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Rising Cases Of Jungle Justice And The Justice System In Nigeria By Peter Claver Oparah

15 April 2019 - 10:38am


Last week Sunday, I was in the village. I attended the 8.00 am Mass that day. As I arrived the Church at exactly 7.55am, I saw a throng of club-wielding youths and angry youngsters marching along the road adjacent to the Church. On instinct, I went closer to find out what was going on. The angry youths mixed with other attendants of the Church to form a very huge crowd that surged all over the Church compound, to the road. Getting closer, I saw three young men, stripped completely naked being marched down probably to the market square nearby. I was confused. I asked what the issue was and was told the three youths were caught stealing various goods from houses and shops in the community the previous night. I saw the three culprits who were from the community but didn’t recognize any of them. The culprits were beaten and shoved from one spot to the other by the youths who were variously armed with clubs, matches, sticks and stones.

On further enquiry, I gathered that the youths had, for some time, been terrorizing the community, breaking into homes, shops, offices with ease and engaged in consistent stealing which had put the community on edge. I also gathered that the youths had been arrested severally and released by the police. It was reported that as soon as the gangsters were released by the police, they engaged in further stealing and this has so exasperated the villagers that their case had left the community frustrated. I also learnt that the errant youths returned from police custody that same week. It was that bad and this is said to be consistent with their unceasing subjection of the entire community to relentless stealing and terror. Again, I heard that the robbers had several cases pending in various courts and before this mob action, the community had grown weary and tired on how to deal with their nuisance.

Meanwhile, the angry mob passed the Church, I went to Mass. The gospel reading for that Sunday’s Mass recounted the case of the woman caught committing adultery and how Jesus saved her from imminent death by asking any of her accusers who had not sinned to cast the stone on her and none did. This experience resonated with the incidence that preceded the Mass and this did not escape the priest-homilist who, though laid emphasis on this, as it pertains the robbers but said that the persistence of the alleged robbers had made pleading for them very difficult though he did not relent in pleading for mercy. But the mob was not in Church, they were elsewhere meting crude justice to the apprehended robbers.

Mass over, we heard that one of the robbers was exonerated by the mob because he did not participate in the particular case in hand. The two others were set ablaze but they did not die there but were left to flee to their houses. Later in the day, we heard that one of them had died and was quickly buried. The other one was reported to have died at dawn the following day. Both of them died in their houses.

For those who know my community, the incident was strange. This was the first time robbers would be set ablaze in my community. Not that robbers from my community hadn’t been killed elsewhere. Many have either been burnt or killed outside my community. In fact, there is a belief that robbers from my community don’t live long and over the years, we have seen this play out to the letter. But none had been killed in my community before last Sunday. My community is deeply religious and well educated and this has lent a toga of softness on the people that many outside my community believed we were incapable of setting people ablaze or killing anybody no matter the heinousness of the crime. Even the robbers knew this which was why they ceaselessly tormented the people. But this changed with the case of the two culprits and rewrote a history of civility which my community had basked in. What was remarkable in this case however was that the two robbers were from the community and those that caught and set them ablaze in broad daylight were their brothers and sisters, mates, kits and kins and even included their fellow partners in crime! What more, their killing elicited great joy among the members of my community. What more, it was reported that the father of one of the culprits lit the matchstick and set his son ablaze! 

The entire incident got me thinking; what could have made an otherwise peaceful, enlightened, well-educated and deeply-religious community resort to such self-help in dealing with their errant sons? What could have made a father take the very tough decision of incinerating his son alive? My search for answers led me to observe that not even a single member of the community made a case for the alleged robbers, which shows that they were indeed guilty and deserved the punishment they got but then, that was not the right way to deal with criminality. That was not the justiciable way to deal with criminality. That was not the best way to deal with the pain in the ass which I gathered the slain robbers have become to their own community. That was not the legally approved way to settle such cases. Fact remains that mob action or jungle justice is on the rise to deal with incidences of criminality and this doesn’t speak well of the justice system in Nigeria. 

But, I gave up in helplessness because the entire justice and law enforcement sectors have failed my community and indeed the entire country. My community relished the incineration of their members because the police and the courts have proved grossly inept in giving the people justice. What could prove this assertion better than that the slain ruffians have series of court cases for criminality before the courts and had made consistent rounds to the police stations but only ended up getting emboldened each time they return? In fact, the robbers, even the one that was let off, were said to have returned from police detention for armed robbery that very week and had dates with the courts the Monday after they were killed? Nothing could be as frustrating and defeating as criminals pooing and mocking the justice system as is the case in Nigeria. It was alleged that the slain robbers and their other cohorts had engaged in mocking the courts and the police and the best way to show this mockery is engaging in fresh robberies as soon as they return from either the courts and the police stations.

As I said earlier, even with the palpable justification people give for mob action, it cuttingly is not the best way to foreclose criminal or other cases. Even as justified and angry as the mob may be, it doesn’t offer justiciable solution to an issue. The mob is ruled by the anger of the moment. The mob is irrational and as long as it operates on the wavelength of its present anger, it would refuse to be reasonable until its anger is fully given satiation. In the course of this anger, which always rule the mob, certain wrong decisions could be taken, many innocent lives could be lost. This is the reason mobs are not the best determinants of right or wrong. It is just an emotionally-driven movement that often end up taking rash and wrong decisions. Shakespeare best captures the irrationality of the mob in Julius Caesar when, the Roman mob, having been worked to a frenzy by Mark Anthony after the assassination of Julius Caesar, went out searching for the conspirators that murdered Caesar. In the course of the mob action against the conspirators, they ran into Cinna, the poet. They apprehended him and questioned him because one of the conspirators was named Cinna so anybody bearing that name was game. But Cinna the poet protested frantically that he was not Cinna the conspirator but Cinna the poet but that mattered little to the bloodshot mob and one of them rather retorted that Cinna’s protest about not being the conspirator mattered little and advised that he should be killed, have his name plucked from his heart and let going! That is the way of the mob and often regrets follow mob actions as reasons return after the acts.

So, why are Nigerians resorting to mob actions in the face of the existence of institutions for restitution? It is because the police and courts have failed Nigerians in dealing with not just criminal cases but other cases they are constitutionally vested to deal with. Often, the police have been alleged to compromise justice and have been very shoddy in investigating and prosecuting criminal cases and these have rather made criminals feel invincible and prefer to end up with the police. The courts have often been lethargic in adjudicating in cases and this has allowed criminal cases to linger forever. Often, when finally, the cases are settled, they had ended up to the favour of criminals who heavily invest in the time-wasting delays of the courts to escape justice. Often they have gotten mere slap in the wrist by the courts and in many cases, mere cosmetic victories have been given the complainants in the form of pyrrhic victories that rubbish the essence of justice. All these work to the favour of the criminals who remain undeterred in criminality to the frustration of law abiding victims of their criminality.

So, for the rising cases of mob actions against alleged criminals, the police and the courts have to take responsibility and must do something urgent to not only put away criminals speedily but re-assure the people that criminals apprehended would be dealt with in a manner that deters them from continuing in crime. fact is that the people have lost total confidence in the police and the courts to deal with criminals hence the resort to self-help becomes very attractive. In the case in my community last week, it was reported that a police patrol team came before the robbers were set ablaze but that the angry mob chased them away. This should not be the case when the people trust the police to do the needful with apprehended criminals.

So, let the courts and the police work very hard to regain the confidence of the people in dealing with criminal issues. They need to take urgent steps to work out a system where criminals are not only appropriately punished but expeditiously put away than the present state where they escape barely after being apprehended to continue tormenting the people. That way, they would save not only those who are wrong targets of mob actions but also ensure that the proper thing is done always. The country’s criminal justice system needs quick and urgent strengthening to arm the justice system and tame the rising cases of jungle justice all over the country.

 

Peter Claver Oparah

Ikeja, Lagos.

