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Five Law School Graduates Lost Their Lives In A Fatal Accident During Clearance In Abuja

*As Prof. Chidi Odinkalu Laments Ordeal Faced By Law Graduates During Clearance Process

Five persons were reportedly killed and thirteen injured in a fatal, early morning crash that involved four vehicles at Ushafa-Bwari road Monday in Abuja.

The accident, which occurred near Ushafa bridge about 7:20 on Monday morning, was caused by trailer parked along the road.

Federal Road Safety Corps Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem revealed that three males and one female died while 13 others were injured in the accident which involved a commercial bus, a 2001 Mazda 232 car, 2004 Toyota Corolla and another Toyota Corolla.

Kazeem who attributed the crash to dangerous driving said that the injured had been taken to the Bwari General Hospital for treatment while the dead were deposited at the morgue.

He also said that FRSC personnel in Bwari and the police got to the scene shortly after the crash and cleared the obstruction to enable free passage of vehicles.

“The injured and the dead victims have been taken to Bwari General Hospital, the obstruction was cleared and traffic control handed over to Insp. Linus of Motor Traffic Division, Bwari Police outpost,” Kazeem explained.

Commenting on the incident, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, revealed that the fatal accident involved five graduates of law. He narrated the ordeal faced by students in trying to effect their clearance in Abuja, lamenting that the law students who had a bright future ahead of them to be looked at are now at the mortuary. According to him, the accident, occurred near Ushafa bridge about 7:20 on Monday morning, was caused by trailer parked along the road.

”So, yesterday, these five students took one cab in order to share costs of the trip to & from Supreme Court. They completed the procedures at the Supreme Court. On their way back to Bwari, the cab they took was involved in accident. All five were killed. Spare a thought for their parents

”The journey from Bwari to 3-Arms-Zone is N2k. The stamp at the Supreme Court costs N50 (fifty Naira only). Thereafter, you take the Stamped Certificate back to Bwari to submit the original certificates and keep the photocopy. That should complete the clearance.

”As you can imagine this means long queues on end. Students sleep on the floor. It takes some people up to three days to do the clearing. After the clearing, students are issued a certificate of call to bar. That is then taken to the Supreme Court in Three Arms Zone for stamping.

”The students died while in Abuja for their screening ahead of the call to Bar. There are over 5,000 to be called. All of them are required to travel to Abuja in person & converge on the Law School premises in Bwari. In Bwari, they submit all their documents for clearing.

”Five graduates of the Law School (4 male & 1 female) preparing to be called to the Bar end of Nov 2018 were killed in a needless & avoidable car crash in Bwari, Abuja. Instead of looking forward to a bright future, they’re in the mortuary,” he lamented.

As at the time of filing this report, TNL is yet to know the names of the law school graduates as every effort to reach the Nigerian Law School proved abortive.

May their soul rest in peace!

There Is Need For Judges To Avoid Ex parte Orders That Can Truncate Democratic Processes — Onyekachi Umah

MAY WE KNOW YOU, SIR?

My name is Onyekachi Umah.

WHO IS ONYEKACHI UMAH, ESQ IN DETAILS?

Onyekachi Umah is a husband and a private legal practitioner with amazing experience in intellectual property, transaction and regulation advisory, corporate, commercial and investment law and energy law as well as litigation and arbitration arising from them. He is a certified arbitrator both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a Certified Conflict Management Practitioner. He is a member of prestigious “Young ICSID” of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Washington DC. Among other, he has a certificate in Law of Contract from a program of Harvard University, a certificate in International Environmental Negotiation from United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Geneva and recently, a certificate in Conflict Management from United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. He also holds a master of laws degree from University of Jos.

