Tag: Justice

NEWSLETTER FOR 11TH-15TH JUNE 2018

 

HELLO,
Welcome to another edition LEDAP Nigeria’s Weekly Newsletter which keeps you up to date on the latest Human Rights News and updates in the law, What we are up to and Upcoming Events.
11th-15th June 2018 2018

Today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.” – 

Mary Robinson

NEWS   

Nigeria Honours Presumed Winner of Aborted 1993 Election

President Muhammadu Buhari made the unexpected announcement that from next year, June 12 would be a public holiday and commemorated as “Democracy Day”. He also gave Nigeria’s highest honour, GCFR  to Moshood Abiola who had been on track to win the 1993 election when it was annulled. Read more

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ActionAid – Perceived Lack of Neutrality of Security Agencies Fuels Insecurity

ActionAid Nigeria has lamented that perceived lack of neutrality and professionalism on the part of security agencies has manifested into diverse forms of insecurity across the country. Chairman Board of Directors, ActionAid, Ms. Patricia Donli disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while addressing the state of the nation. Read more

N1.1bn water scam : SERAP Calls for Deputy Speaker’s Prosecution

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has asked the Acting Chairmen of both the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) “to jointly investigate allegations of apparent conflict of interest and abuse of office involving Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Lasun Yusuff using his personal company to win water contracts amounting to about N1.1 billion from the Ministry of Water Resources, and to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in any such investigation.” Read more

HEDA Petitions ICPC, Seeks Probe Of Gbajabiamila

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to investigate the capital projects allocated to Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, represented by Hon. Femi
Gbajabiamila. Read more

NNPC Rejects Falana’s FOI Request on Fuel Importation

Femi Falana, prominent human rights lawyer and a senior advocate of Nigeria, had written an FOI concerning fuel importation data.However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it cannot honour freedom of information (FOI) requests because it is not a public corporation. Read more

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Former Governor of Plateau State Sentenced to 14 years in Prison for N1.12b Fraud

Former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye,  was jailed for 14 years, after being found guilty of corruption and diversion of N1.126 billion to an unregistered company. Read more

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Former NHRC Chairman Inaugurates Civic Society to Fight Government Abuses

A former chairman of the board of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, has inaugurated a civic group to challenge the many cases of human rights abuse on country. The group is known as Civic Coalition for Democracy. Read more

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Nigerian Re-Elected Into UN Disabilities Rights Committee

Nigeria’s candidate, Danlami Basharu, has been re-elected into the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the 2019 to 2021 term, in a keenly contested election. Read more

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Argentina Moves Closer to Legal Abortion 
The Argentinian chamber of deputies is voting on a crucial bill that would legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. A vote on abortion on Wednesday could transform Pope Francis’s homeland from a country where women can go to jail for having an unlawful termination to one of Latin America’s most progressive countries on reproductive rights.Read more

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Lagos State, ATC to Boost Youth Empowerment with Digital Villages
ATC Nigeria, in collaboration with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and Jobberman, is deploying digital villages across Lagos that will serve as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills acquisition centre, designed for youth empowerment. According to ATC Nigeria, access to the internet is widely seen as a human right in the eyes of millions of people around the world. Read more

Civil Society Groups Begin Good Governance Assessment In Osun

The Civil Society Coalition for Mandate Protection, the Nigerian Human Rights Community and the Green Peoples Environmental Rights Groups have embarked on a public assessment project in Osun State. The project targets about 30,000 respondents on governance in the state for the past eight years. Read more

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Group to Provide Free Legal Services For Vulnerables On Human Right Abuses in Nigeria

A group “Stop the Abuse Foundation” says it has taken upon itself to intervene in cases of human right abuses against women and children by providing free legal services for them at various legal clinics. Read more

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SERAP Institutes Court Suit Against Fashola Over ‘Corrupt, Unlawful’ Privatisation Of Electricity Sector

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Minister of Power, Works and Housing over his “failure to account for the spending on the privatisation of the electricity sector and the exact amount of post-privatisation spending on generation companies (GENCOS), distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria to date, and to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources”. Read more

