By Samuel Vincent in Abuja
The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Dr. Salamatu Suleiman and 11 others as Chairman and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The confirmation followed the presentation of a report by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
Opeyemi, while presenting the report noted that the composition of the board as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, violated Section 14 (3) of the constitution, which provides that appointments by the federation should reflect the federal character principles.
“It is noteworthy to state that the composition of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, as presented to the 9th Senate, does not comply with the provisions of the constitution as it relates to the Federal Character Principles.
“That it is imperative to state that absolute compliance with the provisions of the constitution is not a choice, but a fundamental obligation imposed on individuals, Government and all its functionaries, as encapsulated in Section 13 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended”, Opeyemi said.
He however, stated that the committee’s screening was guided by the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the extant law, which established the NHRC.
Those confirm into NHRC board include Mmamel Onyemaechi, Ahmad Fingilla, Kemi Asiwaju, Abubakar Muhammad, Okeowo Adeniran and Sunday Daniel.
Others are Jeideani Chukwuemeka, Nella Andem-Rabana, Azubuike Nwakenta, Jamila Isa and Idayat Hassan.
Buhari had in March sent a 16-man list to the Senate for confirmation as NHRC board.
The nominations were however contested as renowned civil right activist Femi Falana (SAN) petitioned the Senate over the lopsidedness of the nominations.
Falana had observed that while the entire Northeast with the highest incidences of human rights violation in the country had no representation on the board, Kebbi state alone in the northwest zone had three nominees.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his confirmation called for strict adherence to federal character in appointments as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.