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Monday, 23 June 2014


At a time most observers hoped that the coming into being of the new political dispensation in Egypt will usher in a rapprochement between the state and the media, it has further nosedived to an all time low in terms of media repression going by the verdict issued by the court jailing some journalists working for the Aljazeera television to seven years for performing their legitimate duties as media workers.

The Guardian of the United Kingdom has just reported that  Egypt's judiciary has dealt a shocking blow to the principle of free speech after three journalists for Al-Jazeera English were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of aiding terrorists and endangering national security. These journalists were simply thrown into jail for doing their duty. Nothing more, nothing less.

Reporting further on this very sad and an unfortunate development, the leading British print media disclosed that the former BBC correspondent Peter Greste, from Australia, the ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local producer Baher Mohamed were jailed for seven, seven and 10 years respectively. Four students and activists indicted in the case were sentenced to seven years.

The despicable court process that culminated in these embarrassing sentences is not only a local matter but is a declaration of war against global media freedoms. First, the journalists involved in this pre-arranged and state sponsored trial are from divergent countries around the World and secondly, press freedoms are embedded in all international humanitarian laws to which Egypt subscribed to as a member of the United Nations. John Milton reminded us that what has happened in Egypt can only be done by people who hate freedom. he had written thus; "None can love freedom heartily but goodmen; the rest love not freedom but license".

This undemocratic judgment is the clearest evidence that the newly elected civilian administration in Egypt is only 'civil' in nomenclature but is actively the same dictatorial contraption going by the inherent fact that the man elected as President [General Abdel Fattah El Sisi] is the same General who masterminded the removal of the erstwhile Mohammed Morsi's-led Moslem Brotherhood government. The Moslem Brotherhood Government it could be recalled was removed based on genuine fears expressed by over fourteen million Egyptians who staged counter revolution demanding its replacement with a secular democratic structure that would respect all religious and political shades of opinion. 

But since the dethronement of the bad government of the United States trained Dr. Morsi, developments from the judiciary of that country have been anything but good. There appears to be a regime of persecution of all independent voices as exemplified by this latest round of verdict targeted against these journalists.
The verdict issued by the Egyptian court is not only laughable, undemocratic, primitive and unacceptable because it goes against the very essence of fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declarations of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights but it is also comical and meaningless and indeed projects Egypt and by extension Africa as a very unserious jungle in contemporary political history.

All right thinking Africans must prevail on the new government in Egypt to overturn this oppressive verdict which was clearly masterminded by the executive arm of government in Egypt meant to teach a lesson to the press for deciding to remain independent and the play the role of the official voice of the voiceless in that Country that has consistently remained in the news for the bad reason that political instability has become the norm rather than exception. Only recently, over five hundred members of the banned Moslem Brotherhood political party were sentenced to death for only belonging to this platform.

To demonstrate the comic nature of these so-called trial, the Egyptian judge also handed 10-year sentences to the British journalists Sue Turton and Dominic Kane and the Dutch journalist Rena Netjes, who were not in Egypt but were tried in absentia.

The Guardian [of United Kingdom] reported that the courtroom packed with journalists, diplomats and relatives erupted at the verdict which came despite what independent observers said was a complete lack of evidence. These observers in that courtroom must have been understandably jolted by this unconscionable judgment that can at best be described as a 'satanic verse'.

Shouting from the defendants' cage fearlessly as he was led away, Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian citizen, said: "They'll pay for this." Greste's reaction could not be heard, but the faces of his two younger brothers – both present in court – were grim.
"I'm just stunned," said Andrew Greste, as reporters were pushed from the courtroom. "It's difficult to comprehend how they can have reached this decision", so reported The Guardian.

Fahmy's mother and fiancée according to news report, both broke down in tears, while his brother Adel, who travelled from his home in Kuwait for the verdict, reacted with fury.

"This is not a system," he said. "This is not a country. They've ruined our lives. It shows everything that's wrong with the system: it's corrupt. This country is corrupt through and through."

