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Rights Violations: HURIWA backs Amnesty International

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*May drag FG to ICC if:
“The recently released yearly human rights reports by Amnesty International, the London based International Non-Governmental body which decried the high rates of extra-legal executions carried out by armed security forces amongst sundry gross human rights violations in Nigeria is the true reflection of the poor human rights record of the current Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.”
With the above statement, the pro-democracy and non-Governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has backed the United Kingdom’s based group even as it has asked the Nigerian state to rein in the killing machines that the armed security forces and police have become and ensure that alleged perpetrators of widespread extrajudicial killings amongst the security forces are named, shamed prosecuted and punished in the competent courts of law.
HURIWA alleged that there are killing machines operational amongst the different segments of the armed security forces mainly because these cells are underground and not accsessible to credible and independent local and international organisations. The group said it wrote a letter recently to the minister of justice and the National Assembly to compel law enforcement authorities with detention facilities to open them up for inspection at no notice by independent non governmental bodies but tje Rights group got no response.
HURIWA reiterated her condemnation of the two kangaroo presidential panels set up by the Army and the then Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo on human rights violations against the security forces which turned up a choreographed and highly fraudulently pre-determined outcomes in which the military were absolved of blame in the large scale cases of extralegal killings of both the unarmed members of the hurriedly proscribed indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and the detained suspected members of the boko haram terror group. The group therefore expressed joy that Amnesty international despite all threats, intimidations and hiring of amorphous groups of hungry unprincipled Protesters to blockade their national office in Abuja could muster courage to write a thoroughly researched and scienyifically provable reporys of grandscale human rights violations in Nigeria ladt year and this year.
The Rights group has in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf  faulted the criticism by the military’s high command of the well thought out and factually researched human rights violations by members of Nigeria’s armed security forces as reported by Amnesty international just as the Rights group lamented that the current government had embarked on a sinister plot to completely undermine the independence and powers of the National Human Rights Commission by failing to inaugurate a governing council and disobying the statutory provisions on funding autonomy.
HURIWA recalled that AMNESTY International Nigeria had accused the Nigerian Armed Forces of killing civilians under the guise of fighting herdsmen invading farming communities across the country.
HURIWA further recalled that the organization is demanding that: “The Nigerian authorities must investigate these attacks and, where these investigations indicate criminal responsibility, prosecute those responsible and bring them to justice.”
HURIWA quoted Amnesty International as affirming correctly that the Nigerian authorities’ response to communal violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective, and in some cases unlawful as clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna have resulted in 168 deaths in January 2018 alone.
HURIWA quoted Amnesty as saying thus: “The government must totally overturn its response to these deadly clashes to avoid this crisis getting out of control. They need to investigate and bring suspects to justice”.
HURIWA recalled that the UK group through her Nigerian office had claimed rightly so thus: “Launching air raids is not a legitimate law enforcement method by anyone’s standard. Such reckless use of deadly force is unlawful, outrageous and lays bare the Nigerian military’s shocking disregard for the lives of those it supposedly exists to protect,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria. Hundreds of people lost their lives last year, and the government is still not doing enough to protect communities from these violent clashes. Worse, the killers are getting away with murder.”
Amnesty observed that in some cases where the Nigerian security agencies did respond to communal violence, they used excessive or unlawful force resulting in even more deaths and destruction.”
HURIWA said that a press release made available to it amongst others stated that : “on 4 December 2017, Nigeria’s air force sent fighter jets to fire rockets at villages as a “warning” to deter spiralling communal violence, as hundreds of herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Adamawa state to avenge the massacre of up to 51 members of their community, mostly children, the previous month in Kikan. An Amnesty International team visited the villages in the aftermath of the air raids and gathered witness testimony from residents who described being attacked by a fighter jet and a military helicopter as they attempted to flee. The organization condemned the frequent deployment of soldiers to areas where there are communal clashes and pointed out that this has resulted in many cases of excessive use of force, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions throughout the country as a well as undermine the police.”
HURIWA noted that Amnesty International stated in the report that the Nigerian military is currently performing security operations in 30 out of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, often taking over routine policing duties; and frowned at government’s reliance on the military for help in handling what should be public order situations has also seriously undermined the role of the Nigerian police.
HURIWA said the group correctly faulted contradicting statements attributed to the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) Director of Public Relations, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, even as Amnesty International called on the Nigerian air force – which has received intensive training from the UK and US militaries in recent years –to hand over the footage of the incident and all relevant information to the authorities, including the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for investigation.”
HURIWA sait it aggrees with the UK founded group that the step by the Airforce of Nigeria is unlawful and amounted to excessive force on a catastrophic scale.
“HURIWA aggrees with Amnesty International’s  disclosure that the air raids occurred in the villages of Lawaru, Dong, Kodomti, Shafaron and Nzuruwei, where Amnesty International interviewed a total of 15 witnesses.Satellite and aerial imagery secured and analyzed by Amnesty International confirm the devastating cumulative effect of the herders and Air Force attacks, with at least eight villages heavily damaged or completely destroyed by fire”.
HURIWA notes with satisfaction that the video footage shot by Amnesty International shows the widespread destruction of homes reduced to charred rubble, twisted metal and ash in areas where the villagers said the rockets landed. Amnesty International’s team also filmed shrapnel gathered by villagers.
HURIWA therefore asked the Nigerian Attorney General to prosecute offenders or risked being reported to the international criminal court in The Hague Netherlands so the relevant military commanders responsible for these killings are prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

