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U.S. releases damning human rights report about Nigeria.


 

“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram.”
A new report by the United States has described Nigeria as a country where corruption, official impunity, and gross human rights violations occur at will.
The report described the human rights violations to include extra-judicial killings, rape, torture, mistreatment of detainees, destruction of property, violence against women, vigilante killings, child labour, forced and bonded labour, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This assessment of Nigeria is according to the 2013 Country Report on Human Rights. The report, which is now in its 38th year, is sanctioned by the U.S. Congress. It, amongst other things, helps inform the U.S. government policy and foreign assistance.
According to the report, the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and the Nigerian Government are the worst perpetrators of human rights abuses in the country.
“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram, which conducted killings, bombings, abduction and rape of women, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and widespread destruction of property; those committed by security services, which perpetrated extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, and destruction of property; and widespread societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence,” the report said.
The report came hard on the Goodluck Jonathan administration for institutionalising impunity with the state pardon granted to serial money launderer and former governor of Bayelsa State, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha. It also said the Nigeria government has displayed no willingness to prosecute soldiers and police officers accused of gross human rights violations.
The report makes specific reference to the refusal of the government to prosecute members of the armed forces found to have perpetrated extrajudicial killing and torture in clear disregard of the recommendation of The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Committee against Torture.
“During the year joint task forces (JTFs), composed of elements of the military, police, and other security services, conducted raids on militant groups and criminal suspects in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, and Yobe. These raids resulted in numerous deaths of and injuries to alleged criminals, militants, and civilians. Local NGOs, international human rights groups, and political and traditional leaders in the affected states accused the security services of indiscriminate and extrajudicial killings.
“The national police, army, and other security forces committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects as well as to disperse protesters. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.”
Inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
The report frowned at the technique of “parading” of suspects commonly used by the police. It observed that most of those paraded are subjected to public ridicule or abuse.
“Police commonly used a technique called “parading” of arrestees. Parading involved literally walking arrestees through public spaces, subjecting them to public ridicule and abuse.
“Bystanders often hurled taunts, food, and other objects. Police defended this practice with the argument that public humiliation helped deter crime,” it said.
It further observed that police flagrantly extort money from civilians and in blatant violation of the law. They use torture to extract confessions from suspects, which are later used to secure convictions in court.
The report indicts the police of rape and other sexual offences of women in their custody. In one example in Abraka in Delta State, in March 2013, a woman said four men raped her while she was in police custody. She said the police had put her in the same cell as the men. She accused the police of failing to help her. According to her, the investigating police office told her to keep quiet about the incident.
Over-crowded and disease-infested prisons
The report described a horrid condition of the country’s prison. It said the prisons are mostly over-crowded and in such deplorable states that they provide fertile breeding grounds for communicable disease. It said prisoners are poorly fed and their health neglected.
For instance, it observed that inmates with mental illness are kept among the general population. Prison warders are also accused of widespread torture, extortions, and sexual abuses such as rape of female inmates.
“Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Prisoners, a majority of whom had not been tried, were subject to extrajudicial execution, torture, gross overcrowding, food and water shortages, inadequate medical treatment, deliberate and incidental exposure to heat and sun, and infrastructure deficiencies that led to wholly inadequate sanitary conditions and could result in death.”
“Reports indicated guards and prison officials extorted inmates or levied fees on them to pay for food, prison maintenance, and prisoner release. In some cases female inmates faced the threat of rape. Female prisoners pregnant at the time of incarceration gave birth to and raised their babies in prison,” it added.
“Overcrowding was a significant problem in some prisons. Although national capacity stood at 47,284, an imbalance in the use of prisons resulted in underutilization at some facilities, while others were at more than 800 percent of their designed capacity. For example, the Owerri Federal Prison had the capacity to hold 548 prisoners but held more than 1,784. Ogwuashi-Uku prison in Delta State, with a capacity to house 64 prisoners, housed 541, while Port Harcourt prison, with a capacity to hold 804, held 2,955. Ijebu-Ode prison in Lagos, with a capacity to hold 49 prisoners, held 309,” it continued.
“Although the law prohibits the imprisonment of children, minors–many of whom were born there–lived in the prisons. A 2006 report on the rights and welfare of children from the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the African Union found an estimated 6,000 children lived in prisons and detention centers. The Nigerian Prison Service reported, however, that as of March, 69 infants resided in prison with their mothers while 847 juvenile inmates were detained in juvenile detention centers.”
Freedom of Speech
The report observed that though the freedom of speech and a free press are guaranteed by the constitution, high-handed security and government officials still occasionally harass journalists.
The report made a case in point of the December 2012 raid of the homes and offices of the editor Musa Muhammad Awwal and reporter Aliyu Saleh of the Hausa-language weekly newspaper Al-Mizan, confiscating their phones and laptops as well as detaining the journalists and their wives.
“Politicians and political parties harassed and attacked journalists perceived as reporting on them or their interests in a negative manner. For example, on April 8, authorities in Abuja detained two reporters for Leadership Newspaper, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, following the publication on April 3 of an article alleging that President Jonathan had ordered the disruption of operations of his political opponents. Authorities charged the two men with “vexatious publication.” All charges were later dropped.
“Journalists also were at risk of abduction. For example, in March assailants in Ondo State abducted a Nigeria Television Authority journalist, Olubunmi Oke, as she arrived home from work with her infant child and maid. The child and maid were later released. Media reports stated that the assailants had demanded an eight million naira ($50,240) ransom. Oke was freed after three days, following the payment of an undisclosed ransom.
Nicholas Ibekwe
(From Biafra Galaxy)

