OKECHUKWU OJUKWU: The Man The Cap Fits

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The management and staff of RegentAfrica Times Newspapers, has congratulated the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu (SAN), on the conferment of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on him by the federal government of Nigeria.

In a congratulatory press statement made available to the press on Wednesday, the Publisher and the Editor-in-Chief, RegentAfrica group of Newspapers, Mr Shola Akingboye, on behalf of the management and editorial board of the company, describes the conferment as honour long overdue given Ojukwu’s mix of academic excellence in legal studies, cum carrier progression at the NHRC switchboard among others.

According to the statement, the publisher maintained further that, the dogged human rights advocate has indeed proved his mettle before his appointment to lead the foremost agency, overseeing the right to life and freedom of the masses.

It reads: “The Ojukwu we know has had his shot virtually at all the strategic positions at the NHRC until his appointment to lead the apex human rights commission.

“His experience and verifiable achievements have spoken for him as far as this honour of becoming a SAN are concerned.

“Ojukwu as the ES inherited NHRC at a time the nation witnessed the worst human rights record. A record akin to the military era; and no thanks to the insurgency, arm banditry and lately the legacy of crisis emanated from the EndSARS protests. This, the Commission under Ojukwu has had the running battle to contain on all fronts in the defence of the rights of the citizenry.

“Implications of the current crisis on the child rights, the alarming rate of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), are among several unending human rights waves of abuse across the country at the mercy of NHRC to battle, despite the paucity of funds to tackle challenges emanated from the protracted insurgency, arm banditry.

“But the untiring efforts of the Commission under Ojukwu’ watch to nip some of this variance in the bud, no doubt is recognised by the authority to honour him. An honour well deserved so to speak.

Moreover, it would also be recalled that it is under Anthony Ojukwu, as the ES; that NHRC eventually had a Governing Board after years of operation without a board in place.

“We at RegentAfrica though believes the SAN conquered on him is coming rather late and long overdue, but it is rather late than never.

“Ojukwu is widely known to be an avowed human rights defender and committed to the improvement of systems, services and working conditions at the NHRC

“It is on this note, that the editorial board at RegentAfrica publications, commends the federal government for honouring Tony Ojukwu.

“We, therefore, extends our sincere congratulations to the fearless man at the helm of affairs of the National Human Rights Commission”. The statement reads.

It would be recalled that Ojukwu among other notable Nigerians was elevated to the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in October 2021, hence the ceremony proper on Wednesday 8 of December 2021, as the activist was decorated at the august ceremony in Abuja.

Before his appointment, he was the Director Monitoring, onetime Director Legal services, Director Protection and Investigation and Director Executive Secretary’s office, of the Commission.

He was also a former Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and also a onetime Administrative Secretary of the defunct National Electoral Commission in Imo State.

He has 32 years post call to bar experience out of which 17 years have been spent in the Commission.

This Experiences cut across prosecution of cases, elections management and private legal practice. He acquired a Masters degree in Law from the University of Lagos in 1988 having acquired his first degree in law from the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, in 1985.

He has also attended several Human Rights Training Institutions and obtained certificates from Public Administration International London (2003) and International Human Rights Training Program, Equitas Canada (2007).

Amongst Other positions held before his present position in the Commission, including the Special Assistant to the then Executive Secretary of the Commission, pioneer Head of the Monitoring and External Programs Department and subsequently the Zonal Coordinator of the South-South Zonal Office of the Commission in Port Harcourt.