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Monarch moves against rapists, domestic violence, child abuse In community

The traditional ruler of Igbogbo Kingdom, in Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Government Development Area of Lagos State, Oba Abdulsemiu Orimadegun, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo kingdom, has declared  war against perpetrators of rape, domestic violence, child abuse in the area.
The monarch spoke weekend, during a sensitization walk, aimed at fighting sexual and gender based violence in the community. Speaking at the event organized by Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), the monarch said children were leaders of tomorrow and that the community would not toy with the welfare of its upcoming generation. Orimadegun said: “We will not tolerate child abuse in Igbogbo. No children will be abused, harassed and persecuted in this community and  that is why we are partnering with the Lagos State Government in this lofty policy that is being implemented  and which other states in the federation are now following.” Speaking with Vanguard at the event, the State Coordinator of (DSVRTT), Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, said the aim of the walk “is to sensitise the community on sexual and gender based violence crimes.”

Source: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/monarch-moves-rapists-domestic-violence-child-abuse-community/

Sanction lawyers who give their seals to agents — NBA, Ilorin Branch- Judiciary Committee Report

Reforms improve the Legal Profession. This is one reason why the Constitutional Review Committee or any other similar committee is set up to introduce recommendations that will be of immense benefits in improving the current state of the profession. But what happens when sound recommendations are sometimes treated as triviality or perhaps forgotten? This may be fate of the Report of the Bar/Judiciary Committee of the NBA, Ilorin Branch.

In this exclusive report, the judiciary committee listed out some recommendations that are not only interesting but may stand the test of time if eventually implemented.1. PREAMBLE:
This committee was set up at the monthly meeting of the NBA Ilorin Branch held on 25th May, 2016. Members of the committee are:
Sir J.S. Bamigboye, SAN ………. Chairman
Olateju K. Taofiq Esq. ………. Member
Olorunisola Olasunkanmi Esq. ….…… Member
Dr. R.O. Abdulkadir ………. Member
Olayemi Shittu (Mrs.) ………. Member
Wahab Ismail Esq. ………. Member
Ibrahim Toyin Jimoh Esq. ………. Member
Oluronke Adeyemi (Mrs.) ………. Secretary

The Committee met and deliberated on the terms of reference given to it and has come up with the following report and recommendations.

a. Court Rooms: Members raised the issue of the deplorable conditions of most of our court rooms which are quite embarrassing. Court rooms at Offa, Omu-Aran, Bode Saadu, Oloje, Akerebiata, Pake, Ganmo and some even at the headquarters are in very bad shape and unfit for legal practice. The committee suggests that the NBA should recommend the following to the leadership of the Judiciary:

i. That all the courtrooms should be given a face lift.
ii. That cleaners be employed and supervised to ensure cleanliness of these courts at all times.
iii. The locations of the courts at Oloje, Centre Igboro, Ganmo and Pake are not conducive for legal proceedings and the courts should be relocated to more conducive locations.
iv. That the Judiciary should be given a time frame of six months to relocate the said courts or we boycott proceedings in such courts.
v. The court at Akerebiata should be renovated. The compound needs proper drainage as well as concrete floor. It is recommended that the NBA can assist with the renovation of this court as a social responsibility and to encourage the judiciary.

b. Service of Process By Bailiffs:
The idea of haggling with the bailiffs on fees for service was condemned. It is hereby suggested that the Judiciary and the Bar should work out a realistic bill of charges for service of court processes which will be payable to the treasury and the bailiffs mobilized by the Judiciary to effect the service. That way, the lawyers have no need to contact the bailiffs except to provide a pointer if required.

c. Commissioners for Oaths: It was observed that Judiciary Staff who act as Commissioners for Oath are too many. This gives room to all kinds of shady practices. It was observed that there are no records of affidavits deposed to at the court making it difficult to authenticate the genuiness of filed affidavits. It was suggested that the office ofthe Commissioner for Oaths be streamlined and copies of affidavits sworn to at the court be retained to check proliferation of fake affidavits.

