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The United States Department of State has released what it termed evidence of impunity in the Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government.

The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, said that under Buhari, had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service.

The US Congress makes it mandatory for the executive to produce a on the state of human rights worldwide every year.

For Nigeria, the findings in the 2018 Human Rights Report, obtained by ThisDay, were largely similar to those of the previous year’s report.

The report added that “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year.

“The EFCC writ extends only to financial and economic crimes. The ICPC secured 14 convictions during the year. In 2016 the EFCC had 66 corruption cases pending in court, had secured 13 convictions during the year, and had 598 open investigations.

“Although ICPC and EFCC anti-corruption efforts remained largely focused on low and mid-level government officials, following the 2015 presidential , both organisations started investigations into and brought indictments against various active and former high-level government officials. Many of these cases were pending in court.

“According to both ICPC and EFCC, the delays were the result of a lack of judges and the widespread practice of filing for and granting multiple adjournments.

“EFCC arrests and indictments of politicians continued throughout the year, implicating a significant number of opposition political figures and leading to allegations of partisan motivations on the part of the EFCC.

“In October the EFCC arrested and indicted former of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose on 11 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering amounting to 2.2 billion naira ($6 million). After a Federal High Court ruling, Fayose was out on 50 million naira ($137,500) bail.”

On financial disclosure, the report stated the constitutional requirement under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (CCBTA) for public officials, including the president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, cabinet ministers, and legislators (at both federal and state levels), to declare their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before assuming and after leaving office. The constitution calls for the CCB to “make declarations available for inspection by any citizen of the country on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.

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“The law does not address the publication of asset information. Violators risk prosecution, but cases rarely reached conclusion.

“There were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. The national police, army, and other security services used lethal and excessive force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects and committed other extrajudicial killings.

“Authorities generally did not hold police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.

“State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths generally did not make their findings public.

“In August 2017 the acting president convened a civilian-led presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, and the panel submitted its findings in February. As of November, no portions of the report had been made public.

“As of September there were no reports of the federal government further investigating or holding individuals accountable for the 2015 killing and subsequent mass burial of members of the Shia group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and other civilians by Nigerian Army (NA) forces in Zaria, Kaduna State. “

The report disclosed that the 2016 nonbinding report of the Kaduna State government’s judicial commission, which found that the Nigerian Army (NA) used “excessive and disproportionate” force during the 2015 altercations in which 348 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and one soldier died.

It said, “The commission recommended the federal government conduct an independent investigation and prosecute anyone found to have acted unlawfully. It also called for the proscription of the IMN and the monitoring of its members and their activities.

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“In 2016 the government of Kaduna State published a white paper that included acceptance of the commission’s recommendation to investigate and prosecute allegations of excessive and disproportionate use of force by the NA.

“As of September, however, there was no indication that authorities had held any members of the NA accountable for the events in Zaria. It also accepted the recommendation to hold IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky responsible for all illegal acts committed by IMN members during the altercations and in the preceding 30 years. In 2016 a federal court declared the continued detention without charge of Zakzaky and his wife illegal and unconstitutional.

“The court ordered their release by January 2017. The federal government did not comply with this order, and Zakzaky, his spouse, and other IMN members remained in detention. In April the Kaduna State government charged Zakzaky in state court with multiple felonies stemming from the death of the soldier at Zaria.

“The charges include culpable homicide, which can carry the death penalty. As of December the case was pending. In July a Kaduna High Court dismissed charges of aiding and abetting culpable homicide against more than 80 IMN members. As of September the Kaduna State government had appealed the ruling. Approximately 100 additional IMN members remained in detention.

“In October security forces killed 45 IMN members that were participating in processions and protests, according to Amnesty International (AI).”

The report recalled the January 2017 bombing of an informal internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlement in Rann, Borno State, by the Nigerian Air Force, which resulted in the killing and injuring of more than 100 civilians and aid .

It said, “The government and military leaders publicly assumed responsibility for the strike and launched an investigation. The air force conducted its own internal investigation, but as of December the government had not made public its findings. No air force or army personnel were known to have been held accountable for their roles in the event. There were reports of arbitrary and unlawful killings related to internal conflicts in the North-east and other areas.”

