The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday, condemned the alleged brutality against Comrade Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), by suspected persons that are sympathetic to the Imo State-led government of Governor Hope Uzodinma.
According to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu, SAN, the “brutality on Mr Joe Ajaero, a senior labour leader, represents impunity and a direct attack on the fundamental rights of individuals to associate and express their views and opinions freely, which is the cornerstone of a democratic society like ours. In a democratic nation like Nigeria, the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected and upheld no matter how uncomfortable law enforcement agents felt.”
Ojukwu, therefore, called on the relevant authorities to swiftly investigate the ugly incident to bring the perpetrators to Justice and ensure such acts of brutality were never repeated or tolerated. “I am using this medium to call upon law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and uphold the principles of democracy and respect for human rights when dealing with unarmed civilians while enforcing law and order. Together, we can build a society where every citizen’s rights and freedoms are safeguarded, respected, and tolerated, where acts of violence and intimidation have no place,” he said.
It is, however, doubtful that any meaningful regard will be given to Ojukwu’s call to investigate the incident involving Ajaero because of the prevailing culture of impunity in Nigeria, particularly with officials of the Executive Arm of government like the Nigeria Police.
Whereas Section 6 of the National Human Rights Commission Act provides that the NHRC shall conduct investigations and inquiries in such manner as it considers appropriate, it may be unwilling to do so in Ajaero’s case because of long-standing issues of unenforceability of the decisions and determinations made by it.
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