He is the managing partner of a leading law firm; Bezaleel Chambers International. He is the founder and President of a free law awareness platform known as www.LearnNigerianLaws.com that promotes awareness and understanding of rights and laws of Nigeria (#SabiLaw) and offers free daily law tips (#DailyLawTips). Understanding the challenges of Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria, he dedicates his daily law tips every Mondays to promoting Criminal Justice (#CriminalJusticeMonday). Recently, he started a new series on Election Laws tagged (#SabiElectionLaws) to increase legal awareness on elections laws, policies and regulations in Nigeria. He is the convener of the Sabi Law Lecture Series (#SabiLawLectureSeries), travelling around Nigeria delivering free law awareness lectures. He also organises and sponsors a quarterly competition, titled “Sabi Law Video Challenge” (#SabiLawVideoChallenge) were Nigerians win money (over $130.00 per winner) for making videos of themselves talking on any law or right as a way to promote law awareness and have fun. To further promote legal awareness among Nigerians across the world, he started a law awareness show titled “Sabi Law With Onyekachi Umah, Esq” (#SabiLawWithOnyekachiUmahEsq) showing on social media platforms via @LearnNigerianLaws.

Mr. Umah has written over Three Hundred (300) free to access articles and materials on law with a desire to enlighten the public. He is also the Assistant Secretary of Nigerian Bar Association, Capital Bar, Abuja and a member of the Rotary Club of Abuja, Metro (RCAM), District 9125. Among others, he is serving as a member of the Advisory Committee for Law Clinics Partnership for Reforming Pre-trial Detention in Kuje Prison Project funded by the United States Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. He has been featured as the Legal Personality of the Week by This Day Newspaper (a leading national newspaper) on its September 11, 2018 edition and has also won several awards for his innovative legal practise across the world.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN LAW PRACTICE?

I have been practicing law in Nigeria for about 8 years.

ARE YOU THE AUTHOR OF “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

Yes, I am the author of “Daily Law Tips” published on www.TheNigerianLawyer.com and  www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

 HOW DID “DAILY LAW TIPS” START?

Well, since my days as a student, I have had people calling for advices and tips on their rights. As a practicing lawyer, I receive numerous calls from clients, strangers, fellow lawyers and friends, asking for clarifications, tips, “how-Tos” and “What-To-Dos” on rights, duties, laws and policies affecting them, their families and business. Majority of the questions are on human rights, employment, tenancy, family, criminal, business regulation, justice administration, immigration, probate, tax and commercial law.  Often times, questions are repeated and my answers are undocumented considering the means of communication and as such they cannot not easily be stored and passed on to another person in need.

Bum, an idea came in December 2017, when Nigerian police was harassing Nigerians on use of Christmas fireworks without any legislative authority. I recorded my tips on the subject matter and shared it on social media to ensure people are not intimidated by police and punished for no offence. Since it was a season for settlement of family and traditional land disputes across villages in Nigeria, I wrote a lot of tips on the subject matter and shared freely. The response from my family, friends and fans were amazing and encouraging. So, I stopped repeating myself, since I could easily refer people to my earlier answers to their questions. I started writing my responses to questions as “Daily Law Tips”, sharing same for free across the world. As at today, we have published over 220 daily law tips on numerous areas of Nigerian laws and regulations, shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, MyBusiness and WhatsApp for free with over 11 Million views.

WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND YOUR “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

First of all, out of experience, most cases in Nigeria are avoidable with due diligence. Stereotypes, religion, poor educational level, poor legal literacy, disregard for formal agreement and lack of trust in judiciary have increased disagreement and disputes in Nigeria. Apart from pre-election and election petitions, majority of civil cases are mere small claims that can be avoided by a little understanding of rights, simple agreement and due diligence (background checks). Hence, my motivation is to freely offer my experience, knowledge and understanding of law to all Nigerians across the world via “#DailyLawTips” as a means to increase access to justice, increase understanding of law and demand for rule of law in Nigeria.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE IN PUBLISHING YOUR “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

To run a daily publication, requires special grace, hard work and perseverance in order to keep up with delivery time and maintain standards. As a Nigerian residing in Nigeria, I battle with unreliable electricity supply and internet services. To combat them, I generate and supply my own electric power and since I cannot do same for internet, I have existing subscription with four (4) telecommunication companies at all times. Considering the nature of my work as a practicing lawyer, I travel a lot and there are no internet services in most airports except in their VIP lounges. Worse still, in Enugu Airport, there has been no internet in the VIP lounge maintained by government and I still get to pay same service fee any time I stay in the VIP lounge. So, to research and publish on the go like I do, it quite expensive in Nigeria. Time is the most expensive assets I put into the project, having in mind alternative forgone.

