Month: September 2019

Call for Expression of Interest; Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project (WVL Nigera Project)

About the Project:
The WVL project is a five-year $9.7 million project funded by Global Affairs Canada. The project is aimed at tackling the barriers to gender equality and supporting the empowerment of women and girls through provision of technical and financial resources to local feminist/women’s rights organisations (LWROs) that are advancing the rights of women and girls and championing gender equality.
The Call
The WVL Nigeria is pleased to announce its first call for Expression of Interest from:

  1. LWROs based in Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kebbi and Kwara states; and
  2. LWROs networks/movements in these states or beyond who are influencing policies at the national level.
    The WVL Nigeria project will support LWROs and LWROs networks/movements[2] with:
  3. Multi-year grant (for up to 5 years) to LWROs in the project’s selected states and networks/movements in Nigeria;
  4. Tailored capacity building support to the grantees to address institutional and program related gaps.
    This call targets actions that supports the achievement of gender equality and women and girls enjoying their rights in selected project states and Nigeria. These include, but are not limited to, actions that address violence against women and girls, women economic justice and empowerment programmes, Women political participation and leadership including policy advocacy and influencing. The above actions are neither prescriptive nor mandatory, as grants can be used to continue implementation of on-going or new interventions and can also be used for institutional strengthening and core operational costs.
    Submission deadline:
    Concept note using the attached template should be submitted on or before 26th September 2019 to
    Please Note:
  5. Only women-led women’s rights/feminist organisations will be considered for this application.
  6. Only shortlisted organisations will be notified, due to volume of applications that may be received
  7. The initial shortlist may not amount to being signed onto this project.
  8. ActionAid will not be responsible for any cost you have incurred in the development of the EOI
  9. Due diligence (i.e. background check and other assessments) will be conducted on shortlisted LWROs and networks/movements.

Prosecutors won’t seek death penalty in trial of Nia Wilson’s alleged killer

Alameda County prosecutors announced Monday they will not seek the death penalty in the murder trial of John Lee Cowell, who is accused of fatally slashing 18-year-old Nia Wilson last summer on an Oakland BART station platform.
Monday’s announcement comes after months of hearings over Cowell’s mental competency to assist in his own defense. A judge ruled in July that the case could move forward after a doctor found Cowell fit to stand trial. Cowell is scheduled to officially enter a plea Oct. 11, and the trial date is scheduled for Jan. 6.
Wilson’s mother, Alicia Grayson, told The Chronicle she was aware of the prosecution’s decision prior to Monday’s court hearing and was somewhat disappointed. “Of course, in a perfect world I would want the death penalty,” she said. “But I know it would have been kind of hard to seek that, with his mental state in question.”
Wilson’s family has been a constant fixture in the courtroom since Cowell’s arrest, often donning T-shirts depicting Wilson’s name or likeness. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against BART in April.
Authorities blasted out Cowell’s photo across social media, and authorities located him the following day on another BART train after a tip from a fellow passenger.
The brazen attack roiled the East Bay over possible racial implications of the crime, and the following day hundreds of people took to the streets to protest violence against black women. Cowell is white, and the Wilson sisters are black.
Police have not found evidence that race was a factor in the slaying, and prosecutors have not charged Cowell with a hate crime. He is charged with murder and attempted murder, and could face life in prison if convicted.
Criminal proceedings were put on hold in December after Cowell’s defense attorney, Christina Moore, questioned her client’s competency to stand trial. Cowell suffered from “extreme delusion” and “extreme paranoia,” she said, making him unable to assist in his defense.
Three doctors were commissioned to offer their opinion on Cowell’s state of mind. The first two experts couldn’t reach a consensus — one said Cowell wasn’t fit to stand trial, while the second couldn’t make a determination.
A third doctor who worked off the findings of his predecessors effectively made the final call, saying Cowell was, in fact, fit to stand trial. Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer last month called this assessment the most “valid and persuasive,” and he reinstated Cowell’s criminal proceedings.
Competency to stand trial and pleading guilty by reason of insanity are two separate legal concepts. Competency relates to the defendant’s ability to assist in the defense at the time of trial, while a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity speaks to the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime.
Megan Cassidy is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @meganrcassidy
Megan Cassidy is a crime reporter with The Chronicle, also covering cops, criminal justice issues and mayhem. Previously, Cassidy worked for the Arizona Republic covering Phoenix police, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and desert-area crime and mayhem. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Missouri, and has additionally worked at the Casper Star-Tribune, National Geographic and an online publication in Buenos Aires. Cassidy can be reached on twitter at @meganrcassidy, and will talk about true crime as long as you’ll let her.

