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Friday, 15 March 2019

Election: Rivers of ‘fake’ Soldiers By Emmanuel Onwubiko

For a long time to come, the last governorship poll in the country will be rated as the worst in terms of organizational poverty and in the area of the roles of the armed security forces in providing security services whilst the exercises lasted. 

Perhaps, the governorship poll has contributed in a very significant way to create spectacular public image fiasco and long lasting damage for the Nigerian Army much more than the issues that evolved from the ongoing counter terror campaigns by the military in the North East of Nigeria.

At no time in the history of Nigeria, with the exception of the mass killings of civilians by the military in the three year civil war of the late 60’s, has the corporate image of Nigerian Army been this muddied and thoroughly abused. 

The Nigerian Army Is however stridently making claims that fake soldiers are behind these evil trends of outright criminal hijack of electoral materials. The Army has also blamed politicians for these cases of violence during the polls. 

 The direct cause of these cocktails of public relations fiasco for the Army are related to the alleged political interferences in the governorship elections in some parts of Nigeria currently controlled by the leading opposition People’s Democratic Party in the oil rich Niger Delta region such as Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states.

However, the allegedly ignominious role of the Army has received global wide bashing with specific reference to what some armed operatives did in Rivers state which resulted in the stagnation and suspension of the governorship election in Rivers state and even the British government has pointedly accused the Army of interference.

The Coalition of United Political Parties descended heavily on the Army and had described alleged military interference in the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State as treasonable felony.

The coalition’s national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, said this in a statement in Abuja.
Ugochinyere claimed that with the military’s action, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, had shown that he was nursing an agenda of returning the country to military rule.

He described the soldiers’ action as an assault on democratic institutions, asking all lovers of democracy to resist it.

He said, “The Coalition of United Political Parties has reviewed the performance of the Nigerian military in the just-concluded governorship election in some parts of the country and has come to the conclusion that the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, is nursing a secret agenda to return the country to a military rule.

“We make bold to say that Buratai’s brazen use of armed soldiers to attack officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and upturn electoral process were testing grounds for his plot to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.

“We hereby raise the alarm loud enough for all lovers of democracy to hear that an electoral war is looming in states like Rivers over the desperate moves by the Nigerian Army and the All Progressives Congress to announce fake governorship election results in Army Barracks in favour of an unknown and non-existence party called AAC.

“We condemn in unequivocal terms President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chief of Army Staff over this reckless overthrow of electoral process in Rivers State with the APC thugs and security agents.
“We hereby say without mincing words that the undemocratic activities of the military and other security agencies in Rivers State are tantamount to treasonable felony and should be viewed and treated that way.

“This is an assault on democratic institutions in the country and should be resisted and condemned by all lovers of democracy within and outside the country.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission has accused the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force of allowing its personnel to take over its office in Rivers State. However, discordant tones came from INEC which had lately exonerated the Airforce but had yet to withdraw the accusation against the Army. 

It said the operatives of the two Services were preventing those legitimately authorized to be in its office from gaining access.
The position of the Commission was made known on Sunday by its Head of Department of Voter Education and Publicity in Rivers State, Edwin Enabo.

Enabo said: “The INEC office is under siege by men in army uniforms, uniforms of the Air Force and police who have taken over.
“They are stopping and screening people.
“They are clearing results before they enter the office to the extent that up till now no collation has been done.

“We don’t understand where the people are deployed from.
“We are not accusing the Nigerian Army or the Nigerian Air Force, but we say the people right now in the office are wearing uniforms of Army and Air Force.

“If they are not from them, we are calling on them to come and rectify the situation and allow our officers to enter with their results without molestation and harassment.

“Throughout the elections, we had so many reports of insecurity, molestation, harassment and assault on our staff and adhoc staff, disruption of the electoral process throughout the state in all the Local Government Areas with the consequence that by yesterday evening we were unable to get any results and by 1pm today, the office is under siege by men in Army, Air Force and Police Uniforms.”

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State, had also called on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to disregard the calls by a few All Progressives Congress (APC)-sponsored governorship candidates for the transfer of the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Obo Effanga and the administrative secretary of INEC.

State Chairman of IPAC, Precious Baridoo, speaking on the heels of the suspension of Rivers governorship and House of Assembly elections, and the call by AAC for the immediate removal of Effanga, said the call by a few governorship candidates was aimed at creating an ugly atmosphere to rig the last election.

The IPAC, which represents 86 registered political parties and 54 governorship candidates in the state, berated the glaring interference of the Nigerian Army in the recent elections, insisting that from the outcome of the result collated, the PDP candidate, Nyesom Wike was leading.

He stated: “We also strongly condemn the criminal use of the Nigerian Army to abduct electoral officers and snatch already-collated results for the purpose of rigging the governorship election in favour of the APC supported candidate.

“It is most unfortunate that the APC-led soldiers of the Nigerian Army to invade the state collation centre at INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt as captured on videos aired. The whole world saw how they planned to bring in cooked results to alter the will of Rivers people.