Diplomats and rights campaigners who have observed the trial expressed incredulity at the verdict. "On the basis of the evidence that we've seen, we can't understand the verdict," said Larry King, the Australian ambassador in Cairo. "We will make our feelings clear to the Egyptian government and we will continue to provide all possible consular assistance."

From available information, this writer is aware that the body of evidence presented before the judge that reached this reprehensible verdict were completely unrelated to the actual subject matter just as most analysts within Egypt have decisively condemned this obscene judicial anarchy.

For instance, Mohamed Lotfy, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms who has observed every session of the trial for Amnesty, said the verdict sent a chilling message to all opposition figures in Egypt.

"It's a warning to all journalists that they could one day face a similar trial and conviction simply for carrying out their official duties," Lotfy said. "This feeds into a wider picture of a politicised judiciary and the use of trials to crack down on all opposition voices."

While hoping that this charade would be overturned on appeal, it is also appropriate that the African Union should drive the process of convincing the Egyptian government on why it should discontinue the ongoing attacks on fundamental freedoms and especially press freedom. The International Community must also prevail on Egypt to arrest the speedy decline of democratic tenets and practices in that country and embrace real practical democracy and respect for the fundamental freedoms of all irrespective of political, religious and social status.

The Nigerian Government can show leadership by throwing its diplomatic weight behind African Union by demanding that fairness, equity and social justice are embraced as the hallmark of the government of Egypt and indeed all African democracies. But first, the Nigerian Government must also stop the Nigerian Military from further whittling down the freedoms of the media practitioners to go about their duty without let or hindrance. Charity they say begins at home.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria;, 



President Good luck Jonathan has been urged to immediately sack some ministers in his cabinet that have become so notorious for engaging in partisan campaign towards their governorship aspirations at the disadvantage of executing salient aspects of the current Federal Government's transformation agenda which are targeted towards radical infrastructural development across board.

HURIWA blamed this diversion of ministerial attention and resources for individual campaign events by the key ministers for the ballooning poverty and the general collapse of social services across the country even as it appealed to the President to rescue the nation immediately. Besides, HURIWA said it was unconstitutional and immoral for holders of public offices such as ministers to use public fund and time to pursue their personal political agenda.

A democracy focused Non-Governmental Organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA[HURIWA] which made the observation in a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, said it was in the best national interest that ministers in the cabinet occupying very strategic beats are not given the 'political franchise' to deploy public fund in their custody by virtue of their high profile positions to thwart and demolish the good transformation agenda of the Federal Government while servicing their own selfish political interest towards the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

The Rights group stated that from extensive research and opinion polls conducted by some of her members spread across the Country, it has come to our notice that virtually 35 percent of the members of the current Federal Cabinet of President Good luck Jonathan have elevated their selfish pro-2015 governorship ambitions far and above the national and public interest of executing to its finality the substantial programs and projects encompassed in the current Federal Government's agenda for the transformation of the gravely dilapidated and dysfunctional infrastructural facilities across the six geopolitical zone of the Nigerian state. HURIWA has therefore called on Government of President Jonathan to grant these ministers the liberty of deploying their own time and resources to pursue their self centered political agenda by compelling them to either resign forthwith or be sacked immediately.

HURIWA stated that so far it has identified the ministers of Federal Capital Territory Administration Alhaji Bala Mohammed and the supervising minister of Aviation and minister of state for trade- Dr. Orthom as some of the most vocal ministers known to have commenced active consultations and political campaign towards the promotion of their respective gubernatorial aspirations in Bauchi and Benue States respectively even as it has condemned the recent outing in Bauchi specifically in which the current minister of the FCT was quoted in the media to have distributed vehicles to some persons identified in some reports as his 'campaign coordinators'.

The group also stated that the supervising minister of Aviation and the minister of state for Trade/commerce Dr. Samuel Orthom was recently seen in the media attending a thanksgiving service in Benue state whereby he clearly solicited for the support of the Benue electorate to enable him realize his governorship ambition by 2015.