£18,000 British Chevening Scholarships 2020-2021 | ONGOING

Chevening Scholarships 2020 is a UK government scholarship which is awarded to international students who demonstrate leadership potential and who also have strong academic backgrounds. The scholarship offers financial support to study for a master’s degree at any UK university and the opportunity to become part of an influential global network of 50,000 alumni.
Chevening provides fully-funded scholarships, leaving you free to focus on achieving your academic goals and enjoying the experience of a lifetime. You will live and study in the UK for a year, during which time you will develop professionally and academically, grow your network, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
The call for new applicants follows the selection of some 1,800 scholars who won an award to study at a UK university this year.
These scholarships represent a significant investment from the UK Government to develop the next cohort of global leaders.

Court grants El-Zakzaky permission to travel

Justice Darius Khobo of Kaduna State High Court, on Monday, granted leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Elzakzaky, leave to seek for medical attention in New Delhi, India.
Khobo while granting the IMN leader the leave said he would travel in company of State officials.
He said the IMN leader must return immediately after his discharge from the hospital to face his charges.
The IMN leader and his wife had applied to the court seeking to travel, following poor health while in detention.
The State Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Dari Bayero, briefed newsmen, shortly after Monday’s ruling in Kaduna.
Bayero, who is the respondent in El-Zazaky’s application, said the team had taken time and examined the eight medical reports by Nigerian and foreign doctors that accompanied the IMN leader’s application.
“The context of the court ruling is that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are granted leave to travel out for urgent medical attention.
“The court looked through the medical reports filed and believed Mallam is indeed in dire need of medical attention.
“This is not a bail, but a leave to travel. So as soon as his discharge from the hospital and he returns to the country, his trial will resume,” he said.
Bayero said the team of lawyers would study the ruling and explore whether there is a need for appeal, “We have a month to go through that.”
On his part, Mr Marshal Abubakar, counsel to El-Zakzaky recalled that before July 29, the lead counsel to the applicant, Femi Falana was in the court to move the application, which was adjourned to today.
“It is not a bail application as is being wrongly reported by some media, it was an application to save the life of the applicants, El-Zakzaky and his wife.”
According to him, “The ruling came up today and the court graciously agreed with Mr Femi Falana SAN and the various medical reports that were attached to the applications.
“There were eight medical reports that clearly show the applicants are in dire need of medical treatment abroad.
“The court agreed that they should be allowed to seek treatment that they sort for and with supervision,” Marshal said.
El-Zazaky had in the application said he and his wife would return to Nigeria as soon as they were discharged.
The IMN leader is standing trial in another court over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace among other charges.
Justice Gideon Kurada, who was handling the case, had on April 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely.
The indefinite adjournment was to enable the judge to serve on the panel of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe State.


