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”100 years of Bolshevik Revolution – Freedoms for proletarians is still lacking”

Centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution: They Changed the World.

By Owei Lakemfa.

The Bolshevik Revolution, Russian or October Revolution, one of the bloodiest, but certainly, the most profound revolution in human history will clock a century next Tuesday November 7, 2017.  Russia ran the Julian calendar which was two weeks behind the Gregorian calendar, hence it is called the October Revolution. The shock of a revolution by the ordinary people was so weighty that countries which some months before were engaged in the quite bloody First World War, decided to jointly invade Russia and wipe out the revolution.  Fifteen countries invaded Russia fighting on the side of the overthrown elites, the counter revolutionaries who ran the White Army. Japan sent 28,000 soldiers, Greece, 24,000, the United States, 13,000 and Poland, 12,000 troops. Other countries that sent in troops to destroy the infant revolution included the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Serbia, Romania, China, the Ottoman Empire and Czechoslovakia.  This 3-year ‘Civil War’ raged from November 1917 to October 1922, and the new Russian Republic, crept out like larva, victorious, but not until 8-15 million people had been killed. Perhaps the desperation to squelch the revolution might have been borne out of the shook that a workers or proletarian revolution which was thought to be in the figment of the imagination of men like Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels, had suddenly become a reality.

The revolution in which the entire Czarist Monarchy was executed, produced some of the most famous political names in human history. There was the ordinary looking leader of the revolt, Vladimir Ilich Lenin who updated the theories of Marx and gave birth to the political ideology known as Marxism-Leninism.  There was Leon Trotsky who gave rise to Trotskyism, and Josef Stalin who begat Stalinism. They were so formidable internationalists that almost all socialist revolutions since 1917, to-date, are defined as either Leninist, Trotskyite or Stalinist. Even Maoism which arose from the praxis of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung who led the Chinese Revolution 32 years later closely aligned with the Bolshevik Revolution.

Interestingly, the names of these great Russian revolutionaries were aliases; the Czarist security was so brutal that many radicals did not use their real names, not just to escape detection, but also to shield their families from cruel attacks by the police as the sins of fathers were visited on their sons, and those of brothers on their sisters.

The real name of Lenin was Ulyanov, the name Lenin, was coined from the Lena River which flowed close to his detention centre in Siberia.  Stalin’s real name was Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; Stalin, from the word, Stal, means steel. He was considered as being strong willed.  Leon Trotsky was a pseudonym; his real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Another figure who was not as famous, but is studied in the secret services was Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Polish revolutionary who whose mouth was disfigured under torture. He was of the aristocratic class and after the revolution, had decided to return to Poland to organize a similar revolt. But things changed completely, when he was given the task of providing security at the Smolensk Institute which the new government had chosen as its operational base. He went on to establish the secret service known as Cheka, and in more recent times as the KGB, one of the most efficient secret services which ensured that the young revolution survived.

The revolution which had a coalition of mainly workers, soldiers and farmers had a simple three-point Agenda; for the soldiers, it was a promise to pull Russia out of the First World War in which many had perished. For the workers, it was a promise to provide bread (food) as many were starving, and for the farmers, to redistribute land to them as Russia was slowly emerging from feudalism (abolished 1861) in which the landlords owned the lands and the landless peasants slaved on them like serfs. It also promised to provide electricity across the country.

The revolution employed a lot of tactics and strategies that were not initially discernible. For instance, when the First World War broke, Lenin saw it as an ‘imperialist war’ which can be turned into the overthrow of capitalism. He argued that “from the standpoint of the working class and of the labouring masses, the lesser evil would be the defeat of the Tsarist Monarchy” He said the war can be transformed into civil wars in the various countries with working class soldiers turning on their own governments. He reasoned that if the Russian Army under the Czar were defeated, the Monarchy will be too weak to resist change and that if the revolutionaries took advantage of that, they could carry out a revolution, and then use the Russian Revolution to carry out similar workers take over across Europe. It seemed farfetched, but that was what happened some years later.

With the war going badly for Russia, and the Czar weakened, the Bolsheviks, realizing they lacked the numbers, joined mass protests, which in February 1917, forced the Czar to step down.  The new Provincial Government was led by a young lawyer, Alexander Kerensky. Before it could find its feet, the new Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, General Lavr Kornilov, decided six months later to overthrow the government. He ordered the military to seize the tottering government. Kerensky appealed to armed militia including the Bolshevik workers militia which came to its aid.  Two months later, Lenin who was in exile, returned in a sealed train. At a meeting of the Central Committee, he argued that if the workers were determined enough to resist the coup attempt, then they can overthrow the government. By 10 votes to two, the body agreed and the workers went to the meeting of the Provisional Government, arrested them and within ten days, the Bolsheviks had occupied most of the then capital, Petrograd, the revolution was on!