d. Improper Dressing by Judicial officers and other members of Staff: It was observed that the dressing of some judicial officers and court registrars are not in conformity with the demands of this profession. Some wear bright coloured shirts and dresses to sit in court. Court Registrars come in all manners of dresses like jeans, T Shirts, leggings etc. It is suggested that a dress code should be made and enforced for members of staff of the Judiciary to give more respectability to the courts.

e. Dressing by Lawyers: A dress code enforcement committee of the NBA should be set up to ensure that Lawyers are properly dressed for court appearances and Bar meetings. Lawyers wearing slippers, sandals and coloured shirts/dress to court should not be condoned. We recommend that the Chief Judge pass a circular to all courts that lawyers that are not properly dressed should not be given audience in the courts, while lawyers that are not properly dressed to Bar meetings should also not be given audience at such meetings. We also urge the Bar to bring it to the knowledge of our colleagues that wearing of bibs and any kind of display of wigs and gowns are only for the court and not around town or on the dashboard of our cars.

f. Applications for Orders, Rulings and Judgements: The impunity with which court clerks, Registrars and typists ask for money before making available copies of hearing notices, orders, rulings and judgement was discussed. It has indeed reached an alarming proportion.
The position of the 1999 constitution in S 294(1) is that rulings and judgements be delivered within ninety days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses and the court must furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof. This was the practice in this jurisdiction until a few years ago. It is sad to note that while the courts comply with the first part of this law by delivering judgement within ninety days of final addresses, the other part of making copies of the decision available within seven days is no longer complied with. This has gone a long way in encouraging extortion of litigants and parties by court officials who charge unreasonable fees before making the copies available. Part of the reasons given for this unwholesome practice by some registrars range from lack of stationeries to inability to read the handwriting of the judge/magistrate thereby necessitating the need to take the judgements to business centers to type out. It was suggested that the constitutional requirements should be strictly adhered to. All necessary facilities for the production of hearing notices, orders, rulings and judgement should be made available by the judiciary. Our honourable judges and magistrates should ensure that typed copies of their rulings and judgements are made available to parties as required of them by the law in order to avoid the unpleasantness and embarrassment that will attend a petition being written against them by an aggrieved party. It is important to note that it is the head of such a court that will be called to question and not the supporting staff. We recommend that the leadership of the Bar take this matter up with the Honourable Chief Judge.We also recommend in the alternative that if it is not possible (for economic reasons) for the documents to be made available free of charge, appropriate fees should be fixed for payment to the treasury to get the documents.

g. Training of Judiciary Staff: Magistrates, Area Court judges and other court officials should have periodic trainings organized for them in conjunction with NBA to sharpen their skills and enhance productivity.

h. Lateness of courts in sitting: It was observed that some judicial officers have developed the habit of sitting late constantly without any regard for the appropriate time of court sittings or apology or explanation to members of the Bar.
It is recommended that if any court does not sit by 9.15am (except where courtrooms are being shared) and there is no message from the Judge, Magistrate or Area Court Judge, the most senior lawyer in court should lead others to walk out on such a court.

i. High Court Offa: It was observed that the Judge at the Offa High Court was on National assignment for about one year paralyzing the court. It was recommended that another judge be transferred to Offa while the idea of the sole judge sitting in a jurisdiction going on national assignment should be seriously discouraged.

j. Lack of Etiquette among lawyers:The lack of respect and etiquette by our junior colleagues was also discussed. Some juniors have no respect for seniors, very rude in conduct and speech to their colleagues as well as even to the court at times. Some are so bad that it is difficult to believe they are lawyers. The Bar should not hesitate to deal with such bad eggs.

k. NBA Seal: Lawyers should desist from the habit of giving their seals to lawyers who have no seals so that we will not be aiding fake lawyers. Any law office where no lawyer in the office has a seal should be closed down. Our colleagues should raise objections to lawyers using other lawyer’s seals or using any suspicious seal. The idea of lawyers selling their seal to land agents or anyone whosoever should be treated as a professional misconduct and appropriate actions taken against such a member.