Police operatives operating under the Lagos State Task Force this morning abducted a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, Mr. Aliyu Shuaib.
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER by the branch and signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. James Sonde, it was gathered that the victim was picked up at the Iyana Oworo axis of Lagos while waiting to board a bus.
According to the statement , “He said he was beaten up, his face is swollen and bruised and his phone seized before he was bundled into a truck along with other people.”
The whereabouts of the lawyer remains unclear, as he is still being driven to an unknown destination by the police operatives.
The full statement reads:
One of our members, Mr. Aliyu Shuaib called the Secretary this morning that he has just been arrested by the police at iyana oworo as he was about boarding a bus to the island.
He said he was beaten up, his face is swollen and bruised and his phone seized before he was bundled into a truck along with other people.
The police task force team were operating in a convoy and picking up people along the road and their destination is not known for now.
While he was communicating with the Secretary of the branch, the Secretary passed the convoy approaching Obalende but the convoy of police men in pick ups and trucks are still moving as we speak.
His last phone conversation a few minutes ago was that they are now approaching Ajah and possibly heading for Epe.
The Chairman of the Branch has been informed and he has directed that the Vice Chair who is the Chair of the Human Rights Committee immediately attend to the matter.
We will have further updates as we get more information.
James Sonde
Publicity Secretary
NBA Lagos

Ministry of Women Affairs should be renamed Ministry of Gender Issues and Social Development.

By:Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.

Recently ,the Edo State Governor,H.E. Mr. Godwin Obaseki ,renamed the Edo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development as the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues.
This is keping with International Best Practices,as I do not know of any other Country in the World,where you stilk have the Ministry of Women Affairs.
So you may well have a Ministry of Men Affairs ,what about girls affairs and boys affairs!
Often times ,Feminists in our clime complain of sexism and mysogomy.Is the Ministry of Women Affairs,not discriminatory on the Men?

Men have their peculiar issues,which require same level of Social engagement as Women.If women have maternity leave ,why shouldn’t men have paternity leave ?
Infact ,Girls are likely to have more gender based issues than Women.But they are hardly attended to by the System.

It is a Society that does not understand the complexity of human existence that provides a gender discriminatory system for Social Issues.
I call on President Buhari to rename the Ministry of Women Affairs and tag it the Ministry of Gender Issues and and Social Development,Ditto for State Governors.

A Law Should also be made to make it compulsory for there to be a Pre Action Counselling Session with the State Ministry of Gender Issues and Social Development or its accredited specialised Agents ,before a Divorce Proceeding can be instituted. This way, many marriages will be savaged.

The rate of divorces in Nigeria is rife and proliferating.
This is what the Ministry should be concerned with.
There is no Office in our Laws as the Office of the First Lady ,either of the Country or of a State.
The Office should be scrapped and money used by them for their many jamborees used to tackle the major social issues.
For Example ,we can start with food stamps for the poor and an Educational Support System ,to support the undigent to go to School.
Feminists do not call for such laudable interventions .

Feminism in Nigeria is Elitist.
It is not all embracing.
How come Women talk about affirmative action ,only when they are seeking elective Offices and Political Appointments .
What happens to women seeking admissions into Universities ,seeking jobs in the Civil Service and the Private Sector,that are never considered in the Feminism Dragnet?

#RevolutionNow: Lawyer sues Nigerian govt, demands release of detained protesters.

A Lagos-based lawyer has taken the Nigerian government before a federal court seeking an order compelling it to unconditionally release all persons arrested and detained in connection with the #RevolutionNow protest.
Olukoya Ogungbeje, a human rights activist, in the suit before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, is also seeking an order compelling the respondents to “unfailingly produce” before the judge all the arrested and detained persons.
Joined as respondents in the suit are the State Security Service (SSS), Inspector-General of Police, and Attorney-General of the Federation.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at several locations across the country on August 5 to participate in #RevolutionNow, a series of planned protests against bad governance in Nigeria.
But those in Lagos met a violent crackdown by armed police officers after they began to converge on the National Stadium in Surulere. At least nine people werearrested and taken away by the police after physically assaulting and using tear gas to disperse the protesters.
In neighbouring Ogun State, four people were arrested and charged to court for conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and conducts likely to cause a breach of peace.
Across the country, more than 56 persons were arrested in connection with the protest, according to Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer and activist.
Earlier, on August 3, SSS operatives took Omoyele Sowore, a key figure behind the protest, into custody for calling for a revolution.
Five days later, the secret police secured a court order allowing them to detain the Sahara Reporters publisher and former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress for an initial 45 days.
‘No offence committed’
In his exparte application, Mr Ogungbeje, who is suing for himself and on behalf of those arrested in connection with the protest, said the action by the Nigerian government and her agents is a “grave constitutional infraction.”
The lawyer, who said he was also at the venue of the protest in Lagos, said they were deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
“The right to peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mr Ogungbeje stated in his application.
“By engaging in peaceful protest, the applicant and other persons have not committed any offence known to law to warrant the treatment meted out to them by the respondents and their agents.
“The acts and actions of the respondents have infringed on the provisions of the Constitution and the rights of the protesters.”