The report also identified the following human rights issues in Nigeria: “unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and non-state actors; forced disappearances by both government and non-state actors; torture by both government and non-state actors; and prolonged arbitrary detention in life-threatening conditions, particularly, in government detention facilities. Others are harsh and life threatening prison conditions, including civilian detentions in military facilities, often based on flimsy or no evidence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; criminal libel; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and refoulement of refugees.”

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The report also identified as human rights abuse corruption; progress to formally separate child soldiers previously associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF); lack of accountability concerning violence against women, including female genital mutilation/cutting, in part due to government inaction/negligence; trafficking in persons, including sexual exploitation and abuse by security officials; crimes involving violence targeting LGBTI persons and the criminalisation of status and same-sex sexual conduct based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and forced and bonded labour.

The report, however, noted that “the government took steps to investigate alleged abuses but took fewer steps to prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government.

“Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government.

“The government did not adequately investigate or prosecute most of the major outstanding allegations of human rights violations by the security forces or the majority of cases of police or military extortion or other abuse of power,” the report added.

 

Source: Daily Post

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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COVID-19: Gov Abiodun orders full reopening of hotels, schools, churches, mosques

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Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has ordered full reopening of hotels, viewing centres, marquees, event centres, suites, guest houses and motels.

Others in that category are restaurants, eateries, lounges, bars, and cinemas.

We reports Gov Abiodun, in the wake of the deadly Coronavirus, ordered the closure of those establishments to avoid the spread of disease.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, on Wednesday, the Ogun said those in the industry should open for business fully.

Somorin informed that Abiodun has further told schools, markets, churches and mosques in Ogun to revert to their regular programme of activities as obtained before COVID-19.

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However, Somorin urged the hospitality establishments to strictly adhere to a set of guidelines in order to keep up with the protocols aimed at further flattening the curve of COVID-19.

The statement said that the government would not hesitate to do selective lockdown should there be any flagrant disobedience to the set COVID-19 protocols.

“And, if perchance we discover that any of our centres is not complying or adhering to the laid down protocols, we will not hesitate to close down the centre,” he warned.

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BREAKING: Osun State Governor, Oyetola Relaxes Curfew

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Osun State , Gboyega Oyetola, has relaxed the curfew imposed on the state , now 8pm to 6am.

This was contained in a press statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Wole Oyebamiji, on Wednesday.

The governor said the relaxation of the curfew takes effect from Thursday.

The statement read in part,

“Following the high level of compliance with the 24-hour curfew declared last Saturday to forestall further breakdown of law and order in the State, the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, has approved the relaxation of the curfew period, effective from tomorrow, Thursday, October 29, 2020.

“Consequently, the curfew will now run from 8:00pm to 6:00am daily.

“Security operatives will still remain on the streets to enforce the new curfew directive with a view to further maintaining law and order.

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“Also, all motorcycle operators will now operate from 6:00am to 8:00pm daily as earlier announced.

“This will subsist even after the curfew is completely lifted.”

The governor commended #EndSARS protesters for suspending demonstrations in the state.

He urged those with looted items to ensure that they return them, stressing that defaulters would be prosecuted.

The statement said, “As we all know, the curfew was never declared in the first instance to inflict hardship on our people but to protect them and return normalcy to the State.

“We commend the residents and citizens of Osun for their show of understanding and cooperation in the last five days of the curfew.

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“We also laud our youths for displaying a high sense of maturity and understanding in calling off any form of protest in light of the prevailing circumstances.

“Government remains committed to the cause of our youths and shall take every necessary step to ensure their welfare.

“Government also commends those who took advantage of the amnesty period to return looted items in line with the Omoluabi ethos for which we are known.

“Whistle Blowers could still reach out to us on 08187187678 for information on looted items.
However, effective from tomorrow, Thursday, October 29, anyone found to be in possession of any looted item will be arrested, investigated and prosecuted as earlier announced.”

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