- UN rights experts say govt has questions to answer
The International Criminal Court says it has commenced a preliminary investigation into the recent #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
This is coming as UN human rights experts have insisted that Nigerian government must set up a credible, independent inquiry into the reported illegal killing of peaceful protesters by soldiers.
A report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Wednesday quoted the ICC as saying this in a statement, adding its prosecutor had earlier confirmed receiving information on alleged crime.
The examination will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”
It recalled crowds of peaceful protesters had gathered on streets in major towns of the country demonstrating against police brutality, leading to a crackdown.
Amnesty International said security forces opened fire on protesters, killing and injuring a number of people. Both the police and the army have rejected Amnesty’s allegation.
The ICC said it would make findings of the preliminary examination public.
The development is coming after a number of civil society organisations (CSO) threatened to report some heads of security agencies to the ICC over the conduct of their personnel during the demonstrations, popularly called #EndSARS protests.
However, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has since dismissed the threats to report him and some heads of security agencies to the ICC and other international authorities.
“They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families,” Buratai had said.
“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.”
Meanwhile, some UN human rights experts have said, “Since 2005, UN Special Rapporteurs have repeatedly raised the issue of police killings and impunity with the Nigerian government,” the experts said.
They also said, “We have had 15 years of government promises, but nothing has changed. Governments come and go, but police brutality is as intractable as ever. Nigerians need justice.”
The experts noted that excessive use of force during peaceful assemblies was unacceptable, adding that the shootings at Lekki toll plaza in Lagos on 20 October were “especially disturbing because demonstrators were precisely calling for accountability for previous police brutality.”
“What is particularly disturbing is that the authorities said they had disbanded the SARS and agreed to the protestors other demands, including investigations,” the experts said. “But they immediately announced the formation of another similar unit and have not ended the excessive use of force.”
They recalled that protesters were met with water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition.
The fact that in the Lekki toll plaza incident CCTV cameras and lights were apparently switched off shortly before soldiers opened fire on the peaceful protestors indicates “a disturbing level of premeditation,” the experts said.
Systematic police brutality and use of excessive force against peaceful protesters must be independently and impartially investigated and the perpetrators brought to the justice, the human rights experts said.
In addition to setting up an independent inquiry, authorities must clarify why the military was deployed and who gave the order, the experts said. “Any investigation must aim to identify lines of responsibility, deliver accountability and justice, provide remedies and reparations, and recommend structural and systemic changes,” they said.
The experts also called on the government to release the reports of previous investigations into human rights violations by the security forces. These include the 2019 report by the National Human Rights Commission report on SARS and the 2018 report by the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement.
They stated, “The authorities have promised for years to address human rights violations by the security forces,” said the experts.
“Hundreds of victims and relatives of those who died have testified and sent petitions, but they never received any remedy, not even the acknowledgement that their rights were violated. It is crucial that the government releases all these reports to the public before they start new investigations.”
The experts have written directly to the Nigerian government, stressing that “it is high time that concrete action is taken to properly look into all incidents and that structural changes be made to prevent any re-occurrence.”
Obasanjo worries about depreciating economy, govt appointments based on favouritism
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country, especially the continued drop in living standard.
He lamented that government’s appointments were based on “favouritism” and not merit or competence.
The former president said this in a statement while felicitating the Federal Government College, Kaduna, on its 50th anniversary.
He said the economic situation in the country had increased hardship, insecurity, and affected the quality of leadership.
According to him, leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the country’s survival, adding that the religious tensions in the country have been intentionally instigated by politicians.
“Once again, our nation is dancing on the precipice and some of us are truly worried about the state of affairs today. I expressed that worry in my open letter to Nigerians and Nigerian youths on New Year’s Day,” he said.
“As I stated in the letter; ‘If we fall prey again, we will have ourselves to blame and no one can say how many more knocks Nigeria can take before it tips over. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.’ Of course, I pray that Nigeria will never tip over. We must constantly work at it and pray.
“My worry is premised on a number of issues. First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.
“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard of merit and competence.
“Elections are here and may compound the problem. Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.”
Speaking further, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to change the political course of the country by participating actively in the forthcoming elections.
The former president said the concerns raised about the presidential candidates are real, adding that Nigerians would have themselves to blame if they do nothing about the situation.