AS A PRACTICING LAWYER, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE JUDICIARY.

Among the three arms of government, Judiciary is the less respected and funded. There is need for absolute separation of power and rule of law for our democracy to deepen. The executives must respect court orders. Elections are around, there is need for judges to avoid ex parte orders that can truncate democratic processes. Bribery and corruption should not be sighted in our judiciary rather impartiality and wisdom. For us, the practicing lawyers, we waste a lot of time waiting for judges who may be sick or out on administrative engagements. I advice that judges’ calendars should be consulted before fixing courtesy calls, parades and appointments that take them off court.

I look forward to a judicial system, where lawyers need not come to court before 9:00am only to be heard by 3:23pm after a long wait and loss of other businesses. Cases should be adjourned to clear dates and times, so that lawyers come in to do their cases about 10 minutes before the commencement time, to avoid waste and increase productivity. Often times at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Abuja, I wait for over five (5) hours only to be heard to do my case for the day for 25 minutes. Still on the Court of Appeal, there is need to offer three microphones to all members of a panel instead of only to the presiding judge since all members get to talk and the microphone is stationed.

DO YOU SUPPORT THE CONFERMENT OF THE TITLE OF SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA ON OUTSTANDING LAWYERS?

Yes, I do. Life progresses where there is a motivation and hard work must be appreciated. Apart from win smiles of clients, touching lives and making monies the next inspiring factor for young lawyers in Nigeria is the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Some lawyers are sane and upright not because of training alone, eagle eye of disciplinary committee but because they want the blessing of our Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee. So, it has a way of holding our ethics and identifying mentors for younger professionals. I support the title and I desire it.

IS THERE A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR NIGERIAN LAWYERS IN NIGERIA?

There is a very bright future for lawyers in Nigeria and many more to come. Going by statistics, there are 16 Federal faculties of law, 20 State faculties of law and 19 private faculties of Law. There are only 6 Law School Campuses in Nigeria and 1,550 candidates were called to bar in July, 2018 while 4, 633 candidates will be called to bar by this November, 2018. From a reliable source, there are not up to 100, 000 lawyers in Nigeria. Nigeria has a population of 197,403,529 as at October 27, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. Hence, roughly a single lawyer in Nigeria has more than about 1,974 Nigerians to engage his services. Also remember that the population of Nigeria is growing uncontrollably while the graduation of lawyers is controlled. The natural resources of Nigeria and economic potentials will keep increasing Nigeria’s foreign direct investment, thereby increase number of foreigners and business in need of lawyers and their legal services. Above all, foreign lawyers are not authorized to practice in Nigeria, so Nigerian lawyers are immune from the annoying importation appetite of Nigerians. I am not unaware of some dubious foreign businesses here in Nigeria, secretly engaging foreign lawyers on Nigerian soil. So, Nigeria is a wonderful country to practice law and there is a geometric growth of legal literacy among Nigerians, thereby increasing demand for rule of law and access to justice.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG LAWYERS?

Legal practice is for lawyers that are dedicated to hard work! Nothing good comes easy and nothing is magical here. You need to prove yourself, think out of the box and fly with technological advancements. Ensure you use To-do lists and consciously time your day and activities to ensure maximum productivity. If you want quick money, please don’t practice law!

It Is An Offence To Make Tribal Marks Or Tattoos On A Child In Nigeria

by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.

