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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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Can Nigeria Die For You? By Prince Charles Dickson.


By Prince Charles Dickson

The person we were supposed to sell and buy a lantern, asked, “if you sell me to buy the lantern, of what use, when you have disposed the beauty for which the lantern was meant to help you see”.

Last week I asked a cross section of Nigerians in my weekly admonition if they would readily die for Nigeria? With their varied answers, we noticed the recurring decimal of what the Nigerian malaise is…from the points we knew, to some new perspectives.

However a standout theme, which a couple of respondents and particularly a friendraised is my take this week…Would Nigeria die for you?

Let’s rephrase in as many ways, would Nigeria die for you, for me, for us, is Nigeria dying for them? To properly situate the resident contradictions that the question could bring, reflect on the functionality of Nigeria: Who is Nigeria, what does Nigeria represent, is there a Nigeria…?

Would the Nigeria you have defined die for you, maybe in the future, but looking at a grueling 2012 draw to an end, does the current contraption capture you.

The ‘you’ here is the ordinary Nigerian…the you that queues an average 7 hours a week in fuel station, spends another 7 hours in traffic for reasons beyond you.

Would Nigeria die for that you? The many million ‘you’ in that 150 million that honestly try to ‘earn a survival’ by dint of hardwork but continually pegged back by Nigeria. The you that has to ‘miracle’ out a living from 18k with 4 kids, and several dependents on informal self social security system.

There is the you, me, millions of us, that do not possess a national identity card, or passport. We are scattered from the urban to the rural areas, no access to electricity at urban level and no rural electrification but plenty paper talk. Do these group have hope that Nigeria would die or is dying for them?

Think not what the nation would do for you…yes, in the strict term we believe this applies when the system is functional and there is allegiance to her. When Nigeria allows her own to die via avoidable infant and maternal health issues. Would Nigeria that constantly abuse its own die for you?

The Nigeria in which a few fly naval choppers bought by the peoples’ wealth while the people are guests of death holes and traps on roads now looking more of pathways. The Nigeria where some treat their migraines in UK hospitals, from funds stolen from the masses and meant for the local Mbaise primary healthcare center. Would that selfish Nigeria die for me and you to have a kidney transplant or cancer treatment?

Tell me that this Nigeria that provides security for a subsidy thief, or the Nigeria that permits 4-5 military personnel to guard a retired general’s empty residence while you and me are hosts to robbers, assassins. The Nigeria that with telegraph dispatch handles the Finance Minister’s mother’s kidnap and yet has no details about the robbery of the ordinary man, would that Nigeria die for you?

A Nigeria that watches her citizens ripped by telecom operators, killed extra-judicially and fleeced by leaders both elected and selected, would that Nigeria die for you?

I would end with this experience on the field, years back I was guest to an army general who had been around the corridors of power. I asked him, what he thought about the hardship Nigerians…He cut me short and asked “who are the Nigerians, who told you they were complaining…?

As I made to answer, he cut in again, “the real Nigerians are few, we know ourselves…”. Indeed the ‘real’ Nigerians, the ones that call the shots, determine the bakery that benefits from the flour, bake the bread and those who eat it. They are Nigeria and would they die for you?

In 2012 alone, 11 persons were killed by government official convoys driving at ‘kill us’ speed, an average of one per month, this Nigeria won’t die for you, the Nigeria that has ghost teachers, ghost schools, fake and ghost workers, the Nigeria were newly mint money just disappears or the strange Nigeria were a civil servant has over a billion quid in his bedroom–surely that Nigeria is not ready to die and even if, it is not going to die for us.

Gov. Patrick Yakowa‘s death, comments by Gov. Suswan of Benue speaks volume, celebrations by touts in Kaduna tells you the divide, the sacking of Imo workers by Abia state, and the ‘hatred’ between Plateau and Nassarawa state. How sacking of army chiefs become a muslim/christian or Ibo/Yoruba thing tells you to think hard if Nigeria would die for you?

When the old man without teeth, insists that strong beef is his favourite, he’s passing a message, and it is only a matter of time, reality sets, the dawn is better imagined than experienced. Because it is the same Nigeria that a young man can bare afford a marriage that others share plasma tv sets and we wave it off like rumour.

Despite all, I see, and know, walk past and work with people who love Nigeria, they are willing to die for Nigeria, but does Nigeria care, they apply in their 800, 000 of thousands for barely a thousand five hundred jobs, the go through hell with painful bus-stops. There are Nigerians, but let’s not forget that “if you sell me to buy the lantern, of what use, when you have disposed the beauty for which the lantern was meant to help you see”. At this rate, we may be toying with a Nigeria without Nigerians, time will tell.

Source: Sahara Reporters.

Wife of Slain Senataor Speaks Out Amid Grief.


Hannatu Dantog
Hannatu Dantong, foreground, and her eldest children Grace, left, and Dan (Open Doors News)

It has been nearly three months since Hannatu Dantong’s husband died. She has been surrounded by his colleagues and family during this time, but still is in a deep state of mourning.

“I find the greatest comfort in Psalm 23,” Dantong said. “I am reminded that the Lord will always care for me, even during this trying time.”

On July 8th, Nigerian Sen. Gyang Dantong was attending a funeral for more than 100 Christians who had been killed by members of Boko Haram the day before, in Plateau state. While the attendees were burying those who had died, gunmen infiltrated the service and began shooting those in attendance.

“One of the most difficult things to deal with is the fact that we still do not know exactly what happened that day,” Hannatu Dantong said during a visit with Open Doors News. “All we really know is that gunmen invaded the funeral and that my husband and others are dead.”

Gyang Dantong was a member of the Nigerian National Assembly, representing Jos, the capital of the Plateau state. He served four years in the House of Representatives, and then was elected to the Senate, where he had served for the past five years. He was an advocate for peace in the region and crossed many cultural, religious and tribal divides.

A physician by training, Dantong was as a surgeon at Vom Christian Hospital in rural Plateau. His election to the National Assembly took him away to the capital, Abuja, about 150 kilometers away. Despite the distance, he returned from the national assembly to assist with surgeries on a weekly basis.

“My husband did many things for Nigeria,” his widow said. “I know that his life blessed many and God will continue to use his legacy. My husband loved Nigeria and loved the people he served.”

Hannatu Dantong has three children; Dan and Grace attend university, but have remained at home to be with their mother during this time. They comforted their mother as she shared about the events of that day.

“I will never forget that day,” she said. “My husband attended the funeral early in the morning and planned on returning soon after to accompany me to church. When he did not arrive home when he said he would, I was worried and called his cell phone multiple times, but he did not answer. I became so worried that I got in my car and started to drive myself to where the funeral was being held. As I began to drive, I received a call with the horrible news that my husband had been killed.

“My husband loved the people he served,” she said, “and it is very difficult to move forward without him.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

OPEN DOORS NEWS

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