The Complete 2004 Laws of Nigeria

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NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Establishment of the National Human Rights Commissionetc.

SECTION

  1. Establishment of the National Human Rights Commission.
  2. Governing Council of the Commission.
  3. Tenure of office, etc.
  4. Cessation of membership.

PART II

Functions and powers

  1. Functions of the Commission.
  2. Powers of the Commission.

PART III

Staff

  1. Executive secretary of the Commission.
  2. Other staff of the Commission, etc.
  3. Staff regulations.
  4. Conditions of service.
  5. Pensions.

PARTlV

Financial provisions

  1. Fund of the Commission.
  2. Power to accept gifts.
  3. Borrowing power, etc.
  4. Annual estimates, accounts and audit.
  5. Annual reports.

PART V

Miscellaneous

  1. Power of the Attorney-General of the Federation to give directives.
  2. Regulations.
  3. Interpretations.
  4. Short title

National Human RightCommission Act

SCHEDULE

Supplementarprovisions relatinto thCouncil, etc.

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ACT

An Act to establish the National Human Rights Commission, for the protection of
human rights, dignity and freedoms.

[1995 No. 22.]

[27th September, 1995]

[Commencement.]

WHEREAS considering that the United Nations Charter and several provisions of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 are based on the principles of the
dignity and equality of all human beings and seek, among other basic objectives, the
promotion and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion:

[Cap. C23.]

AND WHEREAS to facilitate Nigeria's implementation of its various treaty obligations,
including, but not limited to, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, and the African Charter
on Human and Peoples' Rights:

AND WHEREAS the Federal Government is desirous of creating an enabling environment
for extra-judicial recognition, promotion and enforcement of all rights recognised
and enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and under
other laws of the land:

[Cap. C23.]

AND WHEREAS in furtherance of the above objectives and in its determination to provide
a forum for public enlightment and dialogue on and to limit controversy and confrontation 
over allegations of human rights violation by public officers and agencies and
to reaffirm the sacred and inviolable nature of human and other fundamental rights.

PART I

Establishment of the National Human Rights Commissionetc.

  1. Establishment of the National Human Rights Commission

(I) There is hereby established a body to be known as the National Human Rights
Commission (in this Act referred to as "the Commission").

(2) The Commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a 
common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

National Human Rights Commission Act

  1. Governing Council of the Commission

(1) There shall be for the Commission a Governing Council (in this Act referred to as
"the Council") which shall be responsible for the discharge of the functions of the Commission.

(2) The Council shall consist of-

       (a)       a chairman who shall be a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria or
the Court of Appeal or a retired judge of the High Court of a State;

                               (b)       a representative each of the following Federal Ministries-

                      (i) Justice;

                       (ii) Foreign Affairs;

                        (iii) Internal Affairs;

                                (c)        three representatives ofregistered human rights organisations in Nigeria;

       (d)       two legal practitioners who shall not have less than ten years post qualification
experience;

        (e)        three representatives of the media, at least, two of whom shall be from the private sector;

                                  (f)       three other persons to represent a variety of interests; and

                                  (g)       the executive secretary of the Commission.

(3) The chairman and members of the Commission shall be-

                                (a)        persons of proven integrity; and

       (b)       appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Attorney-General of
the Federation.

(4) The supplementary provisions set out in the Schedule to this Act shall have effect
with respect to the proceedings of the Council and the other matters contained therein.
[Schedule.]

  1. Tenure of office, etc.

(1) A member of the Council, other than the executive secretary, shall hold office for
a term of four years and may be re-appointed for one further term of four years and no
more.

(2) A member of the Council may at any time, resign his office in writing addressed
to the President and which resignation shall become effective on acceptance by the President.

(3) Members of the Council shall be paid such allowances as may be determined by
the President.

(4) Cessation of membership

(1) A member of the Council shall cease to hold office if-

       (a)       he becomes of unsound mind; or

       (b)       he becomes bankrupt or makes a compromise with his creditors; or

       (c)       he is convicted of a felony or of any offence involving dishonesty; or

       (d)       he is guilty of serious misconduct in relation to his duties.

(2) A member of the Council may be removed from office by the President if he is
satisfied that it is not in the interest of the public that the member should remain in office.

(3) Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Council, it shall be filled by the
appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his
predecessor, so however that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be
appointed by the President.