E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

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Appeal Court Sacks Peter Akpatason As Edo APC Candidate Despite Winning House Of Reps Election

15 April 2019 - 9:42am


The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has sacked Comrade Peter Akpatason as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency.

In February, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Akpatason winner of Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency election, saying he polled a total of 27,097 votes to defeat his closest rival, Oladele Bankole-Balogun, of the peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 16,053 votes.

However, on Monday, the court declared Kabiru Adjoto, Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, as the candidate of the party for the constituency, in his stead.

The appellate court also nullified the APC National Assembly primaries election appeals committee headed by former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor.

Details soon...

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Bayelsa Elders Step In To Prevent Bloody Succession Crisis Over Vacant Chairmanship Position

15 April 2019 - 9:27am


IYC members demonstrating

Bayelsa Elders under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Elders' Advisory Council have intervened and halted a possible violent confrontation among Ijaw youth in the Central Zone over the chairmanship position after the elevation of the Chairman, Hon.Tari Porri, as the a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly representing Ekeremor Constituency 2.

The succession battle, which has provoked tension among the Ijaw Youths under the Central Zone, was fuelled by the lack of a transition plan for the replacement of the elevated Chairman of the IYC central zone. 

The Elders' Advisory Council under the Chairmanship of Mike Wenobowei set up a 10-man committee headed by Elder Warri Welman to shop for a credible replacement for Porri from his zone of Sagbama/Ekeremor axis to complete the remaining months of his tenure. 

Speaking in Yenagoa on Sunday while submitting a seven-page report to the IYC Elders' Advisory Council, the Chairman of the Committee, Comrade Warri Welman Ombu, noted that the committee consulted widely and superior argument prevailed, leading to the emergence of three candidates: including Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, Miss Emi Egbe and Thomas Tenkiri.

"Following the records process, Comrade Thomas Tenkiri emerged as a worthy successor," he said.

The Committee, in its report, made available to newsmen, also recommended that "the outgoing Chairman of the IYC, Central Zone would be honoured with a comprehensive send-forth programme and be properly consulted towards a successful exit and handover on or before 19th of April, 2019".

Receiving the document from the committee, Chairman of the Elders' Advisory Council, Hon. Mike Kenibowei, dismissed the claims of complicity against the council, and said the committee was allowed to reach out to all concerned, including Porri and Governor Seriake Dickson.

"The decision to intervene on issue of succession was done in good faith and to save IYC Central Zone," he said.

"It will be recalled that some factions of the IYC central Zone had wrongfully claimed that the Vice-Chairman of the council, Amiebi Turner, was nursing the ambition and scheming to take over from Porri, who had insisted that he was not under any constitutional obligation to resign his appointment."

It was also learnt that the Chairman of the Elders’ Advisory Council, Mike Wenibowei, was accused of working with Turner to undermine the interest of Porri.

Replying, Porri announced the dissolution of the advisory council and removed Wenibowei from his position, saying the elder stepped beyond his bounds.

Porri said the position of central zone chairmanship of IYC was zoned to the western part of the state, adding that if he decided to resign voluntarily someone from the west would take over from him and complete his tenure.

He insisted that Turner, who hails from Ogbia, the eastern part of the state, was not qualified to replace him in the spirits of the zoning arrangement.

He expressed disappointment at Wenibowei for trying to sow the seed of discord in the council, saying that his tenure would elapse in 2020.

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Nobody Guilty At All? Court Acquits The Two Remaining Uzowulu Killing Suspects

15 April 2019 - 9:07am


A High court sitting in Awka has discharged and acquitted the two remaining suspects standing trial for alleged involvement in the killing of worshipers in a church in Ozubulu, Anambra State.

While delivering his judgement, which took more than three hours, Justice Fidelis Aniukwu ruled that the prosecution counsel was unable to prove the allegations levelled against Chinedu Akpunonu and Onyebuchi Mbanefo, the defendants, beyond reasonable doubt.

Unknown gunmen had on August 6, 2017, invaded St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state, and killed not less than 13 of the worshippers.

In December 2018, the Judge had discharged two out of the four persons arraigned before a High Court in November 2017 following the church attack, Justice Aniukwu arguing that the prosecution witnesses could not provide any evidence linking the defendants with the murder as alleged.

It will be recalled that Chinedu Akpunonu (a.k.a Obrocha), one of the alleged masterminds, had allegedly owned up to the crime in a conversation with Okechukwu Ikenna, his counsel.

In the conversation, made public when the case first started, Chinedu, who was reported to be the gang leader of a fraternity known as the 'Great Men', had said said their target was the bishop.

"Our target was Bishop," he had said.

"I sent my boys to get me Bishop, and when they went to his house and could not find him, they decided to check him in the church and after they realised Bishop had left the country back to South Africa they resorted to killing members of his family which resulted in the careless shooting in the church. The boys overreacted."

Reacting to Monday's judgement, Festus Kayemo (SAN), the defence counsel, described it as landmark in view of the accelerated hearing granted by the presiding Judge.
Kayemo, who was represented in court by Samuel Echeakputa, however said he would not be surprised should the judgement be appealed.

“It’s the prosecution’s right to appeal the judgement," he said. "But from what I witnessed in the court today, it will be very difficult for the appeal court to upturn the judgement."

Chinedu Akpunonu, one of the defendants, could not conceal his joy; he was full of gratitude to God for vindicating him from what he described as attempt by some persons to smear his reputation.

He said he had forgiven his accusers, urging them to join hands to ensure peace reigned in the community.

"From the beginning, I told my people that I was not involved in the killing. But the Lord gave me victory as a proof that I’m very innocent," he said.

“I didn’t know I was very important to my people until I saw excitement in the faces of crowd that came to court. I’ve already forgiven all that put hands to put me in prison. I thank those that stood by me throughout my travail. I also thank my lawyer and the Judge for delivering a fair and sound judgement.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jay Jay Ezeuko SAN, the prosecution counsel, said he would determine the next move after receiving a copy of the judgement.

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Sowore's Affirmative Gesture By Louis Odion

15 April 2019 - 8:35am


Given the popular notion that lack of accountability is one of the chief ills of our politics, how amazing that an affirmative gesture a fortnight ago by the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, went almost unnoticed. 

Without any prompting, AAC released a statement of account of its campaign spanning a year. We are told the party was able to raise a total of N157 million through a GoFundMe vehicle opened with Zenith Bank. 

It covered assorted costs ranging from travel, accommodation, renting town halls, refreshments, mobilizing attendees to “N740,000 spent on security and intelligence”. 

With this, Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters (the hard-hitting citizen-journalism platform), has undoubtedly set a record in campaign financing in Nigeria and demonstrated responsibility and accountability rare among recipients of public donations towards a civic cause. 

Well, it surely will be a tall order asking the older, more established parties to render similar account or open their books for public scrutiny. More like the futility of looking for a virgin in a maternity ward. 

Interestingly, Sowore, a one-time student union president at University of Lagos, would seem the biggest revelation of the 2019 general polls, coming sixth ahead of a few big names in the contest involving 73 candidates. 

It is quite instructive that AAC’s GoFundMe account swelled from the widow’s mite sent by tens of thousands of Nigerians sold on Sowore’s advocacy of a new Nigeria. There couldn’t be a better way to show fidelity to those who sowed in faith and who, potentially, could become the foundation of Sowore’s captive audience for future aspirations.

While Sowore has given an account, not a few other parties are still embroiled in bitter fight over money. We hear of party executives bickering with their standard-bearers either over not making full disclosure of cash donations or spending without transparency. 

It is as if some did not see a border between their personal pockets and the party’s pouch. 

The puzzle then: if such folks cannot account for little purse of a small party, how are we to trust them with the nation’s treasury? 

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Regulating Anambra’s Obituary Economy By Louis Odion

15 April 2019 - 8:30am


Gov. Willie Obiano

Anambra, the mercurial pearl of Igbo nation nestling River Niger, is in the news again. 

