Other non-judicial means of defending human rights

You might want to challenge human rights violation or cases of injustice without instituting any action in court. Below are some institutions that provide non-judicial remedies for human rights violations.


Complaints to the Public Complaints Commission or the Nigerian Ombudsman

The Public Complaints Commission is an agency of government set up to redress complaints lodged by aggrieved citizens or residents of Nigeria against administrative injustice. Its function is to investigate complaints against action or inaction of the government, of local government and of state owned or private companies. The Commission can entertain complaints of injustice, corruption, unfair treatment and abuse of office by public officers and civil servants.


What is the Commission empowered to do?

  • Evaluate grievances and complaints of citizens against public servants.
  • Investigate such cases of corruption, bribery and nepotism against public servants.
  • Help redress the abuses suffered by the citizens in the hands of public servants.


Who can administrative actions be taken against by the Commission?

  • Any department of the federal or state government.
  • Any department of any local government authority.
  • Statutory Corporation or public institution set up by any government of Nigeria.
  • Any company incorporated under or pursuant to the Companies and Allied Matters Act whether owned by any government aforementioned or by private individuals in Nigeria.
  • Any officer of servant of any of the aforementioned bodies.


What complaints can the Commission handle?

The types of complaints accepted by the Commission include, and are not limited to:

  • Complaints against PHCN, NIPOST or any other agency that offer services to citizens.
  • Wrongful dismissal or termination of appointment.
  • Non-payment of pensions and gratuities.
  • Non-payment of retirement benefits.


How can I lodge my complaints before the Commission?

You can lodge your complaints by writing a letter addressed to the Ombudsman Office of the Public Complaints Commission office in your state. You may also visit the office to lodge your complaint.

The letter of complaint should contain detailed information and state the reasons for your complaint, whom you are complaining against, dates or events relevant to the complaint and the redress you seek.

For more information on the how to reach the Public Complaints Commission for your state, visit for details such as address, email and phone numbers.

A real-life case:


A letter of complaint dated August 15th 2015 was submitted to the Anambra state branch office of the Public Complaints Commission against the management of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka. The Complainant alleged that the University refused to release her Bachelor of Engineering Certificate. The petition was successful upon investigation by the Ombudsman officers.


What challenges may I face in making my complaints to the Commission?

The Commission is empowered to investigate complaints made by aggrieved individuals. However, it cannot enforce decisions like a court of law. Thus, a major challenge is that upon investigating and directing any authority to set things right for the complainant, such authority may prolong the implementation of directives given by the Commission.


Complaints to the National Human Rights Commission

The National Human Rights Commission is established for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria, and to investigate human rights violations.

If you feel your rights have been violated, you can file a complaint to the Commission.


What is the Commission empowered to do?

The Commission’s functions include:

  • Investigation of all matters relating to the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • Monitoring and investigating all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the federal government for prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance.
  • Assisting victims of human rights violations, and seeking appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf.

How can I lodge complaints of human rights violation to the Commission?

  • You can access the complaint form here. The form requires you fill personal information and all details related to what happened, the facts and what you are asking the commision to do (remedies). You can also visit the state branches of the National Human Rights Commission to lodge the complaint. The details of the state branches ( address, state coordinator, phone numbers and email) can be accessed on
  • Make sure you have the necessary evidence and supply information to back up your claims that your rights have been violated.

The commission does not enforce their decisions but it facilitates prosecution of human rights violations and ensures victims seek and get appropriate remedies for such breaches.

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