“IT IS AN OFFENCE TO MAKE TRIBAL MARKS OR TATTOOS ON A CHILD IN NIGERIA”

It is a criminal offence to make any tattoo or marks including tribal marks on a child in Nigeria. It is punishable with a fine of not more than N5000 or and a month imprisonment.

My authorities are sections 24 and 278 of Child Rights Act, 2003.

 

NOTE: Sharing or modifying or publishing this publication without giving credit to Onyekachi Umah, Esq. and “LearnNigerianLaws.com” is a criminal breach of copyright and will be prosecuted. Please share this publication till it gets to those that need it most. Save a Nigerian today!

Police Recover Arms And Ammunitions From Uncompleted Building In Ajah, Lagos

Police Taskforce has recovered illegal and prohibited firearms from uncompleted building in Lagos State.

This is contained in a statement by the State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti.

 According to the police spokesperson, the firearms were discovered while on targeted raids by task force personnel attached to Area J Command Headquarters, Ajah.
The statement reads, “Lagos State Police Command’s Taskforce on recovery of illegal and prohibited firearms, attached to Area J Command Headquarters, Ajah, while on targetted raids of uncompleted, unoccupied houses and plots of land, at Road 1, Block 1, Plot 7, Victory Park Estate, Osapa London, Ilasan, recovered five rifles inside an unoccupied shanty within the aforesaid plot of land on November 9, 2018.”
It further stated, “the guns recovered comprises of three European made pump action rifles numbers L926547, R268751 and P987707 respectively, one locally made double barrel rifle and one locally made single barrel rifle.”
However, the Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal has directed the ballistic arm of the SCIID Panti Yaba to commence investigation into the case.
Adding that the ember months will remain peaceful in Lagos as the Command will continue to carry out intelligence and purpose driven raids on all identified criminal spots in Lagos State.
The Police boss assured that the Command will continue to enforce the Inspector General of Police directive on mopping up of illegal and prohibited firearms.
He also warned that anybody found in possession of such weapons will be diligently prosecuted.
In a related development, police detectives have also recovered one berretta pistol and two locally made pistol from the hideout of 11 armed robbery suspects at Elemoro where they were arrested.
He said progress made in the investigations will be made public.

 

Femi-Falana-2-696x445

Transparency International stigmatising Nigeria, says Falana SAN

RIGHTS lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) yesterday accused global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) of stigmatising Nigeria.

Falana said TI spent a disproportionate amount of its resources on highlighting corruption in Nigeria and other developing nations.

He added that the anti-corruption watchdog ignored western countries, which provide a safe haven for looters.

According to him, the United Kingdom’s capital, London, is the global headquarters for money laundering.

The United States (U.S.) and Switzerland followed in its heels, but did not receive the same condemnation from TI, Falana said.

He spoke in Lagos at a conference on jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC) and cross-border corruption/illicit asset recovery organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).

The event’s theme was ‘Situating jurisdiction of ICC over cross border corruption and illicit asset recovery’.

He noted that the United States (U.S.) has filed a lawsuit to prevent the repatriation to Nigeria about $300 million loot stashed by corrupt Nigerians in the country.

He also criticised the Swiss government for dictating to Nigeria how loot, which the European country’s banks hid for corrupt Nigerians, would be spent upon its return.

Referencing the programme’s theme, Falana said looters “can be rightly accused of crimes against humanity”.

He said: “We can’t do more for now, because the countries that are leading the war, the so-called international community, are the beneficiaries of corruption around the world.

“Forget what Transparency International (TI) publishes every year and we celebrate, particularly the Nigerian media, ‘Oh! Transparency International has indicted the Buhari government or Jonathan government!’ and we are celebrating it, without challenging the hypocrisy of Transparency International.

“How come you (TI) only stigmatise the victim countries and not the receivers of stolen money?

“In our elementary Criminal Law, we all know that the receiver of stolen goods is as guilty as the person who stole the goods. So, if money trickling in from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Venezuela, all over the world is stolen and invested in the United Kingdom – in fact London is now generally regarded as the headquarters of money laundering in the world, but nobody will agree that the British government is corrupt. It is only Nigeria that Transparency International will stigmatise.