Proposed Reforms to the Nigerian Criminal Justice System.

The Nigeria Criminal Justice System has endured Legislations foisted on it by colonial legacy .
Thus ,our Body of Laws that drive our Criminal Justice System are stern ,inflexible and impose grave punishments that may not be commensurate with the alleged crime committed .
Another issue is that the Criminal Code in many States of the Federation, has not been amended to meet with the Changing Society.

While one concedes that punishment is a deterrence in curbing crime ,it is not in every case of conviction that a Convict should be sent to Prison.
Premium should be placed on non -constodian sentencing,where a convicted person can be sentenced to Community Service to either sweep public places ,clear public places or even do other menial public jobs.This will reduce prison decongestions and save Government money used in employing those who do these jobs for Government. It will also provide a better reformatory process for the Convict ,as most times taking them to Prison makes them even more hardened.

The Administration of Criminal Justice Implementation Committtees of States should insist on going on the stipulated routine checks of Facilities of the DSS,EFCC ,Customs ,Immigration NSCDC and any other Agency of Government that maintains a holding facility,to ascertain the level of compliance with the ACJA and ACJL and abhor arbitrary detention of Citizens as this is only done with the Police .

The Law should also be amended to ensure that an Officer or Officers of an Agency of Government that orchestrates arbitrary dententions of Citizens should all be jointly ,personally and severally liable for any litigation that may accrue therefrom and not necessarily the Agency.This is stop the arbitrary detentions of Citizens with out just cause.

The Law should also be amended to allow for a parole system to be put in place ,to allow convicts to be given a new lifeline to have their prison sentences suspended and they released before time ,subject to good behaviour .This will also ensure a decongestion of our prisons,also.

Bail should now be treated as a right and not as a privilege as it is presently treated for Bailable Offences. To this end ,the current practice of filing Motions to admit to Bail when a formal Charge has been proferred should be jettisoned .
Once an arraignment has been done ,the Defence Counsel should apply orally for Bail and if there is no cogent opposition ,it should be granted with a Bench Ruling as is done world wide and the Defendant released to Surety and Sureties present,especially Family Members of the Defendant. The current trend of Motion for Bail ,Counter Affidavit and Reply to Counter Affidavit for almost every Bail Application in a Superior Courts of Records in Nigeria,makes mockery of the Criminal Justice System as it does not fester in any other place in the World .
The needless rigidity of Bail Conditions only makes for a proliferation of Professional Sureties who may not be able to produce Defendants when the need arises.Bail conditions should therefore be liberal.

This brings us to the issue of obnoxious Bail Conditions,like the one recently that ordered for a Bond one Billion Naira Bail Bond.This scenario looks like a persecution than a prosecution!

If a party needs to recall a witness,he should make the Application orally and same accordingly granted and if the witness is in Court and his deposition is before Court,he should be taken immediately and witness concluded with .

Sentencing and granting of Bail Guidelines should be issued in all States of the Federation,to streamline the issues of sentecing of convicts and granting of Bail to Defendants. The Discretion allowed currently for sentencing of Convicts and granting of Bail to Defendants, has been abused by Some Judicial Officers.It is either they are too liberal or they are two obnoxious. There should be a suncronisation of the process , by way of guidelines in form of practice direction to ensure unanimity of purpose in each State ‘s Criminal Justice System.