We are not about to revisit the ferment of executive intemperance that led the sitting governor into allegedly calling the whole leader of the pan-Igbo organization, Ohanaeze, “an idiot” for endorsing the presidential candidate of the main opposition party ahead of the just-concluded general elections.

Rather, we are confronted by the audacity of a new piece of legislation by the Anambra State Assembly seeking to smash through cultural barriers into some dark necromantic alley. Unambiguously named “A Law To Control Burial/Funeral Ceremonial Activities” and passed by a majority of the legislature, the act expressly seeks to abolish ostentation and impose a new culture of modesty. All thanks to its sponsor, the iconoclastic Charles Ezeani (representing Anaocha II constituency), who says it “is aimed at cutting down the cost of burial activities in the state”.

Should Governor Willy Obiano assent with his golden fountain pen, it then becomes a grave felony “to deposit any corpse in the mortuary or any place beyond two months from the date of the death, while burial ceremonies in the state shall be for one day.” 

No person, it further forewarns grimly, shall subject any relation of the deceased person to a mourning period of more than one week from the date of the burial ceremony. 

To confer the sobriety thought appropriate in the circumstance, the law also forbids traditional gunshot salute, praise-singing, blocking of roads/streets during obsequies or assumed ritual destruction of property. 

In what could only be targeted at relieving the bereaved of financial burden or unreasonable expectations, another clause states specifically that the family of the deceased “shall provide food for their kindred, relatives and other sympathizers at their own discretion.”

Taken together, these proposals are, to say the least, quite earth-shaking indeed. Before arriving at this historic juncture, the report however did not state how much of public buy-in had been secured through the agency of public hearing facilitated by the state assembly over a potentially explosive proposition. 

While Ezeani’s motive could hardly be faulted in nobility and public-spiritedness, however, considering that key provisions are framed by a thinking that tends to suggest extremism of sorts, one is persuaded to assume that not much consultation took place with the stakeholders. It is very doubtful if the vested interests in the obituary value chain would have just sat by and allowed an arrangement that seeks to dim their lights or simply take bread away from their tables without raising a voice of dissent.  

By that single law, a whole universe of professionals will undoubtedly be facing existential threat, if not extinction already. A more austere burial means bearish market for mortuaries and the morticians, for instance. So, how are caterers, “Aso Ebi” (fabric) merchants, event planners, vintners, lessor of marquee/canopy/plastic chairs expected to survive now?

What then happens to the familiar hawkers of white handkerchiefs or hand fans? To say nothing about traffickers of mint-fresh banknotes for “spraying”. Or those who thought they had struck gold by stocking milllion units of the rave-of-the-moment - the pistol-like cash-spraying machine fabricated in - where else? - China.

We have not even considered “professional mourners” on hire to wail louder than the bereaved when the latter become too tired or had lost their voices to too much sorrow. 

Moreover, big or elaborate funerals also create brisk business for the masters of the two contrasting realms - the cosmic and the secular: rainmakers and alchemists who solemnly prime the canon for traditional gun-salute on the one hand; and native drummers who fall over each other in the driveway to usher you into the party venues with soliciting crescendo. 

Well, we were also not told whether Ezeani had contemplated a ceiling to the cost of a coffin permissible in Anambra soil henceforth. That may, in fact, drag us into a corpus of morbid details like the apocryphal tale of a thrifty coffin-maker who, upon being pressed for a concession, promised the customer a discount the next time. Or the theatrics of the hyperactive curator of the communal hearse, gleaming from meticulous preservation probably by generations, its utility yet creatively extended by the current custodian to double as family car to church service on Sundays. 

And lo, the king of them all - the musician who makes a fortune from performing at the big parties which the new Anambra law seeks to outlaw. At a time piracy has virtually made album sale unprofitable, who does not know that most artistes now hustle for live performances for subsistence, aside endorsement deals with rich corporate bodies. Of course, praise-singing is the short-cut.

As an editor some fifteen years ago, I remember being approached by one of our star reporters (Emeka Eyinnaya) saying a famous Igbo musician was aghast at the headline given his interview we had published the previous week. 

While responding to a specific question, the iconic entertainer had stated rather casually that he was not in a position to know whether the provenance of money sprayed on him by those he usually eulogized at soirées was tainted or not. 

I cast the said headline to reflect such self-acquittal from possible complicity on account of a murky source. 

Apparently, a good number of his big spenders - most probably bigtime conmen or money ritualists - had rang him up to express bitterness at his impudence to speak so uncomplimentarily of the hands feeding him. 

But note, the respondent didn’t disown or dispute any portion of the transcript which could have been cited as basis to fault the “offending” title, but was simply unhappy that the interview he was reluctant to grant in the first place was now going to pour sand in his garri. 

Such is the sensitivity that sometimes underlines the rendition of eulogy at social parties and the tightrope musicians have to walk thereafter to remain in business. 

But while all the foregoing merely pertains to the consequences, the new Anambra funeral act would also appear to be in cold contempt of something more substantial - cultural sensibilities or habits. While it is much easier to fix damage at the material level, altering things at the cultural realm is never an easy task. Those already thinking the proposed law will suddenly usher the desired change in social behavior in that jurisdiction will, therefore, need some reality check by simply recalling the anti-spraying law similarly pushed by the Obasanjo administration in 2007.

Despite that section 21 subsection 1-4 of the CBN bill passed by the sixth National Assembly prescribes heavy penalties beginning with arrest and a prison term of six months or N50,000 fine, Nigerians have not stopped spraying crisp Naira notes at social parties. 

Let us face it: the Igbo in Anambra are certainly not alone in turning burial to carnival of sorts. In most African societies, loud funerals are not only deemed fitting finale to an illustrious life but also considered one last debt owed the dead. 

Therefore, the common prayer among folks is not just the grace to die not faraway from one’s wardrobe only but also in the arms of one’s offspring who should be in material position to meet often high expectations of the community. 

So, whereas the bereaved in, say, western societies might consider as parting gift memorializing the departed by instituting a foundation to propagate the idea they cherished while alive, the average African would rather preserve the memory of their dead by hosting a shindig to be remembered as the grandest in a generation. 

In Yorubaland, such jollification falls under the rubric of “Owambe”. In Edo, it is called “Obito”. 

It is, therefore, doubtful if this age-old lifestyle can be legislated out of existence overnight like the Anambra’s funeral act envisages. The “Owambe” industry in Lagos is reportedly worth a whopping N26b, for instance. While the culture of ostentation must be seen as constituting ready normative offence, one would rather suggest the adoption of a civic engagement approach to wean the society off such hang-over. The underling mindset speaks to what psychologists call the edifice complex. It partly explains the obsession for bogus things - big cars, big houses, long convoys. 

We also see this showoffishness manifesting in the knack for titles that make many insist that their names be prefixed with “Sir, Chief, Dr, Engineer...”

There is an urgent need for a re-orientation of the society to begin to see the nobility in simplicity. The crusade is not for government alone but also the traditional and religious institutions as well. Meanwhile, rather than prohibit loud parties, what stops the authorities from imposing punitive taxes on those who choose to exceed the threshold considered modest?

 

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REVEALED: Full Names Of The 23 Nigerians On Death Row In Saudi Arabia

15 April 2019 - 7:57am


There has been so much public uproar condemning both the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian governments after the execution of a Nigerian woman, Kudirat Adeshola Afolabi, who was found guilty of drug trafficking.

While Nigerians insisted Afolabi was only a victim of drug syndicate group at Nigerian airports, both governments maintained she was actually guilty of the crime.

Following Afolabi's execution, it was revealed that another Nigerian, Saheed Sobade, was facing the prospect of death in Saudi Arabia after being nabbed with 1,183 grams of cocaine powder in Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea and gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Nigeria responded to widespread criticism of Afolabi's execution by insisting that all legal and judicial procedures were observed.