HURIWA said thus; " Mr. President is called upon to immediately appoint a substantive Aviation minister who would continue and complete the good radical turn around of facilities started by the immediate past minister Ms. Stella Odua because we have noticed that as soon as she was forced out of office the so-called supervising minister of aviation has stopped paying any further attention to these strategic facelift of facilities at the nation's airports but instead has devoted substantial ministerial time to oil his gubernatorial campaign project in Benue state. In Abuja, there is general decay of infrastructure and social services have gone comatose even as destitute and all kinds of illegal aliens posing security threats have returned back to the major streets of Abuja while the minister is always away on campaign trips to his home state of Bauchi. While we don't oppose any political ambition, we are against the deployment of public fund or time by serving ministers to engage in their personal political projects while the national interest suffers."


Thursday, 19 June 2014


A friend who hails originally from the South Western segment of Nigeria by name Mr. Babatunde Adeniji Abimbola called me from California, the United States few hours back to break the story that the Nigerian Federal Government through the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke[SAN] has successfully negotiated an out of court settlement with the authorities of Liechtenstein necessitating a landmark agreement for the  return of a whooping sum of 167 million euros ($227 mil­lion) to Nigeria, ending what is considered in legal circle as a drawn-out battle by the Federal Government to recover cash looted by for­mer military dictator, late General Sani Abacha.

For those who may have collective amnesia, General Sani Abacha, who died in 1998 in suspicious circumstances, is suspected of having looted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the tune of about $2.2 billion when he ruled from November 1993 to June 1998. His military regime faced international sanctions following persistent cases of brutal human rights violations and forced disappearances of patriotic Nigerians opposed to military dictatorship. 

Shockingly, even with the sanctions regime slammed on his junta by the international community, some rogue nations even in Western Europe facilitated the looting and concealment in their own national banking institutions of these humongous amount of money stolen from the public till of Nigeria.

Global reporters recalled vividly that Nigeria first requested help from Liechtenstein in 2000 to recover the cash stashed there but the tiny principality of some 37,000 people grudgingly returned paltry sum of 7.5 million euros to Nigeria in late 2013, but the restitu­tion of the bulk of the cash has long been blocked by lawsuits brought by companies linked to Abacha’s family. These law suits which predated the current Federal Government have indeed cost the Nigerian government huge legal fees.

It would also be recalled that many of the companies with suspected links to the Abacha family were sentenced in 2008 to repay money proven to have been taken from Nigeria’s na­tional budget, but four of the firms filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

But with the benefit of hindsight that negotiated settlement and/or what is called plea bargaining in legal parlance could hasten the recovery of these huge sum, the Nigerian Government accepted negotiations between it and the government of Liechtenstein. Legal observers stated that because of this rapprochement, the four litigants bent on frustrating the recovery back to Nigeria of these stolen money ended up withdraw­ing their complaints in May, “clearing the path for repatria­tion of the assets once and for all,” Vaduz, a spokesperson said in a statement circulated to the media recently.

The World Bank had agreed “to monitor the use of the repatriated assets,” the statement said.  It is reported in global media circles that the current Nigerian Coordinating Minister of the Economy Mrs. [Dr] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was instrumental to the setting up of a unit within the World Bank which played role of a mediator in making this agreement possible with the patriotic zeal of the Federal Attorney General on behalf of the Nigerian State. By and large, this agreement is a pan-Nigerian and globally acclaimed legal landmark achievement which should deservedly be praised.

This agreement which has ended the seemingly unending litigation that has spanned fifteen years bears the hallmark of a professionally well articulated and well thought out mechanism which in the longer terms will be tremendously beneficial to Nigeria since the World Bank has graciously accepted to play the role of an unbiased umpire to monitor the use to which these huge amount of money belonging to the Nigerian people but stolen by the late military tyrant and his family members but now successfully recovered through the expert and tireless activities of the minister of Justice and the Nigerian Federal Attorney Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke [SAN] who has the confidence of the current President Dr. Good Luck Jonathan.