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Just in!! Why Buhari, Obasanjo shouldn’t be allowed to enter Igbo land – Sowore

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Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the last election, Omoyele Sowore, has berated Igbos for allowing President Muhammadu Buhari to campaign in the South East during the electioneering period.

Sowore said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Buhari do not deserve to enter the South East region because they participated in the civil war and killed so many Igbos.

He called on the Nigerian government to deliver justice for Biafrans.

Sowore made the call while responding to a question on the Biafran agitation when he spoke in a town hall meeting organised by the Take It Back Movement in Greece.

Sowore said, “People are agitating for Biafra because they are looking for justice, the kind of justice that eluded them before the war, during the war and after the war.

“If they are guaranteed the justice that they are looking for, Nigeria is too small for Igbos. Igbos have conquered the world in terms of sports, business and professionalism.

“There is nowhere you go to in America that you don’t find them in health care and sports, the same with the Yoruba and the Hausa but in their situation, the Igbo’s were unjustly oppressed, killed, destroyed and emasculated within the Nigerian nation.

The biggest error, however, is that Biafran leaders are very quick to vote for people who participated in the war.

“Didn’t Buhari participate in the war? Why was he allowed to even campaign in the East? Didn’t Obasanjo participate in the war?

“Every time there is an opportunity to have a new President that comes from the South-east, the first people they will bring to reject it are South-easterners. When Babangida wanted to leave, it was Nzeribe who said he must stay forever.

“When Abacha wanted to remain in power, they brought strong men for the East to endorse his continued stay. When Obasanjo wanted to elongate his tenure for three terms, it was one Odumegwu who used to be in Nigerian Breweries that was leading the agenda.

“But my question is, why can’t we find someone from the South-east who can do a better job?

“Why are they ahead of everybody saying this Yoruba person must not leave power, when is power going to reach the South East if each time there is an opening, you say the person who is there must continue?

“We must review the position of these leaders.

“The conversation about Biafra must be about how we can save our general humanity,” he concluded.

 

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Boko Haram bombs football viewing center in Maiduguri, policeman, 4 others killed

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Boko Haram suicide bombers hits a football viewing centre in Madari ward, Konduga local government area of Borno state on Sunday.

ndigbo news report that the two suicide bombers attacked the viewing centre around 8:30pm, killing five people including a policeman while 35 persons sustained injuries.

The the injured victims are currently being treated at an undisclosed hospital in the town.

Bello Danbatta, head of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), confirmed the attack to TheCable but could not give casualty figure.

