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Posts tagged ‘Gombe’

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)

Boko Haram Kill 14 in Borno, Lose Seven Mujahideen In Gombe.

By SaharaReporters, New York

Sect members of Boko Haram on Thursday night up to Friday morning killed about 14 persons in Damboa, Borno State and burnt many houses in the area.

The sect, according to a security operative that pleaded anonymity, stormed Damboa in different style and headed to various directions.

According to the source, “Some of them went to Police facility; another group headed to military formations, and the last group went about attacking the civilian populace and burning houses.

“This is what happened it just caused confusion and they left with a deadly impact. But we repelled them in our own end and the police did same too.

“They came in convoy and successfully escaped; some were on bikes that were banned and the rest in cars. This is what happened, but if not the fact that we repelled them, the impact would have been far more serious ”

Another source in Maiduguri who sent an email said several people were injured and many others missing, and that search could only happen when military reinforcement fully arrives in view of the fact that residents are afraid to embark upon a search and rescue with the militants lurking in the background.

However, while the Boko Haram sect appeared to have triumphed in Damboa, Borno state, in Gombe town, the sect had seven mujahideen killed in a gun battle with members of police and the military.

A military source in Gombe confirmed that the gun battle occurred on Thursday night running into Friday morning in an area called ‘Burundi’ in Gombe town.

The source told Saharareporters that  security agents are in custody of dead bodies of sect members and also recovered several arms from militants, the source added that many other sects fled with gun wounds.

Suspected Boko Haram Members Attack Police In Kumo, Gombe State.

By SaharaReporters, New York

Suspected fleeing members of Boko Haram sect in the early hours of today attacked a police station in Gombe State.

A source said the incident occurred in Kumo, in Akko Local Government Area, the suspected sect members in their dozens opening fire on the policemen in a local police station in the town.

The policemen engaged the attackers in a gun duel that lasted almost 30 minutes, the source said, adding that one officer was critically wounded and rushed to an undisclosed hospital.

One of the suspects was said to have died during the attack, but SaharaReporters has not been able to verify that information with the Police Command in Gombe.

No information is available about the rest of the attackers.

2015: Conversation With Usman By Prince Charles Dickson.

By Prince Charles Dickson

Laifi’n babba, rowa, laiii’n yaro, kiwuya. (The boy complains that his master is stingy, the master that his boy is lazy.)

Usman, that’s his name, he is responsible for the yam we eat in my house, we all call him mai doya (yam seller).

He doesn’t possess your typical classroom education, but he’s well versed in the yam business, the seasons, costs, and types of yam.

He’s equally a jolly good fellow, you wouldn’t know that he’s brother was killed by miscreants fighting for ‘god’ in one of those ethno-religious skirmishes.

We are both of different faith and educational status, but you can’t take away from Usman mai doya, the common sense that iya Yemisi who sells amala and Uche that we buy cooking gas from have in common. They all are aware and from them often I have picked life lessons regarding why the Nigerian conglomeration has refused to run fairly smooth.

So what was my conversation with Usman that I want to share with us. Recently after our yam transaction I asked Usman jokingly what he thought about the current administration and if he would vote GEJ come 2015, and indeed a few allied questions and his answers romped home the reality of the Nigerian state.

On voting Jonathan, Usman said to me “Oga Charlie, hmmmmmmm, do I really care, I am from Gombe, I am Fulani, Buhari stopped Shagari, IBB did me no good, Abacha wasn’t any better and Obasanjo just came like a wind and was gone, leaving us with Yar’adua. At least these ones I know very well sir…”

He continued “I dey think of school fees, house rent, money to send to village in Dukul for Gombe, no be when I survive today, I go plan for tomorrow. If business is good I plan for one week or a month. But politicians, they live on lies that’s why we never finish 2013 sef and they are killing themselves for 2015”.

I jokingly asked him but “Northerners don’t want Jonathan…”. He quickly asked me, “sir, have you refused to eat the yam I sell because I am Fulani?

To which I answered, no. He continued “…on most occasions the tubers come from Benue or the East. Sir, Northerners have failed the North, Ibos have failed Ibos, and Yorubas same thing too, minorities have failed, we have failed ourselves and he added, sir, to an extent nobody slaps you without your consent, we are our own problem”.