Obviously, this landmark legal achievement made by the current Federal administration has understandably brought to the front burner the larger controversial issue of the merits and demerits of plea bargain as a tool for adjudication especially in corruption related cases. Those who support it always make reference to most developed societies like the United States which has used this legal method to achieve fruitful conclusion of thorny cases that would have cost the American taxpayers huge revenue in pay outs for legal proceedings.

What then is plea bargain? Wikipedia the online free encyclopedia has it that plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor.

On the other hand, a plea bargain is simply an agreement between the defendant - the person accused of a crime - and the prosecution where both parties agree to do something for some type of benefit.

Prosecution simply means the act or process of holding a trial against a person who is accused of a crime to see if that person is guilty, as is notoriously known around legal circles.

In plea bargains, prosecutors usually agree to reduce defendants' punishment.  Legal writers say prosecutors often accomplish this by reducing the number or severity of the charges against defendants. The person [accused] is given the opportunity to negotiate.  

In some plea agreements, the prosecution agrees to drop some criminal charges or reduce the level or severity of a crime in exchange for a defendant's guilty plea. Negotiating a plea bargain can be complicated. Because, you can be forced to say what is not, so say observers.

In most cases, prosecution is better. Though it takes longer time, it helps save finance, it also makes the person serve his jail terms in other to reprimand him and avoid occurrence of his crime, so say observers. Those who support plea bargain say the merits far outweighs the demerits. By and large, plea bargain has its pros and cons but whereby the public interest would be better served by plea bargaining, observers say it is better to make hay while the sun shines since justice delayed is justice denied.

This good news on the Abacha loots which will now be successfully retrieved and return to the people of Nigeria is a big plus for this current administration because there is really no benefit allowing the matter to drag on ad infinitum while the financial resources belonging to the Nigerian people are allowed to be deployed by the receiving jurisdiction to develop their own economy at the disadvantage of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Objective observers will understand that posterity will reserve a place of pride for the current Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice for achieving this remarkable achievement that has added financial benefits for Nigerian government to transparently deploy these huge resources for the service of public good and the promotion of better infrastructure for the Nigerian people equitably in the full view of independent observers from home and abroad. What else is transparency?

All those who jumped into hasty conclusion to criticize the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice for withdrawing the matter it filed locally to recover N446 billion did not give the government the benefit of the doubt that it is inconceivable that the same government that has recovered so much will now play politics with the legal proceedings for the benefit of one of the key suspects in the Abacha loots' matter.

When on 18th of June the matter was withdrawn from the Justice Mamman Kolo-led Abuja High Court by the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice, the Court was told clearly that the Nigerian Government had further and better material not unrelated to the whole issue of the huge public fund stolen and hidden away in foreign jurisdiction by the late General Sani Abacha and his family.  Some Persons who derive joy in carrying out smear campaign against the person of the current minister of justice have indeed kicked off their rumour peddling job even without waiting to hear from the Federal Government if the settlement that has now allowed Nigeria to recover the said huge foreign denominated amount of money from five companies associated with General Abacha's family has anything to do with the Nigerian side of the case that has now been withdrawn.

+ Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria; 


Monday, 16 June 2014

* Owerri Bomb Scare: HURIWA CANVASSES RESIDENTIAL IDENTITY: * Advocates probe of Borno Governor’s Speech;

As a way of checking the infiltration of fifth columnists who would want to cause maximum havoc in the South East, a call has gone to the governors of the South East to initiate immediate and comprehensive biometric registration scheme free of all administrative charges of all valid residents of the zone.

Besides, the recent statement credited to the governor of Borno State Alhaji Kashim Shettima that the armed Islamic insurgents would extend their bombing campaign should be thoroughly probed to ascertain whether the Sunday June 15th, 2014 attempt to bomb five churches in Owerri, Imo State has any connection just as politicians have been called upon to be circumspect with their public statements and avoid careless talks on the ongoing insurgency to avoid providing psychological boost for the armed terrorists.