“We condemn the military for disrupting the collation process for the governorship election in Rivers State. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to punish all the military personnel involved in this coup against democracy.

“The mischievous call by these sponsored governorship candidates is diversionary and aimed at disrupting the collation process and the lawful declaration of Governor Wike as duly re-elected.
“We commend the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, for his peaceful and calm disposition, despite the provocative actions of the APC and the military in the face of the fact that Rivers people overwhelmingly voted for him,” Baridoo stated. Army continued to debunk the widening spectre of accusation against them. 

Specifically, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had described as “treasonable” the alleged confiscation of the Rivers State governorship election results by soldiers and demands the immediate release to avert serious crisis in the state.

The PDP flayed what it called a subversive act by soldiers, “who seized and diverted the results to an Army barrack in Port Harcourt and calls on all lovers of democracy, to unite against this brazen attack on our democracy by the Presidency and All Progressives Congress (APC),” saying “such barefaced assault is only akin to a coup d’├ętat and should not be allowed to stand.

In a statement issued, by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said, “Nigerians watched in bewilderment as soldiers, in the company of APC thugs invaded polling units in Rivers State, unleashed violence on voters, disrupted polling processes and hauled away electoral materials, just because the APC is not in the ballot, following its self-inflicted exclusion from the election.

“The use of soldiers to ambush the electoral process and confiscate results is an extreme scheme by the APC and the Presidency to enmesh the Rivers State governorship election in controversy, seeing that there is no way they can take away victory from the PDP.”

The statement continued: “Soldiers, allegedly under the directive of the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organization and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, invaded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices, waylaid INEC officials and forcefully took away collated results to the army barracks, where APC agents have been stationed to alter figures and destroy evidences of PDP’s victory.

“We want Nigerians to note that the APC is frustrated that it is not in the ballot in the Rivers State election and for that, it has resorted to violence, killings and heavy militarization of the area, in the attempt to disrupt the electoral process, seeing that the PDP had already won.

“What the APC and its compromised soldiers fail to note is that the PDP already has valid documents of all the results as delivered from all the polling units where elections held across the state and that the figures are with all the stakeholders.

“Therefore, deploying soldiers to confiscate the results will not change the victory already recorded by our party in Rivers State.” The whole scenarios have assumed an international dimension. 
The United Kingdom (UK), expressed concern over reports of military interference in the governorship and assembly elections in Rivers state held on Saturday.

The UK High Commission, in a tweet on its verified twitter handle, @UKinNigeria, noted that reports by its independent observers collaborated media reports of military interference in the electoral exercise.

The High Commission while noting that it was monitoring the situation very closely, called on relevant stakeholders to allow staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), do their job without harassment.

“We are extremely concerned by reports, including from @UKinnigeria observers, of military interference in the election process in Rivers State. Monitoring the situation closely. @inecng staff must be allowed to do their job in safety, without intimidation,” the UK High Commission wrote.
The onus is on the Army to clear their name. It is good that an investigation is ongoing. The will of the Rivers state people must be sacrosanct. Let no federal institution be used to thwart the will of voters of Rivers State. 

*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko heads, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @;;

Thursday, 14 March 2019

El’rufai; Armed Security chiefs in Kaduna are complicit to violence in Kajuru – Says HURIWA: *Seeks Europe wide travel ban on Elrufai and associates:

A leading Non-governmental organization in the country – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has alleged that the governor of Kaduna state; the Army Commander in Kaduna and the heads of other security agencies apart from the police commissioner should be held directly responsible for the renewed violence in Kajuru in Kaduna following their consistent spreading of fake news on the killings of Fulani by the Christian population which must have stoked the embers of revenge killings by armed Fulani herdsmen. HURIWA said it was heartrending that the Federal government watched as the Kaduna state governor through the media outlets in the Country continued to poison the minds of Fulani people by insisting that the indigenous people in Kajuru carried out mass killings of Fulani just as the military commander and others gave tacit support to the Kaduna state governor even whilst he stoked the embers of enmity and conflicts between Fulanis against the Christian neighbours. HURIWA has asked the European Union to impose a travel ban on Nasir Elrufai and all the heads of security forces in the state but the Rights group praised the Police commissioner for refuting the casualty figures that were bandied by Elrufai prior to the latest rounds of revenge killings by armed Fulani killer gangs targeting Christians.

The Rights group also blamed Malam Nasir El’rufai for promoting politics of islamisation of the state machinery by sticking to his despicable choice of a running mate who is also a Moslem in a state that is evenly divided amongst the two dominant religious groups of Christians and Moslems even as the Rights group condemned the electoral heist which occasioned the declaration of El’rufai as winner of the disputed just conducted governorship poll.

HURIWA has therefore encouraged the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party to challenge his alleged manipulated defeat in the election tribunal.

