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NHRC to engage lawmakers on decriminalization of IDPs offences

The National Human Rights Commission says it will engage state legislators in the north east to decriminalize minor offences perpetrated by Internally Displaced Persons and other vulnerable groups in the region.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu stated this during stakeholders sensitization on Decriminalization of petty offences in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

The National Human Rights Commission in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR is currently implementing a project of monitoring and documenting human rights and humanitarian challenges of IDPs in the northeast.

He said the commission identified issues with violation of rights of displaced persons and other vulnerable groups regarding minor offences such as hawking, loitering, failure to pay dept and disobedient to parents.

Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission Tony Ojukwu said the Commission through Human Rights Monitors conduct regular visits to correctional centers, police and military detention facilities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states and discover that IDPs are kept in detention over minor offences.

The Executive Secretary represented by the Director Women, Children and Vulnerable groups, Harry Ogwuche noted that the IDPs are exposed to many risk while in the facilities.

Ojukwu advocated alternative laws to decongest some of the detention centres for petty offenders. 

The Executive Secretary stressed the need to create an environment that would care for the needs of displaced persons as they are prone to unwanted behaviour.

Gender Desk Officer, Borno state Police Command Superintendent, Mary Stephen expressed the determination of the command to reduce number of people in their custody.

She however called for the involvement of communities in decriminalization of minor offences.

The five-day programme is expected to identify better ways of enhancing access to justice to persons of concern, examine issues surrounding gender-base violence, address issues of supervision and remand in correctional facilities and give special consideration to children in conflict situation.

Dauda Iliya

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