Experts to Develop Framework for Transitional Justice in North-east

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

A group of Senior Legal Academics, Solicitor Generals/Permanent Secretaries and personalities from related fields have converged in Abuja to develop a suitable framework for a successful transitional justice programme in north-eastern Nigeria.

The strategic experts’ meeting for the development of transitional justice framework is one of the activities under a project titled: “Promoting Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe State.” The project is being implemented by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Partnership with United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the European Union (EU).

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Chief Tony Ojukwu, while delivering a welcome address at the meeting said the Commission was pleased to host the highest level of experts as far as justice machinery in the three states of Adamawa Borno and Yobe was concerned.

Ojukwu, who was represented at the event by his Senior Special Adviser, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna who also doubles as the Project Coordinator, stated that: “It is highly imperative to design a framework that will best suit the communities ravaged by insurgency,” noting that, “the framework should be in conformity with the values, beliefs, culture and tradition of the people, this will make it easy for the community to adapt.”

He also stressed that, “the framework must be predicated on the principles of natural justice, fair hearing, victim justice, survivor justice, equality etc.”

In his remark, the representative of the UNDP, Mr. Elia Von Rota applauded the effort of the Commission in bringing such calibre of intellectuals together to develop the framework, saying he would be pleased to be an observer at the meeting.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of Adamawa State Samuel Yaumande, said the initiative was the first of its kind in the North-east. He pointed out the need to have in place an effective justice system that would reconcile and reintegrate members of communities who have experienced gross human rights violations as a result of the insurgency.

He advised that, “in designing the framework, it is necessary to take into consideration the need of the victims to enable them pick up their pieces of lives and move forward.”

Similarly, his Yobe State Counterpart Hajiya Kadija Alkali said the programme could not have come at a better time than now, due to the recent massive surrender of many insurgents.

She said, “there is need for everyone to embrace the transitional justice and reconciliation approach, because it gives hope for peace to reign among the members of the community.”

She called on the experts to make concerted efforts towards having a perfect framework that will serve as a guideline to achieve lasting peace in the region.

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