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Thursday, 31 July 2014


Few days back the country's secret police successfully repatriated back to Nigeria from Sudan a top terrorism mastermind- the Moslem convert Mr. Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche with the kind assistance of the international police department [INTERPOL].

On arrival in Nigeria, this terrorism suspect accused of coordinating one of Nigeria's most deadly bombing attacks in the outskirt of the Nigerian capital in April 2014 reportedly admitted to interrogators that he indeed organized and coordinated the dare devil attack that resulted in multiple casualties running t nearly 200 innocent Nigerians at the packed public park in Nyanya, near Abuja. He was also said not to have regretted his diabolical action even as he was reportedly quoted in a leaked media report of threatening further attacks should he be left off the hook since he believed that killing non-Moslems was according to him a spiritual assignment.

Apart from the deadly bombing attacks allegedly carried out by terrorists coordinated by the now arrested suspect Mr. Ogwche, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court n The Hague, Netherlands Mrs. Fatou Bensouda had in a well considered report authored in August 5th 2013 categorically concluded that members of the armed Islamic terrorists in Northern Nigeria have carried out crimes against humanity as prescribed by Article 7 of the Rome statute.

Against the backdrop of this confessional statement by this terrorism suspect which has jolted the consciences of millions of Nigerians who have understandably been traumatized by the seemingly unending cocktail of mass killings by the armed Islamic insurgents, most Nigerians have asked why prosecution of over a hundred suspected top flight terrorists arrested by the Nigerian government have not progressed and hat it seemed the Nigerian justice ministry in Abuja is not in a hurry to bring these suspected mass murderers to trial for their alleged heinous crime against humanity.  Nigerians have severally called on the Nigerian Government to come to terms with the increasing demands for the arrested terrorism suspects to be made to face the heavy weight of the Nigerian law in compliance with section 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which confers the judicial powers of the federation on the courts of competent jurisdiction to deal with suspected criminals in view of the fact that Nigeria as a democracy ought to respect the principle of rule of law.

Many Nigerians can recall with trepidation the ugly reality of the extent of damage done already to the psyche of the nation by the devilish activities of these blood sucking demons in the name of armed Islamic terrorists over the past three years resulting in the killings of almost twelve thousand innocent Nigerians. Thus Nigerians wonder why the judicial system is not being invigorated and radically transformed by the powers that be and the national legislature to provide the expeditious ground for the prosecution in the competent courts of law by the office of the Federal Attorney General and offices of the states Attorneys General of these dare devil mass killers so they are made to face the full weight of the law.  Some Nigerians have also expressed concern that even the Nigeria's internal security department of the federal Government has not demonstrated enough readiness by way of making readily available the most secured detention facilities for these dangerous terrorists already arrested so they are not allowed to escape the long arm of the law. Some observers have even raised the weird accusation that the holder of the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke [SAN] as a Moslem is working to achieve a predetermined plot of ensuring that the hard core alleged terrorists already arrested and detained by the Nigerian security establishment are not prosecuted on time so they can benefit from any future prisoners exchange agreement should the Federal Government accepts to negotiate a lasting truce with the armed Islamic terrorists with operational bases in the North East. Already the Minister of Justice himself through the office of his chief press secretary denied this bizarre allegation and stated that the Attorney General of the Federation has the highest respect for the constitutional provisions which obliges him to serve only the public interest of corporate Nigeria and not his personal agenda which he does not even have. 

Also worried by these sad tales of apparent inaction of the relevant Federal authorities to do the needful to bring these terrorists to speedy trial, I made effort to research and find out what has so far been done by the office f the Federal Attorney General and minister of justice to address this national outrage of the slow justice dispensation mechanism vis-à-vis the increasing threats posed to the lives and property of Nigerians by the armed insurgents. 

The Justice Minister in denying the allegation that his office seems not to be in a hurry to prosecute terrorists said that:"There is no doubt that any society, which desires to bring about social justice, and development will ultimately address the functionality and centrality of law. In my respectful view, social justice and a developmental perspective to nations legal system requires that the rule of law must be sacrosanct".

