IHRDA, LEDAP train Nigerian Lawyers, CSOs on litigating women’s rights

23 March 2017

IHRDA and local partner LEDAP are organizing a training workshop in Nigeria from 22-23 March 2017 on advancing women’s rights using international legal instruments.

The workshop brings together about 30 lawyers and women’s rights CSOs. It seeks to equip participants with knowledge and skills on the use of international human rights instruments, notably the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, to promote and defend women’s rights in Nigeria.

It is expected that, after the training, participants will be able to evoke these international instruments in cases brought before domestic courts, and increasingly litigate women’s rights violations before supranational human rights mechanisms such as the ECOWAS Court, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The project is funded by NED.

Vacancy for IT Officer

Location

Lagos Office

Description

The IT Officer will answer directly to the Executive Programmer Director.

Responsibilities

(1) Maintain computer and network systems in the office.

(2) Manage LEDAP’s online presence by:

  • Ensuring high web-page optimization, user-friendliness and rankings.
  • Creating and gathering timely content for the LEDAP blogs and websites to ensure constant engagement from the public, including timely updates and information on human rights and criminal law.
  • Updating social media sites including twitter, facebook and linked-in with the activities and events of the firm.
  • Utilizing social media platforms in a way that will drive targeted traffic to the LEDAP and website(s).
  • Conducting a bi-weekly social media and website report to reflect ratings, engagement with sites, and increase in followership.

Qualification Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree preferably in Information Technology, Media or any other relevant qualification.
  • 1-2 years relevant work experience.
  • Creativity and willingness to explore useful avenues to keep the public abreast with the organization’s projects and causes.
  • Good analytical skills – the ability to assess input vs output and change strategy where necessary to improve results.
  • Excellent interpersonal and leadership skills.
  • Demonstrates high level of initiative and organizational skills.
  • Clear, confident and articulate communicator (written and spoken).
  • Good time-management skills.
  • Team Player.
  • Able to work under limited supervision.

Remuneration

Competitive

Judicial and institutional developments in Nigeria against atrocity crimes and the protection of victims

The context

Since 2012, nearly the entire northeast Nigeria, comprising one-sixth of Nigeria’s 170 million people, has been under severe decimation by Boko Haram terrorists and counter-terrorism by the Nigerian Military. The destructive impart of the armed conflict is huge and tragic:

  • Over 15,000 civilians non-combatants have been killed;
  • Nearly 3m civilians are internally displaced or forced across borders as refugees;
  • More than 6 billion Dollars have been expended in the war without end;
  • Over 75% of children of school age are out of schools as most schools are either destroyed or closed.

The severity of violation of human rights and humanitarian laws are massive.

Boko Haram, a lethal group

Boko Haram is undoubtedly the deadliest terror group in the world. In April 2016, their leader announced its affiliation to ISIS, making it more political and IT driven. They are receiving ISIS assistance that has increased their capacity to roll out propaganda messages, and monitor movements of Nigerian military and civilian populations. They recruit children as young as 8 years and psycho-drill them into suicide bombers, with capacity to monitor their movements when being trained or sent on terror missions. The rate of child soldiers engaged in combat in the northeast for Boko Haram is higher than any other armed group in human history. The sophistication of Boko Haram’s armory, and the precision of their attacks on targets when they strike, suggest considerable military professionalism, which smack of mercenary support.

Cutting out funding to Boko Haram has been a strategy Nigeria has failed to mobilize world’s support.

Violations by the military

At the same time, the Nigerian military have responded with high-handed violence, leading to death of thousands of innocent civilians. The ordinary Nigerians who live outside the northeast could justify military excessive use of force as ‘necessary in the war’ but reports show that both sides of the conflict are committing atrocity crimes, especially war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A recent post on the blog of Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), the parent coalition of NCICC, clearly depicts the dire situation of massive violations of humanitarian laws and very high rate of impunity. It also shows the near-impossible expectation of ICC’s intervention to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by both sides.

