who expressed delight in the visit of the Commission stated that the EFCC facilities is one of the best around adding that the Commission has nothing to hide.
The Acting Chairman noted that corruption is the mother of all human rights violations adding that if there is any problem facing the country today, it is corruption.
Magu stressed that EFCC will remain unrelenting in its work in spite of attempts to blackmail it. He called on Nigerians to take ownership in the fight against corruption and impunity and assist the government in the war against corruption. He opined that the fight against corruption is a fight for all Nigerians and we should endeavour to do the right thing always.