Tag Archives: violence

Just in: Violence near Niger, 42,000 flee.

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About 42,000 people have fled violence by armed groups in northern Nigeria near the border with Niger in recent weeks, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday.

The region is prone to communal clashes over land and water rights, especially between nomadic herders and farmers.

The UN agency said the refugees, “mainly desperate women and children”, were being allowed to seek protection in Niger despite border closures as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic.

“Ongoing violence in parts of northwestern Nigeria forced an estimated 23,000 people to seek safety and security in Niger last month,” the agency said in a statement.

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“Fearing and fleeing the same insecurity in the border areas, an additional 19,000 Niger nationals have become displaced inside their own country,” it added.

The flight to Niger takes the total number of refugees fleeing that part of Nigeria to more than 60,000 since the first influx in April last year, it said.

The latest influx follows bloodshed in the Nigerian states of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara, the agency said, adding that the worst attack in Katsina on April 18 left 47 people dead.

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“Those fleeing speak of extreme violence unleashed against civilians, murders, kidnappings for ransom and pillaging and looting of villages.”

Overall, Niger hosts more than half a million refugees, from Mali and Burkina Faso as well as Nigeria, according to a recent UN report.


#Newsworthy…

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Riot continue in Delhi, death toll raises


India’s capital has seen a third day of violence as the death toll from Monday’s clashes went up to at least seven, including a policeman, police told Al Jazeera.
Some 90 people have been injured in clashes in the northeast of Delhi over a new citizenship law, a senior hospital official told Reuters on Tuesday.
“Some of the people brought in had gunshot wounds,” Dr Rajesh Kalra, additional medical superintendent at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said of Monday’s violence.


Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, appealed to residents to maintain peace after an urgent meeting of his newly elected legislators in the capital, reports al-Jazeera.
‘Severe shortage’ of police officers
Kejriwal told ANI news agency that his party’s legislators from the affected areas said there was a “severe shortage” of police officers. N.Rs learnt


The clashes erupted on Sunday after supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament last December, attacked anti-government protest sites. The CAA, dubbed “anti-Muslim”, has triggered nationwide protests, especially by Muslims.


The violence started a day after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra warned anti-CAA protesters to end their peaceful sit-ins in the northeastern Jafrabad and Maujpur areas of the Indian capital.
On Monday, police used tear gas and smoke grenades but struggled to disperse the stone-throwing crowds.


A tyre market was set on fire later on Monday, the Press Trust of India said. A video posted on social media showed crowds of men shouting “Jai Shree Ram” or “Hail Lord Ram”, a revered Hindu deity, as they went on a rampage, according to the AFP.
Several vehicles and a fire truck were torched in Jafrabad and Maujpur as police imposed prohibitory orders to prevent further violence.


“Hundreds of women have been peacefully protesting against the CAA since Saturday night near the Jafrabad Metro station. But on Sunday, after Mishra led the rally, his supporters pelted us with stones leading to clashes,” Zohran, a Jafrabad resident, told Al Jazeera.
“The BJP leaders are trying to give the protests a Hindu-Muslim colour. They incite people in the name of religion, which is very unfortunate.”


‘Additional police officers deployed’
Anil Mittal, additional public relations officer of Delhi Police, said on Tuesday additional police officers had been deployed in the northeast district of Delhi.
One police constable was among those killed in the violence that erupted just ahead of US President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to the capital city.


Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are set to meet for talks on Tuesday at a venue located a few miles away from where the clashes occurred.
Tension in parts of the city remained high on Tuesday with schools remaining shut in some areas, amid news reports of fresh clashes. At least five metro stations in the city were closed.


Monday’s clashes were among the worst seen in Delhi since the protests against the CAA began in early December.
India’s capital has been a hotbed of protests against the law, which eases the path of non-Muslims from three neighbouring Muslim-majority countries to gain Indian citizenship.

This has led to accusations that Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP are undermining India’s secular ethos.
The BJP denies any bias against India’s more than 180 million-strong Muslim minority, but objectors have been holding protests and camping out in parts of New Delhi for two months.


#Newsworthy…

President Lenín apologize after saying women only report harassment from ‘Ugly men’


Lenín Moreno, president of Ecuador, has apologised for saying women only report cases of harassment when it comes from “ugly men.”