"It is well-known for all those interested in travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the penalty for drug trafficking is the death sentence and the said sentence is applied on all persons convicted without any exceptions, as long as the evidence is established against them, and this is conveyed to every person prior to his trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," it said.

As things stand, at least 23 more Nigerians, according to TheNation, are destined to suffer Afolabi's fate, having been convicted for flouting the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Control Law, issued under Royal Decree No. M/39 dated 8/7/1428AH, which is punishable by death.

They were arrested between 2016 and 2017 at the King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah and Prince Muhammad bin Abdu- Aziz International Airport, Madinah.

THE LIST

Adeniyi Adebayo Zikri

Tunde Ibrahim

Jimoh Idhola Lawal

Lolo Babatunde

Sulaiman Tunde

Idris Adewuumi Adepoju

Abdul Raimi Awela Ajibola

Yusuf Makeen Ajiboye

Adam Idris Abubakar

Saka Zakaria

Biola Lawal

Isa Abubakar Adam

Ibrahim Chiroma

Hafis Amosu

Aliu Muhammad

Funmilayo Omoyemi Bishi,

Mistura Yekini

Amina Ajoke Alobi

Kuburat Ibrahim

Alaja Olufunke Alalade Abdulqadir

Fawsat Balogun Alabi

Aisha Muhammad Amira

and Adebayo Zakariya

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Success Adegor And The Unending Story By Johnson Amusan

15 April 2019 - 7:43am


As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever. – Clarence Darrow

Since the story of the 7-year-old Success Adegor broke out through a video ‘skit’, the little girl from Delta State has gained a concerted attention to herself and her family. Many have fallen over their heads to support her. And of course, as it is our nature here, many too have turned her to a Nollywood starlet. Her school has also been a beneficiary as the state governor, out of a pretentious shame, has ordered the renovation of her school. This was presented in another video where the roofs of the buildings in the shantytown called school were being removed. The governor has also made a scapegoat of the headmistress of the school by suspending her.

The wheel that squeaks the loudest, Josh Billings said, is one that gets the grease. This, no doubt, has been depicted in the life of Success who has in fact enjoyed the trophy of speaking out, unconsciously though, against the age-long deprivation that characterises education in this country. Unfortunately, however, the effort that has singled out Success for triumph has never addressed (and can never address) the issue of the relegation of education to the background by the political leadership in this country, as it believes it owes people no social or political responsibilities. This is a very strong perception among the members of the ruling elites that government should be less concerned about making provision for the people, let alone educating them. Education, to them, is not everybody’s calling.

I will not want to bore you with the full gist of the Success story any longer as it has been a talk of the town already. However, beyond the razzmatazz that has been enacted in the Success’ episode is one issue that has tugged at my heart – the claim to free education.

While trying to save its face, the government of Delta State said free education policy operates in Delta, so there was no need for chasing Success out of the school for non-payment of examination fee. It has been observed too, that the environment of the Success’ school, Okotie-Eboh Primary School, Sapele, is not habitable for healthy knowledge. The school was no doubt literally forgotten until the Success’ anger aroused the passion of the nation. But as at February alone, Delta State earned 17 Billion Naira from the monthly Federal allocations. Delta State, as at today, is yet to be speared of the ravages of all the indices of a failed state. In any event, it is a den of poverty like any other states in Nigeria. One is therefore tempted to ask, what has Delta government been doing with the huge allocation it receives monthly from the Federal allocations? Your guess could be as good as mine.

There is no doubt that most States’ governments today pay lip service to free education. They don't believe in it. It is just a convenient campaign item for them during the electioneering period.

As a beneficiary of free education when it was a cardinal policy of the UPN governments of the Western States in the Second republic, I was a witness to what a genuine free education was. And it has played a critical role in my life; the reason I can distinguish it now from a fake one. Without much ado, let me browse, as follows, into what free education was then through a personal experience. 

In those days in Ipetumodu (my hometown), in the old Oyo State (now Osun), what pupils of my generation were aware of was that at the resumption of every session, tonnes of new textbooks, exercise books and mathematics sets, and loads of chalks, chairs and desks were brought into our schools. Lest I forget that during a holiday, new buildings would have been built where necessary or renovations carried out on existing dilapidated ones. The books and mathematics set were distributed to us free. Except the inscription or logo or stamp of the state government inscribed on the books, we could really not identify from where the books and other academic materials emerged. Because there was no name or picture of any government functionary displayed on them. We were given this sense of entitlement or right to them. We were rightly made to believe that they were government property, a product of commonwealth, which deserved our collective protection. And that they were just fulfilling their own side of the obligation by making them available to us – no special favour attached. This variety of free education cut across both primary and secondary schools at the same intensity.

My father was happy he would not have to bother himself anymore with buying books and other academic materials except my feeding allowance and school dress. And sometimes, seeing the books around even encouraged one to read them. That Awolowo’s party did it again was not strange to him for he had witnessed it done in the First Republic when all prognostications were against it.

The teachers were proud of and happy doing their job because they were never denied of their entitlements. You would see it in the dignity with which they carried themselves in the society. Their children were attending either the same schools in which they were teaching or another public schools elsewhere. Even the politicians’ children also attended the same public schools. (I remember that time, the children of the main opposition leader in my hometown were attending the same school as I.) The teachers were also insulated from politics. No teacher would come to the class to discuss a politician or a political party or the governor of a state when it had no relevance to the subject he was treating or handling. Despite that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the symbol of the progressive programme that time, no teacher or pupil was compelled to sing praise Awolowo. And if there was any teacher who was having a romantic idea for any party, he probably was doing so underground. 

They really made people have this confidence that what was existing between the people was a social contract, the end of the bargain that they were just fulfilling. Hence, each time that my father was accosted to show evidence of payment of tax, he would joyfully brought it out as a fulfilment of his own end of the bargain too. In essence, my father paid his tax regularly because he was seeing the genuine result of paying it. He needed no prompting or force to know for whom to also cast his allegiance during an election.

Because of the non-tuition, many teenagers and youths were enrolled and engaged en masse at one school or the other, and this reduced crime rates. The enrolment equally discriminated against no tribe. For instance, there were many from the South East who were my classmates that time.

And when I was moved to Lagos, the same programme operated there. Hence, the same benefits were conferred on us. It was easy for the people with whom I was living then to take more people to live with them because they would have no need to pay for their school fees and books except what to eat. The enjoyment continued until 1983 when Major General Muhammadu Buhari took over the government in a violent putsch. Meanwhile, before then, the opposition party, NPN, had rigged itself into the government of Oyo State, cancelled free education and introduced full-blown commercialisation of education. Buhari’s emergence only supplied fuel to the inferno.

In Lagos though, despite the military intervention, school fees were not reintroduced. But we had to be buying books because the free educational materials were no longer coming. The PTA levies started, and at a point, parents were making furniture for their pupils to carry to and fro their schools for lack of security.

However, I was to realise some years after the paralyzing damage of lack of provision for free education when one day I was on holiday to my hometown. Then I was at secondary school. And I met some of my old friends with whom I went to primary school there. They had become bus or lorry conductors. Then I asked them why they could not continue with their education. Their reason was that their parents could not fund it. Perhaps, if that time were, as being prevalent today, a yahoo-yahoo period, they would have become internet fraudsters, money ritualists, kidnappers or armed robbers.

Consequently, when I got to higher institution and had the opportunity, it was one of the motivating factors for me to join a host of other student activists to fight against commercialisation of education. We did not get free education but we prevented to a large extent the arbitrary and astronomical increase in school fees. And it was not an easy experience as we were condemned and called all sorts of names that time but it was a price worth paying. 

It is more of a comedy the way free education is carried out now. In fact it is an insult on the collective intelligence of the people. All you see is the distribution of a few exercise books with the names and colourful pictures of the sponsors. No chalk is provided for teachers. Most of them have not even been paid for months. The environment in which they are teaching is not better than a dumpsite. The teachers and the political leaders are not even proud of enrolling their children or wards at the public schools because they know the quality of education they give there. No one should, however, be deceived by the constructions or renovations of a few school buildings at conspicuous places in the cities or towns. There are many rickety schools in the interiors and other hidden places that are never touched. 