The justice minister had similarly declared at the opening ceremony of an international seminar on the observance of human rights and international humanitarian laws held recently in Abuja that his office has so far successfully prosecuted and got convictions of 40 hard core terrorists under the terrorism prevention Act of 2011 as amended in 2013.

The nation's chief law officer said that in a constitutional democracy like Nigeria, the rule of law connotes not only that the judiciary is independent but that judicial orders and judgments of courts are obeyed and enforced.

Adoke said that the aforementioned position is more so imperative  when only the courts of law are mandated to state with finality the position of the law as it governs the affairs of the society and the nation.

His words: "in the course of evolving sustainable constitutional principles for our democracy and in the face of security challenges, the courts have dispensed justice according to the law and our constitutional evolution has benefitted immensely from their interventions".

The minister of justice is of the opinion that in Nigeria, the challenges of nationhood are more pronounced in the areas of security, fostering of national unity and democratic consolidation.

The threat of global terrorism hitherto considered an alien phenomenon, in his estimation, has unfortunately found a place in our nation.

In his direct response to the groundswell of allegations that his office has not adopted quick win process of bringing the arrested terrorists to trial, the Nigerian Attorney General said thus; "Media reports of terrorists attacks on innocent citizens, members of the armed forces and police and our critical infrastructure have continued to weigh heavily on the cost of governance and the ability of the citizenry to carry out their social and economic activities with grave consequences for the nation". 

My deduction from the seeming groundswell of dissatisfaction on the slow pace of prosecution of suspected terrorists who have carried out gruesome killings of over twelve thousand innocent Nigerians is that Nigerians are yearning for an effective and professionally minded prosecution to be coordinated by the office of the Federal Attorney General who should make se of thorough bred professional criminal litigation lawyers who know their onions in order to get quicker dispensation of justice. Nigerians do not want a situation whereby the sensitive issue of prosecuting terrorism masterminds are left in the hands of police prosecutors who are thoroughly incompetent and ready to compromise national security through their lackadaisical approach to duty and their penchant to seek for selfish pecuniary gains at the expense of national security. Nigerians are asking that the office of the Federal Attorney General should set up vibrant team of senior litigation lawyers with the highest manifestation of patriotic zeal and professional competence to handle these sensitive prosecution of the many terrorists that are currently being detained in the various detention facilities scattered across Nigeria.  From what the minister of justice has repeatedly stated in the public domain I am sure that he is very much aware of the demands for speedy and professionally competent prosecution of these terrorists that have carried out these spate of genocidal killings of Nigerians of all affiliations. The minister knows that posterity will judge his performance as minister in the way and manner that these high profile armed insurgents in detention for these grave crimes against humanity and so he will consciously discharge his constitutional duty with the love of the Fatherland behind his every action.

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


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

NFIC: AS Senate MOVES TO BATTLE GRAFT By Emmanuel Onwubiko

There is no doubt that the entire Nigerian Nation is consumed with the patriotic flavor and passion of reestablishing lasting peace and retrieving the country from the disturbing and destabilization plots of the fifth columnists who are bent on destroying Nigeria by proxy through the active deployment of the armed Islamic terrorists.

Because of this harsh reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the battle weary Nigerians to give keen attention to other salient developmental strides that are evolved in the body polity and especially from the National Assembly which over the last few years has also created considerable reasons for most Nigerians to doubt the integrity of the individual members of those so-called hallowed chambers [both green and red].

This national sense of outrage against members of the national Assembly resulted from the widely held notion across board that they are only in the National Assembly to line their pockets with filthy lucre and do very little to redress the rots afflicting the nation and also that they are unwilling to make bold and courageous laws that would ensure the equitable redistribution of national wealth because right now the wealth of the nation is largely concentrated in the hands of only but less than five percent of the entire populace thereby allowing millions of Nigerians to exist in very squalid and poverty stricken conditions. There is a national and international consensus that by and large corruption and financial crimes by public office holders contribute largely in the ballooning poverty that afflicts the greater number of the populace. Corruption it is agreed is the root cause of poverty. Most scholars believe that prior to the passage of the NFIU bill,the anti graft regulatory framework is very weak and is in need of reforms necessitating the clamor for the creation of an independent unit to collate, distill and effectively deploy for use and enforcement by anti graft and anti crime agencies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

