Month: October 2017

Despite Inspector General’s order, Abuja police announce continuation of road blocks

The police in Abuja say they will continue to barricade roads across the Federal Capital Territory, citing soaring criminal activities.

Anjuguri Manzah, spokesperson for the FCT command, said officers have been ordered to “embark on vigorous stop and search along the highways,” as part of police’s response to rising cases of criminality in Abuja and its environs.

The announcement appeared to counter the order of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for immediate demolition of all roadblocks across the country.

“IGP Ibrahim Idris has ordered the dismantling of all roadblocks nationwide with immediate effect; particularly on the following routes, Lagos-Ibadan, Shagamu-Benin, Benin-Onitsha, Okene-Abuja, Kaduna-Kano, Katsina – Kano, Otukpo – Enugu, Enugu – Port Harcourt Express Ways. The directives became necessary to enable ease of doing business in Nigeria, safeguard, and guarantee free passage of goods and travellers throughout the country.

“To this end, no Police department, section, squad or unit should mount roadblock without the express permission of the Inspector General of Police,” police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement late Monday.

In his Wednesday statement, Mr. Manzah said the FCT command is “poised to take necessary action to stem the tide” of car theft and other activities of petty criminals.

Mr. Manzah did not say if the command had been exempted from the IGP’s latest ordinance to formations across the country.

Mounting roadblocks has been a matter of immense controversy for decades, with many rights activists describing it as illegal and a means of extortion.

Almost all Inspectors-General of Police within the past 20 years have ordered the removal of roadblocks, yet the practice failed to take hold.

Mr. Manzah gave several tips to vehicle owners across the federal capital, which include parking their automobiles at safe places and ensuring they’re properly locked with immobilisers if equipped with such measures.

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Nine members of the UN Human Rights Council accused of violating human rights

Twenty-nine countries are said to retaliate against citizens that help the United Nations with its human rights work in those countries, according to a new UN report.

In previous reports, an average of 15 countries were listed, and never more than 20. This is a record.

The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) issued the eighth annual report about the condition of the people working with it to identify human rights violations around the world.

It was reported to OHCHR that these people had been abducted, detained, held incommunicado, or had disappeared, according to Andrew Gilmour, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

Other victims lost their jobs, had their homes or offices raided, were targeted by travel bans and asset freezes, as well as being forced to undergo unwanted psychiatric “treatment.” Many cases involved arbitrary detention and torture, sometimes by sexual assault or rape.

Nine of the 29 countries listed are actually members of the Human Rights Council, a Geneva-based group made up of 47 UN member countries. These are Burundi, Egypt, Rwanda, Cuba, Venezuela, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Gilmour said: “It is frankly nothing short of abhorrent that, year after year, we are compelled to present cases of intimidation and reprisals carried out against people whose crime – in the eyes of their Governments – was to cooperate with UN institutions and mechanisms.” .

China and Saudi Arabia have been on the list six out of eight years.

Mr Gilmour said it was “grotesque and entirely contrary to the Charter and spirit of the United Nations and particularly this Council” that people were punished for helping the UN.

None of the countries in question that were contacted for comment have responded as yet.

The report, though extensive, does not report on all incidents revealed to the OHCHR for confidentiality and safety reasons.

It also only covers people who were actively working with the UN and Mr Gilmour warned the report only “represent[ed] only a small portion of a far more generalised backlash against civil society.”

As Mr Gilmour noted, however, many of the offending countries “justified” actions against activists by labelling them as terrorists or threats to the state for cooperating with a foreign entity, even though that entity is the UN.

“I think we should see these individuals as the canary in the coal-mine, bravely singing until they are silenced by this toxic backlash against people, rights and dignity – as a dark warning to us all.”

The other 20 countries in the report were Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Honduras, Iran, Israel, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Burma, Oman, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

This week is the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting where 193 countries’ leaders converge.

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Judge accused of corruption received suspicious payments from individuals, govts, groups — EFCC official

Awoyemi Kazeem, a Chief Accountant at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Friday revealed at an Ikeja High Court the salaries and allowances of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia at her ongoing trial for alleged corruption and obstruction of justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Kazeem is the 11th prosecution witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to testify against Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

Mr. Kazeem, in his evidence, revealed that Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia, initially received a salary of N193,000 in 2004 on appointment as a judge which was increased to approximately N528,621 in 2008.

