By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja – The Chairman of the Charles Ugomuoh Foundation , Dr Charles Ugomuoh AIG (rtd) has pointed out some lacuna in the provisions of some key laws which deal with the financial institutions in Nigeria.
The observation was pointed on Tuesday during a working visit the Foundation undertook to the National Human Rights Commission where it was received by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu.
Chairman of the Foundation, Dr Charles Ugomuoh during the visit pointed out that the banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2020 contains provisions that voided the jurisdiction of the court in a case that may involve the revocation of bank licences.
His words “Today, there are material saddening echoes regarding the inclusions of ouster clauses in Acts of the Nigerian National Assembly. Some of the Laws go deed in excluding the applicability of existing laws and ousting jurisdictions of courts. A recent case in point is the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Acts 2020 which contains extensive Provisions voiding the jurisdiction of the court in event banking license revocation, and voiding the applicability of the Consumer Protection Act, and the Companies and Allied Matters Acts 2020 among other. It went ahead to reduce the utility age of the chair in justice of the Tribunal established by it, from 70 to 65 years. There are other numerous provisions in this Act, that portends danger for the economy.
“A pertinent question has consequently arisen as to how do we regulate the regulators? Activities of most regulators tend to be partisan and violate the economic human rights of citizens”.
“There are considerable indications that other enforcement agencies are not insulated from human rights violations, either. The complaints against the Nigerian Police Force is ongoing. The activities of even the traffic warden that lay siege on hapless motorist is of concern, neither is that of Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIOs. The Federal Road Safety, FRSC offices are currently agitating to carry arms. There seems to be a craze by all to carry arms. These law enforcement operatives are in direct contact with Nigerians that need protection and fair treatment. They need not display untoward acts of violence on the society”. Ugomuoh stressed.
He also expressed concern over “the endless practice of delayed and open –ended ‘investigations’ by the security agencies, how can time limits be imposed on when an investigation starts and when it should end? How do we ensure compliance with the human rights provisions of the Police Act, 2020? What of the examination body that refuses to be transparent in the publication of the results of its examinations? What do we do about establishments which employments systems are opaque? The list is endless, but we can start from any few”.
The Foundation also listed the areas it can partner with the Commission to checkmate the issues of Human Rights as follows:
Develop an App for tracking complaints made by Nigerians to the Commission
Develop an App Real-Time Location-Specific transmission of complaints to the Commission with capacity to link concerned persons monitoring authority
Disseminate the lofty Human Rights Protection Provisions in the Police Act 2020
Ensure amendment to laws and policies that have the potency of orchestrating the violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
Responding to the CUG Foundation, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Okechukwu Ojukwu lamented that while the COVID-19 was killing Nigerians, it was the NHRC report that revealed that law enforcement agents that have the constitutional duty to protect the citizens also killed 14 people in its effort at enforcing the COVID-19.
According to Ojukwu, that singular report from the Commission turned the scale of monitoring and reduced the level of violations that characterised the enforcement of COVID-19.
In reaction to another salient issue, the Executive Secretary described as marvelous the Human Rights provision in the Police Act 2020, stressing that the Commission was willing to work with the Foundation in that regard because according to him, the Commission is yet to commence highlighting of these issues which forms the core of interest of the Ugomuoh Foundation.