Despite compelling evidence, no-one has been held accountable for these war crimes [committed since 2013 by Boko Haram and Nigerian military]. This incident [a 2014 killing of 600+ suspected members or supporters of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military and government-backed Civilian Joint Task Force in broad day light in Bama Borno State] sheds light on an under-reported pattern in Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. Security forces have committed serious violations of humanitarian law throughout the conflict. These crimes have not been investigated and their perpetrators remain unpunished. War crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Nigeria – a party to the Rome Statute – fall within the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) jurisdiction. The ICC Prosecutor has opened a preliminary examination into atrocities committed by both sides, but is rightly waiting to see whether Nigeria will begin domestic investigations. In this context, could the ICC’s involvement galvanize Nigerian politicians to hold their own accountable?

The evidence is mixed. A Rome Statute domestication bill intended to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity continues to be debated. During his first week in office, Nigeria’s President Buhari pledged to investigate the military’s crimes. However, in the 18 months that have elapsed since that promise was made, the government has provided no information on how or when these investigations will be conducted. In the absence of genuine national proceedings, the ICC Prosecutor must decide whether to open her own investigations. [But she is in a dilemma]. At a time when the African Union has backed a “strategy for collective withdrawal” from the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor will be loath to open investigations into one of the ICC’s most reliable supporters.[1] Yet anyone hoping that the Prosecutor will be spared this decision must contend with three obstacles to domestic proceedings: the extent of the crimes will stretch Nigeria’s criminal justice system; investigations that are likely to expose how the military could have, but failed to stop Boko Haram; and investigations that may lead prosecutors to some of the most powerful individuals in the country. These practical and political roadblocks should put the Prosecutor on notice: the interests of justice and the interests of the ICC are likely to diverge.

The Extent of the Crimes

The ICC’s preliminary examinations are based on evidence of mass arrests, torture, and summary executions committed systematically and repeatedly by security forces, resulting in thousands of deaths and disappearances. A UN report found evidence that detainees in military custody were denied food and water and, as a result, died on a daily basis. Research by Amnesty International reported that more than 7,000 men and boys died in military detention between 2011 and 2015 due to this abhorrent treatment.

The ICC Prosecutor will only open investigations if Nigeria is unwilling or unable to do so domestically. The scale of the crimes alone will test the ability of Nigeria’s criminal justice system, which already struggles to ensure due process. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 35,889 people in prison are awaiting trial, or 70% of the prison population. These figures do not include thousands of suspected Boko Haram fighters, who are detained by the military. Nigeria’s international partners have pledged their assistance to help investigate and prosecute these suspects, but military violations do not appear to be on the agenda. Nigeria would need to devote significant resources to investigating military crimes committed over several years, across three states, when witnesses are likely to be among 2.3 million displaced people. The chances of the justice system being able to handle such investigations in the near- to medium-term are slim.

The Military’s Failures

The second problem is that investigations will force a re-assessment of the military’s crimes. The horror inspired by Boko Haram’s abuses has led some to rationalize military violations as the ‘excesses’ of over-zealous soldiers, doing ‘whatever it takes’ to defeat an existential threat. But the military’s violations are not an unfortunate and unintended consequence of its determination to win the war. Such euphemisms are deeply misleading. They call to mind soldiers, in the heat of battle, using disproportionate force in a firefight. In fact, the crimes being considered by the ICC occurred outside of battle, when there was no threat to person or property.

 

Current framework for judicial action

The current judicial framework in Nigeria to address atrocity crimes and redress to victims can be discussed under the following headings: the current laws, institutional structure, investigation and prosecution capacity, courts and capacity to adjudicate, and political challenges,

  1. Current Laws

 

Outdate penal laws without atrocity crimes

Nigeria is yet to domesticate the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court[2]. Being a dualist state, international crimes are not part of its domestic penal laws. The current applicable laws are the Criminal Code (enacted in 1945 and applicable in southern states) and the Penal Code (enacted in 1924 and applicable in northern states including the northeastern states). These Codes provide for the offences of murder punishable by death as well as treason or waging war against Nigerian State, also punishable by death. No crime of war crimes, genocide[3] or crime against humanity is provided. Many of the cases of killings by suspected Boko Haram members are charged under the Penal Code, or sometimes the Criminal Code depending on the location of the assault.