PART II

Functions and powers

5. Functions of the Commission

The Commission shall-

      (a)              deal with all matters relating to the protection of human rights as guaranteed
by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the United Nations Charter and the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other International Treaties on
human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory;

       (b)        monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria
and make appropriate recommendation to the President for the prosecution and
such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance;

      (c)              assist victims of human rights violation and seek appropriate redress and
remedies on their behalf;

       (d)        undertake studies on all matters pertaining to human rights and assist the 
Federal Government in the formulation of appropriate policies on the guarantee of
human rights;

      (e)         publish, from time to time, reports on the state of human rights protection in
Nigeria;

       (f)       organise local and international seminars, workshops and conferences on
human rights issues for public enlightrnent;

       (g)        liaise and co-operate with local and international organisations on human
rights with the purpose of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights;

      (h)        participate in all international activities relating to the promotion and protection of 
human rights;

      (i)                maintain a library, collect data and disseminate information and materials on
human rights generally; and

      (j)                carry out all such other functions as are necessary or expedient for the
performance of its functions under this Act.

  1. Powers of the Commission

The Commission shall have power to-

      (a)        do all things which by this Act or any other enactment are required or permitted
to be done by the Commission; and

      (b)        do such other things as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its
functions under this Act.

PART III

Staff

  1. Executive secretary of the Commission

(1) There shall be for the Commission an executi ve secretary, who shall be the chief
executive of the Commission and be appointed by the President, on the recommendation
of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

(2) The executive secretary shall hold office for a term of five years in the first instance
on such terms and conditions as the President, may, on the recommendation of the
Attorney-General of the Federation, determine and may be re-appointed for one further
term of five years and no more.

(3) Subject to such general direction as the Council may give, the executive secretary
shall be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Commission and the
implementation of the decisions of the Council.

(4) The executive secretary shall perform the functions of keeping the record of proceedings
and decisions of the Council and such other functions as the Council may, from
time to time, direct.

  1. Other staff of the Commission, etc.

(1) The Council shall have power to appoint directly, and either on transfer or on
secondment from any public service in the Federation, such number of employees as
may, in the opinion of the Council, be required to assist the Commission in the discharge
of any of its functions under this Act, and shall have power to pay to persons so employed
such remuneration (including allowances) as the Council may determine.

(2) The terms and conditions of service (including terms and conditions as to remuneration,
allowances, pensions, gratuities and other benefits) of the persons employed by
the Commission shall be as determined by the Council from time to time.

(3) The Council may engage such consultants and advisers as it may require for the
proper and efficient discharge of the functions of the Commission.

  1. Staff regulations

The Commission may, subject to the provisions of this Act, make staff regulations
relating generally to the conditions of service of the employees of the Commission and
without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such regulations may provide for-

       (a)        the appointment, promotion and disciplinary control (including dismissal) of
employees of the Commission; and

      (b)        appeals by such employees against dismissal or other disciplinary measures.

10. Conditions of service

The Commission shall, with the approval of the Attorney-General of the Federation,
determine its conditions of service, including pensions and gratuities, as are appropriate
for its employees.

11. Pensions

(I) It is hereby declared that service in the Commission is a scheduled service and
shall be deemed to be pensionable under the Pensions Act and, accordingly, employees of
the Commission shall in respect of their service in the Commission, be entitled to 
pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits as are prescribed thereunder.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (I) of this section, nothing in this
Act shall prevent the appointment of a person to any office on terms which preclude the
grant of a pension or gratuity in respect of that office.

PART IV

Financial provisions

12. Fund of the Commission

(I) The Commission shall establish and maintain a fund which shall be applied 
towards the discharge of its functions under this Act.

(2) There shall be paid and credited to the fund established pursuant to subsection (I)
of this section-

(a)        such sums as may be provided by the Government of the Federation for the
Commission;

(b)        any fees charged for services rendered by the Commission; and

(c)        all other sums accruing to the Commission by way of gifts, testamentary 
dispositions, endowments and contributions from philanthropic persons and 
organisations or otherwise however.

13. Power to accept gifts

(I) The Commission may accept gifts of land, money or other property on such terms
and conditions, if any, as may be specified by the person or organisation making the gift.

(2) The Commission shall not accept any gift if the conditions attached by the person
or organisation making the gift are inconsistent with the functions of the Commission.

14. Borrowing power, etc.

(I) The Council may, with the consent or in accordance with any specific authority
given by the Attorney-General of the Federation, borrow by way of loan or overdraft
from any source approved by the Attorney-General of the Federation, such specified
amount of money as may be required by the Commission for meeting its obligations and
discharging its functions under this Act.