HURIWA recalled that the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, had on February 15th 2019 claimed without any shreds of empirical evidence that there was the death of 66 people in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state who are mostly Fulani and allegedly murdered by the Christians neighbouring the Fulani settlements in Kajuru.

HURIWA accused the Kaduna governor of using the media to foul the harmonious coexistence of Fulanis and their Christian neighbours when he kept hammering in the media of mass communication that amongst the victims were 22 children and 12 women, while four wounded persons were rescued alive, the government stated in a public statement.

HURIWA recalled that even the media that helped spread the falsehood peddled by the current Kafina state administration stated that at the time of the massacres and the incident leading to them were, however, not explained in the release.

HURIWA said thus: "The governor, in the statement, regretted the development and vowed that those responsible for the massacres will be brought to justice.  Then on February 19th 2019, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state says the death toll as a result of the communal clash in the Kajuru Local Government Area of the state has risen to 130 as against the previous figure of 66.El-Rufai stated this when he spoke to State House correspondents after briefing a security meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, recently".

HURIWA recalled that El-Rufai, who alongside the governors of Borno and Adamawa briefed members of the security committee on security situations in their respective states, frowned at those who questioned the initial casualties’ figures of 66 and kept up the tempo of false propaganda about the massacre of Fulanis by their Christian neighbours which must have angered the armed Fulani killer gangs to stage a reprisal which has resulted in many fatalities.

HURIWA recalled that even the government funded News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that several individuals and organizations including the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) and Human Rights Lawyer, Chidi Odinkalu, had expressed doubt over the occurrence of the killings of the 66 persons.

The Rights group maintained that Elrufai and the mostly Moslem born heads of security forces in the state are guilty of instigating the ongoing massacre of the indigenous people by armed Fulani terrorists.

HURIWA said: "Complicity is the participation in a completed criminal act of an accomplice, a partner in the crime who aids or encourages (abets) other perpetrators of that crime, and who shared with them an intent to act to complete the crime. A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of a crime if they purpose the completion of a crime, and toward that end, if that person solicits or encourages the other person, or aids or attempts to aid in planning or committing the crime, or has legal duty to prevent that crime but fails to properly make an effort to prevent it."

"At Common Law, actors were classified as principals and/or accessories. Principals were persons who were present at the scene of the crime and participated in its commission. Accessories were persons who were not present during the commission of the crime but who aided, counseled, procured, commanded, encouraged or protected the principals before or after the crime was committed. Both categories of actors were further subdivided. Principals in the first degree were persons who with the requisite state of mind committed the criminal acts that constituted the criminal offense. Principals in the second degree, also referred to as aiders and abettors, were persons who were present at the scene of the crime and provided aid or encouragement to the principal in the first degree. Accessories were divided into accessories before the fact and accessories after the fact. An accessory before the fact was a person who aided, encouraged or assisted the principals in the planning and preparation of the crime but was absent when the crime was committed. An accessory after the fact was a person who knowingly provided assistance to the principals in avoiding arrest and prosecution."

HURIWA argued further thus: "Complicity in criminal law refers to when someone is legally accountable, or liable for a criminal offense, based upon the behavior of another. Criminal complicity may arise in the following situations; i. a person procures, induces or causes such other person to commit the offense; or ii.  a person aids or abets such other person in committing the offense; or iii.  having a legal duty to prevent the commission of the offense, a person fails to make an effort he is legally required to make."

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Blame Lagos for Collapse of School Building – Says HURIWA *Demands Prosecution of Commissioners:

Calling it the height of criminal dereliction of duty which should attract immediate prosecution for murder of all the officials of the Lagos state Urban Planning Department, top civil Rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is of the position that Lagos state government has failed in its statutory and primary duty of care to the children of Nigeria.

HURIWA said those to be prosecuted must also include the commissioner for housing or urban planning who must be arrested with immediate effect even as a comprehensive audits of all public and private educational facilities in Lagos must be immediately conducted by independent panel of experts.

HURIWA called on the National Assembly to declare a state of Housing and school facilities' emergency in Lagos state so there could be a nationally funded audits of all public and private schools in Lagos and to commence the immediate upgrade of all public primary schools in Lagos state even as Private School owners should be given a matching order to carry out verifiable upgrade or forfeit their operational licenses within two weeks.

The Rights group also has called for the dismissal and prosecution of the education commissioner for failing to discharge the constitutional functions imposed on the office holder as the direct coordinating body that ought to provide oversight functions on all school facilities to ensure standards, safety and security of the pupils and students. HURIWA also called for the forensic audits of all public building assets including malls; stadia and places of worship to safeguard the lives of millions of Nigerians in Lagos. The audit of these houses should be carries out in all major cities across the Country.

HURIWA wondered why Lagos has persistently become a hub for  substandard buildings going by the numerous cases of building collapse just as the Rights group condemned the snail speed dispensation of justice in Lagos with specific reference to cases of collapse buildings even as it blamed judicial corruption for this ugly trend.