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Sharia: Man to die by stoning for impregnating sister.


justice-logo

A 30-year-old man, Umar Mohammed Kandahar has been sentenced to death by stoning by a Bauchi State Upper Sharia Court for impregnating his younger sister. However, Umar has appealed the judgement at the Bauchi State Shariah Court of Appeal and filed fresh bail application at the Bauchi State High Court.

Court records made available to newsmen yesterday in Bauchi showed that Umar was arraigned before Upper Sharia Court, Unguwar Jaki by the Bauchi State Shariah Commission, where he was accused of impregnating his younger sister.

Counsel to the Shariah Commission, Mr Dayyabu Ayuba told the court that the suspect, who was married with three wives forcibly had carnal knowledge of his sister, who was taken to his house by their father to take her to school.

Ayuba said instead of taking her to school, Umar had sexual intercourse with her when she was 16 years old and she became pregnant. The offence was contrary to Section 136(1) of the Bauchi State Penal Code Law 2001, Ayuba said.

When asked by the presiding Shariah Court judge, the accused pleaded guilty but denied that he forced her to have sexual intercourse . He said it was consensual as she accepted to have sex with him.

After listening to the testimonies, the Shariah Court Judge, Musa Barde sentenced Umar to death by stoning. He told the court that the accused family suffered because of his detention since 2011 and asked the court to release him on bail to ease the sufferings of his family.

The presiding judge, Justice Aliyu Baba Usman has fixed Monday November 25, 2013 for mentioning of the appeal.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigerian Aviation, And Ghost Tales–A Paradox By Prince Charles Dickson.


By Prince Charles Dickson

When the soap is dirty, what shall be used in washing it

Nigeria is a beautiful land; that’s  a statement of fact. We take everything and anything, in fact sarcastically we take nothing. We go to bed and wake, what we see, we take, questions are not asked and when asked, very little comes by way of answers.

I get honestly amused at our attitude to life and the very essence of what makes us what we are. My admonition this week is on a rather strange phenomenon of ghost tales and how we just talk, complain, display temporary grief and move on.

The aircraft was not hired by the family, it was not hired by the Ondo state government, it was not hired by me and certainly not you, maybe Associated Airlines hired the aircraft from themselves. The ‘craft was carrying Agagu‘s corpse, his son, a state commissioner, boss of the undertaking company yet it was not hired by anyone. Ghost tales!

How many of us recall the Bellview crash in Lisa Village, only few years after, remember the tales of the Lisa Village project that began, today it is in a state of nowhere.

How about that Dike led investigation panel that went to all the airports, made recommendations, billions were spent, billions still being spent, and more air disasters.

This is a nation I have come to appreciate because of its peculiarities, while we are yet to understand a phenomenon, another sets in.