(2) The Council may, subject to the provisions of this Act and the conditions of any
trust created in respect of any property, invest all or any of its funds with the like consent
or general authority of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

(3) The Council may invest any surplus funds of the Commission in securities prescribed by
the Trustee Investments Act or such other securities as may, from time to time,
be approved by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

(4) Subject to the provisions of the Land Use Act, and any special or general direction which
the Attorney-General of the Federation may give in that behalf, the Council
may acquire or lease any land required for its purpose under this Act.

[Cap. L5.]

15. Annual estimates, accounts and audit

(1) The Council shall cause to be prepared, not later than 30th September in each
year, an estimate of the expenditure and income of the commission during the next
succeeding year and when prepared they shall be submitted, through the Attorney-General of
the Federation, to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

(2) The Council shall cause to be kept proper accounts and proper records in relation
thereto and when certified by the Council such account shall be audited as provided in
subsection (3) ofthis section.

(3) The accounts of the Commission shall be audited by auditors appointed from the
list of auditors and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Auditor-General for
the Federation and the fees of the auditors and the expenses for the audit generally shall
be paid from the funds of the Commission.

16. Annual reports

The Council shall, not later than six months after the end of each year, submit,
through the Attorney-General of the Federation, to the President a report on the activities
of the Commission and its administration during the immediately preceding year and
shall include in the report the audited accounts of the Commission and the auditor's
comments thereon.

PART V

Miscellaneous

17. Power of the Attorney-General of the Federation to give directives

Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Attorney-General of the Federation may give
to the Council such directives of a general nature with regard to the exercise by the
Council of its functions under this Act.

18. Regulations

The Attorney-General of the Federation may make such regulations as he deems to be
necessary or expedient for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act.

19. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"Commission" means the National Human Rights Commission established under
section I (I) of this Act;

"Council" means the Governing Council established for the Commission under sec-
tion 2 (I) of this Act;

"President" means the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

20. Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Human Rights Commission Act.

SCHEDULE
[Section 2 (4).]

Supplementary provisions relating to the Council, etc.

Proceedings of the Council

1. (I) Subject to this Act and section 27 of the Interpretation Act, the Council may make
standing orders regulating its proceedings or those of any of its committees.

[Cap. 123.]

(2) The quorum of the Council shall be nine members, including the chairman or, in his
absence, the person elected under paragraph 2 (2) of this Schedule to preside, and seven other
members and the quorum of any committee of the Council shall be determined by the Council.

2. (I) The Council shall meet at least once a month in each calendar year and subject
thereto, the Council shall meet whenever it is summoned by the chairman, and if the chairman
is required to do so, by notice given to him by not less than four other members, he shall
summon a meeting of the Council to be held within fourteen days from the date on which the
notice is given.

(2) At any meeting of the Council, the chairman shall preside but if he is absent, the
members present at the meeting shall elect one of their number to preside at that meeting.

(3) Where the Council desires to obtain the advice of any person on a particular matter,
the Council may co-opt him to the Council for such period as it thinks fit, but a person who is
in attendance by virtue of this sub-paragraph shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the
Council and shall not count towards a quorum.

(4) The decision of the Council shall be by simple majority.

Committees

3. (l) The Council may appoint one or more committees to carry out, on behalf of the
Council, such of its functions as the Council may determine.

(2) A committee appointed under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall consist of
such number of persons (not necessarily members of the Council) as may be determined by
the Council, and a person other than a member of the Council shall hold office on the
committee in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

(3) A decision of a committee of the Council shall be of no effect until it is confirmed
by the Council.

MisceLLaneous

4. (I) The fixing of the seal of the Commission shall be authenticated by the signature of the
chairman or of any person specifically authorised to act for that purpose by the Council.

(2) Any contract or instruments which, if made or executed by a person, not being a
body corporate, would not be required to be under seal may be made or executed on behalf of
the Commission by the chairman or any person specifically authorised to act for that purpose
by the Council.

(3) Any document purporting to be a document duly executed under the seal of the
Commission shall be received in evidence and shall, unless and until the contrary is proved,
be presumed to be so executed.

(4). The validity of any proceedings of the Councilor of a committee thereof shall not be 
adversely affected by any vacancy in the membership of the Councilor committee, or by any
defect in the appointment of a member of the Councilor of a committee, or by reason that a
person not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings of the Councilor committee.

(5). Any member of the Councilor of a committee of the Council who has a personal interest
in any contract or arrangement entered into or proposed to be considered by the Councilor
committee shall disclose his interest to the Councilor committee and shall not vote on any
question relating to the contract or arrangement.

SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION

No SubsidiarLegislation