New anti terrorism law did not go far with atrocity crimes

In 2011, Nigeria enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act, (amended in 2013) which punishes the crime of terrorism as well as the offences of supporting, financing, encouraging and supplying materials to terrorists.  The Act is strong in criminalizing support to Boko Haram, but it is weak as a tool to attack terrorism because it has very broad definitions of elements of the offences it created. Thus, apart from the conviction and sentence to life imprisonment of Kabiru Sokoto and his co-accused, who masterminded the 2013 Christmas day bombing near Abuja, no other notable terrorist has been successfully prosecuted and convicted under PTA. Activists have criticized[4] the Act for containing provisions that contradict the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. In particular, the Act suspends the rights of suspects to access to their lawyers, relations and independent medical treatment. In 2014, NCICC commenced a suit at the Federal High Court to strike down provisions of the Act that offend the Constitutional provisions. The case is pending at the Court of Appeal (NCICC v Attorney General of the Federation.).

New sex and gender crimes created 

Another legislation that regulates atrocity crimes and redress to victims is the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, which punishes violence targeted at women and children, or group of vulnerable people. Assaults or mistreatment of IDPs fall within these provisions.

Challenging procedures of the courts

The procedures to enforce these laws had, before 2015, been the Criminal Procedure Code (enacted in 1924) and the Criminal Procedure Act (enacted in 1945 for enforcing the Criminal Code). These laws are too obsolete to meet the challenges of 21st century terrorism crimes.

Happily in 2015, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was passed, aimed at improving the investigation and prosecution of crimes in the country. Laudable provisions are contained in the new Act to reduce delays and empower the investigators, prosecutors, defence and courts. One of such is section 232, which provides that the court must protect witnesses in terrorism and other violent or sex crimes, and where necessary, evidence of witnesses may be taken in chambers, shielded in screen, voice-disguised or by video link. Also identities of witnesses and victims should be protected in terrorism trials. So also the provision in the Act that victims can be compensated in the criminal proceedings and that criminal trial should not be paused or stayed because a party intends to appeal against any decision taken by the court within the proceedings, called interlocutory appeals. This has been the main cause of delay in criminal trials in the country.

Not yet impactful reforms

Despite these innovations, there has been little progress in investigating and prosecuting atrocity crimes. The situation of high violence, low prosecution and gross impunity remains. E.g.

  • In 2015, State Security Services reported that over five thousand suspected members of Boko Haram are in their custody. Only a handful have been charged and prosecuted since then. As many more are daily arrested in the renewed onslaught on the terrorists, the detention population of the terror suspect must have doubled by March 2017[5].
  • On March 14 2014, Boko Haram fighters attacked Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri and released about 650 men detained there on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram. In retaliation, the military was alleged to have rounded up and extra-judicially killed the re-arrested escapees in several hundreds. Their mass graves were widely reported by CSOs. To date, no soldier or commander has been held to account for this crime, report of investigation of the allegations made public.
  • Amnesty International reported in 2017[6] that hundreds of men, women and children are holed up in dire custodial conditions in many detention place including in 7 Battalion, a new military facility purpose-built to deal with Boko Haram menace. Similar military custodial facilities exist across the country with little or no civil oversight.
  • We can safely say that over ten thousand suspects are in custody waiting to be tried, and only a few are put to trial. Such high state of lack of capacity and commitment to prosecute suspects fuels dissent, and contributes in radicalization of those who otherwise were innocent.

There is no stronger basis for ICC’s intervention than the apparent inability or unwillingness of Nigeria’s national judicial system to deal with such massive atrocity crimes committed on both sides of the armed conflict.

 

 

  1. Institutional structure

 

Police and the military

The institutions for investigating atrocity crimes are the Police set up under the Police Act 1945; the State Security Services and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency set up under the Nigerian Security Agencies Act 1992, (formerly Nigerian Security Organization Act 1978).

The military set up under the Armed Forces Act has responsibility only to investigate military offences committed by persons under service law. They are not authorized to deal with investigation and prosecution of crimes or engage in civil policing. They are not even authorized to keep custody of crime suspects, including suspected war criminals and terrorists. At the moment, the military’s involvement in policing has resulted in distorting its role, and negating its standard operational guide for engaging with non-combatants in armed conflict.