The Bolshevik Revolution begat many others around the world including the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban, and, led to the rise of a bipolar world and the Cold War. It transformed   Russia into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) which fell apart in September 1991, giving birth to fifteen countries. The old Soviet Bloc of nine countries gave birth to a total of 30 countries with Yugoslavia becoming seven countries and Czechoslovakia, two.

One of the greatest contributions of the USSR to humanity was that it stopped the march of Nazi Germany and reversed its victories; but this came at a cost of over 20 million lives. Also, it demystified governance, and taught the poor, especially workers and farmers that they too can govern. It also taught humanity that another system, another humanity, is possible, if not desirable in the strange world we live today.



IPC laments killing, assault of Nigerian journalists by security agents, criminals

The International Press Centre (IPC) on Thursday re-echoed how media practitioners in Nigeria had become endangered species.

It recalled that two Nigerian journalists have been killed in 2017 while 12 others suffered various forms of assaults.

In a statement signed by its director, Lanre Arogundade, to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, IPC called for “urgent justice for all attacked journalists in the country through investigation and diligent prosecution of the alleged perpetrators.”

He said it was unfortunate that Nigeria continues to rank high among countries where press freedom and freedom of expression are under threat, stating that the database of its Safety Alert Desk reveals not less than fourteen incidents of assault, threat, battery, arrest, kidnap, killing and invasion involving journalists and media institutions this year.

The statement recalled that “Famous Giobaro of Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Glory FM 97.1, who was shot dead on April 16; while Lawrence Okojie of Nigerian Television Authority, Benin, was shot dead while returning from work in July.

“Others include: 1. Jerry Edoho of Ibom Nation Akwa Ibom State: He was picked up in Uyo by police personnel from the Force headquarters in Abuja on January 6.

2. Nsebiet John of The Ink, Akwa-Ibom State: He was detained for a night in police cell, arraigned and granted bail to the sum of N250,000 on January 6.

3. Premium Times, Abuja: The premises was invaded by armed police officers on January 19.

4. Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, Premium Times and Evelyn Okakwu, Judiciary correspondent: Both were arrested by armed police officers on January 19.

5. Godwin Aliuna of National Mirror, Ebonyi State: He was attacked by alleged armed robbers in his residence on February 22.

6. Samuel Nweze, Publisher of the People’s Leader: He was shot by gunmen in front of his office in Abakaliki on June 2.

7. Charles Otu of the Conscience Newspaper: He was beaten to stupor with dangerous weapons and later abducted by suspected political thugs in Abakaliki on June 2.

8. Amadin Uyi of Silverbird Television, Abuja: He was brutalized by police officers during the protest by Ourmumudondo group at Unity Fountain in Abuja on August 8.

9. Segun Salami of Channels Television, Kogi: He was battered at the state house detention centre by security personnel attached to Kogi State government house on August 28.

10. NUJ secretariat, Abia State: Invaded by Nigerian soldiers of Operation Python Dance on September 12 during which some journalists were assaulted.

11. Wale Odunsi, an editor with DAILY POST (online publication): He was reportedly attacked by security officials at the Kogi State government house on October 11.

12. Ikechukwu Ibe of the Daily Trust Newspapers: He was allegedly brutalised and assaulted by an Army Captain at Jabi area of Abuja on October 26.

“We attach the highest priority to the safety of journalists and other media actors.

“We oppose any action, legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits freedom of the press. Acts of intimidation and violence against journalists in Nigeria have to end for democracy to survive.

“Attacks against media institutions and journalists are attacks against democratic rights including the right of the public to know the truth about the way they are governed,” Arogundade added.

He called on the police authorities to make public disclosure on what has been done so far towards unravelling the mystery behind killed journalists in Nigeria.

The IPC director also advised Nigerian journalists to take their safety more seriously.


Report on the Wayamo Foundation workshop

The Wayamo Foundation held a 3-day capacity building workshop for military and civil investigators and prosecutors entitled Strengthening Justice And Accountability In Nigeria, from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2017, and the National Coordinator of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Mr Chinonye Edmund Obiagwu was one of the resource persons.