While being led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecution counsel for the EFCC, Kazeem said: “I know Hon. Ofili-Ajumogobia very well, she is a honourable judge of the Federal High Court and she has been in the service of the court since 2004.

“In the course of her job, we have been paying her statutory allowances as sent to us by the National Judicial Commission (NJC) as well as other allowances as a judge of the Federal High Court.

“We forwarded to the EFCC documents containing details of her salary and allowances from the year 2004 to June 2017.

“From year 2004 to 2017, she earned a salary of N48.6 million and allowances of N74. 8 million.

“I will like to state that records of her allowances from 2004 to 2008 as well as her annual salary for 2008 could not be found due to the movement of the court from Lagos to Abuja in 2017.

“The total records of salary we have here is N123 million and this excludes the salaries that we could not present in court at the moment,” he told the court.

Mr. Kazeem, who looked through the salary records of the judge during his testimony, noted that some deposits in the judge’s salary account were not from the Federal High Court.

“The deposit of N1.8 million on June 15, 2004 from the records I have here are not from the Federal High Court.

“Another cash deposit of N1.8 million on Aug. 11, 2005 is not from the Federal High Court the records available to me, a N1 million Zenith Bank cheque deposit on Dec. 14, 2008 is not from the Federal High Court,” he said.

The accountant told the court that judges were allowed annual foreign trips for either medical checkup or training and were given 6,900 dollars annually either for airfare or estacode.

“The $6,900 was paid in cash to the judges, I, however, did not check if my Lady took advantage of it because it is not reflected in our records,” Mr. Kazeem said.

While being cross-examined by Robert Clarke, counsel to Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia, Mr. Kazeem admitted that his knowledge of the judge was restricted to her financial records and he was not aware of the purpose of the deposits which were not from the Federal High Court.

Mr. Clarke also noted that the before becoming a judge, Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia was a lawyer with a thriving practice and had a ‘pedigree’ by virtue of her father being a retired High Court judge.

During the trial another witness, Lawal Abdullahi, narrated to the court how the embattled judge made a failed attempt to evade investigators of the anti-graft agency by falsely claiming that she was in admitted in hospital.

“On Oct. 19, 2016 at 7.16 p.m, I put a call to her that we have been expecting her since the previous day, she said she was aware but she was sick and was on admission at Goldcross Hospital located at 17b, Bourdillion Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“She asked if I will be coming there and I said no but after about 30 minutes, I and about three other operatives drove down to the hospital.

“I personally met the receptionist and I informed her that I was there to visit Hon. Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and her reply was that ‘we are expecting her’.

“I asked her if she means that the judge is not at the hospital, she told me that she just received a call from her boss that the Ofili-Ajumogobia will soon be at the hospital.

“We enquired and got the list of all the patients that were on admission that day as well as the previous night and her name was missing on the list.

“I put a call to her and I asked her which hospital she was referring to and she said Goldcross Hospital on Bourdillon Road I then told her ‘Ma, we are there and you are not here’, she said ‘oh you are there?’ and she hung up the phone.”

The EFCC investigator, in his testimony, alleged that the judge was smuggled into the hospital at 11.30 p.m. through a back entrance by staff in connivance with the medical director of the hospital, Dr. Solanke.

“She claimed that she had been in the hospital all along and because of that false claim, we placed security guards in her room until she was discharged.

“She eventually honoured our invitation the next day which was October 20, she came around 4pm to our office.

“When she came we confronted her with what we had already based on the investigation we had conducted.

“We discovered that there were a lot of inflows or cash deposits from various individuals, state governments, organizations among others which looked suspicious.

“She volunteered a statement on Oct. 21, 2016 and she gave several statements on other days which were made with her lawyer present,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial alongside Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former prosecutor of the EFCC.

Both have been jointly charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Mr. Obla is facing an additional two counts of offering gratification in the sum of N5 million to Ofili-Ajumogobia, a public official while serving as a judge.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia faces a 26-count charge bordering on unlawful enrichment, taking property by a public officer, corruption, forgery and giving false information to an official of the EFCC.