In a media statement by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA disclosed that it will dispatch a petition to the United Nations Education Commission (UNESCO) and the secretary General of the United Nations to call the attention of the world body to the dangers that millions of school children go through by being exposed to poor, substandard and comprehensively unsafe schooling environment by the Lagos administration.

“This particular case must never be swept under the carpets of impunity.
Action must be adopted to get to the root of this menace and fish out other culprits to face prosecution".

HURIWA recalled that many primary school pupils were feared dead on Wednesday after a three-storeyed building at Ita Faji, Lagos Island, collapsed around 10am.

The school was said to be on the last floor.
A resident of the area, Prince Adams, who alerted Punch correspondent to the incident on the telephone, said no fewer than 10 pupils had been removed from the rubble so far.

“It is terrible. Parents are crying. I can’t withstand the gorry sight,” he added.
The media reportedly heard cries on the background.

The spokesperson for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Kehinde Adebayo, confirmed the collapse, adding that emergency officials were already on ground.

Monday, 11 March 2019


A leading pro-democracy and non-governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has waded into the controversy trailing the activities of the Army during the Saturday governorship polls with a call on politicians and stakeholders not to rubbish the military institution by heaping unsubstantiated allegations.

However, HURIWA has on another breadth thrown her weight behind the decision of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to immediately activate effective mechanisms to forensically investigate the series of trending online videos which appears to indict some armed security forces on a number of serial electoral offences and for instigating violence in Rivers Bayelsa and some of flashpoints in the crude oil rich Niger Delta region. HURIWA told Nigerians that the leadership of the Army has already established a good and qualitative antecedent as a no nonsense hierarchy when in the not too distant time sanctioned about 38 senior military officers who underwent investigative and military prosecutorial trial over their alleged interferences in the year 2015 general polls. If this Army hierarchy had done this it can always do the needful now that it has become imperative for it to separate the few bad eggs from the professional institution of the military if they are found guilty by the internal investigative mechanisms. But we must be careful not to run down the military institution which we took over 60 years to build. It is usually more difficult to build but much easier to destroy.  

HURIWA said the claim by the military authority that there were incidents of fake soldiers that were deployed by politicians during the governorship polls should not be dismissed with a wave of hands since there are verifiable evidence that indeed hundreds of suspected fake armed men masquerading as soldiers were picked up in Imo, Rivers, Ondo and other areas and are currently being interrogated.

“We urge Nigerians to remember that the institution of the Nigerian military is created by law to serve public interest and so must be preserved and insulated from undue politically tainted allegations that may not stand the test of time. We are not unaware of some allegations by some governors in the Niger Delta accusing soldiers of collusion to undermine democracy, but we must give the Army the benefits of the doubts and assist the military institution to embark on holistic probe with the objective of preserving their political neutrality and to build an enviable professional institution that all of us and our children yet unborn would be proud of. We must not allow our temporary and unbridle quest for political power to lead us into the temptation of running down such a  formidable institution like the Nigerian Army because of the alleged malfeasance and misdemeanor of a few undesirable elements who may have derailed from the time honoured ethical and legal principles clearly listed out by the Chief of Army Staff on the need to abide by Rules of engagement in internal security operations.” We have a written proof that the Army has a mandatory manual on rules of engagements in internal military operations in line with best global practices.  

HURIWA reminded Nigerians that: “The Nigerian Army said it got credible intelligence that kitting of political thugs with military uniforms and arming them to impersonate soldiers. 
We have seen photographic evidence in HURIWA of these verifiable allegations by the Army
 The spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa in a statement said the thugs are sent to carry out crimes in furtherance of the activities of their political bosses.

He said, “Sadly, these thugs have been wrongly viewed and addressed as real military personnel on various social and mainstream media channels including blogs, chat rooms and messaging platforms.”

Sagir said, “The Army understands that most civilians caught in the callous onslaught of these murderous thugs might not be able to distinguish between genuine soldiers from an impersonator, especially when they are armed with military-type weapons.”

He said some arrested impostors have given useful information that led to unraveling the criminal involvement of some politicians in arming thugs for their selfish gains.

He said the Army would continue with investigations so as to prosecute the arrested impostors and their sponsors.”

HURIWA stated that the military’s version of the scenarios should be given a benefit of the doubts because for instance the Imo State Police Command on Sunday paraded 103 suspects who allegedly instigated violence and various electoral malpractices during the Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections held in the state on Saturday.

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Umuahia, Wilson Inalegwu, who is on election duty in the state,  said the suspects were arrested at various parts of the state.

Inalegwu said the arrests of the suspects were carried out in conjunction with other security agencies.

The AIG said a team of crack police officers had been instructed to take over the investigation process.

He listed some of the suspects as Onyekachi Okeh, Success Ugochukwu, Ikenna Anochili, Uchenna Okwuoma, John Okechukwu and Collins Amadi.