Moreno, had while speaking at a conference on in Guayaquil, noted that men are now “permanently subjected to the danger of being accused of harassment,” by women, especially when they are “ugly.”

According to him, “women often report harassment, it is true, and it is good that they do so,” adding they usually “get angry with ugly people” in harassment cases.

“That is to say, it is ‘harassment’ when it comes from an ugly person. But if the person is good looking… they usually do not think it is harassment,” he said.


His comments had prompted immediate outrage from women’s rights activists as many others took to social media to tackle the president.

In reaction to the widespread criticism, Moreno, however, took to Twitter to apologise, noting his original comments wer not to support cases of harassment against women by men in the society.

The 66-year-old politician further rejected “violence against women in all its forms.”

“In my comment about harassment, I did not intend to minimize such a serious matter as violence or abuse. I apologize if it was understood that way. I reject violence against women in all its forms!,” his post read in English.


#Newsworthy…

Nigerian women begin self-defense training {Video}

…against sexual assault and violence


Some Nigerian women who have been victims of sexual assault are undergoing self-defence training in Lagos, to learn how to protect themselves when faced with similar issue.

The training, organised by Women Impacting Nigeria (WIN), brought together women of different backgrounds but similar story of assault and violence, who are being tutored by boxing coaches at no cost.

Adeola Olamide, one of the participants, said she decided to enroll to learn how to protect herself after being assaulted several times.


“At least, I can protect myself and if I want to attack, I can attack quickly,” the mother of three told BBC.

The 35-year-old woman also spoke against the tradition of stigmatisation of women who choose to learn combat skills as a form of self-defence, noting she is ready to go against the status quo.


“It’s strange. Very, very strange to hear that a woman wants to defend herself if she finds herself in a position where she has to. Nobody is going to listen to that,” she said.

“They’ll only tell you that you are not being submissive as a woman. You know, they tell you that you are just, you’ve just become a feminist.”


Tope Imaskeha, WIN founder, noted the initiative was to provide a platform for those who have been sexually assaulted in the past to share their experiences together, while also learning how to defend themselves.

“It’s an alternative. It’s a new way of doing the whole sit around a circle and everybody tells their story because here you are meeting women who have experienced the same things that you have experienced,” she said.

“But some people are silent about it. Do you know what I mean?. So you come here and you know, during the class, when you partner up in the examples that the teacher is giving, you can also share a few words, even after the class. It’s just like a silent unity.”

In August last year, Betty Akeredolu, wife of governor of Ondo state, had engaged the services of Taekwondo professionals to train young girls on self-defence against rapists.

https://www.instagram.com/womenimpactingnigeria/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_mid=083E9784-52D2-4545-877C-55D5A159504D

https://www.instagram.com/womenimpactingnigeria/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_mid=689FA409-5673-4121-BD99-48D1DD0D9DE3


#Newsworthy…

PMB pleads end of violent attacks ..


President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, warned Nigerians to desist from revenge and violent attacks.

The President, in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, pledged that terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and associated crimes would be defeated.

“In Plateau State, gunmen launched yet another bloody attack, killing innocent citizens. This shocking and sad incident should be condemned by all citizens.Revenge, hatred and violent attacks should have no place in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society as we have in this country,” Buhari said.


He called on community and religious leaders to counsel youths on the need for peaceful co-existence.

He spoke against the backdrop of the killing of 14 persons by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Kwatas village, Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.


Confirming the attack, former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Titus Ayuba Alams, described the incident as unfortunate: “My village, Kwatas, was attacked Sunday evening, between 6pm and 7pm, at the village market square by suspected Fulani herdsmen who killed 14 persons.”

He noted that Kwatas shared boundaries with Plateau State University, Bokkos.


Alams said the attack came a few weeks after armed herdsmen killed 12 people in Kulben village in Mangu LGA.

However, the Plateau State Police Command, in a statement by its spokesman, Ubah Ogaba, said 13 persons were killed and five injured.