I nodded as he spoke–“Oga Charlie me I no go makaranta (school) but I understand small. This Boko Haram for example, is business for some, and though I want peace, did you notice that all the big men want amnesty now because the killings are affecting them”.

I listened as he gesticulated, inherently it is not a case of a people that hate each other but that of a people used by their politicians/leaders.

Usman continued, “all of them are liars, the North had power and did nothing other than steal for most of it, and today the South are doing same, sir, Jonathan has not done much because taba ta banbanta da gari’n gero meaning (Tobacco and the flour of millet are very different things)”.

He added and the ABC as he calls it instead of APC are the same difference. I smiled at his crude but native intelligence. Idan gora tana rawwah, ba chikka ne ba. (If the bottle is shaking it will not be filled). The problem is the Nigerian mind, it is unstable, Usman added.

To the ordinary man, its about the basics, not free things, but available things. Usman mai doya buys water, has a small ‘I pass my neighbor power generating set’. Add that to the quasi-private school his children go to, the money he pays on healthcare, yet he pays some tax to government and he still is a government on his own, having to provide security through payment of some sort to some vigilante.

Usman is my friend, he’s the yam seller but in a system like ours he’s easily open to manipulation by religion or faith. Some of us openly joke calling him Boko Haram and he jokes back, the bomb is with him. I am equally unable to defend him. But he’s no different for those that voted Jonathan and not PDP.

We are on a blame-game golf course while the architects of our un-palatial circumstances feed fat on us with our subtle approval.

Usman told me that in his small village in Dukul, the governor promised them pipe borne water, the local government caretaker chairman promised same and his councilor too.

The same pipe borne water was campaign promise of the Senator representing them and the house of rep man collected constituency grant for pipe borne water. The state legislator promised same. He then revealed his village is not so far from a big cement factory that also promised same but in 11 years no pipe, no borne and no water.

I then asked him, so what did you community do, to which he said I will tell you a short story.

Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10.

The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at $20.

This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to $25 and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $100!

However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his servant would now buy on behalf of him. In the absence of the man, the servant told the villagers. Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $75 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for$100 .”

The villagers squeezed up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys. After they did, they never saw the man nor his servant, only monkeys everywhere!

From Sokoto-Abeokuta, Onitsha-Minna, Jos-Uyo, Yola-Abakaliki, Ibadan-Dutse, the boy complains that his master is stingy, the master that his boy is lazy. These are the two faults which masters and servants respectively find most objectionable. It’s monkeys everywhere we go and we are talking 2015 when the men and their servants have left us the deficit–only time will tell.

Prince Charles Dickson 


Death Toll Climbs in Islamist Attacks in Nigeria’s Northeast.


Boko Haram(Reuters/Stringer)

The number of Christians killed in an Islamic extremist attack in Nigeria on Jan. 5 has risen to nine, and over the weekend the same terrorist group killed at least 21 Christians in neighboring Adamawa state, sources said.

Members of the Boko Haram group that seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) on Nigeria emerged from a mosque near the Deeper Life Bible Church in the Boso area of Gombe, capital of Gombe state, at about 7:30 p.m. and shot Christians attending a weekly meeting known as “The Hour of Revival,” area sources said.

Silas Ugboeze, who was in a coma for three days at the Federal Medical Centre in Gombe, died 20 minutes after Compass arrived on Jan. 7, bringing the death toll to nine and the list of those wounded in the attack to 19.

Ugboeze’s son Gideon was also killed, and his 12-year-old daughter, Victoria Silas Ugboeze, was wounded in both breasts. She has thus far survived along with her brother Daniel, who was also shot.

Ugboeze’s widow was overcome with grief at the hospital, able to say only, “Lord, where are you? This burden is too much for me to bear.”

Of the nine killed, five died instantly and four died later at the hospital. About 45 people were present at the service when it was attacked, said the church’s 43-year-old pastor, Sunday Okoli.

The Gombe Deeper Life Bible Church, planted more than 20 year years ago, is adjacent to a mosque built less than two meters from its northern end, and it was from this mosque that the gunmen emerged to attack the church, said Okoli, based on reports he received from those present as he was away at a pastors’ conference in Lagos at the time.