But there seems to be an oasis of hope in the desert of despair judging by the current move by the Senate which culminated in the passage of a bill seeking to establish the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as a separate entity with the aim of serving as intelligence think-tank for anti-graft agencies and other relevant bodies.
The journey to what may result in an Eldorado of vigorous anti graft campaign that is if the members of the  House of Representatives will not rock the boat but concur with the Senate to see to the actualization of this august body, started long time ago and incidentally one of the champions of this advocacy is a young upwardly mobile lady pioneer staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ms. Juliet Ibekaku who acted as the director of the NFIU while it was domiciled within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The nascent body when sign into law b the Nigerian President would be rightly known as Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center[NFIC].

Another staunch supporter of this revolution in seeing that an independent intelligence ombudsman is established to wage relentless battle against financial criminals is the one time Head of Service of the Federation Mr. Stephen Oronsanye who also headed the panel set up by President Good luck Jonathan to trim down the over bloated Federal government funded agencies. For the fact that these key personalities risked everything to wage this patriotic campaign to see through the passage of this bill in the National Assembly shows that when finally created Nigeria's number one problem which remains endemic corruption and economic crime would be frontally challenged because as most people have started noticing the fight against corruption by both Independent Corrupt and allied offences commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is waning to the disgust of most right thinking Nigerians. So to a lot of commentators retrieving the NFIU from the suffocating bureaucratic control of the EFCC is one of the best things to happen to Nigeria's anti graft crusade which is passing through trying times now and is giving this Federal Government serious image and branding/reputational crisis internationally.

The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who prior to his elevation to this prestigious national office was a practicing lawyer has also made tremendous impressions in the minds of Nigerians that his leadership of the Federal legislature will be remarkably eventful and will surely establish a lasting anti graft legacy. So this is the time for the Speaker and his members to display this candor and courage by concurring with the Senate so this NFIU bill is sent to President Jonathan for his a

The bill, once assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, will separate financial intelligence unit from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and make it an autonomous department with greater capacity to effectively carry out its functions. This move will also make Nigeria move rapidly into the class of nations around the globe that have embraced the war against financial crimes with all the seriousness that this global menace demands going by the fact that financial crime is also responsible for terrorism financing.

In line with parliamentary procedures, the bill's passage last week reportedly followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Financial Crimes, Drugs and Narcotics presented by its Chairman, Senator Victor Lar. This Senator it would be recalled has had varied legislative experiences from the Federal House of Representatives for many years in the current democratic dispensation before been elected to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The move to initiate the bill followed the observation of inter-government action group against money laundering that the financial intelligence unit in Nigeria, among other countries in West Africa, has not been operating optimally.

According to report made available at the legislative session, the lack of an independent NFIU is a development that adversely affected the capacity of the country to tackle money laundering and its associated offences, a situation which is said by experts and those who should know to portend great danger to the economy and the image of the country if left unchecked.

The bill, according to these learned minds, is set out specifically to serve as a legal, institutional and regulatory framework that will ensure transparency, effective and efficient management, administration and operation of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Centre.

As covered in the Nigerian press, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and whose late father was a reputable anti graft judge, while leading a debate on the bill during its second reading, said: “It would also help to institutionalise best practices in financial intelligence management in the country as obtainable in advanced countries as well as the establishment of an effective system to combat money laundering, terrorists financing and associated offences.
“The cardinal feature of the bill is to vest the financial intelligence centre with full independence and autonomy.
“This will insulate the centre from undue interference and manipulation by other authorities as well as strengthen its capacity to effectively deliver on its mandate."