Sir J.S. Bamigboye SAN
Chairman

Oluronke Adeyemi (Mrs.)
Secretary

Source: https://thenigerialawyer.com/sanction-lawyers-who-give-their-seals-to-agents-nba-ilorin-branch-judiciary-committee-report/

SERAP, pensioners drag Buhari to ECOWAS Court

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and several pensioners’ associations have asked the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja to order the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to deduct the pensions, salaries and gratuities of pensioners and workers across several states of Nigeria from the statutory allocations of the indebted state governments.

They also want President Muhammadu Buhari to order the payment of same directly to the pensioners and workers on a-monthly basis.In the suit marked number ECW/CCJ/APP/39/2017, the plaintiffs are suing over violations of the human rights of workers and pensioners to equality and equal treatment.

They want immediate payment of all outstanding pensions, salaries and gratuities through deductions from statutory allocations of the indebted state governments, and payment of adequate money compensation of N50 million to each of the pensioners and workers.

Other plaintiffs joining SERAP in the suit are: First Bank of Nigeria Pensioners (Lagos); Mrs Comfort C. Owoha; Joseph Agabi; Osemwenkha G.O, and Mrs J.E. Enabunlele. The plaintiffs are suing for themselves and on behalf of their members and other workers and pensioners across the country whose salaries and pensions have not been by the states and Federal Government for several months.

In the suit filed on their behalf by Solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana, the plaintiffs argued that the retirement system in Nigeria violated the right to equal protection of the law and dignity since senior public officials continue to receive “privileged pensions”, salaries and gratuities while the 2nd—7th plaintiffs, their members and several other Nigerian pensioners and workers continue to be denied their entitlements, salaries and gratuities.

They also argued that, “Under international law, Nigeria cannot invoke the provisions of its internal laws or the nature of its federation as justification for its failure to perform a treaty obligation. A fundamental rule of the law of State responsibility is that a State cannot escape its responsibility on the international plane by referring to its domestic legal situation.”

The suit read in part: “Ultimately, the Federal Government cannot escape its responsibility to achieve the effective realization of the rights of Nigerian workers and pensioners to timely and regular payment of salaries, entitlements and gratuities, as it retains ultimate responsibility to ensure the rights of workers and pensioners are fully realized.”

“Workers and pensioners in several states in Nigeria have been victims of violations of civil and political rights and even more severely, of economic, social, and cultural rights. The 2nd-7th plaintiffs and their members and other Nigerian pensioners and workers have experienced extreme poverty, discrimination, social exclusion, stigmatization, and deprivation of protections and entitlements on an ongoing basis due primarily to the failure and/or negligence of the Federal Government to ensure that several states of Nigeria pay accrued pensions, salaries and gratuities.

“By granting the reliefs sought, the ECOWAS Court would be recognizing and reiterating the need for the government and its federating units to protect the rights and interests of the vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized groups.

“Despite their obligations to protecting the human rights of vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, the government has failed to prevent the systematic violation by several states of the federation of a wide range of human rights as a result of the continuing failure and/or negligence to ensure that the states timely and regularly pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements and gratuities.

“The government has failed and/or neglected to ensure the timely payment of over 42 months of outstanding pensions and gratuities in Edo State of Nigeria despite Edo State receiving funds in the form of over N29 billion Paris Club refunds between November 2016 and July 2017 from the government.

“The government has since 2013 failed and/or neglected to ensure payment of accrued pensions and gratuities to about 4000 members of the Association of Retired Local Government Staff and Primary School Teachers in Delta State across 25 Local Government Councils of the State, leaving the pensioners to live in extreme poverty.

“Mrs Comfort C. Owoha served for 35 years as staff of the Sokoto State Primary School Board. But payment of her pensions expected to commence in 2001 after verification was inexplicably stopped by the Sokoto State Government.

“The government has failed to exercise due diligence, leading to the refusal and failure of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC to pay its pensioners accrued entitlements and gratuities and when pensions and gratuities are paid the Bank pay as low as N11,000, 13,000 as pensions despite the enormous amount in the Banks’s pension fund.

“The government has since December 2014 failed and/or neglected to ensure that Osun State of Nigeria remits monthly pensions deducted from the contributory pensioners. The government has also failed and/or neglected to ensure regular and timely payment of pensions and gratuities in Osun State, and that contributory pensioners have not been paid since January 2015.

