Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, has vowed that the commission would defend the fundamental human rights of law-abiding Nigerians from being violated by public institutios, no matter how powerful.
He stated this yesterday while receiving a petition against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas; Managing Director of Naval Building and Construction Company Ltd, Commodore Abdul Adamu and men and officers of the Nigerian Navy from an aggrieved staff of an Abuja-based construction company alleging impunity, violations of their rights and even threats to their lives.
The petition was presented by Prince Leye Adetipe, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lexy Nigeria Limited, who led the angry staff of the company to the national headquarters of NHRC alleging human rights violations, breach of contractual agreement between Lexy Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Navy and the group wants the commission to investigate and address the situation urgently.
According to the petition, the two parties, Lexy Nigeria Limited and Naval Building and Construction Company Ltd, entered into a Joint Venture Agreement to develop Navy Town Estate in Asokoro District of Abuja covering a total area of 95 hectares after a Board Resolution of the Nigerian Navy Holdings Limited was passed to this effect.
At this time, the present Chief of Naval Staff was the Group Managing Director of the Navy Holdings Limited. Every agreement was sealed and out of 172 units, the construction company said 143 units are at advanced stage.
But the company is alleging that when the then GMD of NNHL became Chief of Naval Staff, things changed as the navy authorites is allegedly trying to manipulate the Lexy Nigeria Limited out of the contract by using one of the contractors Lexy Nigeria Limited hired to work on the property but who is now being used and protected by the Nigerian Navy against the terms of the contract.
Staff of the construction company have been beaten up and chased out of estate by a detachment of Naval Force personnel wielding guns and whips.
Professor Angwe expressed appreciation to the complainants for seeking the help of the Commission rather than resorting to self help. He added that “Our primary interest rests where allegations of human rights are channeled to the Commission”.
According to the Executive Secretray, “The accused are by design human rights defenders. It will be sad if they are seen to be violating human rights of Nigerians. However, I assure you that the commission will study the petition and give the other parties fair hearing with a view to determining the nature of the conflict and then seek to address the issues. We will confront them with the fact. There is no person or authority that is above the law.
“We are determined that the Commission will protect the rights of Nigerians, put an end to impunity and defend Nigerians human rights. The commission will investigate without fear or favour”, he said.
He equally added that the Commission would carry out on th spot assessment of the property in question, saying that, “Nigerians have the right to own property and such right should not be violated. All parties should therefore exercise restraints in order to avoid violence of any kind to individuals or groups as the petition suggested”.

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