“Yesterday, at about 8:30pm, we received information that, at about 7:30pm, gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Kwatas village in Bokkos. As a result, 13 persons were killed, while five others were critically injured and are currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Bokkos. Immediately the command received the information, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Isaac Akinmoyede, deployed a team of detectives, conventional policemen and other personnel to the affected area. He directed them to restore peace and effect arrest of the perpetrators of that dastardly act,” he said.

Ogaba called on residents of the area and the state to be law-abiding, adding that the police would bring the perpetrators to book. He also urged those with useful information that could aid the police to apprehend the criminals to make it available.

President Muhammadu Buhari [PMB]


Meanwhile, Governor Simon Lalong has expressed fury over Sunday’s attack on Kwatas village. Lalong, in a statement by his spokesman, Makut Macham, described it as yet another attempt by criminals to take the state back to the dark days of insecurity.

The governor commiserated with victims and directed security agencies to go after the perpetrators of the crime.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: 86 cultist arrested in Lagos violence..


The Lagos State Police Command claimed it arrested 86 persons for alleged cult-related violence.

The suspects were said to have been apprehended at the weekend following violent clashes in the Ikorodu area of the state.


Spokesperson for the command, Bala Elkana, said detectives arrested 65 suspects at Ijede and recovered 11 assorted pistols with large quantities of ammunition.

Following up on that operation, the Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants on Saturday morning arrested 21 suspects at Adamo in Imota, Ikorodu.


Elkana said the suspects belonging to the rival cult groups had mobilised themselves from Emure and Adamo to unleash terror on residents but were rounded up following credible intelligence.

He said, “The arrest was carried out in a joint operation with operatives from Imota Police Station, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Area N Command.

“The suspects confessed to be responsible for series of violent attacks, murder and armed robbery incidents recorded in Ikorodu. They will be charged to court.

“The Commissioner of Police further reaffirmed the commitment of the command to address the menace of cultism and youth gangsters in Lagos State.”


#Newsworthy…

Twitter tags ‘world war 3’ as Trump send airstrikes to iran which killed Commander of Iran’s quds.

..reactions below


as for what happened…

The Pentagon has confirmed that commander of Iran’s Quds Force has been killed in a United States air strike ordered by President Donald Trump and aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans”.

Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), were among those killed in the attack at Baghdad International Airport on Friday, January 3rd the PMF said in a statement.

Commander of Iran

The Iraqi military said three rockets were fired at the airport, with the total number of people killed unclear. In a statement, the Pentagon said the US had taken “decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad” by killing Soleimani, who heads what the US describes as a foreign terrorist organization.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world” the statement said.

In a statement, the PMF confirmed the pair “were martyred by an American strike.”

According to the Pentagon, Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members, and the wounding of thousands more, the Pentagon added.

The Pentagon also blamed Soleimani for orchestrating attacks on coalition bases in Iraq in recent months, including an attack on December 27 that culminated in the deaths of additional American and Iraqi personnel


Earlier today, the Pentagon confirmed that commander of Iran’s Quds Force has been killed in a United States air strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), were among those killed in the attack at Baghdad International Airport.

With Iran expected to respond to the attack on its sovereignty by US, social media is already awash with reactions and talks of possible ‘World War 3’ if the situation is not properly managed.

https://twitter.com/Veryrarejizz/status/1212996876003205121


#Newsworthy…

9 people arrested after El clasico clash turns war.

About nine people have been arrested by police and 46 injured as Catalonia independence protesters threw rocks at police on the night of ‘El Clasico’ the much rivaled match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which had previously been postponed due to security fears.

9 arrested after El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid turned violent  (photos)

As Barcelona played Real Madrid on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou stadium, masked protesters carrying Catalan seperatist flags in support of Catalonia independence from Spain, set bins on fire and threw glass bottles and rocks at police, who responded with foam bullets in a street outside the stadium.

The protesters, set up barricades in the middle of the street, which they then set on fire after police arrived in dozens of vans.

9 arrested after El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid turned violent  (photos)

This is the first violent protest in Catalonia region since October when Spain’s top court jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders over their role in a failed 2017 bid for independence.