“We have a duty as victims of corruption to say ‘No to categorisation! You must also blame the countries that are receiving stolen money, because if there is no safe haven for this money, the looted wealth, at the very least, the stolen money will be invested here. They won’t take the money away.”

He advised the Federal Government and anti-graft campaigners not to expect help in this regard from the international community or governments.

“You are not going to get any collaboration, any cooperation from the government of western countries.

“The duty of civil society organisations in Africa is to link up with civil society organisations in the West and other parts of the world and see how such collaborations can expose their own governments,” Falana added

AFEX Calls on African Governments to Promote Safety of Journalists, Combat Impunity

Resolution

At the end of the Sixth General Meeting of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) held in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 and 8, 2018.

The Sixth General Meeting of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), a network of African freedom of expression and media development organisations which are members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), was held in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday, November 7 and Thursday, November 8, 2018.

The meeting, hosted by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), and presided, over by AFEX Steering Committee Chairperson, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, who is the Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), was attended by representatives of all AFEX member organisations from West, East, Central and Southern Africa. The meeting was also attended by two representatives from ARTICLE 19 Brazil and ARTICLE 19 Mexico as well as journalists from Ghana.

The meeting discussed institutional issues concerning AFEX as well as the current state of freedom of expression in Africa and strategies for addressing the threats to freedom of expression and media freedom on the continent, particularly, the issues of the safety of journalists and how to confront the challenge of impunity for crimes against journalists. Participants resolved to develop a plan of action on the safety of journalists in Africa which will guide advocacy interventions by members of the AFEX Network and other press freedom organisations.

At the end of the meeting, members of the Network unanimously adopted this Resolution:

  • We are deeply concerned about the growing wave of attacks against journalists and the media in general across the African continent, especially during elections. We are further disturbed by the widespread increase in the level of insecurity in journalism practice, arising from the unchecked acts of violence against media professionals and media organizations.
  • We believe that the failure of African governments to live up to their responsibility of protecting journalists as well as other members of the public is exacerbating this problem with numerous cases of unresolved killings of journalists and other crimes against journalists that have not been properly investigated in many countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, and Cameroon.
  • Given the well-established norm that the ability of citizens to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression underpins democratic practice in any country, we are of the view that the deteriorating state of freedom of expression on the African continent is a clear signal of the decline in the quality of democracy in Africa.
  • We find it ironic and contradictory that although African Union (AU) leaders have launched 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year, its members are actively hounding the media and media professionals in many countries for reporting and exposing official corruption.
  • We call on African countries to establish multi-stakeholder national mechanisms, ideally backed by Law, to promote the safety of journalists and other actors who are often targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression and through which a range of activities in this regard can be coordinated and implemented. Such activities could potentially include the reform of media laws, the monitoring of threats and attacks to freedom of expression, as well as the training of members of different stakeholder groups such as the military, law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies; legislators, and member of the Judiciary. The mechanism could also serve as an avenue for the provision of protection for persons at risk and for responding to the problem of impunity.
  • We are equally concerned about the increasing attacks on digital rights and Internet freedoms by governments and their intelligence services in some parts of Africa, including in countries like Uganda and Zambia, where social media taxes have recently been introduced, as well as in other countries like Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo, where the Internet or social media services have been shut down from time to time.
  • We are convinced that such acts only serve to worsen the digital divide which has already seen Africa lagging behind other regions of the world in the availability, affordability and use of the Internet and digital tools. Besides, they subvert the creativity and resourcefulness of African youths who are thereby deprived of opportunities to innovate in the digital age while undermining the potential of African countries to achieve economic, social and political development.
  • We note that most countries in Africa continue to use criminal law to undermine the right to freedom of expression and to punish journalistic activities and other forms of expressions, including non-verbal expression. It is our view that in most of these circumstances, such laws serve no useful purpose other than to suppress criticism of public officials and official wrongdoing, reporting that exposes corruption or in some cases, to prevent the publication of politically embarrassing materials. There are also numerous examples on the continent where such laws have been used to prevent public scrutiny of political authorities, public institutions, and senior government officials, among others.
  • We, therefore, call on all countries in Africa to undertake a comprehensive reform of their media laws to decriminalize media practice, promote and create a conducive and enabling legal environment for freedom of expression in the respective countries, consistent with international standards.
  • We also call on media professionals and media professional bodies in Africa to take urgent steps to check and counteract the spread of “fake news” which is now regarded as one of the greatest threats to democracy around the world. While we acknowledge that the deliberate falsification of information and the dissemination of such information is not necessarily the handiwork of professional journalists, we are nonetheless convinced that professional journalists have a major role to play in checking this phenomenon by providing the public with accurate and reliable information and constantly establishing through their reporting the falsity or unreliability of fake news.

