By Gabriel Ameh, The Sight News
ABUJA: European Union (EU) has concluded plans to provide basic social service support to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable group in the country.
This was disclosed by the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria Ketil Karlsen on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at a dialogue on Human Rights held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) conference hall in Abuja, Nigeria.
The dialogue was jointly presided over by the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and the Head of European delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen.
Karlsen stated that the EU has helped to return 16,102 Nigerians in 2019 back home and provided them with new opportunities.
“Consequently, the EU has also engaged in political dialogue and developmental cooperation programmes in Nigeria with about 87 million human rights issues ongoing, established 15 sexual assault referral centres in Nigeria, launched the sexual offenders register in 2019, supporting the correctional services, providing aid to stranded Nigerians in Libya and as at today the EU has helped to return 16,102 Nigerians back home and providing them with new opportunities”, he said.
While noting the above, the Ambassador said the dialogue was an opportunity for them to discuss about the insecurity in Nigeria with particular reference to the northeast and the need for humanitarian aid to the IDPs, adding that an estimated number of 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and the EU is looking at how it can provide best human rights condition for such victims of conflict.
In his remark, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama while speaking with the journalist, said the partnership and dialogue between the EU and Nigeria on human rights matters is a good one, adding that the federal government of Nigeria has the obligation and desire to promote and respect the human rights of Nigerians.
He further noted that human rights is the bedrock of Nigerian democracy with both the legal and regulatory framework and has done a lot to put in place a robust legislature in the field of human right and institution buildings, like human right Commission and NGOs that are monitoring and tracking the observance of human right activities in the country.
He stated also, that they have introduced the human rights desk in the ministry of defence and other security forces in the country to institutionalise the culture of respect to human rights in various agencies, especially the security agencies.
While responding to the question from the press on specific issues discussed at the dialogue meeting, Onyeama noted as follows, “The reform of the judicial and implementation of the administration of Criminal Justice Act, Torture, Human rights and counter – terrorism, women rights, gender based violence (fight against all forms of violence), gender equality and empowerment, female genital mutilation, children’s right (Health, Education) child marriage, the impact of corruption, youth empowerment, right of persons with disabilities and human rights of older persons and ageing amongst others”.
The Minister finally appreciated the input of partners such as, the European Union and their contribution to human rights in Nigeria.
The meeting was attended by Permanent Secretaries, Stakeholders and Staff of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.