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IGP Approves Request by Human Rights Group to Audit all SARS Detention Cells in Nigeria

The Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim has approved the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to commence an independent audit of detention cells in all police commands and formations in Nigeria including those of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Read more

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1,500 Nigerians Jailed in Italy
The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefanou Pontesilli, says no fewer than 1,500 Nigerians are serving jail terms for various offences in Italy. Read more

2.5 Million Migrants Smuggled in 2016 – UNODC

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said at least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled during the course of 2016. UNODC, in the first ever Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants, said migrant smuggling occurred in all parts of the world, generated an income of up to $7 billion. Read more

UNICEF Urges all Countries to Provide Fathers with Paternity Leave

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged all countries to provide fathers with legally paid paternity leave to enable them have adequate time to spend with their newborn babies. Read more

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US.Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Visits Nigeria

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback will travel to Abuja, Kaduna, and Lagos, Nigeria from June 18-22. Ambassador Brownback together with Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria will meet with government officials, religious leaders, and civil society groups. The Ambassadors will also tour the National Mosque and visit a refugee camp.

 

OPINION 


Human Rights Are Not a Luxury − Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

 “We are moving backward to an era of contempt for the rights of people who have been forced to flee their homes, because the threats they face there are more dangerous even than the perils of their voyage. Backward to a time when military operations could deliberately target civilians and civilian sites such as hospitals, and chemical gases were openly used for military purposes and against innocent families.”  Read more

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Thousands of Children are Imprisoned across Africa. They Need Justice

“Young people are all but invisible in the justice system, facing ill treatment at the hands of those who should be protecting them” Read more

Sexual Harassment – a Social Ill That Wreaks Havoc

“For decades now, multiple counts of sexual harassment have been the hallmark of social coexistence in Nigeria. Hardly a day passes without a claim of sexual harassment being made against people, across genders and economic and social status.” Read more

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The Cattle Conflict Pushing Nigeria to the Edge of a Religious Civil War

“Across Africa’s most populous country, an undeclared war, triggered in part by climate change and fought over cattle, has turned Muslims and Christians against each other in a confrontation so bitter it threatens to tear Nigeria apart.” Read more

 

LEDAP@WORK 

LEDAP Calls for Developers to Create AntiTorture App

In line with LEDAP’s Anti−Torture Project aimed at addressing the police’s poor anti-torture knowledge and attitudes and at the same time empower civil societies and the public to monitor and demand for accountability wherever torture occurs. LEDAP has launched a call for App Developers to create an Application where individuals can report incidents of torture. For more information contact info@ledapnigeria.org or pamela@ledapnigeria.org

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LEDAP, National Judicial Institute, and AfricaLii commence Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) 
Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) is aimed at bringing legal materials, all laws and case decisions in Nigeria free of charge to the public. The official launch is coming up soon but the NigeriaLii portal currently contains several thousands of case decisions, statutes, rules of court, and other legal materials. Visit the NigeriaLii website here

 

PeepIntoTheLaw   

Court Passes Death Sentence on 5 men for Killing Herdsman

A Yola High Court Presided over by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri has sentenced five men to death for culpable homicide and for killing a herdsman. Read more

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Court Orders Adamawa Govt To Pay N660m To 659 Sacked Teachers
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) has ordered the Adamawa government to pay N660 million to 659 sacked teachers by the Adamawa Post Primary Board. Read more

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Court Sentences Policeman to Death over Unlawful Killing
Nasarawa State High Court, has sentenced to death by hanging a Police sergeant, Vincent Manu for the offence of culpable homicide. Read more

 

EVENTS  

Call for Applications: Master’s degree in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria now offers a LLM/MPhil (Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa) degree. This two-year programme is offered as a blended learning course comprising of online interaction and residential block-weeks in Pretoria.  Up to 15 full scholarships are available for African students. Deadline for applications: 31 July 2018. Apply here