The Nigerian government has also set up special anti-terrorism forces, including the Joint Task Force, and anti-terrorism unit of the military and police, which are tasked with tracking terrorists and their supporters/financials.

Special counter-terrorism initiatives

In order to control funding of terrorism, the government has enacted the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, as well as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, which are aimed at tracking movement of illicit funds in the formal sector, combating money laundering and financing terrorism. The Prevention of Terrorism Act punishes concealment of suspected terror-fund by banks and financial institutions. However, without international cooperation, policing terror funding within Nigeria’s weak bank tracking system remains futile.

Redress to victims – promises not kept

With respect to redress to victims, the government set up in 2014 the Presidential Task Force on the Northeast[7] and the Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism[8]. The Trust Fund has attracted over 15 billion in pledges from the private sector as at December 2016, and nearly half of those pledges have been paid to the Fund. In reality, most victims, especially the IDPs are not resettled, even to return to communities already cleared of terrorists.

NCICC is currently in court in a class action on behalf of over three thousands IDPs for judicial orders forcing the Trust Fund to rehabilitate them and account for use of collected funds.

Safe School Initiative (SSI)

There is also the Safe School Initiative[9], aimed at returning children to schools and taking those in most endangered areas to other states schools. Again, accountability for this laudable programme has remained unreported. CSOs need to play active role to see that these initiatives achieve their purposes.

Other institutional structure that have supported victims of terrorism in Nigeria, and addressed the effect of terrorism include:

  • National Emergency Management Agency, which has done greatly in managing nearly daily incidents of bombings, displacements, destructions of communities, etc

 

  • National Refugee Commission, that has mandate to handle displaced persons and refugees, and has contributed in setting the policy for state and federal government

 

  • National Human Rights Commission, whose mandate is to monitor and protect human rights of citizens, including victims of terrorism and of other forms of human rights violations.

 

  • Other executive initiatives exists, such as the offices of the special assistants or advisers to the President of humanitarian services, on IDPs, on the northeast; the Office of the National Security Adviser, among others.

 

  1. Investigation and prosecution capacity

 

The police, State Security Service, and the special anti terrorism agencies have responsibility to investigate crimes committed in the country including terrorism crimes. The military have responsibility to investigate its officers and soldiers who are alleged to have committed crimes in their work. The Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney-General of the State have the ultimate responsibility for prosecution of offences in the country (federal or state offences respectively). Before 2016, the prosecution of terrorism offences was carried out solely by legal officers in the office of the AG of the Federation, and few times, external lawyers were briefed. In 2016, the AG of the Federation set up the National Prosecutions Team, made up of senior lawyers from the private bar as well as lawyers in the ministry of justice. The goal is to increase the number of cases prosecuted in order to clear the backlog. There is no doubt that with the huge case backlog in the courts, it will take a medium and long terms to see the impact of the team.

Prosecution of terrorism offences have not been progressing. Worst still, the investigation and prosecution of crimes allegedly committed by military are not known or reported. The impunity rates are very high, underscoring the need for the ICC to re-evaluate its reluctance to open investigations in to atrocity crimes in the country.

 

  1. Courts and capacity to adjudicate,

 

The Nigerian courts are overworked, and suffer from huge case docket. An average day in a high court will involve up to 20 cases for a judge, and the judge takes notes of proceedings in long hand. This slows down the proceedings. And with nearly an hour spent for part-hearing of each of the listed cases, it is not practicable to attend to half of the cases on the court’s list. The result is continuously increasing backlog of cases. Unless drastic measure is taken, there is simple no feasible way the courts can take on the several hundreds of persons awaiting trial for terrorism charges, as well as the over 35 thousand awaiting trial in the prisons for ordinary crimes. The capacity of the courts are overstretched, and though the government have introduced the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and a new National Judicial Policy, all geared towards reducing delays in criminal proceedings, it will take considerable investments in infrastructure of the courts and the recruitment of new personnel to see significant breakthrough in reducing the rate of impunity for atrocity crimes. There is also need for government to increase its political will to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by the military, police and other agencies as well as by the government-backed Civilian JTF.