The crux of the matter is that across the length and breadth of Nigeria, Nigerian leaders run government of showmanship. Our politicians or political leaders are wont of trumpeting free education during their campaigns and reneging having won thereafter. And when you challenge them, they will muddle up the whole water of affairs with false propaganda by calling you an agent of the opposition.  

The reason is still debated whether a government can afford free education in Nigeria or not. The disparagers have always maintained that education can never come free. Their defence is that whatever is free is never appreciated. But how is such a debate won in a society where many have seen it as a profitmaking venture? Where those in control of the machinery of the state are simultaneously private owners of schools? Their prompt for attack will be that you want to withdraw from them their means of livelihood. It is to their advantages that public school system has collapsed. Or where the system is efficient, they do everything to undermine it. But even then, those agitators for commercialisation of education do not ever think air is one of the most valuable elements that are provided and gotten free. No matter how rich you are, just enclose yourself in an airtight arena and see whether you can survive it in hours. Meanwhile, it is what you get free.

Besides, since we have been paying for everything that should naturally be provided by the government of this nation, have we gotten the value for our money? Has the service ever been provided sufficiently? Has our life improved in this nation? 

Many nations that have grown and developed are nations that provide free education to their citizens. They are even superpowers now. Guan Zhong, a Chinese philosopher said: “The best return for one year is to grow grains; the best return for ten years is to grow trees; the best return for a lifetime is to educate people.” 

A friend who lives in America was very homesick sometimes ago. Then he realised there is no place like home. But he had a restraint. Would he be able to access in Nigeria one opportunity that has kept him in America all this while? Would Nigeria have the capacity to sustain his future? 

What was the worry of my friend? To him, his children are his future. And giving good education to them is as good as protecting this future. He is getting this already in America, what is the essence of leaving? Thus my friend told me why he has every reason to remain in America is because his children have access to free and qualitative education. Not only this, his children are taken to and fro school on school buses free of charge. Their school has standard academic environment fitted with befitting sport facilities that can only be available in some universities in Nigeria. Of course, he pays tax regularly but he receives the adequate results of paying it. My friend, therefore, concludes that no amount of homesickness can provide all this. Hence, America is home.

Nigerian leaders commoditise all provisions that should be available to people to enjoy without whimpering. And in a commodity economy, the only aim is to make profit. And profitmaking can only disempower many people in the process of making more profits.

Education is the totality of the being of a nation. It is the beginning and the end of a nation. A nation that cannot provide free education to its citizens has no future; it is a nation on the precipice. Until every citizen can have access to free and qualitative education in this country, Nigeria will never develop and the tale will remain persistent. This is the reason for the unending story of Success Adegor.

When we fought for free education in this country was during military era. We were then, at least, adults who acted with conscious minds. Who could have thought a tender age girl would do the fight today in a civilian democracy? When Success reacted in protest against the examination levy, she did not know she was resisting commercialisation and degradation of education in her State. This shows the surprise that is awaiting this nation when people are finally pushed to the wall. And perhaps, success is telling us to wake up once again and pick up the gauntlet and challenge those tormentors-in-power who have compromised the future of this nation totally. Freedom is never given free.

Johnson Amusan writes in from Lagos. (amusanjohnson@gmail.com)

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Witness Tells Court How Fayose Moved N1.2bn From Ekiti Airport To Akure Through Three People, Including Obanikoro’s Aide

15 April 2019 - 7:24am

Sunday Alade, a former Branch Manager of Zenith Bank Plc in Akure, Ondo State, has explained how Ayodele Fayose, former Governor of Ekiti State, took receipt of a sum of N1.2billion suspected to be from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2014.

Alade gave the testimony in Lagos Monday during the continuation of hearing into the N1.2bn allegedly given to Fayose by Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser (NSA).

Fayose is standing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly collecting and spending N1.2billion and $5million illegally released by the ONSA.

Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the prosecuting counsel, Alade recalled how he received a call from the branch’s Head of Operations mandating him to proceed to Akure Airport to receive cash from a customer. 

“On the 17th of June 2014, I was in my office in Zenith Bank, Akure. I received a call from my Head of Operations Abiodun Oshodi that a customer would be coming to make deposit into his account with the bank,” he said.

“He said in order to provide security, we should arrange for a van bullion to go to the airport to pick the cash. After an hour, my head of operations, Abiodun Oshodi, came and said the customer had arrived. He introduced Abiodun Agbele as the customer.”

Alade testified that he requested for more time to sort out security for the trip, but Oshodi and Agbele said they had it covered, as they had some mobile policemen and soldiers waiting in a Hilux van. He added that they arrived at the airport few minutes before an aircraft bearing the cash landed. 

“Three individuals came out of the aircraft,” he said.

“Two of them walked away; the last introduced himself as O. Adewale. The cash was offloaded into the bullion van and we drove to Zenith Bank Akure.

“When all of us arrived at the bank, the money was counted in his presence. The money was counted in our presence. It was N724million. We were later informed that there was a balance, so we went back to the airport to pick it; it was N494million, brought in by another aircraft; so the total cash was N1.219billion. I gathered that the cash was lodged in three bank accounts — those of De-Privateer, Spotless Investment and Ayodele Fayose. I also understand some cash was taken away that day by Mr Agbele.”

Askedto identify the people he moved the money with, he said: “Adewale O. introduced himself as Obanikoro’s Aide-De-Camp.

“One of them resembled Obanikoro. I never met him in person. But he resembled the person I saw on television and newspapers.”

Hearing in the matter continues on May 10 and 14.

 

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BREAKING: Bandits Kill 15 During Overnight Party In Nasarawa Village

15 April 2019 - 5:14am

At least 15 people have been killed while 14 sustained injuries in an attack on Numa Village, Andaha Town, in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, on Sunday night.

A security source told SaharaReporters that the people were killed by armed bandits party late into the night.
 
Details soon.

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BREAKING: CCT Announces Judgement Day On Onnoghen’s Fraudulent Assets Declaration Trial

15 April 2019 - 4:17am

Judgement in the trial of Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), for a six-count charge of fraudulent declaration of assets will be given on Thursday, April 18, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has announced.

Danladi Umar, Chairman of the tribunal, made the announcement on Monday at the resumed hearing on the matter.

Umar fixed the date after by Aliyu Umar (SAN), prosecuting counsel, and Okon Efut (SAN), defence counsel, had adopted their final addresses. 

While the defence argued that the prosecution failed to prove the six counts beyond reasonable doubt as required by law and that the statement made by Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was not confessional as alleged by the prosecution, the prosecution maintained that it had proved Onnoghen guilty beyond reasonable doubts and therefore urged the tribunal to so declare Onnoghen.

In adjourning till Thursday for judgement, Umar also said verdict would be delivered on a suit challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case, and on another asking him to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case for alleged bias.

Onnoghen turned in his resignation letter as CJN to President Muhammadu Buhari in the first week of April, a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended his compulsory retirement for misconduct.

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A Legal View On Atiku’s Nigerianness By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

15 April 2019 - 3:52am

Of recent, electoral outcomes in Nigeria have played out in a format that seems scripted. An observer would be forgiven should he believe a dramatist somewhere has written a play that is now acting out on the legal and political stage.

Just of recent, in Osun State, issues on the election in conduct and outcome have been raised by both parties — the APC on the grounds of the candidate of the PDP being ineligible by educational qualification along with allegations of examination malpractice while the same election is being contended by the PDP with allegations of rigging, voter intimidation  vis-a-vis the perceived ultra vires action of cancellation of some polling units which hangs on INEC. This issue is ready for another stage in the hierarchy of courts and would not be discussed here.