There is a groundswell of allegations that the leadership of the EFCC has commenced active witch-hunt of the principal characters behind this innovative idea in the fight against terrorism financing because the Chairman is alleged to be thinking that the removal of the NFIU now to be known as NFIC is meant to whittle down his sphere of influence. But this is not about one individual but about the country that needs urgent surgical overhaul of the moribund anti graft regulatory framework to make the agencies much more responsive to the challenges of the twenty first century. The President and indeed the National Assembly must investigate these damaging allegations against the EFCC chairman with a view to compelling him to abide by the principle of Rule of Law and stop further molestation of the staff of NFIU and principal members of the National Assembly who are piloting the passage of this good law. If I may ask why is the Chairman of EFCC allegedly scared of letting go the Nigerian financial intelligence Unit? Why is he opposed to the passage of this new bill which will clearly empower different law enforcement agencies to go after financiers of terrorism and other grave crimes against the Nigerian state?

+ Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and      blogs;


Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Fear in the expert opinion of Psychologists is said to be a vital response to physical and emotional danger and they also said that if we don't feel fear we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. This is correct because we grow up to learn the native intelligence that self preservation is the first aw of nature.

Aside native intelligence, we also learnt from we are also told that we often fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Fear also triggers off trauma and in this same professional dictionary of psychology we also learnt that traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell but in their words 'exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them'.

Speaking about the phenomenon of fear reminds us of the national traumas that most Nigerians are experiencing now as a result of the consequences of the bombing campaign by the armed Islamic insurgents over the past three years. From Maiduguri in Borno state to Umuahia in Abia state, panic and fear of the unknown is spreading like wild fire no thanks to the diabolical inclination of these terrorists to instill fear and apprehension around the country in their sinister moves to take their brand of Islamic radicalism to a new height. Usman Stanley Ola [not real names] told me that since after the last bombing campaign in Abuja he stopped going to any commercial complex around town and he avoids the markets like a plague.

Again, Nigerians of all classes and affiliations have come to recognize this ugly fact that fear has become our new national demons even as most persons have begun debating the best methodology to bring about the lasting resolution of the campaign of terrorism across Nigeria. 

In Abuja, fear has replaced enthusiasm and the usually boisterous character of the municipality just as majority of the residents are now contending with the uncertainty of where and when these armed insurgents will detonate their weapons of mass destruction next after they succeeded in mid April 2014 in detonating high caliber bombs in the most centralized and easily the busiest commercial complex in the nation's capital- Emab Plaza in Wuse two which killed a high number of Nigerians who were simply there to transact their daily businesses.

The latest explosion of bombs in Abuja followed the successful attacks by the armed insurgents in Nyanya commercial bus park parked with thousands of commuters which   also resulted in very high casualty rate. Symbolically, what these armed insurgents have succeeded in doing in these rash of bomb explosions in Abuja is that they had targeted the most populated areas of the nation's political capital to pass a message that they are on a campaign of mass slaughter and killings of ordinary Nigerians and that the law enforcement agencies are incapacitated and incapable of providing fool proof security to Nigerians.

Understandably, Abuja residents in their thousands are now jittery and fearful of patronizing commercial buildings which has now crippled the economic activities of a dominant sector of the Nigerian society- the small and medium scale enterprises.

This much has been repeatedly emphasized by prominent Nigerians who have ceaselessly tasked the Federal and state governments to move rapidly to bring to an end the spate of attacks targeted at ordinary Nigerians and to salvage Nigeria from imminent collapse.

 The latest high profile personality in Nigeria to add her voice to the widening worries over the violent terrorism spreading fear across Nigeria is the Chief Justice of Nigeria who delivered a key note address recently at a national judicial event and rightly reminded Nigerians that terrorism is gradually destroying Nigeria.

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar who spoke in Abuja said the adverse effect of the seeming unending insurgency in the country has manifested itself generally in such a dastardly fashion that it has affected economic activities and thrown spanner in government’s effort in attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). 

The CJN also charged judicial officers to brainstorm on ways by which witnesses and victims of terrorist acts could be best protected and supported to give evidence in court against perpetrators of these unwholesome acts. 

