9th Assembly: Gbajabiamila speaks on human rights

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the 9th House would give priority to issues relating to human rights.

As such, the Speaker said the House would work closely with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure that the rights of Nigerians are protected.

Gbajabiamila, who spoke when he hosted the management of NHRC during a courtesy call in his office in Abuja on Wednesday, said the House would support the commission in any way possible to enhance its work.

“We commend you for what you’ve been doing as a commission. Your work is unquantifiable. It’s important that we have a watchdog on human rights. In the House, we take the issue of human rights very seriously,” he said.

On the request by the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, that the House should consider issues of human rights in all the bills before it, the Speaker said the House needed more explanation on that.

Similarly, the Speaker tasked the commission to work closely with the House Committee on Human Rights and forward a copy of the Kampala Convention on Human Rights to the House for possible domestication.

Responding to the issue of the possible creation of quota for more women in politics, the Speaker agreed with the Executive Secretary that unless the constitution is amended to address the issue of non-discrimination against anybody, such could not be achieved.

The Speaker said the House is interested in the issue of the rights of the elderly as raised by the Executive Secretary, saying the House would need a full brief on that.

Earlier, Mr Ojukwu, who congratulated the Speaker on his emergence, said the commission was concerned that the Kampala Convention on Human Rights has not been domesticated in Nigeria.

He said if the House domesticates it,that would go a long way in addressing some of the challenges Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable Nigerians face.

“We are also bothered by the low level of women participation in elective offices. We’ve observed a decrease in the number of women coming to the National Assembly. We wonder why this happens,” he said.

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