Human Rights: UN Chief Regrets Uncomplimentary Remarks about Nigeria, Apologises

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein wednesday, admitted he made an uncomplimentary remarks about Nigeria’s Human Rights status and consequently tendered an apology to the Federal government.
The envoy had recently described Nigeria as being an “uncooperative” member regarding human rights issues and also accused the nation of blocking multiple UN expert visits to human rights hot spots in Nigeria.

Al-Hussein’s apology was contained in a letter to Amb. Audu Kadiri, Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN Office and Other International Organisations (UNOG), in Geneva.

“In my oral update to the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on June 6, I had stated in error that Nigeria had only accepted one visit of special procedures in 2016 and the last previous visit was in 2017.
“Nigeria has received several special procedure mandate holders in past years.
“I deeply regret this unfortunate mistake and I trust that you will accept and convey to your government my sincere apology,” the letter read in part.

Responding, Amb. Kadiri acknowledged receiving the letter with reference number HC/17/36REV. 1. “I acknowledged receipt of the letter conveying your apology,” Kadiri said. The Federal Government had earlier expressed “deep displeasure” over Al-Hussein remarks.

Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sola Enikanolaiye, had registered Nigeria’s displeasure at the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a statement, Enikanolaiye said: “Nigeria has always cooperated with international experts and its committed to discharging its human rights obligations.
“This amounts to gross misrepresentation capable of eroding the confidence and credibility of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the eyes of Nigerians,” he said