9 arrested after El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid turned violent  (photos)

It should be noted that this classico match which ended 0-0 was supposed to be played in December but was postponed due to serious security concerns and on Wednesday night thousands of Catalonia protesters could be seen chanting “Independence” and “Free political prisoners”

The main goal of the protests is to get pain’s government to negotiate on Catalonia’s right to self-determination and independence from Spain and to achieve freedom for the separatists who were jailed.

#NobleSport

Violence in Aguda, surulere.

A gun battle is currently going on in Aguda, Surulere, as tension between rival cult groups got out of control.

Residents report heavy gunfire around Pako, Yeside, and Cassette bus stop in Aguda. They say the streets and major roads have been taken over by hoodlums. Massive looting is also taking place at Aguda market.

According to reports, the tension has been going on for days but it reached a fever pitch this morning and erupted in violence.

People have been warned to avoid that area and residents are reportedly staying indoors to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

See tweets below.

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

Violence erupts in Aguda, Surulere, as rival cult groups engage in gun battle

#Newsworthy…

Kwara’s first, olufunke protest against violence, sexual abuse.

Yes, she can do more! But when it comes to advocacy, Kwara State First Lady, Olufolake Abdulrasaq, has been giving her best.

Recently, she led thousands of women on a street walk against gender-based violence and sexual abuse in Ilorin, the state capital, calling for mass support against the scourge.

The rally, which began at the Kwara State Banquet Hall, saw the women walking through the popular Ahmadu Bello Way through to Challenge, Post Office, Sulu-Gambari Road and back to the starting point. They carried placards with inscriptions like Stop Child Abuse, Walk Against Rape, End Rape, Keep Hope Alive, and Kwara Says No to Domestic Violence.

Tagged ‘Count me in, together we move Kwara forward,’ Mrs AbdulRazaq said the advocacy walk was to create awareness on the prevalence of gender-based violence with a view to stemming the tide.

#Newsworthy…

Ekiti PDP Members, Speaker Behind Poll Killings.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members in Ekiti State have alleged that the state’s Speaker of the House, Rt Hon. Funminiyi Afuye led a team of suspected party thugs who allegedly shot four members of the PDP, leading to the alleged killing of one, Kosadake Dotun.

A special adviser to Professor Olusola Eleka, the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Seun Olusola, who alleged that four members of the PDP were shot during an alleged attempt by the APC to rig the polls, said: “What happened was that while the poll was on going, in the process Speaker of the House, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, came with some thugs who brought out some already thumb-printed ballot papers and wanted to stuff them into the ballot boxes, but the people there asked questions and wanted to resist them. One suspected thug (name withheld by us) that came in company with the speaker shot sporadically and the bullets hit four members of our party, the PDP. One person died in the process and as I am speaking with you, three of our members who sustained gunshot wounds have been brought to the state teaching hospital in Ado-Ekiti. The incident happened at the AUD, Araromi in Ikere-Ekiti.

“Our member who was shot dead is Kosadake Dotun. Others who sustained gunshot wounds were Ayeni Gbenga and Abiodun Bukola.”

When the reporter called Rt. Hon. Afuye to react to the allegation at about 5pm on Saturday, the following conversation was exchanged over the telephone:

Sun: Please sir, could you react to the allegation by a member of the PDP that you led some thugs to a polling centre where some members of the opposition were allegedly shot?

Afuye: I will soon send you my own reaction to the development.

Sun: Okay, but are you denying or confirming the allegation sir?

Afuye: I will soon send you my reaction, you.”

As at the time of filling this report, Hon Afuye was yet to send in any reaction.

#Newsworthy…

Kwara: Olufolake, Governor’s wife lead group to raise awareness against gender-based violence.

Olufolake Abdulrazaq, the wife of Kwara’s Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, on Saturday led some residents of the state on a walk to raise awareness against gender-based violence.

The walk, which started around 11 a.m., took them from the Banquet Hall through Challenge Bookshop to Post Office and back to the Banquet Hall.

Addressing the participants after the walk in Ilorin, Mrs Abdulrazaq said gender-based violence comes in different forms and can be found in the family, community and society.

“It is an act of violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or damages to the woman, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

“The most pervasive form of gender-based violence against women is rape, as it affects all women, regardless of their ages, race, culture or socio-economic stature.

“While names and contexts may differ, women and girls universally experienced rape, sexual abuse and violence at different times in their lives.