Did we really forget that Sosoliso crash and those kids, for several hours, infact a day after the crash, the manifest of the aircraft was yet to be released, then the manifest was being vetted by the State Security Service (very awkward) as I ask what has the SSS got to do with the “vetting” of manifest of a plane that virtually had only school children going on Xmas vacation.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) even said the then Minister, Aborishade would release the manifest. When the Airport fire fighting vehicle (only one) came, it barely had water, though the authorities have come out to deny it, not that we expected otherwise, most of the dead were visibly badly burned.

Fast forward to Dana, and add Associated Airlines, same difference, except that the current Minister has allegedly added that these crashes are acts of ‘god’. Infact during Dana, while thugs stole and scavenged, others fought the fire with sachets of ‘pure’ water.

We have an Aviation Ministry that has watched at times as an aircraft ran into a herd of cows. Plane manifests treated like WAEC expo questions.

Does it ever strike one, that as usual again those who had earlier boarded the same crashed aircraft had complained that the aircraft was not in good shape, just like the Bellview Aircraft, just like Sosoliso, just like Dana…Truth is a hard commodity in not only the airline business, but most things in Nigeria.

In times like these every Nigerian both those that fly frequently and those who flew last in 1976 become air and craft experts and then as is always the case it would be accusations and counter accusations…lies, and ghost tales.

In Nigeria we have a President, a Minister for Aviation, countless agencies, and experts and yet airlines do “crew exchange” borrow and lend planes like it’s a TOD (temporary over draft) bank facility. Pilots fly for their airlines and are borrowed to other airlines. Aircraft due for major routine maintenance check are left to fly.

Big men cannot fly our airspace again, poor men cannot travel our roads, travel forty minutes from Jos to Bauchi and be interrupted by bigger boys (armed robbers), that is after the big boys (policemen) have also robbed the driver. Our waters if they do not have potholes already, are the domain of pirates, then one decides to trek to his destination a government official with his convey of 20 cars at 200 kilometers per hour blasting sirens would hit the man.

If our leaders are not wicked why would an airline over-sell its tickets I remember the BAC I-II aircraft belonging to EAS that crashed in Kano on May 4, 2002 the plane was reportedly carrying over load.  Virtually all the local airlines have turned our airspace to Oshodi motor park flying planes like Majekobaje (do not let it spoil) Lagos Kabukabu with planes quaking like some ‘e go reach’ ali chikwendu transport J5.

Ghost tales: Did you hear that ‘dead bodi get accident story’ or that ‘Agagu’s corpse dies in crash’ reported by a prominent media (not this one) or that gist about voodoo and metaphysical powers of the dead Agagu, how the coffin won’t open and wasn’t damaged…how about the wife died too, Obasanjo’s son and the first casualty figure of several hundreds.

I was an observer at the last Presidential Forum on Aviation some years back, I concluded then that Nigerian needs a coup de people, that is a people inspired uprising…I wept profusely for this nation…because I said more will die, and yes more have died, ask the families of the Dana debacle and more will die.

Soon someone, some government group or agency would organize the gathering of the “so-called experts” a bunch of the same people that killed the national carrier, and planning to float another, same people who supervised the buying of aircrafts that were older than our centenary. Simply put a gathering of the problem to solve the solve the problem with some ghost tales.

Who has forgotten that pilots take their simulator forms home and fill and they are re-licensed. NCAA officials get first class tickets to the Bahamas with their wives, concubines, mistress and girlfriends to go have fun, and they in turn certify the planes without seeing them.

If a plane is so bad that passengers can notice through the sound and movement and then not even the pilot complains and even if he complains, still flies that plane because some oga@the top say so. We are in trouble that all the current ad hoc mend your trouser arrangement cannot solve.

I love the Bible story of Noah and the ark, very few people listened, but rained it did and it rained and rained and rained. The ghost tales is going to continue, does anyone really think we are ready as a people to stop these tragedies–only time will tell.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

Doctors’ strike paralyses public hospitals.


Patient-and-relations-leaving

The strike embarked upon by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors has paralysed activities in public hospitals across the country.

NARD had embarked upon the strike to force the Federal Government to pay arrears of salaries being owned the medical doctors.

Reports by some of our correspondents and the News Agency of Nigeria revealed that more branches of the association had joined the strike.

Consequently, patients are being hit hard while relatives of some of the sick are being forced to take their sick to private hospitals.