He said information would be released on Monday.

“We can’t go to Konduga now. That’s until tomorrow,” he said when contacted.

The chief of army staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has earlier said that the Boko Haram terrorist group has been defeated, that they can no longer carry out attacks in the North-east again.

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CJN Onnoghen’s Removal shows Nigerian Judiciary is not independent — EU

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The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU-EOM) at the weekend says the removal of CJN Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria shows that the Nigerian Judiciary is not independent.

The EU in its final report on the 2019 general elections said the 25th January, 2019, “controversial order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal” and suspension of the CJN which threw up Justice Tanko Muhammad as acting CJN, “is subject to question”.

According to the EU: “The ability of the judiciary to work independently was questioned when, three weeks before the scheduled election day, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (Walter Onnoghen) was suspended by the President. The suspension did not follow due process, was divisive, and to some extent undermined confidence in the electoral process and opportunity for remedy”.

According to the body, “the Constitution requires any infraction by judges to first be investigated and resolved by the National Judicial Council (NJC), to the exclusion of any other body or authority, and removal requires approval of two-thirds of the Senate.

“The EU-EOM noted its concern over both the timing and process of the suspension in a statement on 26 January. The mission observed that questionable procedures were followed by the CCT.

“During on-going post-election sessions of the Tribunal, the chair was observed to behave inappropriately, with insufficient time granted to the defence team and threats made to journalists.

“On 3rd April, the NJC recommended the compulsory retirement of the suspended CJN.

“In contrast to previous decisions, the council also concluded that the acting CJN did not commit any offence when he was sworn-in without the recommendation of the council.

“The following day, the Chief Justice submitted his request for retirement to the president. On 18 April, the CCT convicted the suspended Chief Justice, who immediately submitted an appeal to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the Tribunal case was unconstitutional and without a fair hearing.

“The removal of the CJN during the elections had an inhibiting effect on the judiciary. It was seen by many as undermining security of tenure, damaging judicial independence and compromising the division of powers”.

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Buhari approves N208bn for upgrade of varsities

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday has approved N208 billion for the upgrade of federal universities across the country.

Represented by Sonny Echono, permanent secretary of the education ministry at the 23rd convocation of the University of Abuja, Buhari said Nigeria could overcome its challenges by developing its human capital.

He said his administration would continue to address the concerns of the tertiary institutions.

“The present administration will continue to improve on the infrastructural facilities in the universities, promote teacher development and curriculum review,” Buhari said.

“It is in furtherance of this that I recently approved the disbursement of N208bn to public tertiary institutions under the 2019 intervention of the TETFUND.

“The ability of Nigeria with its huge population to overcome its present challenges of development no longer depends on petroleum resources but on the ability of the country to develop its human capital.

“The government will continue to look into the issues raised by the universities.”

He added that the government would “monitor the universities closely”

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Keyamo accuses EU of bias, says their report is inconclusive

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The All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, has accused the European Union Election observers of bias, says their reports on the 2019 general elections is not balanced and conclusive.

Addressing newsmen after EU briefing on Saturday, the spokesperson for the Campaign Organization, Festus Keyamo said the EU observers report only focuses on areas where some few anomalies occurred during the election while they failed to discuss the overall results coming from the entire country.

Reacting he said, “The result reflects the overall wishes of Nigerians, that was the report by so many observers, if you are an observer you should come to a definitive conclusion, don’t be dodgy about it, don’t run away from that fact because we have 120,000 polling units across the country and in all their report I don’t think they discussed at most 500 polling units.

“If you observed certain anomalies, it could not have been more than 500 or 1000 polling units and if you do observe anomalies in those polling units, how does that substantially affect results coming from 120,000 polling unit?

“So it is not enough for you to discuss the anomalies, they must discuss the overall results coming from the entire country and whether it did reflect the wishes of the people.

“This is what we want to know because they have problems in the US elections, there are problems in the EU and even UK elections.

“For Christ sake, we need a detailed analysis to come to a definitive conclusion about the overall result of the election,” he said.