“These gender-based abuses are rooted mostly in our patriarchal beliefs, power and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalised.

“Exact numbers of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assaults are usually very difficult to confirm due to frequent latitude and impunity of the perpetrators, stigma towards survivors and their subsequent silence,” she said.

Mrs Abdulrazaq, however, noted that in the face of the growing trend, the voice of survivors have placed a spotlight on the issue.

“In the face of the alarming trend of these abuses however, the voices of survivors and activists through campaigns and advocacies such as this have put the spotlight on the issue, such that it can no longer be ignored.

“Today I join other Nigerians to take a stand against gender-based violence because in Nigeria, according to some experts, one in four girls before the age of 18 have experienced at least one incident of sexual abuse or violence.

“Sexual violence is oftentimes perpetrated by people close to the survivor, like family members, close friends or a person of authority.

“This makes it very difficult to report the abuses as the survivors are met with words of shame and stigmatisation.

“These unfortunate incidents can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time and when such violent abuses happen they affect not only the survivor but the family and the community at large,” she added.

The Kwara governor’s wife however urged all that should know and act to ensure that women and girls are free from gender-based violence.

“We must recognise that gender-based violence is at its root a manifestation of the relatively-low status of women and girls in our society.

“Being aware of this, I founded the Ajike People’s Support Centre where indigent women and youths can access empowerment through vocational skills acquisition and girls through scholarships for their education.

“When women and girls can live free from violence and are afforded equal opportunities in education, healthcare, employment and political participation, they will lift up their families, communities and indeed the country.

“Ending gender-based violence will certainly require empowering our women and girls to speak up for themselves and also encourage our men and boys to speak up and speak out for their mothers, wives, partners, sisters and daughters.

“To achieve the aforementioned however, there is the need for us to eschew all manners of abuse and gender-based violence and to depart from the usual practice of treating cases of abuse with silence.

“Where incidents of abuse occur, the perpetrators should be made to face the consequences of their actions, while the survivor is provided with the needed help and counseling,” Mrs Abdulrazaq said.

She however called on the media, religious and traditional rulers to share the responsibility in the drive to rid the society of all forms of abuses and gender-based violence.

#Newsworthy…

NUT called for inclusion of ‘gender-based violence (rape)’ in school curriculum.

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called for inclusion of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in school curriculum, aimed at eradicating rape and other forms of sexual molestation against children.

The NUT National President, Dr Mohammed Idris, made the call during an education conference with the theme “Oranging Our School: Teachers, Boys and Girls Stand Against Rape’’ held in Abuja on Thursday.

NobleReporters reports that the conference was organised to mark the 16-day Activism Against Gender-Based Violence on Women and Girls, jointly organised by UNESCO, federal ministries of women affairs and education, NUT and others.

Represented by Mr Mike Ike-Ene, the NUT Secretary-General, Idris said the inclusion would go a long way in educating children on the dangers, effects, preventive measures and the appropriate authorities to seek for help when sexually abused.

He said “the issue of rape can be easily taught and disseminated by teachers, because in the past, people were always afraid to talk about it, but teachers could educate students and it would become an internal part of them, which would subsequently become part of our lifestyle.

“ We, therefore, want the study of GBV be included in school curriculum under civic education, so that the young ones would be better equipped to fight rape.”

He condemned the incessant cases of rape and molestation against women and children, calling on teachers to support efforts at ending the scourge by educating students and encouraging them to speak out.

Dr Lydia Giginna, the Director, Education Support Services Department, Federal Ministry of Education, said that the theme of the conference, which focused on rape, was aimed at educating students on the risk and appropriate authorities to consult when molested.

Represented by Mrs Eucharia Chime in the Department, Giginna advised students to be conscious of their environment and be agents of change toward ending GBV.

She said “to avoid this menace, you must always be conscious of your surroundings. Rape sometimes occurs in strange places but always happen in comfort zones.

“When you get back to your school, be an agent of change, a peer educator and gradually, like a mustard seed, we shall have a dream world where sexual assault shall be no more.”

Mrs Funke Oladipo, the Director, Women and Gender Department, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, said that the ministry was collaborating with religious and traditional leaders, schools and other relevant stakeholders to end the menace.