The AIG said, “It is based on the hard work, commitment and determination as well as the robust partnership of all the security agencies that led to the peaceful conduct of the election.”
“With collaboration from all the security agencies, we ensured that serious chaos was averted on the Election Day.”

Finally, we appeal to Chief of Army staff to convoke a transparent investigative panel including broad range membership to include credible civil society leaders to investigate wide ranging allegations made against the military from such credible nations like the United Kingdom which on Sunday expressed concern over reports of military interference in the governorship and assembly elections in Rivers state held on Saturday.

The UK High Commission in a tweet on its verified twitter handle, @UKinNigeria, noted that reports by its independent observers collaborated media reports of military interference in the electoral exercise.

The High Commission while noting that it was monitoring the situation very closely, called on relevant stakeholders to allow staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, do their job without harassment.

“We are extremely concerned by reports, including from @UKinnigeria observers, of military interference in the election process in Rivers State. Monitoring the situation closely. @inecng staff must be allowed to do their job in safety, without intimidation,” the UK High Commission wrote.

Reports of result confiscation are rife with the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, accusing military personnel of doing the bidding of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to subvert the will of the people.

HURIWA also suggested that the military should be restricted within military institutions and facilities during elections with a view to be rapidly deployed to flashpoints of electoral violence based on invitation from the police if the police is overwhelmed. This it said will completely insulate them from being misused. HURIWA also asked the Army Chief to sanction commanders on ground who cannot show cause why they allowed fake soldiers to undermine the image and credibility of the military institution.

Besides, HURIWA asked that some politicians accused of abusing their privileged positions by allegedly parading about during election with armed military/police should be arrested and prosecuted.

HURIWA pointed to media reported facts and allegations which emerged on Sunday on how uniformed and plain-clothes security operatives loyal to the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, allegedly battered some ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

A senior lecturer in the University of Uyo (name withheld), who is one of the collation officers in Essien Udim LGA, said he narrowly escaped being lynched when the senator and his loyalists forcefully took over the activities at the collation centre at about 10pm on Saturday.

He said they were in the process of verification and collation when Akpabio stormed the venue with several uniformed and plain-clothes men.

He said the embattled senator had initially tried to plead with the ad-hoc staff to suspend the use of card reader and just accept the results when one of his loyalists identified as Nse Ntuen (a member of House of Assembly) emerged from nowhere and started molesting all the INEC officials over their uncooperative attitude.

The lecturer said, “Suddenly, Nse Ntuen emerged and picked up a plastic chair, murmuring that the electoral officers were not cooperating with them. I escaped by God’s grace because he was about smashing my head with that chair, when he suddenly saw another fat man with a Peoples Democratic Party tag and he unleashed the chair on him mercilessly.

“Ntuen also beat up the corps members as everyone tried scampering for safety. In that confusion, I dragged the returning officer who is also my colleague in the university, and is hypertensive, and we were able to escape. I got to Uyo at about 2am.”

At Polling Unit 9 in Ukana West, Ward 2 located in the premises of Independent High School, Ukana, Essien Udim LGA, where Senator Akpabio voted, journalists were refused access to the school.

Reacting to the allegations, the Media Aide to Senator Akpabio, Anietie Ekong, said all the accusations were false.

“At least 12 senior officers of the Nigerian Army, including Generals, have been sacked over alleged involvement in the Ekiti governorship election scandal and defence contract related offences, an official statement said Saturday. 

HURIWA asked Nigerians to recall that sometimes ago the Army disciplined 38 officers found wanting to have colluded with politicians. The Army then had stated thus:
“The Nigerian Army wishes to inform the general public that quite a number of senior officers of the Nigerian Army were retired from service yesterday,” said Army Director of Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.

“Those retired were mainly some Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.

“Their retirement was based on Service exigencies. It should be recalled that not too long ago some officers were investigated for being partisan during the 2015 General Elections.

“Similarly, the investigation by the Presidential Committee investigating Defence Contracts revealed a lot.

“Some officers have already been arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). People should therefore not read this out of context.

“The military must remain apolitical and professional at all times.
“We must applaud and support this laudable and bold initiative by the government”.

The Army had last year sent 12 Army officers to the EFCC for investigation.
General Usman had in a statement issued last year said the indicted officers comprised three serving Major-Generals, one retired Major-General, three Brigadier-Generals, four Colonels and a Lieutenant Colonel.”

HURIWA said these sanctions and clean up exercise was carried out by the current Army Chief of Staff even as it pleaded with Nigerians for patience and understanding with the Army as they carry out their findings which should be transparent, open and fair in line with the Constitution. 

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko:
National Coordinator of Human rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). 

Text of a media briefing of Monday March 11th 2019. 