There is no gainsaying the fact that because of fear of reprisal most persons who have critical information that will assist in reducing terrorism activities are not sufficiently rendering those vital information to the public domain and/or to the security agents. Again, the few suspects arrested and dragged to courts for terrorism have remained in detention longer than necessary because people are frightened by the danger that may befall them if these terrorists and their sponsors trace them to their places of abode.
So the charge by the chief justice of Nigeria on the authorities to work out better protective measures for witnesses in cases of terrorism is a welcome development and should indeed be promptly addressed. This is because the delay in bringing decisive justice to suspects accused of carrying out widespread killings of innocent Nigerians has created doubts in the minds of most Nigeria concerning the commitment of government to fight this menace of terrorism. If mass killers are not punished sternly then impunity will take root in the society.

It was in a bid to save Nigeria from sliding into lawlessness and impunity that the chief justice of Nigeria is calling for immediate action. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the national workshop for judicial officers on anti-terrorism, Chief Justice Mukhtar noted that “terrorism poses serious challenges to any nation unfortunate to experience it as it has the risk of undermining core values of the nation such as the Rule of Law, respect for human rights, protection of civilians, tolerance among the various ethnic groups.” 
“Its motivation, financing and support mechanisms, methods of attack and choice of target are constantly evolving, thus adding to the complexity of any effective strategy to combat it”, she lamented.

The CJN said “Terrorism undermines overall economic activities and development, thereby seriously affecting living standard of the poor segment of society. It has driven all investments away – both local and foreign. Terrorist attacks devalue the quality of life and affects the enjoyment of some basic rights like right to life, freedom of movement, access to possible employment and educational opportunities.” 

The CJN said the onus had therefore fallen on the judiciary to contribute its quota to ongoing effort to combat the menace, which has led to several losses of lives in the country since the activities of Boko Haram started.

On this ground I think the government should set up military tribunals to handle the prosecution of cases of terrorism even as witness protection program must be activated so that more convictions can be obtained. Prosecution of terrorism related cases must not be treated just like the conventional criminal trial since these terrorists are the worst kinds of mass murderers who are out to destroy the fabrics of the nation State.

The Nigerian Chief Justice stated as much when she affirmed thus: “Faced with the above scenario, the strengthening of the capacity of the judicial officers on the system adopted to suppress and combat terrorism becomes imperative and a crucial component of a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. This is because the perpetrators when apprehended must be brought for trial in full compliance with the National and International legal regime against terrorism and Rule of Law”.

 The other issue that has mystified most observers is how fast Nigeria has declined in her ability to protect the citizenry which is the most basic and fundamental duty of every government in contemporary time. Reports in the media concerning the combat readiness of Nigerian soldiers is frightening. This calls for sober reflection on how the defence and policing sectors of Nigeria has deteriorated due to ineptitude and corruption in the procurement systems in place in those two key security institutions.

 While it is imperative to task Government to find out measures to check corruption in the defence and policing sector so as to protect Nigeria's sovereignty, it is also timely to generally task Nigerians to stand up and design implementable mechanisms to defeat this situation of monumental fear that has enveloped our nation and has made us a republic of fear.

All segments of the Nigerian society must be united with a common purpose of defeating terrorism. We must stop playing ethnic or religious cards on matters of counter terrorism campaign going on by the armed security wing of the current government.

It is pathetic and obviously primitive that some state governments especially in the North through their officials have made some vexatious claims in the media alleging that the counter terror fight is being waged against their people. The governor of Adamawa state and a retired Naval Chief in the Nigerian military sector was recently in the news for alleging that the armed Islamic insurgency going on especially in the North was a sinister design by President Jonathan to depopulate Northern Nigeria. Retired Rear Admiral Murtallah Nyako who took part in several military coups in the past which progressively weakened the combat  readiness of Nigerian soldiers, went to the ridiculous extent of alleging genocide against President Jonathan.

This line of argument is puerile and infantile because what we contend with in Nigeria are a bunch of monsters that are well armed and ideologically bent to destroy our basic freedom by planting bombs which go off every now and then killing thousands and inflicting psychological pain and fear in the minds of millions of Nigerians.

Government at every level has the constitutional obligation to protect the security of lives and property of law abiding Nigerians for this is the primary constitutional duty of government. It is dangerous and satanic for someone like the Kano state governor for instance to claim that security forces are targeting Northerners when in actual fact Kano has come under several attacks by terrorists which cost the precious lives of mostly Southerners and even Kano indigenes. 

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