In Imo, the contention is on if a Returning Officer can come out to release different results for the same senatorial election he presided over, claiming one of the results was declared under duress. The legal contention of this matter would not be discussed here too.

In Nigeria of recent, we have had the back and forth on the suspension of a CJN. Nigeria had the recent contention on a person who won an election and died before he was sworn-in. 

The instances earlier mentioned are a reference to how legal intrigues are playing out in Nigeria’s political arena in a manner that would strengthen our democratic institutions with a backlog of case-laws that will guide us. The present topic of interest is on if Atiku is a Nigerian. 

Atiku’s nationality dispute is an interesting legal contention. The background is that he was born in Jada, Adamawa, in a local government that was not part of Nigeria until after 1960. The region opted to become part of Nigeria through a vote or plebiscite. This was in February 1961. Atiku was born prior to the plebiscite.

The dispute on his citizenship (or eligibility to contest for President) essential revolves around;

1. Since the constitution requires in Section 131(a) that a person who qualifies to run for President should have been born in Nigeria. Does Atiku fulfill this requirement having been born in a part of Nigeria which did not become so until 1961 and not 1960? Note that the Constitution provides in Section 25 that a citizen of Nigeria should have been born in the geographical area that constituted Nigeria before the date of independence (1960) and in another of the three subsections provides for those born in Nigeria after 1960 which would include Atiku’s descendants and that of others in the affected Local Government. The third subsection in S25 covers those born outside Nigeria to Nigerian parents. 

While S26 and S27 provide other means to acquire Nigerian citizenship asides birth. The constitution is clear on the President having been born in Nigeria (as at or after 1960) or to Nigerian parents outside Nigeria and not having been registered or naturalised, which are the other means.

2. Since 138 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 provides as a ground for contesting the result of an election the ineligibility of a candidate ab initio- “that a person whose election is questioned was at the time of the election not qualified to contest”. Should Atiku even have been allowed to contest considering the uncertainty around his “Nigerianess”? If the APC counsels manage to prove this. It would mean that Atiku was never qualified to contest in the first place. Thus, he cannot even contend the result he is now doing.

3. Having become part of Nigeria, does it not include too for the people of Jada the right to vote and be voted for? Note that this third point is the strongest for Atiku’s claim to citizenship. His people at some point in their history have chosen Nigeria and are thus participants in Nigeria’s franchise which as a principle of democracy makes them eligible to vote (and also be voted for) in Nigeria. 

It would be inconsistent to refuse the people participation in the electoral process with the right to vote and be voted even after they have opted by plebiscite to be part of Nigeria and they have become absorbed into the Nigerian federation. 

What is unclear as a matter of law is if the decision to be Nigerian taken at that plebiscite only affects the descendants of the Jada environs and not those already alive at the time of the plebiscite who prior the plebiscite were in Northern Cameroon. Atiku was born in 1946. His people made the decision to be part of Nigeria in 1961. Did he become a Nigerian too in 1961 with the rest of his people or only his children are Nigerians having been born after 1961 inside Nigeria?

It may appear quite strange and unreasonable to raise issues on the citizenship of a person after he has served in the Customs service of a country and has become a Vice President of the Republic having attained one of the most important titles of GCON attached permanently to his name. Having invested so much in Nigeria in economic terms and having built himself into a political fort in Nigeria, why will anyone doubt his claim to citizenship? I shared this sentiment till I came in contact with the background of the story.

Well, the judge does not share the sentiments but rather looks at the strength of arguments. There may be found merits to the arguments of the APC counsel that Atiku is not a Nigerian if the law takes the path of coldness for which it is known and lays its concern on when Atiku was born and where that region belonged. He was born outside Nigeria in a part that later became Nigeria. 

There is no known Act or parliamentary resolution nor has any document surfaced stating details of the 1961 plebiscite and the implications of it in terms of citizenship. The issue may have been raised in the 1963 constitution which had a S10 that contained Special Provisions on Northern Cameroons. This constitution is out of use and the said provision in S10 does not clearly settle the question of the citizenship of the people of Northern Cameroon who opted for Nigeria in the plebiscite.

The constitutional requirement to contest for President is having citizenship by birth and Atiku was not born in Nigeria. He was born in Northern Cameroon. The area has now become Nigeria.

As earlier stated, it would be unrealistic for a judgement to lay aside the decision of the plebiscite to be part of Nigeria. The plebiscite was conducted for the people of that area to decide which identity they wanted to adopt. They chose Nigerian. 

If the Constitution of 1999 does not take this plebiscite into account in the drafting of the qualification for the office of President to include people not born in Nigeria but became Nigerian after a plebiscite, the courts need to take notice of this plebiscite and discard the noninclusion of the eligibility of the people who became Nigerians by the plebiscite of 1961 who not having been born in Nigeria became Nigerians by a plebiscite.

The plebiscite outcome should be viewed as equivalent to the citizenship by birth as the people then chose to become Nigerians when they could have stayed with Cameroon and are thus qualified to enjoy all the rights that come with being Nigerian which includes as it concerns this immediate topic the right to vote AND BE VOTED FOR.

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Lawyer Sues NSCDC For 'Extrajudicial Killing' Of 46-Year-Old Who 'Violated' His Eight-Year-Old Daughter

15 April 2019 - 3:27am


Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, NSCDC Commandant General

Morakinyo Ogele, a human rights lawyer based in Akure, capital of Ondo State, has instituted legal action against the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over the case of a suspect, Razak Ahmed, who died in the custody of the Ondo State Command of the Corps.

Barrister Ogele approached the State High Court in Akure asking for the NSCDC to be mandated to conduct investigation in its Ondo State Command to identify the officers involved in the arrest, detention and alleged of torturing of Mr. Ahmed to death.

In March 2019, 46-year-old Ahmed was arrested by officers of the Ondo State Command of the NSCDC after complaint from his son that he was allegedly having carnal knowledge of his eight-year-old daughter. 

However, three days after his arrest over the allegation, the mechanical engineer died in the custody of the NSCDC at its Alagbaka office in Akure. 

Ahmed's death generated crisis, as his family members accused the command of torturing their bread winner to death while trying to force him to confess to the crime. However, Samuel Oladapo, the NSCDC spokesperson in Ondo, bluntly denied the family's allegation, instead saying the suspect committed suicide by "hanging himself to death" in their custody. 

Dissatisfied with the NSCDC's handling of the case, the lawyer is seeking an order directing the corps to hand over the officers culpable in the death of Ahmed to the Police for investigation and prosecution.

Ogele is further asking the State High Court to order NSCDC in Ondo to pay the sum of N500 million as damages to the family of Ahmed over the loss of their bread winner. 

In a 33-paragraph-affidavit, Ogele said he initiated the suit on behalf of the family of the deceased and in the public interest. 

"Family members of the deceased have been calling on human rights organisations to help them get justice," he said. 

"This is because NSCDC is trying to cover up this extrajudicial killing. They felt unconcerned about the gruesome act against the family of the deceased. Their spokesman declared that the man committed suicide in their custody without giving evidence.

"I think NSCDC is a security agency established to protect lives and properties in Nigeria. Its officers are not expected to take any life."

The activist lawyer also wants the court to direct all security agencies to subject their officers to psychiatric tests and stop them from forcefully torturing their suspects in order to obtain confessional statements.

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Autopsy Report Exposes Force PRO Frank Mba's Lies About How Policemen Killed NSCDC Officer Ochigbo Jumbo

15 April 2019 - 2:31am



Contrary to claims by the Police that late Ochigbo Ogah Jumbo slumped and died while in their custody, an autopsy report has revealed that his death was as a result of force and continuous torture.

SaharaReporters had reported that Jumbo, an Assistant Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), was killed by some police officers in the presence of his wife and kids on Wednesday, March 20, in Nyanya, Abuja.

The Police, through the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, swiftly dispelled it, saying the late Jumbo slumped after driving himself to Nyanya Police station. 