Friday, 8 March 2019

GUBER POLL: HURIWA CAUTIONS AGAINST UNLAWFUL ACTION BY ARMY; POLICE; DSS: *Demands probe of attacks on Rivers State's PDP leaders allegedly by Army:

A prominent Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to ensure that the military operatives are not misused by Federal government office holders from Rivers and other states to manipulate the March 9th 2019 governorship and State Assembly elections nation- wide.  
HURIWA said her members on ground in Rivers State have reported that Federal appointees are apparently parading about with massive numbers of armed security forces thus threatening the peace of the State and unduly harassing civilians. 
HURIWA has also decided to approach the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and international community through their representatives in Nigeria to investigate allegations that houses of 50 top members of the opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) IN Rivers State have been destroyed and many of these political opposition leaders arrested by soldiers. 
HURIWA has also asked the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to order the release of all the political opposition members so arrested if any and to deal with those who destroyed the housing assets of PDP leaders in Rivers State. The Rights group said it is because of her belief in constructive partnership with statutory institutions to improve and human rights that has motivated it to constructively and meaningfully engage the hierarchies of the armed security forces to continue to sustain professionalism and adherence to the Principle of law of law and to protect constitutional democracy from threats by reactionary elements. HURIWA said the Nigerian Army is administered professionally and therefore must not tolerate impunity and lawlessness by its operatives or officers no matter the status. 
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf cautioned law enforcement agencies to stop parading suspects or subjecting them to media persecution just as the Rights group faulted the recent parade of some politicians in Rivers State by the military over their alleged involvement in election related bribery scam. HURIWA said the legal principle in Nigeria is such that presumes that all suspected offenders are innocent until proven guilty.  "Only the courts of competent jurisdiction in line with section 6 of the Nigerian constitution can reach a determination in all cases and accusations just as it stated that media trials are antithetical to modernism, legalism and Rule of Law but amounts to lynch mob justice".
HURIWA stated thus: “We are aware and we believe that the Army being a professional institution knows that the presumption of innocence is the legal principle in criminal cases that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. This basically means that until a judicial pronouncement on the guilt or otherwise of the accused person is made, he/she is to be treated the same as a regular person; any suggestion to the opposite would be a breach of the Fundamental Human Rights of the individual."
"The Nigerian 1999 Constitution in Section 36(5) guarantees this right. The practicalities of what this means for you as an individual if you are charged with a crime under Nigerian law, is that if for any reason you are discriminated against because of the fact that you are facing a court case, then you can sue for breach of your Fundamental Human Rights."
"The other element to the presumption of innocence is that the burden of proving the guilt of the accused person is on the prosecution. The prosecution is given the responsibility of producing enough evidence and arguments to prove the guilt of criminal defendants beyond a reasonable doubt. No matter what indictment or formal charges are brought against the defendant, and no matter what the personal feelings of those involved may be, if government prosecution cannot decisively demonstrate the defendant’s guilt in trial then that person is legally “not guilty” and free to go."
"36. (5) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty; Provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts. "
His Lordship AGUBE JCA in ALI V. STATE (2012) 10 NWLR PT. 1309 P. 624 PARA D-E
It is trite law that an accused is presumed innocent until his guilt is established by credible evidence. The presumption of innocence is a constitutional right of every person as provided in section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which states that: “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty”. In Nigeria, personal liberty of everyone is guaranteed and can only be deprived in exceptional circumstances. These exceptional circumstances are in Sections 35(1) (a-f) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Though this personal liberty guaranteed under the constitution can be deprived in exceptional circumstances, such accused person is not supposed to be detained for an undeterminable or endless period. The Nigerian constitution makes provision for bail.
HURIWA has also called for peaceful conduct of the poll and called on the police to arrest and prosecute violators of extant electoral law. "The intimidation and harassment of Igbo voters outside of Igbo land is hereby absolutely condemned. INEC must behave in line with the law and must not repeat the spectacular ethical crimes and criminal manipulations that happened in the last Presidential and National Assembly's Elections."

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Celebrities in celebrated sex cases By Emmanuel Onwubiko