 

  1. Political challenges,

 

Poor political commitment to end impunity for the military

Many observers may seem to agree that there is slow political will for government to investigate crimes committed by its own forces in the northeast. It is argued that these violations are necessary fall out of the war, but Nigeria is state party to all relevant treaties regulating armed conflict, even in context of non-conventional armed conflict as is taking place in the country. There is responsibility to see that members of the armed forces who are alleged to commit crimes are investigated and prosecuted to the highest level of command.

Army Human Rights Office

The military set up in 2016 a Human Rights Complaint Office, aimed at improving civilian redress system. The progress on this laudable initiative has not yet been reported, but it shows the military’s internal willingness to engage with the civil society and the community to improve on its rules and practices of engagement. The CSOs should build on such initiative as window for larger engagement in respecting human rights and humanitarian laws.

Role of the ICC on Nigeria

The ICC prosecutor has the responsibility to step in where the Nigerian government is unwilling and unable to prosecute these crimes. Whether the ICC can risk opening another situation in Africa in face of the blackmail by AU that it is targeting African is left to be seen, but the civil society must continue to put pressure on Nigeria to strengthen its national judicial system for investigation and prosecution and for the ICC to undertake the necessary prosecution where the national system fails. The ultimate goal is the protection of, and justice for the victims. Without adequate redress, Nigeria’s numerous victims continue to suffer double-jeopardy, which Nigeria government and the ICC must address in coming months.

 

6th March 2017

 

Chino Obiagwu

Chair, Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC).

Download doc

Judicial and institutional developments in Nigeria against atrocity crimes and protection of victims(1)

 

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/214461-nigeria-pledges-remain-icc.html.

[2] The bill is pending at the National Assembly. The same bill has been passed by previous assembly and but then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, refused to sign it in 2007. There appear reluctance in the political society to tackle atrocity crimes with the efficiency and commitment it deserved. After all, only very poor people suffer most from the terror carnage.

[3] Nigeria has domesticated the Genocide Convention which prohibits genocide, but not being a penal statute, is not a common basis for criminal charges among prosecutors.

 

[4] See C.J. Dakas SAN & Chino Obiagwu in ‘A critique of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2011 as amended’, 2013 NCICC publication.

[5] http://dailypost.ng/2017/02/02/boko-haram-3332-suspects-currently-custody/

[6] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/nigeria/report-nigeria/

[7] https://www.today.ng/news/nigeria/186237/establishes-inter-ministerial-task-force-north-east

[8] http://victimssupportfundng.org/

[9] http://theirworld.org/news/safe-schools-initiative-launched-after-kidnappings-in-nigeria

PRESS RELEASE TO COMMEMORATE 2017 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Released date: March 8th, 2017

As the world marks International Women’s Day with the theme “BE BOLD FOR CHANGE”  LEDAP reaffirms its position that the creation of  equal opportunities for women at all levels and the empowerment of the girl child is the key to economic, political and sustainable development in Nigeria.

A recent study by LEDAP shows that young women are still underrepresented in many sectors of society, undermining progress and access to justice. With focus on achieving the 2030 agenda on equality as well as building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world speaks to full empowerment of women in all spheres. The 2030 Agenda holistically addresses issues across environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development. Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls – including young women, are embedded in the Agenda as intrinsic to progress.

LEDAP is perturbed that the proposed bill to promote the equality, development and advancement of all persons in Nigeria especially young women and children is still not passed by the present administration. It therefore calls on the National Assembly and Lagos State House of Assembly to take immediate steps to ensure that the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill is passed into law.

LEDAP beckons on the Government to promote economic empowerment, skills development of young women, end violence against young women and girls and ensure that there is no form of discrimination against women, girls or women with disabilities.

To mark this year’s event, LEDAP’s teen club has produced a short clip with some entrepreneurs who against all odds survive in our patriarchal society. The clip is to encourage other young women and girls to continue with their struggles despite any obstacle they may face in their different spheres of life. Watch clip below

For: Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)

 

Chinonye Obiagwu

PRESS RELEASE: COURT DECLARES FREE COMPULSORY PRIMARY & JUNIOR SECONDARY EDUCATION AN ENFORCEABLE RIGHT.

