ICC begins probe into alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters – Newstrends
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ICC begins probe into alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters

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  • 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.”

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Pro-Wike lawmakers suspend Fubara’s expenditure

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Governor Siminalayi Fubara

Pro-Wike lawmakers suspend Fubara’s expenditure

The factional Rivers State House of Assembly led by Martin Amaewhule has suspended all expenditures of Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

According to the lawmakers, the suspension subsists until Fubara represents the 2024 budget before the assembly.

Recall that the Amaewhule-led lawmakers had given a seven-day ultimatum for Fubara to re-present the budget. That ultimatum expired on Monday.

Reacting to the ultimatum, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had described the Amaewhule-led group as “former lawmakers” bent on causing a crisis in the state, calling on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

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Moving a motion on Monday, factional Majority Leader, Major Jack brought the ultimatum to the House’s attention.

The lawmakers resolved to suspend the Rivers State Consolidated Revenue Account.

However, Fubara has refused to recognise the Amaewhule-led assembly, insisting on working with the three-member Assembly led by Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo.

This is in spite of a Court of Appeal judgement invalidating a lower court ruling that barred the lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the Rivers assembly.

Pro-Wike lawmakers suspend Fubara’s expenditure

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BREAKING: Court okays Sanusi as Emir of Kano, permanently stops Bayero

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Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi and the deposed Emir Ado Bayero

BREAKING: Court okays Sanusi as Emir of Kano, permanently stops Bayero

A perpetual restraining order has been slammed on the dethroned Aminu Ado Bayero to stop parading himself as the Emir of Kano.

The restraining order was issued by Kano State High Court 17, presided over by Justice Amina Adamu Aliyu.

Four other dethroned Emirs, of Bichi, Rano, Gaya, and Karaye are also affected by the injunction as the court also restrained them from parading themselves as Emirs.

Delivering the judgment, Monday, the Court further restrained the 15th Emir of Kano and four other Emirs, themselves, servants, privies and any other persons appointed by them from parading themselves as Emirs of Kano, Bichi, Gaya, Rano, Karaye.

The judgment was consequent upon a suit filed by the Kano State government on the protracted royal tussle in the the State.

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In the suit, the State had prayed the high court to stop the 15th Emir of Aminu Ado Bayero and four other Emirs of Karaye, Bichi, Rano and Gaya from parading themselves as Emirs.

The Government also gave the Deposed Emirs 48 hours within which to vacate their respective Palaces after being deposed.

However, the Presiding Judge, Justice Amina Adamu Aliyu, while delivering the judgement, said the issue of evicting the Deposed Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero from his Nassarawa palace is a Rent Tribunal matter and should not be before her court.

But in her judgement, the judge directed the Deposed Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero and four others to quickly hand over all the Emirate Traditional Royal Artifacts to the government and the substantive Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ii.

Justice Amina Adamu Aliyu, also said the State Assembly Emirate Council Repealed Law 2024, was done according to the law as enshrined in section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She then ruled that the State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf’s assent to the law is also done perfectly according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

BREAKING: Court okays Sanusi as Emir of Kano, permanently stops Bayero

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Samoa agreement: FG files complaint against Daily Trust, Ombudsman writes newspaper

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Minister of information and national orientation, Muhammad Idris

Samoa agreement: FG files complaint against Daily Trust, Ombudsman writes newspaper

The federal government has dragged Daily Trust Newspapers before the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the Ombudsman, over its story on the Samoa agreement.

A statement by NMCC on Sunday acknowledged receipt of the federal government’s complaint and added that investigation into the matter had commenced.

The statement was signed by Emeka Izeze and Feyi Smith, chairman and interim secretary of NMCC, respectively.

It said that the federal government’s complaint, dated July 8, was signed by Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, permanent secretary of the federal ministry of information and national orientation, on behalf of the minister, Mohammed Idris.

The government, according to the statement, alleged that on July 4, 2024, Daily Trust newspaper published an article “containing false and misleading information that severely threatens national security”.

The statement said that in the complaint, the government alleged that “on July 4, 2024, Daily Trust newspaper published on its front page, a news item titled ‘LGBT: Nigeria Signs $150 Billion Samoa Deal”.

“In the report, it said that the government had endorsed a European Union (EU) partnership agreement (referred to as the “Samoa Agreement”), with member states of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

It said that the agreement was signed “despite some conditional clauses that compel benefiting nations to support the agitations by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community for recognition”.

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The government, according to the statement, described the report by Daily Trust newspaper as “false and misleading”.

It quoted the government as saying that, as a result of the alleged false report, “individuals and government officials have been subjected to hate speech, threats, intimidation, and cyberbullying across social media”.

According to the statement, the government is, therefore, asking the NMCC to intervene in the matter and, among other things, carry out a thorough investigation of the alleged misleading publication;

It also urged the Ombudsman to direct the newspaper’s management to publicly retract and correct the alleged false information, with equal prominence as the original article.

It also urged the NMCC to direct the management of Daily Trust newspaper to issue an unequivocal apology for “allegedly recklessly disseminating false information and implement stricter editorial guidelines to prevent a repeat of such alleged unwholesome report by any newspaper in the future”.

The NMCC said it had sent a formal acknowledgement letter, dated July 10, and signed by its interim secretary, Feyi Smith, to the ministry, informing it that the complaint was receiving the attention of the commission.

It said that the outcome would be duly communicated to the government.

“The management of Daily Trust will be contacted shortly for its response.

“As an independent media regulatory body, it is our duty to promote media adherence to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

“We are also expected to ensure that the media operate in a free and unfettered environment,” the commission said.

It said that in accordance with the mandate and its established procedures, it had commenced an investigation into the government’s allegations.

“We assure the public that our inquiry will be thorough and impartial.

“We look forward to receiving the full cooperation of all parties involved and pledge to continue to ensure transparency throughout this process,” it said.

NMCC is an independent, multi-stakeholder co-regulatory body.

It was established by the Nigerian Press Organisations (NPO), made up of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

It works in collaboration with the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).

The NMCC is tasked with providing the public with an independent forum for resolving complaints about the press, resolving all complaints quickly, fairly and free of charge.

It is expected to do so, maintaining high standards of journalism practice, journalistic ethics and defending the freedom of the press and the rights of the people to know.

Samoa agreement: FG files complaint against Daily Trust, Ombudsman writes newspaper

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