“The government has failed and/or neglected to pay members of the Federal Civil Service Pensioners Association of Nigeria accrued pensions. The government continues to engage the Nigeria Union of Pensioners while deliberately sidelining the Federal Civil Service Pensioners Association of Nigeria and its members. The government is failing and/or refusing to ensure payment by several states of Nigeria of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements, amounting to billions of Naira in arrears.

“International human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party impose obligations on the government to ensure that economic difficulties and times of severe resource constraints cannot be used to undermine the enjoyment of the human rights of workers and pensioners in Nigeria, and disproportionately hurt them.

“The right to timely and regular payment of pensions and salaries is essential, particularly when a person does not have the necessary property available, or is not able to secure an adequate standard of living through old age or economic and social factors.

“According to the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), 23 states of the federation currently owed workers arrears of salaries ranging from one to 24 months. The NULGE gave the breakdown of states as follows: Bayelsa State: 10 to 16 months; Kogi State: between seven to 15 months; Delta State: eight to 14 months; Kaduna State:12 months; Oyo State: three to 11 months; and Edo State: 10 months.

“Others are Abia State: five to nine months; Kwara State: two to nine months; Benue State: nine months; Nasarawa State: seven months; Ondo, Ekiti, Imo States: six months; while Zamfara State has not implemented minimum wage. Adamawa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Plateau States are owing four months; Taraba and Federal Capital Territory: three months while Osun state has been paying half salaries for 24 months; and staff are owed few months in Enugu State.”

The plaintiffs therefore are asking the ECOWAS Court of Justice for the following reliefs:

“A declaration that the continuing failure and/or negligence of the Defendant to promote and ensure timely and regular payment by several states of Nigeria of pensioners’ entitlements and workers’ salaries and gratuities cannot be justified under any circumstances.

“A declaration that the failure and/or negligence of the Defendant to provide an environment necessary for securing and promoting the enjoyment of the human rights of pensioners and workers at the federal level and in several states of Nigeria to equality and equal treatment; equal protection of the law and non-discrimination; to dignity and independence; is unlawful.

“A declaration that the failure of the Defendant to promote and ensure an effective remedy and reparation for pensioners and workers who have continued to suffer due to the non-payment of pensions, salaries and gratuities by several states of Nigeria is unlawful.

“A declaration that the refusal of the Defendant to ensure the payment of pensions, salaries, and gratuities of the Plaintiffs is illegal and unlawful.

“An order directing the Defendant to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of pensioners and workers to timely and regular payment of pensions, salaries and gratuities and therefore, to equality and equal treatment; equal protection of the law and non-discrimination; to dignity and independence; to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being; to adequate standard of living and well-being; to property; to work; to family life; and to economic and social development.

“An order directing the Defendant and/or its agents to provide effective remedies and reparation, including adequate compensation, restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant to pensioners and workers that have continued to suffer due to the failure and/or refusal by the Defendant to promote and ensure payment by several states of Nigeria of pensioners’ entitlements and workers’ salaries and gratuities.”

Source: https://thenigerialawyer.com/serap-pensioners-drag-buhari-to-ecowas-court/

Protest rocks Lagos community as policemen drown tricycle rider

Some residents of Isheri, Lagos State, on Saturday went on the rampage at the Isheri Divisional Police Station after the corpse of a 37-year-old tricycle rider, Adama Onikoyi, was recovered from a river in the community.

A team of policemen from the station had reportedly raided the neighbourhood around 10pm on Thursday during which they chased the father of four into the river, where he drowned.

But the Lagos State Police Command said the indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State was a traffic robber, adding that he jumped into the river to evade arrest.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Adama was accosted by one of the cops on Wilma Street, where he lived, shortly after he returned from work.

It was gathered that he declined following them to the station on the grounds that he did not commit any offence.

He was said to have managed to escape and flee towards the river.

His widow, Biliki Onikoyi, said he had gone to buy food for one of their children, Zainab, after he returned from work.

She said she became apprehensive when he did not return after an hour.

She said, “When I called his phone number, it indicated that it was switched off. I was in fear throughout the night. While I was searching for him the following morning, someone said policemen raided the community the previous day and chased a man to the riverside.