Abuja, March 1, 2017: A Federal High Court in Abuja presided  by Hon Justice J.I. Tsoho today declared that the every Nigerian child has the constitutional right to free and compulsory primary education, and free junior secondary education, and the federal and state governments have constitutional duties to provide adequate fund for it. The court held that any failure by any government to fund free primary and junior secondary education will constitute breach of the constitution.

The court stated that even though the right to free education in section 18(3)(a) of the Constitution was ordinarily not enforceable being in chapter 2 of the Constitution, by the National Assembly enacting the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, of 2004, the Act has made that provision  of the constitution an enforceable right.

The judgment was delivered in a suit filed by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) against the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation, in which it asked the court to determine whether by the combined effect of section 18(3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution and section 2 (1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act,  (UBE) 2004, the right to free and compulsory primary education and free junior secondary education for all qualified Nigerian citizens are enforceable rights in Nigeria. The NGO also asked the court to determine whether the Federal and State governments are under constitutional obligation to provide financial and institutional resources for free, compulsory and universal primary education and free junior secondary education for all Nigerian citizen, and whether failure by any government to adopt and implement free, compulsory and universal primary education and free junior secondary education amounts to a breach of constitutional obligation of the government in accordance with its duty and responsibility under section 13 of the Constitution. The court answered all the questions raised by the plaintiff in affirmative, and stated that in doing so, it relied on the Supreme Court decision in Attorney General of Ondo State & Others vs. Attorney General of the Federation (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt. 772) 222, where it was held that the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Constitution, even though they are not enforceable by virtue of section 6(6)(b) of the constitution, can be made enforceable or justiciable by legislation. Thus, following this decision of the Supreme Court, Justice Tsoho held that by enacting the UBE Act, the National Assemble has made the right to free and compulsory primary and free junior secondary education contained in Chapter 2  an enforceable or justiciable right.

Reacting to the judgment, the lead counsel to LEDAP, Mr. Chino Obiagwu said that ‘Honourable Justice Tsoho has today given life and hope to over 28million Nigerian children who are currently out of primary and junior secondary school or who are at risk of being withdrawn from school because of the inability of their parents or guardians to pay the tuition fees and school expenses, or who are withdrawn from school so that they can be given out in early marriage or be sent to the streets to hawk or beg for alms. By this judgment, any child not enrolled in school or who is withdrawn from school can exercise his or her constitutional rights against the parent or guardian or against the government.’

On the possible difficulties of the governments to fully fund free primary and junior secondary education in the country because of the current economic recession, Mr. Obiagwu said that the UBE Act makes very clear provisions on how free education will be funded, and that part of the fund for free primary education has been provided under the federal government’s UBE Fund to the state governments since 2009, but that most of the funds are not properly utilized for the purpose they are meant. ‘it is now time for every government to close all fiscal leakages and reduce the size and cost of government in order to save money to meet the basic constitutional obligations of primary and junior secondary education’.

Also reacting to the judgment, Mr. Ray Onyegu, executive director of Social Economic Rights Initiative (SERI) said  that the judgment is long overdue. The right of education is a right of all Nigerian children, and government cannot give any excuse of lack of fund because primary education should be the priority of any government in the 21st century.

LEDAP welcomes this laudable judgment and urges the federal and state governments to start its implementation without any delay.

Adaobi Egboka,

Executive Director, LEDAP

VACANCY FOR ACCOUNTANT

 

Job Level: Fresh Graduate/Entry Level/Graduate Internship

Location: Lagos

Job Type: Full-Time

Minimum Qualification: Degree

Preferred Years of Experience:

Application Deadline: 2017-20-02

Description

WHO WE ARE:

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) is a non-governmental organization of lawyers and law professionals, engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. In addition, it has observed cognisance recognition with the Africa commission on human and peoples’ Rights.