His wife, Chinyere Okoli, said a bullet struck her head but left only a light wound with bruising.

“We had been in the church for about one hour and 30 minutes praying, when suddenly, we heard gunshots and bullets hitting us,” she said. “Oh my God, blood was flowing as our members were shot by the gunmen.”

She reported that the wife of church elder Chenma Ngwaba, Chilver Chenma, and their son, Chinedu Chenma, were both killed. Elder Ngwaba was leading the evening program, at which members customarily share spiritual and physical burdens for prayer purposes and testify to God’s work in their lives.

Others killed were Johnson Jauro, whose two sons were also wounded; Sule Baba Tanko; Godwin Odoh; Menshak Major; and a member of the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) serving in the church. His name was not immediately known, but leaders of the church were trying to establish his identity.

As Compass visited the emergency and orthopedic wards of the Federal Medical Centre in Gombe, the injured members of the church were in severe pain with varying degrees of injuries.

The attacks marked the second time in less than a month that the Deeper Life Bible Church in Gombe was mourning the killing of one of its members. On Dec. 11, Patrick Ugoji was shot dead by Muslim militants at a gas station, the NNPC Mega Station, while filling his car’s tank.

Many Christians were seen at motorparks boarding vehicles to leave town.

Weekend Killings
Boko Haram had published an ultimatum in a newspaper on Jan. 3 threatening violence if Christians did not leave predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria in three days. Since then, the group has reportedly claimed responsibility for killing at least 44 people in four states.

Christians in Adamawa state came under attack by Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language means “Western education is sacrilege,” over the weekend. On Jan. 6, 11 people were killed and many others injured at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in the Nasarawa area of Yola, the state capital.

“There was blood all over the church hall–it was a very sorry sight,” Adamawa journalist Barnabas Manyan told Compass.

Pastor Alfred Anoris of the CAC described how the Islamists attacked the church.

“The gunmen numbering about six stormed the church, killing three people outside the gate, and eight people inside, including Associate Pastor Joshua Olaniyi, while the service was on,” he told newsmen. “The men were dressed in caftans but had their faces covered. They carried out the act with the precision and tact of professional killers. Many people were wounded and are in the hospital.”

Earlier on Friday, 12 persons were reportedly killed when armed men claimed by Boko Haram shot a gathering of Christian traders holding a prayer session before opening their shops in Mubi, Adamawa. The gunmen also shot at another group of Christians meeting at a town hall to arrange for the transportation of relatives slain the previous day, bringing the total of those killed in Mubi to 21.

Also on Jan. 7, Boko Haram members reportedly killed two Christian students of the University of Maiduguri, in Maiduguri, Borno state.

The public relations officer of the State Police Command, Altine Daniel, confirmed the incidents and told newsmen that there was a bomb explosion at a Deeper Life Church in Mubi, but that no one was injured.

Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said Christian leaders had decided to “work out means to defend ourselves against these senseless killings.”

“We have the legitimate right to defend ourselves,” he said. “We will do whatever it takes.”

By Compass Direct News.

Boko Haram attacks another church killing.

In its renewed attack on Christians after the deadly Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madalla, Nigeria State, the notorious Boko Haram sect on Thursday again attacked a branch of the Deeper Life Bible Church in Gombe, killing six worshippers including the wife of the pastor, Johnson Tauro, and injuring ten others.The affected branch of the church is located in Nasarawo district of
Gombe town, which is also the capital of Gombe State. Gombe State
before the imposition of selective emergency rule in four states in the
north had been relatively peaceful and devoid of the serial Boko Haram
bombings.“I lost my wife during the gun shot when they began opening fire on us
through the window of the church. “They were in large number when they
attacked us and I cannot ascertain their number, because we just began
hearing gunshots inside the church and everybody within began to run for
safety,” Pastor Tauro narrated.

According to Pastor Jauro, the sect struck at about 7 pm with
sophisticated weapons which they shot sporadically into the air to
announce their arrival.

Pastor Jauro disclosed that the ten people wounded include children and
women who were in the church for a vigil. He said the causalities were
taken to both the Gombe Specialist Hospital and the Federal Medical
Centre in the town for medical attention.

A joint military patrol arrived the scene of the incident shortly after the
shooting to assist the injured seek medical attention.

By African Examiner.

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