Mba had said: "He was arrested and he drove himself to the police station with immediate members of his family, who were with him at the time of arrest and a Traffic Warden in his own car. 

"Traffic Wardens are not conventional police personnel; that is why they wear yellow top for easy identification. They don’t bear arms either." 

The police spokesman also denied that the late Jumbo was battered by his men, claiming that "there was no sign of physical assault on the deceased".

After unrelenting clamour by the people and Jumbo's family, Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police, ordered a comprehensive and speedy investigation into the circumstances of the death.

The result of an autopsy result conducted at the Maitama General Hospital on 26th March 2019, revealed that late Jumbo died after suffering from "blunt force injury to the head and cerebral oedema" suffered during the police brutality. 

A copy of the autopsy report and the coroner's ordinances obtained by SaharaReporters also confirmed that "there was no natural disease in the body to sufficiently explain this sudden death", as being peddled by the Police authority.  AUTOPSY REPORT OF OGAH JUMBO(1).pdf (function(){ var scribd_doc = scribd.Document.getDocFromUrl('http://saharareporters.com/sites/default/files/AUTOPSY%20REPORT%20OF%20OGAH%20JUMBO%281%29.pdf', 'pub-38756116719609018964'); var onDocReady = function(e){}; scribd_doc.addParam('jsapi_version', 2); scribd_doc.addParam('public', true); scribd_doc.addParam('allow_share', true); scribd_doc.addEventListener('docReady', onDocReady); scribd_doc.write('embedded_doc_77728'); })();

"Death was due to the blunt force injury to the head. He was said to have been involved in an altercation with Traffic Wardens at the Traffic control point on “Redeemed Junction” along Nyanya–Karshi Road, at about 7.25am on March 20, which led to his receiving repeated blows to the head and body with fists and batons, both there and later on in the police station. He collapsed and was taken first to Nyanya General Hospital, and then to Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja where he was certified dead by 10.30am that same day," the report reads.

"The brain was swollen as evidenced by widening of the folds of brain tissue (gyri), and narrowing of the spaces in between these folds (sulci). In medical parlance, this is referred to as cerebral oedema. Blunt force injury to the head is a well-recognized cause of cerebral oedema, a condition in which there is severe impairment of brain function. This was the cause of his death." 

The report also revealed that the deceased suffered multiple skin and soft tissue injuries. "Forehead and Face: Bruise on the right forehead, 1cm above the lateral aspect of right eyebrow, measuring 2.5 x 1cm. 

"Bruise on the lateral aspect of the skin of the left eye socket, 1.5cm below the left eye, measuring 1.5 x 0.5cm," it stated.

"Left Upper Limb: Diagonal scratch injury, on the flexor aspect of the left arm, starting medially, 3cm above the popliteal fossa, and extending upwards and laterally for 5.5cm.

"Lower Limbs: Bruise on the central portion of the right knee cap, measuring 2 x 1.5cm. Bruise on the right leg, 4cm below the knee cap, measuring 2 x 1.5cm.

"Two bruises, next to each other (above and below), just beneath the left knee cap, measuring 1.5 x 1.2cm and 1.5 x 1.5cm respectively. Bruise on the tip of the right big toe, measuring 1.5 x 0.5cm.

"Avulsion injury of the tip of the left big toe, measuring 1.5 x 0.9 x 0.5cm. Bruise on the medial aspect of the left 2nd toe, measuring 1 x 0.7cm".

After unsuccessful efforts to speak with Mr Mba, he responded to a text message directing our correspondent to speak to the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, CP Bala Ciroma or his PRO.

When contacted through a phone call, the Police Public Relations Officer for FCT Command, DSP Manzah Anjuguri, said he could not respond to any official matter as he was undergoing a course. 

Ada Jumbo, wife of the deceased, in an extract obtained from her statement,  said her husband was dragged on the floor for several metres after he was mercilessly hit on the head with a batton. 

A family source also told our reporter that the Police authority had never visited nor shown sympathy to the family almost a month when "their breadwinner was gruesomely murdered".

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'It's Rubbish For Ohanaeze To Ask For Slots In Lagos Cabinet'

15 April 2019 - 1:12am


Lateef Femi Okunnu, a former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, says it is "rubbish" for members of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to ask for slots in the cabinet of the Lagos State government.

He also said Nigeria must return to the 12-state structure for proper power balancing and effective restructuring.

The 86-year-old elder statesman said this in an interview with The Sun newspaper.

Okunnu, who served between 1966 to 1975, under the regime of Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former military head of State, said Gowon created 12 states after the civil war to create balance across the region.

“Gowon created 12 states from the existing four regions. Let me say this quickly about the 12 states structure, which I have been advocating should be restored in our effort to restructure the country.

“Part of the agitations that led to the civil war was the size of the North, that it was too large, not only in size but also in population. For true federalism to endure, you need proper balancing and that was what Gowon did, following agitation for state creation.

“He created six states out of the Northern region in concurrence with the political leadership of the North. I was privileged to be a member of the ad hoc Constitutional conference in late 1966 after the second coup, which Gowon set up to bring all the regions together.

“There was the North Central State-Kaduna, Katsina and the likes and there was the North Western State- Sokoto and the likes, so six there, right, and then six in the South.

“We had the Western State: Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo. So, the Afenifere shouting for Oduduwa State lost the chance by allowing the Western State to be broken into pieces.

“We also had the Eastern State. They also lost their chance to have a state for the mostly speaking Igbo Nigerians. We had the Rivers State and the Mid-Western State.

“These 12 states were created with the agreement of the political leadership at the time. So if we had allowed the 12 states structure to endure, Nigeria as a country would grow beyond its present sorry state.”

He also rejected the involvement of cultural groups in Nigeria's politics, stating that the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere have no business in politics.

He said these groups should revert to their roles in nation building and not dabble in politics.

“People exploit ethnicity for political power. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, one of my heroes, was elected on the platform of a democratic party, NCNC alliance in Lagos, first Lagos member not on the platform of Igbo state union which was at its infancy at the time but as a Nigerian. Azikiwe was above ethnicity; the Yoruba elected him.

“There was the Igbo state union, Ibibio state union which concentrated on educating Ibibio students, through award of scholarship. Dr. Udo Udoma was awarded scholarship to study law by the Ibibio state union.

That was the role state unions were playing at that time.

“Chief Awolowo founded Egbe Omo Oduduwa in London in 1946, 47 or thereabouts and established a branch in Nigeria in 1948. Again, in fairness to him, although he was strongly for regionalism, he didn’t use the Egbe Omo Oduduwa platform when he was in government. There was Action Group and there was Egbe Omo Oduduwa, a cultural group awarding scholarship. To me, ACF, Ohanaeze, Afenifere should all revert to that role. They have no business in politics; no place for them in politics.

“Some characters were speaking to the press sometime ago on behalf of Ohanaeze saying they want slots in the Lagos State cabinet. Rubbish! How many Lagos people are asking for cabinet slots in Imo, Abia, Enugu and the like? You leave that to local politics and local politicians. They should join political parties and fight for a space.”

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FRSC: Motorists, Not Spirits Or Demons, Cause Traffic On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

15 April 2019 - 12:46am


Hyginus Omeje, the Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says motorists, not spirits or demons, cause traffic on the Lagos-lbadan expressway.

Addressing journalists in Lagos on Sunday, Omeje said one of the causes of the constant gridlock on the road is impatience and abuse of traffic rules by road users.

He said: “A good assessment of the road, which I have done severally, revealed that there is nothing wrong with the road. But everything is wrong with the users, who constitute a law unto themselves and willfully break all known laws of transportation.

“Although, the road is undergoing rehabilitation and expansion, which has gotten to Magboro by MFM Church and at that point, lbadan bound traffic was diverted to share the lane with inward Lagos traffic.

“The narrowing of the carriageway at the diversion point caused serious gridlock last week.

“The problem is always compounded anytime motorists create additional lanes or drive against traffic, leading to crashes.

