By Paul Dada
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC),Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against human rights violation.
He, however, said the president had shown strong political will to fight corruption since he assumed office.
Odinkalu was speaking at a one-day seminar organised by the Human Right Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch with the theme “War against corruption and observance of constitutional rights: Striking a balance”.
The NHRC boss said the fight against corruption should not be left for the president alone but should be fought by all Nigerians.
“One thing that appears to have changed since the inauguration of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015 is the appearance of a firm will to address the problem of impunity for widespread corruption in Nigeria. So far, some leading members of the legal profession appear also to have been at the receiving end of some of the more high profile “invites” by anti-corruption agencies. This has been disquieting to many at the Bar,
“The fight against corruption should not be left to the president alone, all Nigerians should support him,” he said.
The NHRC boss regretted that some lawyers are being prosecuted for their alleged role in corrupt practices, adding that “The Nigerian legal profession has for long hardly done enough to address the perception that it facilitates corruption and clothes those who perpetrate it with impunity.”
He lamented the fact that public office holders who used their position to accumulate wealth, saying that such ones berates public trust.
“By so doing, they corrode the public authority and do incalculable damage to the capabilities of the state. In other words, grand corruption violates human rights on a grand scale and by ensuring impunity for those responsible for it, it also destroys the institutions of the rule of law and subverts the notion of equality before the law”.
He advised President Buhari to respect human rights while fighting corruption.
“Nigeria does not have a choice between fighting corruption and respecting human rights. We must do both. The government has a responsibility to ensure that it does not throw legality overboard in its drive for accountability for grand corruption.”
“Allegations of disobedience of court orders have been well founded in some cases. This is unnecessary and counter- productive. The tendency to arrest first before investigating, which is prevalent in police operations, appears also evident in some of the work of the anti-corruption agencies ” he said.