Resident doctors in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Bauchi, Kwara states and Abuja have joined the nation-wide strike called by their national

body.

The NARD Chairman at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Dr. Babatunde Babasanya, said on Wednesday that the doctors were seeking the payment of salaries being owed them.

He also said the Federal Government’s implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System had not been effective in spite of the fact that many doctors were short paid.

Babasanya said, “Some House Officers in Lagos have not been paid for four months till recently when they paid them only two months.

“We have been paid as cooks; in a month some of us received N1,000, some N20,000 and some may not even receive at all.”

The NARD boss also said that the residency training programme had come under severe challenges, especially in terms of under funding.

A NAN correspondent, who visited the tertiary health institution on Wednesday, reports that consultants and other health workers were attending to patients.

In Abeokuta, striking resident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre appealed to the Federal Government to embrace dialogue in order to end the strike.

The NARD president at the centre, Dr. Ibrahim Adewale, made the appeal while speaking with journalists on Wednesday in Abeokuta.

Adewale, who noted that patients were always at the receiving end whenever doctors embarked on strike, urged the two parties to resolve the dispute.

A NAN correspondent, however, sighted a few consultants and other health workers on duty at the medical centre.

The Chief Medical Director of the centre, Dr. Dapo Sotiloye, declined comments, saying ” it is between the doctors and the Federal Government.”

Some of the patients, who spoke in separate interviews, appealed to the two parties to consider the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

One of the patients, Alhaji Fatai Salisu, lamented the attitude of some nurses at the centre and appealed to the doctors to return to work.

Mr. Dada Abiodun, whose wife was on admission prior to the strike, said he might relocate her to another hospital.

Also reacting to the strike, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Kwara Chapter, Prof. Mikail Buhari, said the doctors were committed to the full implementation of the strike option.

He said that the strike followed the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum earlier declared by NARD.

Buhari said members were directed to embark on the strike due to “persistent unwillingness of the Federal Government to articulate a comprehensive guideline for residency training.”

Also, medical activities were paralysed at the University Teaching Hospital Ilorin, Kwara State.

Our correspondent who visited the hospital on Tuesday observed that many patients that trooped into the hospital for care oblivious of the strike were surprised when none of the resident doctors attended to them.

Though consultants at the hospital took over the responsibilities of the striking resident doctors, it was obvious that they were overwhelmed by the number of patients waiting for medicare.

Efforts by one of our correspondents to get the responses of the UITH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo and the Kwara State Chairman, NARD, Dr. Dele Tajudeen proved abortive as their phone numbers indicated they were switched off.

But the Kwara State Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Olayinka Buhari, who is a consultant at UITH, said the consultants had taken over the treatment of patients that were being attended to by the striking doctors especially, those in critical conditions.

Also, doctors at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi commenced strike in the early hours of Wednesday.

A Bauchi resident, Malam Auwal Bala, told NAN that he took his pregnant wife to the hospital around 1am, but was told that doctors were on strike, and advised was to move her to a private clinic.

In Lagos, only consultants offered skeletal services to patients in all the public hospitals particularly those owned by the Federal Government.

President of the association’s LUTH Chapter, Dr. Emeka Ugwu, told NAN in Lagos that they joined the strike on Wednesday.

A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, said that the resident doctors at the hospital joined the strike at midnight on Tuesday.

In Abuja, resident doctors were on Wednesday conspicuously absent at their duty posts.

However, in some of the hospitals monitored in Abuja except for National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada which were affected by the strike, doctors were seen attending to patients.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has expressed disappointment over the strike, saying that the action was uncalled for as those issues brought by the association were already being looked into.

Speaking through his special assistant on media and communications, Mr. Dan Nwomeh, he said that the issues were currently being addressed by a committee set up by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

However, the minister said that a meeting has been scheduled with all the parties concerned including the minister of labour, Emeka Wogu on Thursday (today).

Source: Radio Biafra.

Terrorists bomb 3 banks, kill 4 in Kaduna.


kaduna

Heavily armed gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members yesterday bombed three commercial banks in Saminaka, headquarters of Lere local government area of Kaduna State.

Four lives were lost in the attack. Speaking with Saturday Mirror, Kaduna State Police Command spokesman, Aminu Lawan said three security personnel died during the exchange of gun fire with the gunmen adding while one of the gunmen also died.