“We are not interested in arrest, but to get the road free of gridlock. However, many motorists are creating problems for us by creating additional lanes or driving against traffic, especially anytime there’s a breakdown.

“We will soon start to book erring road users, who are compounding problems on that corridor."

The FRSC chief noted that impatience had caused so much chaos and harrowing experience for motorists on the corridor, and urged motorists to always maintain their lanes, saying that lane discipline and obedience to traffic law is required by all road users to ensure a free flow of traffic.

Omeje said the construction companies from OPIC had put signage from 50 kilometres, 80 kilometres, and 100 kilometres per hour speed limit.

“No spirit, no demon is causing anything on that road, but the attitude of the road users, which is underscored by impatience and lawlessness.

“Our men are ready to enforce the law and to curb the excesses of people creating additional lanes and driving against traffic.”

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NUPENG/PENGASSAN: IMF's Advice To Nigerian Govt On Removal Of Fuel Subsidy Is 'Poisonous'

15 April 2019 - 12:42am


The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of giving the Nigerian government "poisonous" advice on removal of fuel subsidy.

They also said the current petroleum scarcity-scare is the country is as a result of the IMF advice.

Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of IMF, had advised the Nigerian government to remove fuel subsidy. She stated this during the joint annual spring meetings with the World Bank in Washington DC, on Thursday.

However, a joint statement issued by NUPENG and PENGASSAN on Sunday, read: “The statement of IMF has created panic in the country with associated hoarding of petroleum products, panic buying, skyrocketed increases in prices of goods and services in the country."

Noting that the IMF commended the significant progress the nation had made in terms of its Gross Domestic Product, the statement continued: “It is quite bewildering and baffling that the IMF is not considering the pains and agonies Nigerians went through even to achieve the acknowledged gains of 2018, with almost two-thirds of the world’s hungriest people among Nigerians.

“One wonders why the IMF is still callously and wickedly advising the government to inflict more pains and harm on the people.

“This IMF statement is embellished and loaded with poisons, considering the antecedents of the IMF in our economic challenges and struggles over decades of our nationhood. The various devaluations of our currency on the strength of advice of the same IMF have been a very big burden on our nation for several years now.

“The leadership of NUPENG and PENGASSAN are aware of what Nigerians are going through; we empathise with them and will not turn a blind eye to any further attempt to increase their pains and impoverish them further.”

They also pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari "to constantly put in mind the current hardship Nigerians are going through in our collective journey to economic recovery", adding that "any economic policy that is devoid of human feelings could lead to more social dislocations and upheavals."

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We Have No Plan To Remove Fuel Subsidy At This Time, Says Nigerian Govt

15 April 2019 - 12:37am


Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Finance Minister, says the Nigerian government has no plan to remove fuel subsidy "at this time".

She also said the government is in discussion with the World Bank Power Sector team on the $1billion Performance Based Loan (PBL) from multilateral institutions.

The finance minister said this at a joint news conference with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, at the end of the 2019 World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in the United States.

She said: “We met with the World Bank Power Sector team and discussed the way forward on the proposed $1billion PBL. We agreed to bring relevant MDAs together to ensure that we advance this operation in a timely manner. We will also discuss the Country Portfolio Performance of Nigeria, which currently stands at $9.8billion, with the Nigerian Country team at the World Bank and how we could manage the portfolio for optimum results.”

She spoke of plans by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue N15billion Green Bond to fund agriculture, power, health and water amenities to make life better for the people, saying the Green Bond will be the second one and would be used to finance agriculture, power sector – mostly solar projects – as well as some projects in the water sector.

She pointed out that the projects for which the funds will be applied “must be green".

"They must be projects that are not contributing to carbon dioxide emissions to the society. The first green bond issuance was successful and all the projects that were scheduled to have been financed have been done and the projects are at various levels of completion," she added.

On fuel subsidy, Ahmed said there was no plan by the government to remove fossil fuel subsidies.

She said: “We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues. One of the issues that always come up, especially in the IMF Article IV, is how we handle fuel subsidy.

“So, in principle, the IMF would say fuel subsidies are better removed so that you can use the resources for other important sectors, which is good advice, but in Nigeria, we do not have any plans to remove fuel subsidies at this time, because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us to remove the subsidy and provide cushions for our people.

“So, there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. We will be working with various groups to find out the best approach if we have to. We discussed this very frequently at the Economic Management Team, but what is the alternative? We haven’t yet found viable alternatives. So, we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidies.”
 

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We Have Gone Past Era Of Fuel Scarcity, Kachikwu Assures Nigerians

15 April 2019 - 12:27am


Ibe Kachikwu

Ibe Kachikwu NAN

Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has assured Nigerians of sufficient petroleum while cautioning motorists against panic-buying.

The minister said this on Sunday in an interview with NAN, during which he urged Nigerians to disregard claims of looming fuel scarcity in the country.

According to Kachikwu, Nigeria has gone beyond the era of fuel scarcity.

He said: “I can say that there shouldn’t be any reason for fuel scarcity. We have gone past the era of fuel scarcity.

“NNPC informed me when I made inquires that they imported enough.

“Yesterday, I saw pockets of scarcity in Abuja, but I was told that it was Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) related distribution issues, and it will be sorted out as soon as possible.

“So, it is not an issue of lack of sufficiency. I am told they had about 28 days' sufficiency, two weeks ago; they presently have between 14 and 15 days' product sufficiency."

Noting that the 28 days' sufficiency was sufficient, based on 50 million litres daily utilisation in the country, he added: "I don’t expect to see scarcity. I just expect them to work hard over the next few days to deal with whatever logistics issue they have. I will be working with NNPC on that."

On queues building up in some filling stations in Lagos and Abuja, he maintained that the country has enough petroleum to serve the needs of motorists.

“I haven’t visited Lagos cities, but the information I have is that there is enough product on ground and we should be able to deal with whatever it is. The problem with fuel scarcity is that if you allow it to last for three days, then it builds up a life of its own. That is what I have enforced NNPC to do to make sure that it is resolved,’’ he said.
 

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Northern Elders: There's Serious Irresponsibility Of Governance In Nigeria

15 April 2019 - 12:24am


Elder statesmen from Northern Nigeria, under the umbrella of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), have lamented the "irresponsibility of governance" in the country.

They also accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of not doing enough to combat insecurity in the northern part of the country.

Ango Abdullahi, the NEF Chairman, said this while addressing pressmen after a meeting of the elders in Zaria, Kaduna State, over the weekend.

He called on the President to demonstrate a higher level of concern and sensitivity to the plight of traumatised citizens, especially in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Niger, Plateau and Taraba states.

His words: "There is serious irresponsibility of governance in the country, especially in the North; the leadership is not doing enough to meet up the challenges of poverty and under-development.

“We also demand decisive, comprehensive and fundamental government actions against poverty, underdevelopment and insecurity affecting the North, as well as show of leadership and compassion which are reciprocal expectation of the Nigerian people.

“The children will be adult in the next 10 years; no education, no vocational training. What do you expect then? Insecurity situation.”

Abdullahi said the forum had passed a vote of no confidence in the elected political leaders from the North over the issues of insecurity, poverty and under-development.

He continued: "It has become imperative for the forum to call President Muhammadu Buhari to respond to threats faced by northern Nigerians, following incessant killing s in the some states.
 
“Agriculture, which is our pride and major employer of labour and contributor to Gross Domestic Product, has been ruined as rural dwellers are living in perpetual fear of terrorists or bandits attacks while highways become death traps to travelers.

“Why are the problems becoming difficult to solve? Is it because of the challenges of under-funding the police and security apparatus or is it the challenge of problem analyses or policy failure?

“The new IGP revealed that government has approved N324billion to the Nigeria Police in the 2018 budget but only N25billion was released, representing less than 10 per cent of the total amount approved.

“It is ironical to expect any significant achievement in the nation’s security under this kind of attitude in a country with more than 200 million."

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