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Lawyers decry increase in cases of torture, extra-judicial killings in Nigeria

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By Francesca Iwambe

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The Avocats Sans Frontieres, ASF, otherwise known as lawyers without border, on Tuesday, said it was worried about the increasing cases of torture and extra-judicial killings in the country.

The legal group, in a report it issued to mark the end of SAFE Project intervention it launched since 2019, equally decried the swelling number of awaiting trial inmates languishing in various prisons across the federation.

It noted that despite the promulgation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, in 2015, security agencies have continued to use torture as a strategy to extract extra-judicial statement from suspects.

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The Head of Office of ASF France, in Nigeria, Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, said the group deployed its officials in three states- Enugu, Lagos and Kaduna- which served as pilot states for the concluded project.

“The SAFE project’s major thematic issues were; torture, arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings and the project has a pro-bono legal aid component to ensure access to justice for victims.

“On the project, 167 cases were identified for pro-bono legal aid, of which 120 were approved for litigation and 47 were approved for legal advice.

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“These are cases of victims of torture, arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings across the project states.

“Of all the cases, we were able to conclude 40 of them. Because of the peculiar way our Judiciary operates, some of the cases suffered delays because they had to start de-novo (afresh) owing to either the death or transfer of the judges handling them.

“We equally filed three suits before the ECOWAS Court. We also secured the unconditional release of 23 persons that were arbitrarily detained without trial.

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“Though the ACJA has been trying to address the issue of arbitrary detention, however, from the field, we observed that undue prolonged detention is one of the major human right violation in Nigeria.

“We encountered cases of people that had spent between 8 to 18 years in detention as Awaiting Trial Inmates. This is a major problem that amounts to gross injustice as no amount of monetary compensation will be enough to justify the taking away of the liberty of a person for over 18 years without trial or conviction.

“With our interactions with key stakeholders in the justice sector, the Judiciary gave us the signal that they are ready. On some of the complaints we received, which were outside our thematic areas, we forwarded petitions to the police and the National Human Rights Commission.

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“Some of those cases bordered on sexual assault and domestic violence”, Uzoma-Iwuchukwu added.

On its part, the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, said it has received over 13,000 complaints, levelling sundry allegations of human rights violations against its officers.

It said the petitions were received from members of the public, through its Complaint Response Unit, CRU.

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An Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Aliyu Umar, who represented the NPF, said most of the petitions were received through social media platforms that included Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“Expectedly, Lagos State had the highest number of petitions and we always ensure that these complaints vlate properly logged into our database”, ASP Umar added.

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Taraba state government condemns the gruesome murder of Monarch’s family

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Emmanuel Awari-Jalingo

Taraba State Government has Condemned in Strong Terms the gruesome Murder of the two wives and five children of the Chief of Mutum-Biyu HRH.Alhaji Bose Sani Suleiman Mohammed, who were abducted by Men of the underworld some few weeks ago.

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In a statement issued by the Commissioner of Information and Re-Orientation, Mrs. Lois Emmanuel to newsmen in Jalingo, the Government described the act as Barbaric,Ungodly, Inhuman and Uncivilized regretting that it’s sustained efforts to rid the state of Kidnappings and other forms of Banditry was being thwarted by the recent developments in the State.

“The government reiterates it’s resolve to continue to ensure adequate protection of lives and properties of the citizens and vowed to network with the security Agencies in the State to bring to book the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

“The Government Condoled with the Monarch, His Royal Highness and the people of Mutum-Biyu Chiefdom on the unfortunate incident and prayed God to repose the souls of the Deceased and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable Loss “the statement concluded.

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Insecurity: Taraba monarch confirms finding decomposed bodies of his kidnapped wives, five children

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The Chief of Mutumbiyu Justices Chiefdom in Taraba State, Justice Sani Muhammed (rtd), says the decomposed bodies of his two abducted wives and five children have been found.

The monarch said that the bodies were discovered early Saturday morning and would be buried at Mutumbiyu.

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The bodies of my family members killed by kidnappers was found and will be brought to Mutumbiyu,” he said.

Eight family members of the Monarch were abducted by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers at his Jalingo residence two weeks ago.

But a 14-year-old boy among the abducted families of the monarch escaped from the kidnappers two days ago and was taken to the palace.

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Don’t dare to scuttle this election, ING is an aberation -Wike

Wike, NDDC, Ayu
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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has warned cabals reportedly trying to scuttle the February 25 and March 11 general elections to desist from the plot, saying no to any form of ‘interim government’.

“Let nobody try to scuttle this election,” the governor warned on Saturday during a campaign in the Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of the state.

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, also berated the Federal Government over the scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes, saying he believes that President Muhammadu Buhari was misled to approve the policy.

“This policy (naira redesign) is targeted at making people angry so that they will demonstrate and riot and then the election be postponed. Then, they will introduce an interim government,” he said.

“No matter the provocation, don’t protest,” Wike cautioned the people of the state. “This election will hold. This election is by the PVCs. This election is not an election of cabals; it is an election of Nigerians.”

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Interim Government first popped up in Nigeria’s history about three decades ago when then Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumably won by the late philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola. The late Ernest Shonekan subsequently emerged the head of the Interim National Government between January and August 1993.

‘Enemies Of Nigeria’
The former minister said those supporting the currency redesign amid the electioneering process are the enemies of the country.

He also knocked the Federal Government over the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol.

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“You said you want to remove the old currency but we have not seen the new ones. Can you buy fuel? Can you buy anything to eat again? Now, tell me, would you vote for anybody who loves Nigeria and is running for election, who supports this CBN policy?” he asked party supporters decked up in party paraphernalia, many of whom chorused “No”.

“Those supporting this kind of thing are enemies of Nigeria. I believe that they did not tell President Buhari the correct thing because me and the President are going the same time – May 29, the same time, nobody will stay one day more the other.

The governor, however, said he believes that the President will take steps to assuage the pain of the masses.

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“So, I know the man will like to finish well and go and I won’t see what is bad and not advise him. Those plotting all these things are those who don’t like him. But I believe he will hear the cries of Nigerians,” he said.

The PDP stalwart further said the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is not to fight corruption “What corruption are you fighting when you have three months more?” he queried.

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