The codification of the universal declarations of human rights (UDHR) became imperative prior to its writing in 1948 when humanity suffered some of the worst cases of mass killings and wars that led to the wanton killings of millions of members of the human race through the deployment by men of weapons of mass destruction. The first and second World wars perhaps occasioned the evolution of the universal principles of human rights.
The advent of these global human rights' instruments and several other affiliate international laws have revolutionized the way we approach the issues of human rights and human developments.
The bringing into being of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (UDHR) can also be linked to the widespread practices of racial segregations in some societies and even the alienation of women from participation in electoral activities in their countries.
The outcomes of global wide campaigns against racism, and the marginalization of the female gender led to political freedoms of diverse dimensions just as these new found freedoms have now opened a new frontier globally.
The latest frontier is the ongoing global wide conversations around the issue of sexual rights of minorities and women especially in the work places. With the exception of much of Africa including the largest black nation in the World which is Nigeria, celebrities from around the World and especially in the Western Societies are battling the different dimensions of accusations by ladies bordering on the sensitive and emotive thematic issue of sexual violations. In Britain for instance, a prominent official and parliamentarian was forced to resign due to proven case of sexual violation of a lady who brought up allegations. The United States of America is in the news constantly over many cases of sexual violations of women. Top rated musicians and movie makers have been named and shamed. But other commentators have blamed racism for the overwhelming volumes of allegations directed at hitherto iconic black celebrities by ladies who alleged that they were sexually violated ad children. This line of argument is shallow because even the most powerful Catholic clerics in USA and Australia who are both Whites have also been convicted of sex offences of kids.  
The emerging realization and clamour for respect for the sanctity of respect for the sexual rights of all gender has even led to a formation of a group of global wide advocacy movement known as Me Too Movement.
Me Too History & Vision: The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2016 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Our vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities.
In less than six months, because of the viral #metoo hashtag, a vital conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue. What started as local grassroots work has expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of a sexual violence worldwide.
From the website of Me too movement we are told that their work continues to focus on helping those who need it to find entry points for individual healing and galvanizing a broad base of survivors to disrupt the systems that allow for the global proliferation of sexual violence.
Their goal is also to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors. Young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color. We want perpetrators to be held accountable and we want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.
The me too movement started in earnest when some big celebrities were implicated and accused by a retinue of ladies of sexually molesting or violating their human dignity. These celebrities are mostly based in the United States of America and they cut across all races, classes and status. They include:
Prosecutors alleged Kelly sexually abused one woman and three underage girls in separate attacks over a span of a dozen years.
Prosecutors said Kelly's 24-year-old hairdresser came to braid his hair on Chicago’s Near North Side in 2003, but instead he greeted her with his pants down and tried to force oral sex on her.
When she resisted, Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face several times, prosecutors alleged.
DNA recovered from the alleged victim's shirt matches Kelly, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged Kelly also sexually abused one underage girl who had sought his autograph while attending his 2008 trial in Chicago on child pornography charges.
The girl had sex with Kelly multiple times between May 2009 and January 2010, according to prosecutors. At times, he spit on her, slapped her in the face and choked her, they alleged.
She saved a shirt from one encounter and gave it to police in suburban Olympia Fields, where Kelly had a residence. Preliminary testing results show a DNA match to Kelly, prosecutors said.
Kelly met another victim as she celebrated her 16th birthday at a restaurant, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez said in court. The singer’s associate gave her Kelly's business card, but her mother intervened. However, the girl took the card from her mother's purse, contacted the singer and began having regular sexual contact with him, prosecutors alleged.
Prosecutors also have a videotape purportedly showing Kelly having sex with yet another girl, who was 14 at the time. High-profile attorney Michael Avenatti has said he recovered the tape and turned it over to prosecutors last month.
In ordering that bond be set at $250,000 for each of the four separate indictments, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” and barred him from contact with the alleged victims or any witnesses in the case.
He also banned the singer from contact with anyone younger than 18.
Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, sought a lower bond, telling the judge that Kelly's finances were in disarray, his record label had dumped him and that he posed no threat to flee.
"He's lived here his whole life," Greenberg said before making a reference to Kelly's hit "I Believe I Can Fly."
"Contrary to the song, he doesn't like to fly," he said. "He doesn't travel unless he absolutely has to."
Greenberg called the $1 million bond “exceedingly reasonable” and said he believed that Kelly could raise the necessary 10 percent — $100,000 — to win his release. It was uncertain if that might happen as soon as this weekend
“He’s trying to get it together,” Greenberg said. “... He doesn’t have it sitting in the bank, sitting in a shoe box, sitting anywhere.”
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, the deadline to post bond, Kelly was still in custody at the Cook County Jail.
Kelly, 52, who has been dogged by accusations of sexually predatory behavior for years, was indicted Friday on a combined 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for alleged misconduct between 1998 and 2010.
He turned himself in at the Central District station just after 8 p.m. Friday, emerging from a dark cargo van with tinted windows into a scrum of photographers and reporters. He was handcuffed and led into a lockup with a concerned look on his face.
The counts each carry a maximum seven years in prison upon conviction but could also result in probation.
During Saturday’s 17-minute hearing, Kelly stood facing the judge in a black hoodie with his arms behind his back, frowning at times as he kept his eyes downcast.