On the first day of the training Mr. Chinonye Edmund Obiagwu, the National Coordinator of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), delivered a lecture entitled Relationship Between Domestic Criminal Law And International Criminal Law.

On an opening note, Mr. Obiagwu told the participants that to excel at their jobs and every other thing they do they needed to inculcate three things, that is;

  1. Knowledge,
  2. Good attitude, and
  3. Good practice.

In his lecture Mr Obiagwu gave the various sources of International and domestic criminal law.  According to him, the sources of International criminal law include; the Rome Statute, the Genocide convention and jus cogens of the international community.  On the other hand, there is a plethora of sources of Domestic Criminal law, including; the EFCC Act, Criminal code, Penal Code, Money Laundering Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act etc. and the danger in having so many laws, is that there will likely be conflict of laws which would leave the system open to manipulation.

He pointed out that, some of the offences under International Criminal laws are missing in our Domestic laws, for example, the offences of Torture, Serial Rape etc. the result is that when the Prosecutor is confronted with such a case he charges for an offence which he feels is similar, with much lesser punishment than serves the justice of the case.

He noted that International criminal Laws if domesticated will fill the gap where there is a lacuna in our Domestic laws

Furthermore, he stressed the need for the Rome Statute which has been ratified by Nigeria to be Domesticated and integrated into the Nigerian law and stated that, though the Rome Statute is in the process of being passed as a Nigerian law, there are financial constraints because it is a private member bill.

He also pointed out some of the conflicts, ambiguity and vagueness in our Domestic Criminal Laws, and advised the participants to choose the law that does the most justice, where two or more laws provide for an offence, and to always pick the sections that are precise when drafting a charge, this he said, is because the principle of criminal law is certainty; here he referred to Section 36 (12) Of The 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

Furthermore he said that it is important that for every prosecutor to get acquainted with the three handbooks for prosecution; National policy on prosecution, code of conduct for prosecutors and guidelines for prosecutors.

He further admonished the participants to always keep in mind the tests for prosecution in every case, that is;

  1. Evidential test
  2. Public interest test
  3. Morality test.

Finally he extolled the innovations in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and urged the Office of the Attorney General to enforce its implementation, starting from Monitoring Committee.

He fielded some questions from the participants and closed his session.


NUJ, Lagos Council calls on media owners to end impunity against journalists paying salaries and emoluments

As the world marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council stands in solidarity with all brutalized and harassed journalists within Lagos and other parts of the country.

In a statement issued and signed by the Chairman Lagos NUJ, Dr. Akinreti Qasim and the Secretary, Odifa Alfred. The Union say NO to impunity being meted out on Journalists working in all the media houses in the state by the employers who in most cases have deliberately withheld their salaries.

The Chairman pointed out that “we stand with all Nigerian journalists against impediments and all other legislation preventing free press and the right of journalists to carry out their legitimate duties of watching the society and ensuring equity”.

The Union recognizes journalists who had been killed while doing their legitimate duties;  beginning from Enenche Akogwu of Channels TV, Zakariya Isa,  of the Nigeria Television Authority, Sunday Gyang Bwede, The Light Bearer, Nathan S. Dabak, The Light Bearer, Bayo Ohu, The Guardian, Samson Boyi, The Scope, Sam Nimfa-Jan, Details, Fidelis Ikwuebe, Freelancer, Okezie Amaruben, Newsservice and Tunde Oladepo, The Guardian.

While we criticized the tedious environment in which these journalists worked which may have led to their deaths, the Union call on the owners of the media organization to work towards settling the debts owed their workers, as these are what constitute impediment and impunity against Journalists.

The union also call on the government and security agencies within the country to order and prevent their men  from manhandling, brutalizing and carrying out acts viewed as impunity against the media in the country.

A case in point is the recent attack on a Lagos based Journalist  Yomi Olomofe by men of the Nigerian Custom in connivance with some alleged smugglers in the notorious Seme border area.

Although, the matter is still pending in court, the NUJ, Lagos Council is calling on the government to give Journalists unfettered access to enable them do their jobs according to the ethics of the profession.


International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2 November

Poster_Social Media_IDEI2017Over the past 11 years, more than 900 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle. UNESCO is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.


How Lagos flood forced many from their apartments, crippled business activities

To anyone that relocates from Mainland part of Lagos to the Island, another part of Lagos that is regarded as an eyebrow area where ultra-high-net-worth individuals live, to them, it is like travelling to Europe from Africa seeking new ways of life. With joy and enthusiasm, they are proud to tell their family members and friends that they have relocated the Island.