Members re-elected Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda in Nigeria, to serve as Chair of the AFEX Steering Committee for a further period of two years. They also elected to the Steering Committee Ms. Rea Simigiannis, Acting Executive Director of Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) in South Africa; Mr. Moses Magoola, Programmes Manager at the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ-U) in Uganda; and Mr. Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Ghana.

Adopted in Accra, Ghana, this Thursday, the 8th day of November, 2018.

CROCODILES ARE NOT COMEDIANS, THEY DON’T SMILE

The Nigerian Army on November 1, flagged off   “Operation Crocodile Smile Three 2018”  in  Bayelsa  State while that of Delta  State was launched the next day. The ‘Operation’ is in the Niger Delta which has experienced decades of repression, abandonment, neglect,  pollution and deepening poverty despite producing oil, the  country’s  mono-culture.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, who launched the operation on behalf of  the Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai  claimed that: “It is aimed at riding communities from (sic)  crimes and basically to safeguard lives and properties.”

This is the third “Operation Crocodile Smile” in the Niger Delta and nothing in the last two operations has taught the army that rather than intimidate, it needs the support of the people.  First, the code name of the operation is offensive and connotes negativity and unfriendly intentions.

The people are   riverine, so they fully understand the nature of crocodiles. In the over  7,000 years some of them have lived in those ancestral lands, they know that the crocodile is not a comedian; so it does not smile. A true smile conveys warmth, friendliness and good intentions. But the smile of the crocodile is deceptive; it masks evil intentions and thoughts. The smile of the croc is sinister; it is more of a smirk, a sneer. The people know that the  smile of a croc, hides a dark secret. They are aware that when the croc smiles, it is thinking of its next meal; how to kill its next victim. It is very much like crocodile tears which is exaggerated sorrow to mask its true feelings. Croc tears  are fake or tears of joy because the crocodile sheds tears when it is eating and enjoying its victims.

As we know amongst humans, crocodile smile, is the smile of crooks, phony friends and cunning politicians   who fake their real intentions and are deceitful and untrustworthy.

So why would the Nigerian Army code name its operations amongst the long suffering people of the Niger Delta, ‘Crocodile  Smile’? Is this  its true intention or the army leadership suffers from lack of understanding the English language and expressions?

Secondly, the stated objectives of the army are normal police duties, not military. We have the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) whose primary duty and responsibility is to fight crime and keep our communities safe, while that of the army is to protect our territorial integrity. So why should we continue the  negative tradition which started with the December 1983 coup when the military began  performing   civilians duties including community policing?  Why should we allow soldiers to run through our communities when they are not trained to maintain law and order amongst the civil populace? The army, after days of gunning down Shitte protesters in Abuja, cockily pronounced that it does not have rubber bullets to control a riotous situation, it has only live bullets. So why should our political and military leaders send out soldiers armed only with live bullets to contain public protests, which by the way, is the constitutional and fundamental right of all Nigerians?