Oladipo said that the ministry had shelters across the country to enable victims to seek help.

She added that the integration of study of GBV in schools would assist in grooming the society, especially the young ones.

The UN System Representative, Ms Patience Ekeoba, restated the organisation ‘s commitment toward ending all forms of violence against women and children in the country.

Ekeoba added that the organisation, through the UN, EU Spotlight Initiative, was working toward eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

She added that the recent launch of the Nigeria Sexual Offenders Register, which would form database of all those convicted for sexual offences, would be made accessible to the public to name and shame offenders and deter others.

The UN representative, while calling on the society to end all forms of stigmatisation against victims of sexual abuse, encouraged victims to speak out and not feel threatened or intimidated.

#Newsworthy…

United States Congress Gives Warning On Media And Civic Space In Nigeria.

The Congress of the United States, has expressed in strong terms, concerns about the closing of media and civic space in Nigeria.

The Congress made its concerns known in a letter dated November 25, 2019, addressed to the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor.

The letter was signed by Robert Menendez, a United States Senator and Josh Gottheimer, Member of Congress, United States of America.

Recall that some journalists protesting the continuous detention of the #RevolutionNow Convener, Omoyele Sowore, recently had a brush with officials of the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The letter is also coming after the manhandling of a Vanguard photo journalist accredited to the State House, Yomi Adeshida, by security officials attached to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, including Government’s move to sanitise the social media space in the country due to perennial hate speech in the country.

The content of the letter was however confirmed by a senior diplomatic official in the United States who told Daily Sun on condition of anonymity that the letter was already in the United States media space.

The congress particularly expressed displeasure over troubling reports regarding security agencies in the country assaulting and detaining journalists and using excessive force on non-violent protesters.

“We write to express strong concern about closing media and civic space in Nigeria. There have been a number of troubling reports about Nigerian security services assaulting and detaining journalists, using excessive force on non-violent protesters and taking other actions that inhibit freedom of expression and otherwise, prevent Nigerians from fully exercising their fundamental constitutional rights,” the Congress wrote.

Chronicling the actions of the Government against the media and activists, the United States Congress acknowledged the detention and harassment of journalists and activists such as Sowore, Jones Abiri, Kofi Bartels, Samuel Ogundipe and others investigating and speaking out about politically sensitive problems like corruption or insecurity in the country, while also saying that there were reports that some of the arrested journalists were tortured.

“In at least one instance, the Department of Security Services has ignored a court order to release a detained activist. Restrictions and deadly crackdowns on non-violent protests since 2015 have similarly reflected a lack of apparent commitment to civic freedoms which is beginning to negatively impact the image of Nigeria’s government, both at home and abroad,” the Congress also wrote.

While also noting that security agencies used live ammunition on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria also known as Shi’ite while protesting in Zaria in 2015, and on protesters in Onitsha in 2016, the Congress said the same was used on the Shi’ite procession in Abuja in 2018.

The Congress also recalled the January, 2019 raiding of the Daily Trust office in Abuja whereby the Editor of the paper was arrested, while further noting the shooting and killing of Precious Owolabi, a journalist who was covering a July protest in Abuja.

“These crackdowns have collectively killed hundreds of Nigerian citizens, and serve as troubling demonstrations of the excessive force used by the military. The alleged perpetrators of these abuse have yet to be brought to justice,” the Congress added.

Declaring that Nigeria had a critical role to play in preserving peace and stability in West Africa, the Congress added that as the most populous democracy on the African continent, Nigeria could serve as a shining example of how countries can best observe the rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

“However, failure to respect the rights in the Charter and those in Nigeria’s own constitution undermines your nation’s ability to lead in this area. We urge you to ensure that the rights and liberties contained in the constitution are observed for all citizens, and to take strong action against further closing space for journalists, political opposition, and those in civil society. The rights of all citizens must be respected without the threat of government reprisal. We look forward to seeing progress on this critically important issue,” the Congress stated.

#Newsworthy…

Court of appeal constitutes election petitions tribunal for Kogi gov poll..

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has constituted Governorship and House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal to handle petitions from November 16 Kogi governorship poll.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by secretary of the tribunal.