“The person said he saw some policemen beating one man and that they tore the man’s clothes when he insisted that he would not follow them. I went there and found my husband’s clothes at the bank.

“I went to the station to know if he was among those arrested during the raid. A policeman I met said he was not arrested. While he was attending to me, another policeman came and said they pushed a stubborn man inside the water.”

Biliki said Adama’s corpse floated around 8am on Saturday with injuries on his head and face.

She said her husband was killed for no just cause and demanded that justice must be done.

“One of his hands was also broken. He was not a thief and nothing incriminating was found on him. I don’t have any job. He was the one catering to the family. All our children are still in school,” she added.

A friend of the deceased, John Eze, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, said one of the policemen shot into the river after Adama drowned.

He said, “The man was my close friend and he was a commercial tricycle rider, shuttling between Ojodu-Berger and Isheri. Some minutes after he left the park at Ojodu-Berger, I passed through the police station and saw some policemen in a van heading towards Wilma Street.

“I parked my tricycle and hid somewhere to know what was happening. I saw a policeman hold him by the waist of his trousers. He struggled with the policeman and later escaped. The policeman chased him until he fell into the river. The policeman also shot into the water.

“Some people were with me that evening, but we were afraid to go to the riverside. It was the following day I learnt that he was missing. He was not a thug. Everybody knows he was an easy-going person. He was very friendly.”

Another friend of the deceased, Taofiq Oladejo, said some youths had protested at the police station on Friday, alleging that operatives of the division drowned Adama.

He said some community elders intervened, stopped the protest and had a meeting with the police.

“The police denied that he was beaten and drowned. The elders told them that they would not be happy if they found injuries on Adama’s body. Unfortunately, there were injuries on his body.

“The youths took his corpse to the station on Saturday. The police fired tear gas canisters into them and they also threw stones,” he added.

However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said Adama was a hoodlum who had been disturbing the peace of the community.

He said the police had swooped on him based on complaints by residents.

He said, “The person that jumped into that water was a known hoodlum, a drug addict and a traffic robber. Residents of the area have complained about him and other people. While the police were trying to arrest him, he jumped from one building into another to escape the police. He later jumped into the river and got drowned.

“The police called the community leaders and members of the community and told them what happened. Some people were not happy and they wanted to capitalise on the incident. We drafted policemen from the Area Command and men of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Corps to fortify the division. Normalcy has returned to the area.”

Source: http://punchng.com/protest-rocks-lagos-community-as-policemen-drown-tricycle-rider/

 

REPORT ON THE WORKSHOP ATTENDED ON ‘EXPLORING THE ROLES OF CSOs IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FORCE ORDER 20 ON THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES IN THE POLICE FORMATIONS’ ORGANISED BY REPLACE.

The meeting started at 9 am, with the introductions, expectations and welcome remarks taken by Mrs. Felicitas Aigbogun Brai.  Mr.Stanley Ibe gave the Opening remarks

FIRST PRESENTATION BY FELICITAS AIGBOGUN ON THE PDSS AND FORCE ORDER 20

Mrs. Aigbogun gave a summary of the Police Force Order 20 as it presents the essence of the police duty solicitor scheme as a mechanism for the provision of free legal services in police formations, and also in fulfillment of the legal and constitutional obligations concerning procedures for arrest, detention and trial of suspects by scheme which aims at contributing to the realization of the ongoing reform progamme of the Inspector General of Police.

She stated that the force aims at The Nigerian police force with a view to enhancing democratic policing in the country as well as rendering the needed legal assistance to members of the force. She went further to state that the police duty solicitor scheme aims at;

  1. Fostering community policing and strengthening service delivery by the police.
  2. Increase protection and promotion of the legal and human rights of suspects and detainees,
  3. Improve accountability and transparency in the police force
  4. Promote access to justice for the poor, vulnerable and marginalized persons
  5. Improve the quality of legal assistance and justice in Nigeria
  6. Increase Nigeria’s compliance with her international human rights obligations.