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Danish Refugee Council Recruting

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a Danish international non-governmental organisation, which promotes and supports durable solutions to the problems faced by refugees and internally displaced people all over the world. They are currently recruiting in various positions. Find out more about the vacancies and deadlines here

IDRC Research Awards 2018 for Research Internships

The International Development Research Center Research award recipients will join IDRC for a one-year paid program to undertake research on the topic they have submitted, and will receive hands-on experience in research and program management and support, grant administration. The award is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing a master’s or a doctoral degree at a recognized university OR who have completed a master’s or a doctoral degree at a recognized university. The deadline is 5th Spetember 2018Read more

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IWMF Women’s Reporting Grants for Women’s Stories 2018
Applications are now open for the IWMF’s Reporting Grants for Women’s Stories, sponsored by The Secular Society. It is a new funding initiative supporting journalism produced by and about women. Applications close on the 29th of June 2018.  Read more

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PRESS RELEASE: LEDAP COMMEMORATES THE INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE

Picture gotten from www.andyworthington.co.uk
Picture gotten from www.andyworthington.co.uk

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) join the United Nations and other Human Rights Organizations to commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this auspicious occasion, LEDAP uses this medium to commend the National Assembly of Nigeria for the adoption of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017. The Act criminalizes torture by the police and other law enforcement agencies; therefore we call on all concerned institutions to see to its full implementation. We also call on the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to develop appropriate guidelines for effective implementation as mandated by sections 10 &12 of the Act.

In Nigeria, there are daily reports of torture of suspects by police, military and other law enforcement agencies. These everyday law enforcement practices are in many cases not in accordance with the constitutional provision prohibiting torture yet the perpetrators are not prosecuted and victims are unable to seek redress. LEDAP also uses this medium to call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) and Civil Society organizations (CSOs) to document incidents of torture and demand prosecution of offenders in line with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act.

Torture is a criminal offence punishable by law and LEDAP is in partnership with United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) to seek ways to reduce incidents of torture and improve access to redress for victims through an ongoing project titled “Community Mobilization Against Torture in Nigeria“.

In observance of the International Day in Support of victims of torture, LEDAP in partnership with the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is set to launch a torture prevention campaign and an anti-torture awareness walk in the Federal capital territory Abuja, on 26th June, to lend its voice against the crime of torture and also render support to torture victims and survivors all over the world.

Chino Obiagwu
Legal Defence and Assistance Project
National Coordinator

 

LEDAP’S STATEMENT ON THE 62ND ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

STATEMENT ON THE 62ND ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS HOLDING IN  NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA FROM APRIL 25 – MAY 9 2018.

Executive Summary

The human rights situation in Nigeria from the 33 year military rule to the 19 year civilian administration makes an interesting subject for review in view of the dire situation in Nigeria viz-a-viz counter insurgency war, ethnic mass killings, and violent extremism prevalent in the country.

This statement urges the Commission to review Nigeria’s compliance with its human rights obligations under the Banjul Charter which the Country has adopted and domesticated; and other international human rights instruments in line with the under listed areas of concerns and also, adopt the recommendations stated therein.

The statement examines Nigeria’s compliance with human rights standards and principles as it relates to Torture, Extra-judicial Killings, and Responses to Terrorism and Crisis;  Violent extremism and the Right to Life; and Gender Inequality.

Torture, Extra-judicial Killings, and Responses to Terrorism and Crisis.

The 9 year insurgency in the country has greatly exacerbated rights abuses in Nigeria. Online and offline reports reveal that counter-insurgency operations have led to rights violations and abuses by both state and non-state actors. These rights violations range from torture to enforced disappearances, arbitrarily long detentions, summary executions and extra-judicial killings, detention incommunicado and also sexual and gender based violence.

Creditably, Nigeria has adopted and domesticated the Banjul Charter as its national law, there is still an obvious poor level of implementation of this law as the unrestricted rights of Nigerians recognized under the Charter and guaranteed by the Constitution of the FRN are still not adequately protected.