According to Abubakar, the mandate of the tribunal is to hear and determine petitions that may arise from Kogi governorship election held on Saturday Nov. 16, 2019.

He said the tribunal will also handle petitions arising from the forthcoming supplementary and re-run election in Kogi West Senate seat and Ajaokuta Federal Constituency scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30.

Abubakar added that the secretariat of the tribunal was located at FCT High Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja and called on those wishing to file election petitions to approach the secretariat.

Meanwhile, Senator Dino Melaye, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Kogi West Senatorial election, has called for the postponement of the supplementary election scheduled for Nov. 30.

Melaye made the call while addressing newsmen at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, where he had gone to submit another petition on the election.

He called on INEC to postpone the election, until it was able to address what he described as ‘noticeable infractions’ in the Nov. 16 election and concerns over areas where the supplementary election would be held.

Melaye had, on Nov. 20, submitted a petition, calling for total cancellation of the election, to which he attached 21 video CDs and other documentary evidence to prove that there was no election in the senatorial district.

He said he was at INEC office because he had yet to get a reply to his earlier petition, adding that there was also no public announcement that a panel was set up to investigate the issues raised in the petition.

Melaye said he was also there to submit additional facts to those in his earlier petition, which, according to him, were unknown to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

“What is new in what we have submitted today is that we have attached a copy of form EC8B of Ward A in Lokoja Local Government area, where INEC, during collation, had cancelled results of nine out of 23 polling units in the LGA.”

He added that results were cancelled in other polling units during collation, including Abugi, Ole and other places, but these were not captured among the areas where INEC said that supplementary poll would take place on Nov. 30.

“What we are saying is: how can INEC cancel these polling units during collation process and they will not be captured in places where rerun will take place?

“We believe this is an aberration, and the INEC chairman cannot know about it and allow it to stay.”

Melaye said there were also lots of places where elections were supposed to have been cancelled by INEC, but which were not.

These, he said, included Lokogoma and Adanko in Lokoja, where, he said, three people were killed during the Nov. 16 election.

Another infraction cited by Melaye was that in Koko Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ward 1 in Ijumu LGA, the election was peaceful, result collated, declared and won by the PDP, but was now part of the areas where the supplementary would take place on Saturday.

#Newsworthy…

Tsav, UN condemns assassination of Kogi PDP women leader in the election..

Nigeria

The United Nations has condemned the killing of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Women Leader in Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, Mrs Salome Abuh.

Reacting when she was received in audience by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, visiting UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said: “We commend the President’s condemnation of the loss of lives in Kogi State, particularly the woman that lost her life. I think this is a non-partisan issue. No person, and especially women should have to lose their lives when seeking political office to make that more safer for all to participate. It is credibly important.”

Mrs Abuh was reportedly set ablaze in her residence on November 18, a situation which was said to be a spill over of the November 16 governorship election in the state.

Similarly, Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav (retd) described the killing as barbaric and the most horrible news in recent times.

He particularly decried the gruesome manner in which the woman was murdered and burnt in her home by her assailants.

“The PDP Woman Leader was burnt to death in her own house. She not only lost her life, but also lost her property and other members of the family’s property. This is wicked, atrocious, beastly and inhuman. In fact, I do not know how to describe it.”

He stressed the need for a thorough investigation into the matter with a view to bringing culprits to book adding that the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello must not walk on human blood into Government House to start his second tenure.

Tsav expressed joy that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered thorough investigation of the dastardly act with a view to bringing all those involved, no matter their status to justice.

He urged President Buhari to go beyond that by ensuring that the electoral law is amended for true democracy to take root adding that, “the bereaved and the aggrieved must be appeased. We seem not to know what democracy even means. Many see it as a means to acquire wealth albeit by fraudulent and dishonest means. The fight against corruption has even no impact on our people and that is why Politicians are still fighting and killing themselves for elective offices. Our politicians do not even believe in God and the nothingness of this world. They don’t even think of death.”

#Newsworthy…

The minority leaders should come up with a law to tackle electoral violence – Sen. Yahaya

Nigeria

The Leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi, has hinted that the upper chamber of the National Assembly might come up with a bill that will prescribe punishments for perpetrators of violence during elections.