 

THE SECOND PRESENTATION WAS ON ‘MODEL FOR IMPLEMENTING FORCE ORDER 20’

The second session was headed by Mr. Idris Bawa and divided into 4 groups. The groups were asked to bring up activities that will contribute to the realization of the ongoing reform program by the Inspector-General of Police. The following are some of the activities the groups came up with;

  1. Training of rank and file officers in the police force
  2. Creating quarterly awareness programs and campaign
  3. Periodic assessment of service delivery from the police
  4. Community policing dialogue
  5. Enforcement of the FHREP rules
  6. Involvement of lawyers, paralegals and law clinicians as volunteers
  7. Collaboration with National human rights commission
  8. Improve and update database of police personnel
  9. Enforcement of strict compliance with ACJL
  10. Set up of community legal aids centers
  11. Enlightenment and sensitization
  12. Collaborations and partnerships with agencies and bodies

Mr awahed shettima spoke on operational guidelines of the Duty Solicitor Advisory Committee. He listed out guidelines to be followed by the Advisory Committee set up.

  1. Formation of a quorum by members of the committee
  2. Plan monthly meetings
  3. Give out notices to members of the committee
  4. Agendas of meeting must be shared to committee members before each meeting
  5. Appointment of rapporteur/secretary whose duty is to take down notes at a every meeting
  6. Submissions of annual report to be submitted before 30th September of every year.

 

The last session was the Ideation session taken by Maryam Aliko Mohammed.

Here ideas were shared on ways to get volunteers involved with the police duty schemes at zero cost such as reaching out to lawyers at orientation camps, organizing talk shows in schools, churches and clubs. Suggestions were made as to engaging students, employed, paralegals,interns and clinicians in the duty schemes. Emphasis was placed on the need to have a human right desk officer in every police formation to ensure that suspects and detainees access the services of police duty solicitors.

 

The meeting was brought to an end at 5:15pm with Maryam Aliko Mohammed giving the closing remark, she thanked all participants and urged every participant to go back to their organizations and come up with activities that can help in the implementation of Force Order 20.

 

Court acquits 14 dismissed policemen of murder in Calabar

A Cross River State High Court on Friday acquitted 14 dismissed policemen who were attached to the Special Anti Robbery Squad of the murder of 24-year-old, Derek Maurice, and five others in Calabar.

Derek, a 300-level student in the Department of Accounting, University of Calabar, and the five others were killed on April 17, 2014 on alleged robbery-related matters.

But the family of the deceased that initiated investigations into the matter insisted that Derek was killed while he was in police detention.

A former Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Six, Mr. Musa Daura, had conducted an orderly room trial which indicted the 14 policemen for extra judicial killings upon which they were subsequently discharged from the Nigeria Police Force.

However, after two years of trial in suit No. HC/37C/2016, the judge of the state High Court (Four), Justice Obojor Ogar, in his ruling, said that the prosecution did not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused were guilty of the charges against them.

“Each of the accused persons pleaded not guilty from the day they were arraigned in court. The accused persons are not standing trial for killing six suspected armed robbers alone but that they killed Derek Maurice. It has not been proved. I find the accused persons not guilty, they are therefore acquitted and discharged,” he said in parts.

“The court has given its ruling today and it was very clear that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Fourteen accused persons were standing trial for the murder of Derek but there was no evidence in court by name Derek Maurice. The police were simply on operation and there was a robbery attack which was repelled by the police,” he said.

The prosecution counsel could not be contacted for his reaction but Derek’s mother, Mrs. Enoh-Maurice Enang, said they would take the matter to a higher court.

While the court became a theatre of jubilation by families and friends of the 14 acquitted policemen, mother of the prime deceased, Mrs. Enoh-Maurice Enang, wept silently.

One of the counsels for the defendants, Mr. Gregory Bisong, expressed satisfaction with the judgement, saying the prosecution could not provide enough evidence to prove that the men committed the crime.“The court has given its ruling today and it was very clear that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Fourteen accused persons were standing trial for the murder of Derek but there was no evidence in court by name Derek Maurice. The police were simply on operation and there was a robbery attack which was repelled by the police,” he said.