For a typical “Lagosian”, living in Lekki means you are wealthy, it means you live in comfort where there is nothing but “abundant life”.

For Ademola Okemuyiwa, an accountant that relocated to Lekki with his newly wedded wife in December, 2017 due to change of job that prompted him to relocate, living in Lekki is what he described as his big dream that has come through.

“For a long time, I have dreamed to live in this part of the state due to the class of people that live here. Though some of my friends influenced me to live here, but I have also desired to live in Lekki,” Okemuyiwa said.

But reality dawn on Okemuyiwa six months after relocating to his house on Ado Road, Ajah with his wife, the yearly ritual heavy flood that lasted for more than almost three days had almost submerged his house that he could not take anything from his house but to relocate to another family’s resident in Mainland within that short period.

Also narrating his own ordeal during that period, Chima Ndubusi, a real estate agent that lives in Ajah but has his office in Lekki revealed that his house was not affected at that period, but his office was adversely affected that he could not come to his office at that time with other offices around that area because of the heavy flood.

The rain that got many parts of the Island submerged by the flood swept some debris in the area path, causing some drains and drainage channels blocked in Lekki Phase II, Osapa London, Victoria Garden City, Ikoyi, Banana Island, Badore, Bugije, Igbo Efon and Awoyaya.

Lagos State Government through the Commission for Environment in the State Dr. Babatunde Adejare when speaking to the journalists during that period said that the decision became necessary to enhance the ability of the drainage channels to effectively discharge storm water into the rivers, lagoon and other water bodies and relieve Lagosians of the incidence of flood.

With flood in Lagos becoming annual ceremony, its primary caused has been attached to different factors. Parts of which include rise in global temperature that got the ocean warm.

According to a Climate Change advocate, Rotimi Fasan, he said that when water heats up, it expands and leading to rise in sea levels as we have been witnessing in several countries in recent times.Another factor that has been believed to be the major cause of the flood is the dredging of different multi-billion dollar projects in the area. The Eko Atlantic City and some other projects are elephant projects that have required dredging of the Lagoon and the ocean.

In an effort to stop the construction of the multi-billion project two years ago, a non-governmental organisation of lawyers and Law professionals that engage in promotion and protection of human rights, rule of law and good governance in Nigeria, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) approached the federal high court in Lagos asking for an end to the ongoing Eko Atlantic City project and dredging of other parts of the ocean.

The National Coordinator of the organisation, Chino Obiagwu said that the dredging of the ocean and construction of buildings on the reclaimed land under the Eko Atlantic City will not only flood the coastal areas in coming years, but also destroy aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters of the ocean that fishes and animals which will negatively affect the rich ecosystem of the ocean, the Lagoon and adjourning rivers, swamps and wetland of the country.

“Court should stop the project because of its destructive impact on the aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters and the environment of the coastal communities including Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula and several fishing settlements on the west coast of the ocean,” he said.

“The lagoon is swollen up, there is high tide, so it would lock on our outfalls, the water would not recede or go into the lagoon as fast as it used to be. So that’s one of the main reasons why we are having flooding all over the place; and coupled with our own man made problems such as people blocking the drainage channels, people even building on drainage channels, that’s what has also been causing all these problems,” he said.

On how the incessant flood affected business activities in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ajah and other vicinities of the areas where offices of telecommunication companies, banks and other multinational companies are located, many business owners lamented the damage the rain caused to their business affairs.

Despite billion of dollar that is being owned in properties, everybody seems to be living their own shell with no solution coming to solve the imminent challenge in the areas. Things got bad that every other thing come to stand still. Anytime there is a major downpour, everything in areas comes to a standstill.


Amnesty International Testifies At Presidential Panel

Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday testified at the Presidential Panel set up to review compliance of the military on rules of engagement in the battle.

The organisation in its evidence by two of its senior staff; Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research and Netsanet Belay, Research and Advocacy Director, Africa insisted it has a prima facie case against the military and urged the federal government to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Their testimonies were however taken in a closed session following a statement by Baley at the beginning of his testimony that video scenes which constitute part of his evidence might be obscene.

Justice Biobele Georgewill, Chairman of the seven-man panel, however invited journalists and other members of the public for the cross examination of the two witnesses by the military.Lead counsel for the military, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), asked AI why it was silent on the number of military casualties in the battle against Boko Haram.

He asked the witnesses if they knew how many soldiers have been killed by Boko Haram between 2012-2017.