In a statement by HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the political leadership of the South East especially the governors and local council chairmen including traditional rulers were tasked to always stay on their desks in their jurisdictions within the South East and fashion out counter terrorism measures and mobilize their wards and other lawful residents to stave off possible infiltration of the dare- devil terrorists rather than their frequent trips to Abuja and foreign countries on fruitless voyage of discovery. " The houses of Assembly of the South East States should make binding legislations to compel the state governors to spend at least 85 percent of the entire tenure provided under the extant constitution within their states and only travel when it is absolutely necessary to so do for the public interest of the people".

HURIWA has also tasked prominent investors and business owners based in the South East region to work out and implement fool- proof security measures to prevent any possible bomb attacks just as the group has demanded the setting up of Youth-led volunteer groups in the South East to monitor suspicious strange movements and to enlighten the populace on ways and means of remaining ahead of the terrorists.

“We commend the gallantry exhibited by the Imo State police command in responding promptly to diffuse the explosives planted at the premises of Winners chapel in Owerri, imo State. The Imo state commissioner of police and his management team should be commended and encouraged to keep up the tempo of prompt, decisive and effective law enforcement.  We also asked the Imo State police command, the state security services' directorate in Imo State and the military institution to set up effective counter terrorism task force to check activities of terrorists who may be plotting to invade the state”.

"Similarly, the entire South East police and security institutions must set up efficient anti-terrorism task force and embark on widespread enlightenment campaign to educate the populace on strategies for identifying and reporting would -be terrorists. We encourage the introduction of biometric identification cards for all residents of South East and for traditional and religious leaders to keep tabs on all persons within their jurisdiction”.

On the statement by Bornu State governor, HURIWA said; “we are worried that in less than 78 hours after this bizarre media comments credited to the Borno State governor that Boko Haram will attack the Southern states if the uprisings are not crushed in the North Eastern States, these satanic bombers actually proceeded to plant explosives to inflict maximum chaos in the heartland of Igboland but for the swift intervention of the police and vigilant private guards at the winners church". 

"We hereby demand the probe of that statement and advise politicians to watch their tongues to avoid providing fuel for the ongoing insurgencies. Those entrusted with the onerous task of providing good governance and leadership as governors must guard against utterances that may be misconstrued as providing tonic for the armed terrorists to continue or intensify their war against the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state. We are not concluding that the statement by the Borno state governor actually encouraged the bombers who invaded Imo state over the weekend but certainly, as patriotic citizens, we are worried that leaders who have easy access to the media of mass communication are engaged in the deployment of these powerful media to make unwarranted and sensational statements capable of creating mixed signals especially in these dangerous times of armed insurgencies". 

HURIWA has therefore called on Nigerian political leaders to close ranks and work as a united front to wage successful and unrelenting battle against armed terrorists because the danger in making divisive and deeply partisan statements from both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Opposition All Progressives Congress concerning the ongoing terrorism is that these agents of destabilization will have the belief that they are indeed winning in their war against corporate Nigeria and may be motivated to intensify their war crimes.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

A Brief Biography of Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili

Dora Nkem Akunyili (July 14, 1954-June 7, 2014) born in Makurdi, Benue State was the former Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria and former (December 17, 2008 – December 15, 2010) Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications. She was a pharmacist of distinction and governmental administrator who was widely acknowledged to have  gained international reputation for her scientific feats which significantly reduced the death of many Nigerians exposed to substandard drugs and medicine.. HURIWA HEREBY TODAY INSTALL HER AS OUR LEGEND.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014


We have followed with intense patriotic interest and sometimes with trepidation, the unnecessary and undue controversy piled up by certain persons regarding the recent extension of the state of emergency in the three North East States of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.

While accepting the fact that measures need to be adopted holistically to bring to an end the murderous campaign of terrorism in these North Eastern States, we commend President Jonathan’s decision to extend the emergency without accepting the undue pressure by some interest groups to sack the governors which would have become a big constitutional breach.
We specifically advise those who seek the sack of these governors to read the Nigerian Constitution and to stop playing to the gallery by attacking the person and office of the current holder of the office of the federal Attorney General and minister of Justice Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), a constitutional purist, who we believe has gone about his job in the most professional manner as an officer of the law with high integrity.

