2 Nigerian lawyers to assist in probing rights abuses in US


By Chinyere Omeire

Lagos, Jan. 18, 2021 The African Bar Association (AFBA) has appointed two Nigerian lawyers as Technical Advisers to the International Commission of Inquiry into alleged systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States.

Spokesman for AFBA, Mr Osa Director, said in a statement that the two appointees – Mr Promise Asikpo and Ms. Faith Onyekperem – would act as Technical Assistants to the AFBA President, Mr Hannibal Uwaifo, who was appointed a commissioner in the commission.

According to the statement, Asikpo will be coming with his wealth of experience in human rights and access to justice, while Onyekperem has vast experience in justice administration, legal secretarial service and compliance law.

The International Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to open its Hearings on Jan. 18, 2021 and close on Feb. 6, 2021.

The commission’s hearings will be virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions and will be broadcast live via zoom.

The 12 Human Rights Commissioners will be divided into six teams which will hear the victims’ lawyers, family members, community representatives and acknowledged experts and upon the conclusion of the inquiry, the commission will transmit its Final Report to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for necessary action.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, The National Conference of Black Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild of the U.S had in June 2020 set up the Internal Commission of Inquiry following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, US.

Meanwhile some lawyers have commended the setting up of the commission of inquiry, saying that it would put other nations on their toes to address all forms of human rights violence.

Mrs Chidera Agbom, a lawyer, said the fact that the findings of the commission would be submitted to the office of UNHRC was a step in the right direction.

“This would provide an invaluable information for investigating and addressing human rights violation globally by UNHRC,” Agbom said.

Also, Mr Kingsley Usiagu, a lawyer at CLP law firm, Ikoyi, Lagos, said: “Nigeria will definitely have a lot to learn from the recommendations of the Commission on addressing systemic violence by law enforcement agencies.

“Racism in the United States is analogous to tribalism in Nigeria, a bane that must to be eradicated.”