The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Sunday, said it is not its duty to enforce the judgment of the court ordering the release of persons detained by the Nigerian Navy.
The human rights body stated this in a statement by its Director of Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, Lambert Oparah, in response to a letter written to it by human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN).
According to the NHRC, Falana’s attack on the commission over the continued detention of some 40 persons was unwarranted, adding that it cannot be blamed for the detentions.
Although, the statement condemned the alleged illegal detention, the NHRC added that the human rights lawyer did not show that he had approached the court to enforce the order directing the release of the detainees.
It would be recalled that Falana had threatened to sue the commission if it failed to secure the release of the detainees in an August 5, 2019 letter.
The statement reads in part: “The Commission also wishes to state unequivocally that although it is empowered to protect and enforce human rights, it does not have the mandate of enforcing court orders in a situation where counsel have the capacity to move the court to enforce its own orders made in favour of their clients.
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“It is the duty of counsel and the beneficiary of any court order to move the court to enforce its orders. Mr. Falana has not shown the commission that the court has been moved to Enforce the orders declaring the detention of the 40 persons illegal and the refusal of the Nigerian Navy to comply with the orders.
“The NHRC condemns the alleged non obedience of court order by the Nigerian navy as claimed by Mr. Falana SAN, all organs of government must be seen to respect the rule of law as required in all civilised societies, but the duty to enforce court orders lies with the court itself using the instrumentality of law enforcement agencies of the police.
“It is the hope of the commission that this type of unwarranted attack on the commission be discouraged by well-meaning Nigerians of which we view Mr. Falana SAN.”
The NHRC further disclosed that it had started treating Falana’s complaints and had sent separate letters to the lawyer and the Navy.
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