Recall that the European Union Mission (EU EOM) had in their reports stressed the need to urgently improve the electoral process in Nigeria.

The EU EOM Chief Observer, Maria Arena, ststed on Saturday in Abuja at a news conference on the release of the final report of the 2019 General Elections.

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Residents flee as foreign herdsmen take over Oyo, Ogun forest reserves

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Foreign Fulani herdsmen have reportedly taken over Opara Forest Reserve in Oyo State and Imeko Forest Reserve in Ogun State.

Some residents of Imeko, Iwoye and Jabata said the invasion of the herdsmen has been a major source of concern to them, alleging that the herdsmen allowed their animals to destroy people’s farms while grazing in the areas.

According to The Punch, one of the residents of Iwoye, Adeyemi Olaosebikan said that inhabitants of Jabata village in the Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State had deserted their community following the killing of some indigenes during an attack.

He said residents fled the community in May after four persons were killed in the community, adding that residents of other border communities were now living in fear.

Olaosebikan stated, “Herdsmen from many countries in West Africa have taken over the Opara Forest Reserve in Oyo State and Imeko Forest Reserve in Ogun State. Their presence there is causing fear among the people.

“In fact , resident have deserted Jabata Village which is in Imeko Afon. Imeko Forest Reserve should be twice the size of Ibadan. It is 378 square miles. The Opara Forest Reserve is almost three times bigger than Imeko Reserve.

“Government is watching herdsmen from Bukina Faso, Mali and other countries taking over an area that is that large . The forest reserves belong to the Federal Government but state forest guards are the ones taking care of them. However, it is obvious that the forest guards are not doing anything there. So, this invasion is a time bomb.”

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Igbo presidency doesn’t exist – Okorocha

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Senator Rochas Okorocha has called on people from the South-East region of Nigeria to abandon hopes of clinching Nigeria’s top job in the future.

He said this while speaking to newsmen shortly after he was sworn in as a Senator on Thursday in Abuja.

Okorocha said the rotation of power will not get to the South-east because, “Power is not given, power is taken.”

His words:, “The South East cannot just fold their arms and expect power to be given to them just because you want power. Power does not go with sentiment some of the times, it’s on issues on the ground.

Democracy is about the people and the South East alone cannot make themselves president. So you cannot be talking about Igbo presidency, it doesn’t exist. .

We may be talking about Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction but that depends on what other geopolitical zones think about the issue.

For me, what is important is let power be given to somebody who has something ‘upstairs’ who can put food on the table of common man, irrespective of religion or where you come from.

There is a need for the Igbo to mend fences. We are neither here nor there politically. We are not in the ruling party or are we making an impact on the opposition. So, there is a need for us to get married to the rest of the nation politically.”

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Gorilla accused of swallowing N6.8m in Kano

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A finance officer in Kano Zoological Gardens have accused gorilla of swallowing N6.8 million. BBC Pidgin reports

He was quoted as saying the gorilla sneaked into an office and carted away the money before swallowing it.

Umar Kobo, the managing director of the zoo, confirmed that the money is missing and that the issue is being investigated.

“The issue is under investigations for now and I don’t want to say anything on the matter, many journalists have come to meet me but I don’t want to say anything. What I can confirm is that money is missing,” he told the BBC Pidgin.

Attempt to reach Abdullahi Haruna, police spokesman in Kano, for comments was not successful according to TheCable.

He was, however, quoted as confirming that 10 persons, including those on duty when the money went missing, have been arrested.

“Yes, it is true that money from five days of Sallah festivities is missing from the Kano zoo,” he reportedly said, adding: “As at now, we have arrested 10 members of staff of the zoo including the security man and those working in the finance unit.

This is not the first time animals have been accused of swallowing millions of naira in Nigeria.

In February last year, Philomina Chieshe, a sales clerk in the office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Benue state, alleged that a snake swallowed N36m, being proceeds from sale of scratch card.

Also, Shehu Sani, a former senator, once said monkeys carted away N70 million belonging to northern senators.

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