Both denied all the charges.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until Oct. 27 for continuation of trial. (NAN)

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Amnesty International, others should testify

WE are baffled that Amnesty International, AI, a highly reputable international human rights watchdog, has continued to pass up golden opportunities to present proofs of its serial accusations of human rights abuses against the Nigerian military. The organisation had, on the two occasions that the nine-man Presidential Investigative Panel on the military’s compliance with human rights obligations and rules of engagement headed by Justice Biobele Georgewill had sat in Maiduguri and Port Harcourt, failed to send representations with evidence to substantiate its claims. Human Rights Watch, AI and numerous media reports had accused the military of human rights abuses that led to the death of many innocent citizens in its operations against Boko Haram in the North East, the Muslim Shiites in Kaduna State and pro-Biafra agitators in the South East and South-South. When it became clear that the military’s internal investigations were no longer satisfactory to the general public, Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on Friday August 4, 2017 set up the Justice Georgewill judicial panel to unravel the issue. We expected AI and all other accusers with credible evidence to jump at the opportunity to substantiate their claims. It will be recalled that the United States government under President Barack Obama, bluntly refused to sell crucial military weapons to the Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, citing alleged human rights abuses by the military in the pursuit of the anti-Boko Haram campaign. Under the Leahy Doctrine, the United States government is forbidden to sell arms to countries deemed to have violated the human rights of their citizens. This refusal and subsequent frustration of efforts to procure arms in the international market thus prompted a resort to the “black market”. This helped Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to balloon, and they started acquiring territories until they were scorched by the six-week surge in early 2015. Amnesty’s allegation that the army killed and buried over 300 Muslim Shiites and 1,967 Biafra activists also created a big hoopla which the army hotly contested. This judicial inquiry is a platform to expose these alleged excesses with a view to ensuring that justice is done, while the military is made to keep more strictly to professional ethics while dealing with civilians in situations of unrest. Refusal to testify after accusing the military is unfair and unhelpful. We call on AI and other groups with credible evidence to come forward and testify in the interest of humanity and help advance the cause of human rights in our democracy. With two more sittings to take place in Kaduna and Enugu, AI could lose credibility in any future report of human rights abuses against our military if it fails to honour invitations to testify. That would be sad indeed.

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Why Nigeria Wants To Remove Police Roadblocks

Nigeria’s police chief Ibrahim Idris has ordered the immediate removal of all police roadblocks across the country.

Many Nigerians will welcome the news because these roadblocks are often little more than excuses to demand bribes from both ordinary travellers and those transporting goods.

The police statement, however, said the move was intended to reduce time wasted at roadblocks and ease business.

What happens at a roadblock?

Meeting a policeman on the road can be an exhausting experience.

The Ak47 slung casually across his shoulder does little to reassure you about your safety.

More than likely he – and it is invariably a man – would ask you to identify yourself and provide a driving licence.

Then he would ask to check the boot of your car. Next he would verify that you have everything required by law – a fire extinguisher in each car, a warning triangle (C-caution), insurance, roadworthiness certificate and other documentation.

Any omission would lead to the choice of accompanying him to the police station, or an offer to “help you settle it” then and there, (pay a bribe to let you go).

Even if you are up to date on everything, that doesn’t mean you can proceed with your journey.

The officer would subtly ask if you have “anything for the boys”, or point out how hot the weather is (so he needs money for a drink).

This is not a rare occurrence, it is so common that Nigerian comedians often make fun of the police for soliciting bribes.

What not to do at a checkpoint

Receiving calls at a checkpoint can cause further delays.

Security forces generally take offence at people making calls in front of them.

Things could become worse if you try to film proceedings.

They do not take lightly to attempts to record them.

In 2013 police sergeant Chris Omeleze was sacked after a man filmed him trying to collect a bribe at the Lagos international airport. The victim posted the video on YouTube and it soon went viral.

How do you know which is an official roadblock?

There is no clear-cut way to distinguish between a real roadblock and a basic shake-down.

You will most likely see a barrel with the Nigeria police colours – blue, yellow and green – in the middle of the road.

At night a wobbling torch could be the only indicator of a police checkpoint ahead.

If you are unlucky it could also be armed robbers.

While some roadblocks are set up in order to catch criminals, others are merely a money-making scheme for corrupt police officers.

These often spring up at night and weekends.

The police chief has now ordered officers to wear uniforms with their name tags and service numbers visible. So a quick search on the police website could help you identify them and make a report.

How much is a bribe?

Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 corruption survey said that 32% of adults who had come into contact with public officials had been asked for a bribe.

The NBS says a total of 82 million naira ($230,000; £170,000) was paid in bribes to public officials in Nigeria in the previous 12-month period. This equates to an average of one bribe per person per year.