The prosecution counsel could not be contacted for his reaction but Derek’s mother, Mrs. Enoh-Maurice Enang, said they would take the matter to a higher court.

In an emotion-laden voice, Enang said, “This is just the beginning of the matter. Derek had a right to life. He did not commit any crime. He did not have any problem with the police. They just killed him because they felt nothing would happen. My son has been deprived of his right to life. I would not be deprived of justice in this case.”

source: http://punchng.com/court-acquits-14-dismissed-policemen-of-murder-in-calabar/

Nigeria monitors probe of killings in South Africa

The Federal Government says it is following police investigations on the death of two Nigerians in South Africa and also taking action to protect its citizens.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Wednesday, signed by the Spokesperson, Mr Tope Elias-Fatile, said their death occurred in two separate incidents.

“The mission informs that the first incident involved Mr Ikechukwu Mmanwoke Edmond, an indigene of Anambra State, who was murdered in front of his home in Marvern, a suburb of Johannesburg.

“The second incident involved Mr Eluka Agu, who was beaten to death during a robbery alongside some unidentified persons in Olievenhoutbosch, Centurion, near Pretoria.

“The Federal Government wishes to assure that the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Johannesburg has been following Police investigations on the sad development.

The government further commiserated with families of the deceased.

“Meanwhile, our missions in South Africa would continue to engage their host authorities to ensure the safety of Nigerians residing in various parts of the country

Grief-stricken Nigerian community in South Africa confirmed the vicious killing of the two members in that country within 48 hours barely a month after President Jacob Zuma was honoured by the Imo Government.

In October, a Nigerian man was shot dead in South Africa over an alleged 300 Rand (about N7,500) parking lot debt.

No fewer than 116 Nigerians have been dispatched to their early graves in the country through extra-judicial means in the last two years, according to Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

A dependable source close to the Nigerian community told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Johannesburg on Tuesday that the first victim, Ikechukwu Mmanwoke Edmond, 40, was killed on Nov. 11.

The source said the deceased, a businessman and native of Ihembosi, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra, was killed in front of his house on Amant Street, Malvern, Johannesburg.

It quoted an eyewitness and neighbour of Ikechukwu, Sibongile as saying that six men came to their house and started breaking doors and taking out their personal effects.

“ When she (Sibongile ) raised alarm, they started beating her. When Ikechukwu came in and saw what was happening, he brought out his phone to call the police.

“A member of the gang took a brick and hit him in the face and he fell down. When the police arrived, he was already dead,” the source told NAN.

According to the source, police said they have commenced “investigation’’ into the death of the businessman.

The second victim, Eluka Agu, native of Ihiala also from Anambra, was allegedly robbed and then beaten by some South Africans at Oliven, Centurion on Monday (Nov. 13).

The said the police came and took him away to his house for a search.

“The victim pleaded with the police to take him to the hospital for treatment but they refused.

“ After searching his house without finding anything, he died as a result of the severe beating’’.

As usual, the Nigerian community in the area which expressed worry about the incidents, had vowed to take up the matter with “appropriate authorities’’, the source added.

Dabiri-Erewa, while reacting to the gruesome killing of a Nigerian, Tochukwu Nnadi, by police in South Africa which has brought the number of Nigerians massacred in the country to 20 in 2016 alone, had described it as “unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria’’.

“The barbaric behaviour of the perpetrators is not only unacceptable, but also calls for urgent attention by diplomatic authorities in Nigeria and South Africa,” she said, reiterating President Muhammadu Buhari’s call to Nigerians to avoid crimes such as drug peddling which attracts stiff penalties, sometimes death.

Dabiri-Erewa urged the South African government to ensure that justice prevailed by carrying out investigation and bring the culprit to book.

NAN also reports that On Oct.11, Mr Jelili Omoyele, a 35-year-old cellular phone technician, was allegedly shot dead in Johannesburg while Olamilekan Badmus, a 25-year-old from Ogun, was also killed at Vaal Vreneging, near Johannesburg.

On the same day, a third Nigerian identified as Ifeanyi, a chicken seller, was accidentally shot in the head by the police.

On Oct. 15, Imo Gov. Rochas Okorocha unveiled a statue in honour of South African President Jacob Zuma, who witnessed the event.

