The Bauchi State office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has revealed that it received no fewer than 814 human rights complaints between January and November this year, out of which over 400 were on sexual and gender based violence.
The State Coordinator of the Commission, Barrister Dala Yachit, made the revelation at a one-day public lecture on “ICT as an instrument for enhancing national security and economic recovery”.
The lecture, organised by Youth and Civil Society Coalition for Development (YCSCD) in collaboration with the National Information Technology Agency, was held on Monday at for North-East states.
Responding to a comment made by the representative of the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Yachit said that crimes had to be fought within the ambits of the law, noting that the Police Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 were there to guide the police in the discharge of their work.
“In fighting crime, you must do that within the law. The (National) Human Rights Commission is not stopping the police from carrying out her lawful activities but you must do it in line with the law, what the Police Act says you can do and what you can’t do and what the Administration of Criminal Justice Act says.
“Even arrests, how do you arrest? You must tell a person why you are arresting him. You don’t handcuff, you don’t subject the person to inhuman treatment. Arrest someone in line with the law and treat him with dignity,” Yachit, who was the chairperson on the occasion, said.
The NHRC State Coordinator asserted that the police does not have to forcefully elicit information from a suspect, submitting that, “that information you want, if the law says don’t forcefully check someone’s phone and you do that, I can assure you, when you go to court, that evidence will be thrown out of the court because you did not access that document through the legal means.”
She informed that through the commission’s cordial working relationship, awareness and sensitisation, complaints against police personnel in the state had gradually reduced.
“For example, when we came in 2019, most people did not know much about human rights in Bauchi, we started in February and by the end of that year, we had just 72 complaints and out of those 72 complaints, over 50 were against police officers.
“Last year, it was the same thing, but because of the sensitisation and awareness to the people, as of Thursday last week, we had 814 human rights complaints, just in Bauchi and out of this, over 400 were on sexual and gender based violence.
“So, you can see the reduction of complaints against police officers and it is because of our working relationship and the awareness and sensitisation,” she said.
Yachit declared that every aspect of human life had to do with human rights, adding that ICT plays a vital role in human rights as it could not be removed from human rights.
She said “ICT opens doors and creates avenues for a lot of information. It is through ICT that we get to know what is going on regarding human rights.
“You can beam the searchlight on human rights abuses, you can get in touch with victims of human rights abuses. So, you can’t remove ICT from human rights.”
Speaking earlier, the National President of the group, Aminu Aminu informed that YCSCD was formed with a view to seeking ways for youths to contribute to the development of the country.
“With the recent issues of insecurity happening across the country and the economic fallout, we decided to go round the country to sensitise the youth on the need for them to be proactive and contribute to national development,” he said.