 

We are currently advertising for the vacant position (As stated below) to work in our Lagos Office:

 

 

JOB TITLE: Accountant/Financial Officer

JOB TYPE: Full Time

 

 

RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES

 

  • Obtain and maintain a thorough understanding of the financial reporting and general ledger structure.
  • Ensure an accurate and timely monthly, quarterly and year-end close.
  • Ensure the accurate and timely processing of positive pay transactions.
  • Monitors and analyzes department work to develop more efficient procedures and use of resources while maintaining a high level of accuracy.
  • Ensure the timely reporting of all monthly financial information.
  • Work with each direct report to establish goals and objectives for each year and monitor and advise on the progress to enhance the professional development of staff.
  • Support and coordinate all internal and external audits by providing any relevant information and support.
  • Provide budget versus actual expenditure reports for review on a monthly basis and highlight any adverse variances.
  •            Individual reviews requests from staff and process anti monitor spending by reviewing all supporting documents, work with Finance Assistant to perform ad hoc cash counts for petty cash.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

 

EDUCATION

BA/BS in Business with an emphasis in Accounting (CPA may be required)

 

TECHNICAL SKILLS AND PRIOR EXPERIENCE

The individual must be a PC proficient and able to thrive In a fast-paced setting.

– The individual must have at least basic experience with Microsoft Excel and Word.

Strong verbal and written communication skills.

Strong Interpersonal, supervisory and customer service skills required.

Ability to multi-task, work under pressure and meet deadlines required.

 

 

NOTE: The Marginal functions of this position have not been included. This job description in no way implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee. An employee will be required to follow any other job-related duties required by the manager.

VACANCY FOR OFFICE LIBRARIAN

Location: Lekki, Phase 1, Lagos

Job Type: Full-Time.

Minimum Qualification: HND

Preferred Years of Experience: 2years

Application Deadline: 2017- 20-02

Description

WHO WE ARE:

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) is a non-governmental organization of lawyers and law professionals, engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. In addition, it has observed cognisance recognition with the Africa commission on human and peoples’ Rights.

 

We are currently advertising for the vacant position (As stated below) to work in our Lagos Office:

 

 

JOB TITLE: Librarian

JOB TYPE: Full Time

 

 

RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES

 

  • Selecting, developing, cataloguing and classifying library resources
  • using library systems and specialist computer applications
  • Ensuring that library services meet the needs of particular groups of users (eg staff)
  •  Supporting independent research and learning.
  • Promoting the library’s resources to users.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

 

EDUCATION

HND with at least 2 years experience as a Librarian

 

TECHNICAL SKILLS AND PRIOR EXPERIENCE

The individual must be a PC proficient and able to thrive in a fast-paced setting.

 

Strong Interpersonal and supervisory skills required.

Must be organized and a good team player.

Ability to multi-task, work under pressure and meet deadlines required.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE-LEDAP CONDEMNS ARREST OF PREMIUM TIMES PUBLISHER AND STAFF

LEDAP hereby condemns the arrest and detention of the publisher of Premium Times, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi and a female journalist, Evelyn Okakwu following feud between the newspaper and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, on alleged defamatory publications.

LEDAP reiterates that freedom speech and freedom press are indispensable to any democratic government. It is evident that these acts of intimidation and harassment of the members of the press for information they lawfully disseminate has become very prevalent under the current administration. While we firmly agree that laws against defamation are limitations to freedom of expression, it is a matter for the court to decide not the Nigerian Police Force. This has been long decided by the courts in the cases of Chike Obi v. DPP, and Olawoyin v. AG Northern Nigeria.
LEDAP is worried that the press cannot be made to live in the apprehension of punishment or arrests for publication which offends the sensibilities of certain persons, even when the publication is justified within the bounds of the law. This would leave the public with information that has been vetoed by those in high places and would certainly be against the tenor of the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

LEDAP therefore condemns the arrests as undemocratic, unlawful and unwarranted and demand that the arrested journalist be released within 24hours. We equally urge President Muhammed Buhari, to call the Chief of Army Staff, members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and officers of the Nigeria Police Force to order. The rule of law must at all times be respected by this administration. Nigeria’s democracy has come too far for such flagrant abuse of constitutionally guaranteed rights.

 

 

Signed

Adaobi Egboka

Executive Programmes Director

THE GUARDIAN-LEDAP condemns execution of prisoners in Edo, seeks repeal of death penalty

Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the killing on December 23, 2016 of three death row prisoners in Benin City prison.

As a result, LEDAP has called on the Nigerian government to stop all death penalty executions forthwith.

It urged the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code as well as the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to remove death sentence as punishment for crimes and replace it with life imprisonment or term of years sentence.
The prisoners were reportedly executed on account of death warrants signed by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

Those executed were Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota.