The Nigerian Army simply launches so called operations, like Crocodile Smile, without reporting back to the public the outcome. So it is difficult to assess the success or failure of such naked display and use of fire power. However,   we have the report of the victims of Operation Crocodile Smile I and II.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the umbrella organization  of Ijaw youths in the Niger Delta  in opposing “Operation Crocodile Smile Three 2018” stated that:  “The only success stories it can boast of in the previous exercises was the human rights abuses occasioned by the criminal invasion and destruction of Ijaw communities without provocation.”

The IYC in its Report signed by its National President, Pereotubo Oweilaemi claimed that: “When it first launched the exercise in 2016, the military used the peaceful Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West LGA of Delta State as its theater of war, thereby maiming and harassing innocent citizens which culminated in the sacrilegious invasion and looting of the sacred Gbaraun Egbesu Shrine…while innocent Oporoza youths numbering about twenty, were arrested and dumped in its dungeon without trial for more than a year before they were released courtesy of public outcry”.

The IYC  also reported  that in that 2016 Operation, the military terrorized other Niger Delta communities adding: “Ajapa, Safarogbo and Igangbo in Ondo State were completely burnt down by the marauding Joint Task Force.”

The youths association further reported that: “Its second coming in 2017 was another horrible experience for the  Ijaw people in the Niger Delta. In the name of carrying out mop-up operations, the said trigger-happy and gun-wielding military Joint Task Force invaded and destroyed Ajakurama Community in Egbema Kingdom in Edo State, while some innocent communities were terrorized in Nembe Kingdom and environs in Bayelsa State in the name of searching for pipeline vandals. In Bennet Island in Ogbe-IIjoh Warri Kingdom, the experience was the same.”

While I cannot verify  that the IYC Report is entirely true, most  of the incidents it referred to were covered by the mass media. Secondly, the army has neither refuted the Report nor released its own to the public.

Also, the Army  Command displays a high sense of insensitivity   by its choice of personnel to run such an operation;  none of the officers publicly identified with ‘Operation Crocodile Smile Three 2018’ is from the Niger Delta or its environs. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report identified the top military brass connected as the said Maj.-Gen. Sarham, and the Commander, Sector 1, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Col. Alhassan Grema, and  Commanding Officer 3 Battalion, Effurun, Maj. Salim Hassan. Of course,  there  is  Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai (CAS) who sent them to the Niger Delta. So how can the Niger  Delta people feel safe or comfortable?  Indeed, how can Nigerians feel safe or comfortable with an army which evokes   fear rather than radiate   love?

The military had displayed a similar lack of tact when it unleased  ‘Operation Python Dance’ (Egwu Eke) on the Eastern part of the country. The people know that the python is not a disco dancer; that it neither dances the Blues nor tango. Rather, they know the python as a deadly snake which while not venomous, kills its prey by slowly squeezing it to death. Today ‘Operation Python Dance’ is in its Third Season. In Season II, it carried out a quite bloody repression of   the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. To-date, Nigerians have not been told the number of people killed or injured in that operation. It is time to streamline   the role of our armed forces and security agencies with democratic principles.

Written by Owei Lakemfa.

JUSUN Disrupts Court Sitting In Lafia

Nasarawa State Chapter of Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), on Tuesday disrupted proceedings at the High Court 1, Lafia, where the Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko, was sitting.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that members of the union, who were protesting the non-constitution of the state’s Customary Court of Appeal, Lafia, also complained of poor welfare.

Mr Jimoh Musa, state JUSUN Chairman, who spoke, said they would stage protests from time to time until their demands are met.

He said that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has given the state the nod to appoint three judges into the Customary Court of Appeal, to enable the court form quorum.

Musa alleged that till now, nothing was done to reopen the court.

He added that the union was demanding stoppage of all illegal deductions.

Musa added that the union was only struggling for better welfare for its members and not fighting with anybody.

All efforts by NAN to get the reaction from the chief judge failed.

Read original article here