The statement read, “Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.
“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.
“The beauty of democracy is that the options before us cannot be imposed on us if we all do what we need to do to send a message to those who have had the audacity to present those options to us with little or no interest for the 225 million Nigerians.
“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”
Updated: Postpone visit to Kano, Ganduje advises Buhari over fuel, new naira anger
Governor of Kano State, Abdulahi Ganduje, has made a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to put on hold his planned visit to the state.
Ganduje’s reason, according to a statement by his media aide, Abba Anwar, is to avert possible embarrassing breakdown of law and order by the ordinary citizens over the complications arising from the fuel scarcity and scarcity of the newly redesigned naira.
Ganduje was quoted to have stated this before some professionals who visited him at the Government House on Friday.
He was quoted as telling his visitors, “As we are waiting for this important visit, we find ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.
- Woman beats husband, sets home ablaze for marrying second wife
- Police arrest 5 Cameroonians in Adamawa for kidnapping
- Lagos buys 100 new vehicles for state civil servants
- Kelechi Iheanacho’s record goal helps Leicester qualify for last 16 FA Cup
“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.”
Among the visitors were said to be two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Barau Jibrin and Kabiru Gaya, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly.
The governor quoted as saying that it has become difficult to transact businesses even with the Point of Sale (POS).
The situation is said to have led to many traders closing their businesses.
“This problem affects all of us.Therefore, our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such, our position must be loud and clear,” Ganduje said.
The governor also reportedly called for an extension of the deadline for returning old naira notes.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas; people go and spend hours upon hours in banks without any assurances of getting the new notes,” Ganduje lamented.
I’m alive by God’s grace, I saw many colleagues during civil war fall before me – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted a part of experience during the civil war in which he saw many people including his colleagues die right before him.
He also revealed how he ran away from home to join the Nigerian army to escape family pressure of getting married.
The President revealed this during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Faruk Faruk, after inaugurating two roads in Katsina State.
A presidential aide, Femi Adesina, highlighted Buhari’s narrative of his battle during the Nigerian Civil War and some personal challenges faced as told by the President duy the visit.
The statement read, “President Buhari said that he secured his first job early after school to manage a co-operative in Daura, but had to escape and join the army when there was pressure that he should get married.
“I told Governor Aminu Masari the story of how I left Daura to join the army. That was how God planned it. We make choices in life, but eventually destiny is before God.
“I was at the war front during the civil war, and saw how many died. Some fell right beside me. God kept me.
“Many bridges were blown just before we arrived at some places, and after we crossed. I arrived at some places to see bodies of my own colleagues that we were fighting together. I am alive today only by God’s grace.
“This opportunity to serve the nation comes from God. All over the world, Nigeria is known for its diversity, with different religions and cultures.
“We are also known because we have a huge population of millions of people. For the President of Nigeria, at this time, to come from Daura is the grace and mercy of God.”
Buhari also told the emirate that he would return and settle in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.
Mourinho Compares Victor Osimhen to one of the African legend, Didier Drogba
DSS intercepts syndicates selling new currency notes
Abuja-Kaduna train resumes to services Tuesday, says NRC
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
Biden, Treasury Secretary say Republicans COVID-19 aid too small
Osun state gov, Ademola Adeleke, thrills guests as he dances to Buga amid removal saga (Video)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodriguez buys him a Rolls Royce for Christmas (video)
Drama as angry bride refuses to marry groom during church wedding [Video]
News6 days ago
Buhari appoints ex-IGP Aranse PSC chairman, seeks Senate confirmation
International1 day ago
Russian/Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin sends 100 strippers to front line to boost morale of Russian soldiers
metro22 hours ago
Updated: Eight confirmed dead as container falls on passenger bus in Lagos + photos
Opinion5 days ago
IGP tenure: Police affairs minister goofed, says rights group
metro4 days ago
Unknown Gunmen kill APC Chairman in Imo, Kidnap 5 Chieftains
metro3 days ago
Updated: Kaduna-Abuja train derails close to Kubwa station
metro3 days ago
Woman bites off another’s breast in bloody fuel queue fight in Delta
Politics5 days ago
APC expels Buhari’s ex-aide, Ita Enang, over anti-party activities