There still exist, recorded incidences of torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and  detention incommunicado, perpetuated by state actors in response to terrorism and adequate redress mechanisms do not exist for victims because impunity thrives when there is no political will to punish offenders irrespective of their status or affiliation.

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project, between 2015 – 2017 through its identification mechanism has been able to identify and file 142 fundamental human rights cases in Northeast Nigeria bordering on unlawful arrest and prolonged detention, torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment.

To further buttress these points, LEDAP in rendering support to a loosely organized movement of over 300 people seeking the release and re-union with their family members who were abducted by men of the Nigerian army since 2015 has adopted various strategies to seek redress for these victims including writing to the National Assembly and Presidential Panel demanding for public hearing on behalf of the 276 persons detained by the military since 2015. So far, nothing has been done.

There is a more urgent need for the government to make conscious and concerted efforts to better protect and promote the rights of citizens.

Recommendations

  • The Nigerian security operatives need to review their rules of engagement to mainstream human rights standards and principles during counter-insurgency operations.
  • With the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act 2017, government needs to collaborate with NGOs to facilitate implementation and adoption at the states level.
  • There is also a need to adopt rules and regulations that will strengthen the legal framework on torture in Nigeria and also support the training and re-training of security operatives in the country to maintain human rights standards.
  • We urge the government to officially gazette prisons and detention facilities available in the country to enhance accountability on incidences of torture, enforced disappearances, and detention incommunicado.

Violent Extremism and the Right to Life

The right to life is the most basic right provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and under the Banjul Charter.

Acknowledging the efforts that have been made by the government to fight insurgency in the country, the upsurge in violent extremism and land grabbing attacks by herdsmen is an uprising which if left unchecked, will lead to a total annihilation of Nigerians and will undoubtedly affect the West Africa Region and African Continent. Almost everyday, Nigerians are killed in their numbers in flagrant disregard for the right to life. News of horrendous and gruesome killings especially in the North Central and North West regions of Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Southern Kaduna, etc have inundated the media space. The government needs to take a decisive stance and action to end mass killings and crimes that have infiltrated the country.

On this note, we urge the Commission to review Nigeria’s obligation to protect lives and properties in line with efforts that have been made to strengthen its security apparatuses in order to meet its foremost responsibility.

On death penalty, it’s a truism that it doesn’t act as a deterrence in the criminal justice sector and it targets mostly indigent people.

It has become imperative for a nation wide moratorium to be called on the death penalty and positive de-jure measures taken to abolish same.

Recommendations

  • Strong positive measures need to be taken to address insecurity in the country including adopting MECHANISMS that prioritize conflict resolution and peacebuilding while making efforts to bring perpetrators of these international crimes to justice. Right to life is sacrosanct and the government needs to respect and value human lives as much as much as they value and promote their political agenda and gains.
  • In doing so, we urge the Nigerian government to protect indigenous people’s and minority group rights as this will go a long way to address the mass killings arising from land grabbing and farmers/herders clashes.
  • We also urge the Nigerian government to abolish the use of death penalty in criminal justice administration and facilitate reforms made in the criminal justice sector for effective administration of justice.

 

Gender Inequality

Irrespective of Nigeria signing and ratifying the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, otherwise known as the Maputo Protocol, not much affirmative actions have been made to address issues fostering discrimination against women in the African region.

Women and girls still face a lot of rights violations including but not limited to various forms of SGBV, child marriages, SRHR violations such as high maternal and morbidity rate, lack of access to adequate health care facilities, inadequate representation in the political and governance structure of the country, etc.

Recommendations

  • We urge the government to domesticate the Maputo Protocol adopted in 2003 so that Nigerian women can partake in the political, social, and economic processes, protect their reproductive health rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.
  • In addition, we implore the legislature to expedite actions to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill into Law in order to promote the 35% affirmative action clause for women.
  • Local instruments and framework established to protect the rights of women in Nigeria should be strengthened so that Nigerian women would be empowered to take their place of pride in the region.