Responding, the first witness, Dr. Anna Neistat said the mandate of AI is to document violence against civilians and not what happens to the warring parties.

Also when asked if she had visited the theatre of operation as a researcher to get first hand information for the report, the witness said, their are competent staff of the organisation on grounds in the north, adding that reports are not just used on their own but have to be corroborated with other information and sources including from the military.

On the reliability and credibility of the sources it adduced its findings to, despite that the witness admitted not knowing them personally, she disagreed with the military counsel when she was confronted with the possibility that the sources are interested parties.

Counsel, “Do you agree that these sources are interested parties? Witness, ” No, I disagree,” she said, adding that no one testimony is just taken and put into our report without corroborating them with others.

Also, the witness told the court that they could not categorise their sources because it believed in protection of sources and would not want to endanger their lives.

Also, when asked if its claim in its report, that the military committed war crimes in the North-east was an allegation or a conclusion, the witness insisted that there was a prima facie case of war crimes against the military and urged that it be investigated.

Earlier, when the case was called, one Emmanuel Oguche of the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, objected to the presentation of Amnesty.

He, however, suggested that if the organisation must be heard, its recommendations should not be taken

However, the panel over-ruled him.

The hearing which lasted till about 6.15p.m. was however adjourned to today for the completion of the cross-examination and hearing of other petitions.

Monday said the panel would listen to stakeholders from the south-south region over alleged human rights abuses by the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

He said the panel would take receipt of memorandum from state governments, traditional rulers, community leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, human right groups and other stakeholders.

“It is gratifying to inform that the panel has been receiving memoranda from across the country as we intend to hold public hearings in each of the six geopolitical zones.


Hate Speech: Nigerians react to sanctions imposed on Radio, TV stations

Some Nigerians have taken to various social media platforms to express their views over the fine imposed on 23 radio and television stations across Nigeria for breaches of broadcasting rules set by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

The NBC spokesperson, Maimuna Jimada, on Tuesday said the stations were punished for hateful speech, vulgar lyrics and unverifiable claims.

The breaches contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in the third quarter of 2017, according to the NBC.

While most people saw the move as an attempt to gag the freedom of the media, others said it is necessary as it helps to check the spread of incendiary comments.

A few of their comments are reproduced below. 

“The Nigeria State is imperatively heading to military and unitary systems of government and every well-meaning Nigerian must condemn this very act in which APC led government have introduced, which is to restrict and infringe on the freedom of speech of Nigeria, by going through radio station and television to stop the citizenry exercise their fundamental human rights. This deviant character must be condemned,” a Facebook user, Onovwie Godspower said.

“We didn’t hear these type of news during the Jonathan’s regime but a certain tyrant and dictator in the seat of power now is trying his best to silence everybody at all cost. Everybody was busy saying anything they want during Jonathan without fear of anything, learn to take the heat. If you can’t stand the heat then don’t go near the kitchen,” Scofield Dokubo James said on Facebook.

“This is very good. Many people believe that insulting their leaders and making incisive statements is part of freedom of speech or democracy. This is not so. Freedom and democracy demands responsibility and respect,” another Facebook user said.

A Twitter user, Frank Owo, said the APC government talked its way to power through propaganda, “and now you are talking of hate speech.”

The code

The NBC was mandated by Section 2 subsection (1) of Act 38 of 1999 as amended by Act 55 of 1999 to license, monitor regulate and conduct research in broadcasting in Nigeria. The commission is also tasked with the development and accreditation of mass communication in tertiary and other related institution in the country.

Though the approval of broadcast stations is at the prerogative of the president of the country, the NBC handles the entire process of licensing from the indication of interest, the procurement of application form to the final recommendation for the president approval.

In carrying out its primary function of monitoring broadcast stations in the country, the NBC uses the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

Mrs. Jimada had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that the code is reviewed every four years, with the help of broadcast stations, members of the public and other stakeholders.

“This code is available to all broadcasters. In fact, when you purchase your application form, the document is part of the documents you will get from the NBC. When you get your license, you sign an undertaking that you have read the code and will abide by it”, she said.

“It contains all the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of broadcasting in Nigeria along with the sanctions you will get if you do what you are not supposed to do. So, there is no new thing the NBC will pull out of the air if you do what you are not supposed to do.”

Nigerian Broadcast Code also stipulates different penalties to be meted out to erring broadcast stations according to classes of infringement committed.

On Wednesday, the spokesperson said there ”will be higher sanctions if erring stations fail to comply with the fine imposed on them.”