We reject the politically- motivated call by Chief Edwin Clark for the sack of the AGF just for not asking the President to commit the constitutional breach of removing the three state governors.

We also score the Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice Mr. Adoke (SAN) highly in his determined effort to constructively wage rights-based and legally supported anti-graft war so far.
At an emergency meeting this morning, we patriotically say the following;
·     The emergency powers granted the President and Commander- in - Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and under the Emergency powers Act 1961 does not enable or vest him with the power to remove a governor in whose State, a State of emergency is declared.

·           Under the present Constitutional regime, a democratically elected governor can only cease to hold office by impeachment, resignation, permanent incapacitation, death and by expiration of tenure. Any attempt to remove a democratically elected governor under this guise of declaration of the so- called "full state of emergency" will be unconstitutional. Though such action is supported by the precedent set in Plateau State during President Olusegun Obasanjo dispensation, it remains an illegality.

·       HURIWA acknowledges that the Supreme Court had declined to make a definite pronouncement on this vex issue in the case of Plateau State of Nigeria VS President of the FRN & ords, on technical ground (the academic nature of the Res or subject matter of that case), the spirit and letter of the law does not envisage the removal of a democratically elected governor during the declaration of a state of emergency.

·     Just like Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), a Lagos lawyer and prominent human rights activist, had asked President Goodluck Jonathan to ignore a call by former federal commissioner for information and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, to suspend democratic structures In Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, preparatory to a full declaration of emergency rule in the affected states, we call on Mr. President to maintain his current pro-legal and constitutional stance. Posterity will recognize him for this decision as a respected constitutional democrat.

·          As stakeholders in the human rights community and drawing from our findings we know that there are executive functions under the 1999 constitution (as amended) that are gubernatorial in nature, that is, exclusive to and only domiciled in the governor as they are exclusively exercisable by the governor, such functions cannot be delegated, not even to deputy governor, examples of such powers include; assent to Bills passed by the State House of Assembly, under section 100 of the  1999 C.F.R.N (as amended), power of prerogative of mercy under section 212 of 1999 CFRN and appointment of members of the State Executive Council amongst others. Only a governor or Acting governor can exercise those functions, and the circumstances under which an Acting governor emerges does not include when a state of emergency is declared.

·    HURIWA acknowledges the well grounded position of the law that a state of emergency validly declared under section 305 does not by itself; bring into play the second power. It is a fundamental principle of the Rule of law that executive acts must be authorized by law, at any rate, in so far as they affect the rights and interests of an individual, and that the Executive is not the one to confer the necessary legal authorization.

·           HURIWA has found out that as far back as 1921, in the celebrated case, Eshugbayi Eleko VS Government of Nigeria, the Privy Council applied to invalidate the deportation of the Oba of Lagos by the Colonial governor of Nigeria without authorization by law, which as the sole legislature for the country at the same time, he could have conferred on himself by simply issuing an ordinance, but which he failed to do, relying instead on what he called inherent authority as the Executive, in a judgement that has become a great constitutional landmark, the Privy council, speaking through Lord Atkins, said that the Executive ,"can only act in pursuance of the powers given to him by law".

·      Finally, the removal of a state governor from office by reason solely of an emergency is formerly declared under the section 305, is completely and unequivocally precluded by the provision in section 11(4) CFRN, which declares that "nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring on the National Assembly power to remove the governor or the deputy Governor of the state from office". The governor remains in office during such  period with his executive powers undiminished, since by section 11(4) any " law enacted by the National Assembly, pursuant to this section shall have effect as they were laws enacted by the House of Assembly of the State". "He is the rightful authority to executive powers vested in him shall extend to the execution and maintenance of the constitution (and all laws made by the House of Assembly. And if the National Assembly cannot, in the exercise of it's power to make law under section 11(4), remove a state governor, it cannot by law authorize the President to do so. The President has no inherent power to remove or suspend a governor, we maintain.