A typical bribe from motorists would be 20 naira (five cents; four pence).

Worst hit are taxis and trucks transporting goods.

These groups are less likely to challenge authority and are often pressed for time, so they would rather pay a bribe.

A 2013 Transparency International global corruption barometer said that 92% of respondents in Nigeria felt the police were corrupt or extremely corrupt.

Will the roadblock ban succeed?

This is not the first attempt to rid Nigeria’s streets of roadblocks.

In 2012, then police chief Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar made a similar order and more than 3,500 checkpoints were cleared out.

However, they have since found their way back.

This fresh order is another attempt to improve the image of the police.

According to the statement, special “x-squad” teams have been deployed throughout the country to arrest, investigate and discipline any police officer violating the directive.

Every police department must now seek the permission of the inspector general of police to mount roadblocks.

This is just one of the measures that Inspector General Idris has introduced to try and improve the generally negative public image of his force.

But it will take a long time, and concrete evidence of change, before most Nigerians agree with the slogan proudly posted on most police stations: “The police is your friend”.

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Nigeria Sets Up Special Courts To Fight Corruption

The federal government in a desperate move to deal with corrupt practices in the Society would be raising special courts to speed up the trial of corruption cases and give a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to fulfill an electoral pledge to stamp out graft in the system.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed who disclosed this said, “The chief justice has given the directive to all the 36 states to designate one court for the trial of corruption. Taking out corruption cases and putting them in special courts is going to fast-track the prosecution.”

While the government has increased infrastructure spending in the past two years, with the economy just emerging from recession, it will take longer for more people to experience the improvements Buhari promised during his campaign, the minister said in London.

“As soon as the multiplier effects are being felt, it will create more jobs and firm up the economy,” he said.

Speaking on the presidents health, Mohammed said, “Only Buhari “in his own good time” can tell the public about his health and whether he’ll seek re-election in 2019”.

“I think Mr. President is more preoccupied right now with delivering on his 2015 electoral promises,” he said. “I don’t think his focus now is on whether he’ll run or not.”

Buhari spent five months in two trips to London this year for treatment of an undisclosed ailment, sparking concern about his ability to finish his four-year term and possibly seek re-election. 

For the government, ending the recession is a “first significant step” to be followed by further efforts to end the nation’s dependence on oil by expanding infrastructure to help diversify the economic base, Mohammed said.

“More important for us is that this recovery proves we correctly diagnosed the problems of the economy and that we applied solutions that worked,” he said.

While investors have expressed misgivings about the government’s exchange-rate controls and steps taken to prop up the value of the local currency, Mohammed said the system in place now “is working for us.” The central bank’s decision to create a separate foreign-exchange trading window for importers and investors “has eased concerns” in the financial market, he said.

The administration’s guiding principle is to remain committed to the war on graft and use the savings for national development, Mohammed said. Nigeria ranked 136 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index.

“If you want to fight corruption, you’ll have to get ready for corruption to fight back. And corruption is fighting back very, very viciously,” he said. “But despite that, I think the government remains very focused and very committed.”

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Lagos Police Releases Emergency Phone Numbers To Report Misguided Officers

The Lagos police command has declared the following.

1. All area commander will liase with various community leaders to form a non-arms bearing vigilante groups and 3 armed Policemen will be attached to each vigilante group for night duty patrol. 

2. All uncompleted  and abandoned buildings will be routinely raided pending when the state government will take action on such buildings. Likewise no one is allowed to sleep in the market henceforth. Special mention goes to Sura Market.

3. The Police now have shoot-at-sight order on any body found brandishing arms with intent to kill or maim. 

4. All DPO’s and Area Commanders should make themselves available for citizens complaints. 

5. All Police Patrol vans are now mobile police stations and citizens can lodge their immediate and urgent complaints to them, so as to save time and arrest such situations that needs urgent police presence.

6. A Citizens Complaint Centre has been created to report any genuine complain about the police and the New Commissioner of Police released 10 mobile numbers of the complaints centre so that citizens can report any erring officers or  Police Station











Th The NEW LAGOS CP *IMOHIMI EDGAL*’s phone no-0803 304 0870

Officer-in-Charge (OC) Anti-Kidnapping; *Akinade Adejobi*’s phone no-0803 470 5502

You may share. Security is *every body’s* business.

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