His words: “The incident happened in Saminaka when gunmen attacked three banks with explosives.

Three of our men were confirmed dead and one of the gunmen died too. Our men are there on ground in the area. There are no injured personnel.”

Saminaka, a town in southern part of Kaduna State has witnessed a host of attacks. Many lives have also been lost to unknown gunmen. Saturday Mirror gathered that security troops were deployed to the area to forestall further attacks. These moves, for now, seem to be to no avail.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Explosions Rocks Saminaka In Kaduna State.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Reports from Saminaka in Lere local government area of Kaduna State indicated that there were a series of bomb explosions and shootings throughout the night and till the early hours of today.

The explosions and shootings were reportedly carried out by suspected gunmen believed to be insurgents while other versions has it that it was an armed robbery attack on two commercial banks in the area.

Saminaka shares boundaries with Bauchi, Plateau and Kano states. It lies in a heavily forest said to be a terrorists den, the area has served as a safe passage for insurgents and violent criminals crossing from Bauchi to Southern Kaduna and other parts of northern Nigeria.

A source told Saharareporters that soldiers have been deployed to the town to fight the attackers.

Governor Isa Yuguda’s Broadcasting Fraud By Muazzu Alhaji Yuguda.


Gov. Isa Jaguda of Bauchi State
By Muazzu Alhaji Yuguda

When Governor Isa Yuguda hosted the congress of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, this week in Yankari, Bauchi State, he boasted to the gathered leaders of the broadcast industry in Nigeria, that he had one of the most impressive broadcasting organs in Nigeria. He reeled out the fact that he had open ten community stations in Gumau, Kirfi, Kafin-Madaki, Jama’re, Zaki, Tafawa-Balewa, Yalwan-Duguri, Ningi, Misau and Gamawa. Naturally the assembled delegates clapped and our dear governor lapped up the applause, as the event was also broadcast live on Bauchi media outlets.

What the delegates gathered from all over Nigeria didn’t know, are the dirty details behind the claims they applauded. When biddings to construct the stations first surfaced, REPUTABLE broadcast procurement companies, with track records of delivery of broadcast stations around the country, turned in proposals. It was noteworthy that one of these companies, with a track record, for example quoted about N30MIllion per station, and that would have brought the total to about N300Million.  He rejected the bid but instead awarded the contract to an obscure company with NO TRACK RECORD ANYWHERE IN NIGERIA of having successfully completed a single broadcast procurement/installation. Vide Contract No: BA/CAB/SEC/CONT/2008/618 of 2/3/2009, this company was awarded the contract in the sum of N587, 400, 000.00.

However,  vide a letter from the Ideal Communications Limited, they sought for a VARIATION in contract sum and accordingly, Governor Isa Yuguda cancelled the original award, and then approved a re-award in the sum of N799,200,000.00.  (Attached extract from Government papers explain everything in detail). There are questions that are pertinent about these community radio stations that Governor Isa Yuguda might be willing to provide answers to:
A. Who owns Ideal Communications Limited? Could it be true, as is being speculated in Bauchi that it is a front for one of his sons?

B. Why award such a huge contract to a company without any record of delivery?

C. What justified the variations approved when we know that these community stations could have been delivered for LESS THAN HALF of what they eventually cost?

D. Governor Isa Yuguda must explain why the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has not issued frequencies for her stations that from the perspective of the broadcast regulatory authority are illegal stations?

These community stations contracts shenanigans are merely the tip of the iceberg of the corruption in the past six years under Governor Isa Yuguda in Bauchi. The BAUCHI AWARENESS AND ANTI-GRAFT COALITION, that I lead, has decided that enough is enough! At the rate things are going under Governor Isa Yuguda, our state might become totally bankrupt by the time he concludes his eight-year tenure. Henceforth, we shall be releasing to the people of Bauchi and Nigeria at large, the huge volumes of papers which underline the monumental corruption which Governor Ias Yuguda has perpetrated in our state.
Stay alert, dear people of Bauchi State.
God Bless Bauchi State!
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

Alhaji Muazzu Alhaji Yuguda
Bauchi Awareness And Anti-Graft Coalition
Gra, Bauchi

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