·      It follows that a state governor democratically elected into office under the 1999 constitution cannot be removed from office by reason solely of an emergency validly declared under section 305 of that Constitution, in order words, there is nothing in the provisions of the 1999 constitution relating to an emergency that permits that a democratically elected governor under the current constitutional regime BE SUSPENDED under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE whatsoever. This is our position and we so canvass based on extensive research.

 * Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko;
   National Coordinator;

* Ms. Zainab Yusuf,

   National Director of media Affairs.


Monday, 2 June 2014


Exactly 386 days, or approximately 9,264 hours ago, President Goodluck Jonathan approved the appointment of then Nigeria’s representative to the African Human Rights Commission Mrs. Dupe Catherine Atoki to head the Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council.

 Mrs. Dupe Catherine Atoki has had over two decades of law practice in the area of human rights advocacy and protection. When therefore her appointment was made public, critical stakeholders took considerable notice and also wished that the consumer rights of Nigerians would be much more vigourously protected. 

Officially, this upwardly mobile legal practitioner born of Kogi state origin of Yoruba parentage assumed duty at the Abuja headquarters of the agency and declared her commitment towards ensuring adequate protection of the rights of Nigerian consumers.

In mid May of last year when she took over the helm of affairs, she met the management team and told them pointblank that the organization must properly project itself as a relevant tool for the economic development of the nation, through the execution of its mandate.

As someone from the private sector, she must have been well aware of the enormous credibility deficit staring the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council in the face given that Nigerians are about the most widely abused consumers globally because of weak regulatory and policy frameworks.

The kernel of her inaugural message could be reduced into the following charge; "potentials of the Council should be brought out to further justify its relevance as an organization focusing on the disadvantaged".

She asserted that “my focal point is to ensure Nigerian consumers are protected, to ensure that the ordinary person on the street knows his/her rights, knows when those rights are being abused and where to report to when abused".
“We have a lot to do in defining our priorities. We can identify areas that affect the generality of the common man. We don’t have the luxury of time. I have four years to spend and by the end, I want to show that the Council is able to deliver appropriately through its mandate,” Mrs. Atoki declared.

As someone who has travelled around the major nations of the World, she charged her management and staff to strive to maintain excellence and thoroughness in the discharge of the statutory roles of the agency with a view to ensuring that Nigerians get only the best in terms of products and services.

Her words; “potentials of becoming an industrialized economy, but we cannot if indigenous manufacturers are competing with cheap but sub-standard and fake products”.
She charged the Council’s management and its entire workforce to join hands with her in fast-tracking the pace of the organization so that “the mandate given to us becomes more effective.”

Atoki's inaugural pledges reminds me of what the erstwhile Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug administration and control [NAFDAC] wrote in her memoirs on how she achieved the legendary success ascribed to her when she headed that body.

Writing in the book titled "The War against Counterfeit medicine: My story" Dr. [Mrs. ] Dora Akunyili noted that she assumed duty to notice that the weakest links  in NAFDAC's regulatory activities were poor monitoring and enforcement. She then proceeded to roll out more effective strategies to change the tide positively.

As someone with intense interest with the goings on in the Consumer Protection Council over the years, I agree that the new team at that agency has indeed commenced vigourou consumer rights campaign but will surely do excellently well if the enabling Act is quickly amended to make it more effective and to reduce the number of council members which I believe is on the high side.

I am told that the Executive Council of the Federation has begun a move to submit a proposed legislation to strengthen the mandate and power of the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council and I only wish that the current National Assembly can pass this bill as quickly as possible. The Council must be clearly supported by all and sundry t ensure that the serial abuses of the rights of Nigerians including the serious breaches of the rights of air travelers both locally and internationally are well protected.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has really failed to protect the consumer rights of passengers and it is fitting and appropriate that the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council is allowed to carry out the mandate for which it was set up without let or bureaucratic hindrances.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and;