Apart from the statue, a road was also named after Zuma with a traditional title of Ochiagha Imo by Eze Imo, Samuel Ohiri, to crown the state honour bestowed on him.

During the military administration of the then Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria spearheaded the struggles that ended Aparthied in South Africa.

Among other efforts, the military administration of Gen. Obasanjo contributed $3.7 million to the fund and also committed personal donation of $3,000 to the fund.

All Nigerian civil servants and public officers at the time made a 2% donation from their monthly salaries to the fund while Nigerian students skipped their lunch to make donations, and by June 1977, the total contribution to the fund had reached $10.5 million.

Between 1973 and 1978, Nigeria contributed $39,040 to the UN Educational and Training Programme for South Africa and in 1976, Nigeria boycotted the 1976 Olympics and Commonwealth games in 1979 as part of protest against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

From 1960 to 1995, according to available records, Nigeria spent over $61 billion to support the end of apartheid more than any other country in the world.

The late Sunny Okosun of Nigeria composed a song called “Fire in Soweto” in 1977 to show support for the fight against apartheid. (NAN)

Source: http://www.nan.ng/news/nigeria-monitors-probe-of-killings-in-south-africa/

Why Nigerian Govt Must Enforce Laws Against Female Genital Mutilation

The federal government has been urged to ensure implementation of laws against Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, across Nigeria to bring an end to the practice in the country.

Lola Alonge, the Executive Director of Child Health Advocacy Initiative, CHAI, made the appeal in a press statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.

She said FGM is unhealthy and violates the right of women.

FGM is a procedure involving partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. The act is globally recognised as an extreme violation of the rights of women and girls.

In some societies, it is considered a rite of passage. In others, it is seen as a pre-requisite for marriage or attributed to religious beliefs. The practice is considered a means of maintaining chastity and preventing promiscuity or infidelity.

A UNICEF recent statistics shows that the five states with the highest prevalence of FGM in Nigeria are Osun 77 per cent, Ebonyi 74 per cent, Ekiti 72 per cent, Imo, 68 per cent and Lagos 45 per cent.

According to Mrs. Alonge, about 20 million women and girls had undergone FGM in Nigeria and many more are at risk. More than 200 million women and girls are reported to have undergone FGM globally.

Warning of its dangers to women, Mrs. Alonge called on faith and traditional leaders in Nigeria to act as change agents and challenge the misconception that FGM is a religious and cultural requirement for a girl child.

Stressing the need to focus on ending the practice, she said it can cause short and long-term complications, including chronic pain, infection, increased risk of HIV transmission, anxiety and depression, birth complication, infertility and in the worst cases, death.

Mrs. Alonge explained that FGM violates human rights principles and standards including the principles of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the rights of the child and the right to physical and mental integrity and even the right to life.

“About one in five girls who have been subjected to FGM had the procedure performed by a trained medical professional and UNICEF data indicates that 28% of FGM cases are carried out by a health professional.

“FGM can never be “safe” and there is no medical justification for the practice even when the procedure is performed in a sterile environment and by a health care professional, there can be serious health consequences immediately and later in life.

“FGM performed in hospitals gives a false sense of security. FGM has no known health benefit and it causes lifelong physical and psychological harm. It affects the family, community, relationships and economic development” she added.

Mrs. Alonge recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan had signed the federal Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act into law.

Among other issues, the law bans FGM and other harmful traditional practices. But the VAPP Act only applies to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja.

“It is up to each of the 36 states to domesticate the 2015 VAPP ACT and pass it into law. Previously 11 out of 36 states had enacted laws banning FGM (Edo, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Rivers, Delta, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and Oyo).

“However, there is an inconsistency between the passing and enforcement of laws in Nigeria. That is why some states like Osun and Ekiti where they have existing laws have started training law enforcement officials on the law banning FGM”.

Though, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, said FGM is one of the most barbaric forms of killing and harming women, he however, disagreed that health workers in Lagos conduct the act.

Mr. Idris said any health worker caught doing such will be prosecuted.

According to him, Lagos has such high percentage because the state is multicultural.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201711160710.html