They were all convicted and sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended, LEDAP said.

According to a statement by the National Coordinator of LEDAP, Chino Obiagwu, the executed prisoners had earlier petitioned the governor, protesting their proposed execution.

“In an earlier petition submitted to the Governor by the executed prisoners on December 21, 2016 through LEDAP, protesting the plan for their execution, the prisoners had pleaded with the Governor to shelve the planned execution because there is a pending case at the Court of Appeal brought by all death row prisoners in Nigeria against their execution. This appeal has not been decided and it was therefore, illegal to carry out the executions,” he said.

LEDAP, he said, is appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was the execution of his citizen on death row. “We reiterate that all prisoners, including those sentenced to death, retain all the fundamental rights endowed on all citizens by the 1999 Constitution.

This was re-amphasized by the Court of Appeal in the case of Peter Nemi v Attorney General of Lagos State in 1994.

“The Supreme Court of Nigeria also held in Nasir Bello v Attorney-General of Oyo State that a prisoner cannot be legally executed while his case is pending in court. In so far as an appeal against the sentences of the death row prisoners in Nigeria are pending in court, to the knowledge of the prison authorities and the government who participated in the high court proceedings before the appeal, there is no legal justification for the Edo executions, moreso when it was carried out cruelly on a day to the eve of Christmas.”

The group frowned at the action based on the fact that Edo State government carried out the execution despite the declaration by Nigerian government at its 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council that Nigeria has put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Obiagwu said the December 23, 2016 execution of these three prisoners, as well as the similar execution of four prisoners on June 21,2013 by the same Edo State government have undermined Nigeria’s declarations to the international community for death penalty moratorium.

See more at:

m.guardian.ng/features/ledap-condemns-execution-of-prisoners-in-edo-seeks-repeal-of-death-penalty/

Press Release: LEDAP Condemns Senate’s Decision To Summon Judges

LEDAP Condemns Senate’s Decision To Summon Judges

Channels Television.
Updated October 23, 2016

LEDAP, Senate, JudgesThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the plan by the Senate Committee on Judiciary to summon the judges who were recently arrested by the DSS.

LEDAP’s National Coordinator, Mr Chino Obiagwu, in a statement on Sunday, notes that the legislature has no oversight power over judicial officers under the constitutional principle of separation of powers in sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution.

Mr Obiagwu explained that it is only the National Judicial Council (NJC) that has the power of control and discipline of judges and justices of superior courts in Nigeria.

“Any interference by the legislature or the executive into the conduct of judges in carrying out their judicial functions will amount to unlawful interference with the independence of the judiciary.

“The 1999 Constitution, unlike the legal framework of past military regimes, has consolidated the independence of the judiciary and established the NJC as the only body responsible for management of the judiciary,” he stated.

The statement further reads in part: “LEDAP is concerned that the recent raid and arrest of judges and justices by the DSS, and continued assault and raid on judges by other agencies of the executive, have the effect of opening up the judiciary to unlawful and unconstitutional interference and intimidation by other arms of government, the reason for which the Senate has the temerity to speak about inviting judicial officers for questioning.

“LEDAP will shortly approach the courts to seek orders restraining any such invitation or summon of the arrested judicial officers as it amounts to attempt to brow-beat and intimidate the judiciary.

“There are a lot of corruption issues and corrupt politicians in the legislature and executive which should preoccupy the Senators.

“The scandal arising from the padding of the budget, which has been going on for many years in the legislature with connivance of the executive, as well as bogus and secretive huge allowances and emoluments claimed by legislators are more damaging economic crimes against the Nigerian people that the Senate should address rather than intimidating few judges alleged to be corrupt.

“There are several court orders directing the National Assembly to disclose salaries and emoluments of its members, and details of constituency allowances claimed yearly by legislators. It has refused to obey these judgements of the courts.

“Nigerian legislators, adjudged as the most corrupt and most expensive in the world, has no legal or moral right to superintendent over alleged corruption in the judiciary.”

LEDAP called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to resist attempts by the executive and legislature “to control and manage the judiciary” as such situation will on the long run denigrate the judiciary and legal profession and threaten the rule of law.

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