He shook his head several times in disagreement as prosecutors detailed their evidence, but he otherwise showed little emotion. At one point he leaned over to whisper something to his lawyer, who patted Kelly on the shoulder.
Several relatives of the alleged victims stood in the courtroom throughout the hearing.
Kelly’s appearance at the Leighton Criminal Court Building comes more than a decade after his acquittal on child pornography charges following a sensational 2008 trial at the same courthouse.
Three of the new indictments allege Kelly sexually abused three underage victims. The fourth indictment charged that Kelly sexually abused an adult in February 2003 – while he was free on bond on the then-pending child pornography charges.
The singer, whose legal name is Robert S. Kelly, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Kelly is scheduled to return to the courthouse Monday so a judge can be assigned to oversee his case and he can plead not guilty to the 10 counts.
Harvey Weinstein
Weinstein, now 65, is being taken to court to face accusations of sexual harassment toward women that worked with his company. These accusations go back for decades
While there are some that believe these allegations are false since it has taken twenty years for them to come to light, the women in question are telling quite a different tale and explaining it simply as a man in a ridiculously powerful position using his role to suppress their claims. 
A-list actresses like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan are prominent in this case. 
While Ashley Judd has come forward to put her remarks against the producer “on the record,” Rose McGowan has been fairly silent, only tweeting support from her personal account every so often.
Though McGowan hasn’t come forward and publicly made claims, the Times uncovered the fact that Weinstein paid her $100,000 after something “happened” between her and Weinstein in a hotel room. At the time, McGowan was only 23 years old.
Ashley Judd, on the other hand, said that years ago Weinstein invited her to the Peninsula hotel for a “meeting.” While there, she was directed to his room where he “appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or [if] she could watch him shower.” She left as quickly as possible.
According to Judd, “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”
Weinstein has allegedly paid out settlements to at least eight women since 1990. 
In the same report released by the Times, some of the accusations by these women included “sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.” These allegations come from many women—assistants, colleagues, models—and each of them was paid small sums of what was likely “hush” money to keep their silence, anywhere from $80,000 to about $150,000 apiece.
One of the women, Lauren O’Connor, even wrote a memo regarding the harassment to executives at his company in 2015. Nothing was done.
Known sexual harassment victims’ lawyer Lisa Bloom is his attorney.
He is being represented, quite shockingly, by Lisa Bloom—a litigator famous for her representation of sexual harassment victims and oppressed women. This news came as a surprise to many, including Bloom’s own mother, attorney Gloria Allred. Allred, a prominent feminist attorney known for her work as a victims’ rights advocate who is well known for representing many of Bill Cosby’s accusers, said that she would not have chosen to work for Weinstein in light of his charges.
Something important to note, however, is that Weinstein recently optioned the rights to Bloom’s book about Trayvon Martin, Suspicion Nation, in March of 2017. Many people believe that this is the reason that the woman most famous for representing people like Blac Chyna, Mischa Barton, and even many of the women from the Bill O’Reilly harassment case chose to represent a man who clearly has a significant history with sexually harassing women. After Bill O’Reilly was fired in April, Bloom had famously tweeted, “When women speak our truth the old order shatters. We slayed the dragon.”
Michael Jackson
In the documentary Leaving Neverland, Two men accuse Michael Jackson of molesting them when they were children.
Wade Robson and James Safechuck are not the first to accuse Jackson. The singer paid out about $25 million in a settlement with the family of one accuser in 1994 and was tried and acquitted on separate charges of sexual abuse in 2005. In total, Jackson has now been publicly accused of abusing five boys.
Jackson maintained his innocence until his death in 2009, and his estate has continued to fight the allegations, announcing recently that it was suing HBO for $100 million over charges the documentary had violated a non-disparagement agreement. The lawsuit called the documentary a “posthumous character assassination” and “a one-sided hit piece,” and Jackson’s family said the attacks on Jackson amount to a “public lynching.”
Here are the details about allegations against Jackson.
Jason Francia, who was 24 at the time of the trial, testified that Jackson had molested him on several occasions while tickling him. Francia's mother was employed by Jackson as a maid. Francia said that "every time I was being tickled there was some sort of exchange of money", with the understanding that he would not tell his mother
Jordan Chandler, the alleged victim in the 1993 child abuse allegations, left the country rather than appear as a witness
Gavin Arvizo was 15 when he testified. He claimed that, after Living with Michael Jackson aired, Jackson had begun serving him and his younger brother wine and making sexual advances. He said that Jackson had masturbated him to ejaculation after they drank alcohol, and then told him that if men do not masturbate, they "might rape a girl
Gavin's younger brother, Star, told the court that he had twice seen Jackson molest Gavin. He also said that Jackson had displayed his erection and masturbated in front of them, telling them that "everyone did it" and encouraging them to try it. Star testified that Jackson had given the boys alcohol, sometimes in soda cans, and which Jackson called "Jesus juice". Star also said Jackson had showed the brothers internet pornography on his computer. The Guardian described Star as a "hapless witness for the prosecution, forgetting crucial details that he had revealed to the grand jury, even when prompted by the prosecution.
The question we need to ask is why the African Continent is so silent about these vital issues even when the continent is a notorious hub of sexual violations of women and kids? Why are there no movements strong enough to evolve a continental wide conversations so the sexual rights of African women are comprehensively highlighted and the predators named, shamed and prosecuted. In Nigeria there is a clear legal framework of human rights litigation. There is also the Administration of criminal justice Act of 2015 which has abridged time within which cases can be done. Sadly, Nigerian laws on sexual offences are archaic and are in urgent need of reforms. This must be done. Nigeria must not continue to pretend that her girls are not being sexually abused by men holding influential positions both in the public and private sectors. We need to embrace civilization. 
*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @;;