Abdullahi stated this on Tuesday while contributing to a motion moved by Senator George Sekibo, on the violence that rocked the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states on November 16.

He warned that any politician, irrespective of his or her political parties, could be a victim of violence during elections.

The Senate majority leader said this as the United Nations condemned the killings during the governorship election in Kogi State.

Also on Tuesday, the House of Representatives said it would investigate the violence during the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

No fewer than six people were killed during the governorship election in Kogi State. On November 18, a Peoples Democratic Party women leader, Salome Abuha, was burnt to death when thugs set her home at Ochadamu in the Ofu Local Area of the state on fire.

At the Senate plenary on Tuesday, Abdullahi said there was the need for the two main political parties in the Senate to work together and save the nation’s electoral process.

He said, “It is important if the Minority Leader and I can come up with a by-partisan bill to look at the punishments for electoral violence.

“Let us see how we can raise a law to effectively tackle electoral violence because electoral violence knows no partisanship. All politicians on all sides are guilty.

“Electoral violence started from the beginning of our democratic journey in 1999, but it’s getting worse by the day. There were pockets of violence in other republics, but they were not as terrible as what we have today. If we don’t curb this phenomenon, it’s going to be dangerous for our country,” he added.

He admitted that the issue of electoral violence had been happening since the beginning of the present republic in 1999.

We can become victims of electoral violence, Senator warns colleagues

He said, “The spectre of violence and its attendant consequences are some of the unhealthiest events in the country. I believe that all politicians, irrespective of the various parties we belong to, have a responsibility to address and to curb violence, otherwise we will all become victims.

“So, there is the need for us to urge the security agencies to really do their jobs. They should arrest and bring to book the perpetrators of the dastardly act, who are known.”

The Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, lamented that the security agencies had not successfully prosecuted the perpetrators of electoral violence.

He said, “People have been known and seen to perpetuate violence and nothing has been done to them. Once nothing is done to somebody, once nobody pays the price for criminality of this nature, it only creates further violence.

“The law enforcement agencies must be up to task. The husband of the woman that was killed in Kogi State has identified those who killed his wife but till today, nothing has been done to them.

“We have heard all manner of excuses and there is now a pattern. If you don’t curb it through the use of enforcement, you will only see that pattern continue to grow.”

The senate consequently, condemned the spate of election-related violence in the country.

Senate observes a minute silence for victims

It observed a minute silence for all those who lost their lives in the violence during the governorship polls in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

The upper chamber also urged the National Orientation Agency and the Independent National Electoral Commission, to carry out a detailed campaign against electoral violence in subsequent elections.

The Senate also urged the security agencies to expeditiously apprehend perpetrators of electoral violence in all the areas where they occurred and bring them to book.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stressed the need for the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of electoral violence in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

He said, “No party is free from this blame, and it is for us as politicians to continue to enlighten our people to face politics as a game of ideas. I believe that those who perpetrated violence, especially in the last elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, should be apprehended and prosecuted. I believe that this is the way to go; people should pay the price of their actions.”

Sekibo had in his lead debate, noted that armed thuggery has increased more in 2019 compared to previous elections.

He said privileged politicians used either armed thugs or security agents to disrupt smooth electioneering.

Sekibo noted that the effect of mayhem would reduce the credibility of electoral process and deepen hatred as well as widen the gap of our unity, if not checked.

He said, “The country’s electoral management body is not strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted by the political system. The electoral misconduct that accompanies it continue to threaten the deepening of democratization process.

“This negative effect of electoral violence in the country would continue to reduce the citizens’ confidence in the democratic process as well as heighten the fears of possible democratic collapse,” he added.

Reps probe Bayelsa, Kogi polls

On its part, the House of Representatives began an investigation into the violence recorded in the elections.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, however, stated that the report by the panel that would conduct the probe would not be considered if it blamed any political party.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, and a member, Solomon Bob, had at the plenary on Tuesday moved a motion titled “Need to Investigate the Security Breaches and Violence at the November 16, 2019, Elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.” The motion was unanimously adopted.

Moving the motion, Okechukwu stated that the polls witnessed widespread violence.

He said, “The House is aware of the reports released by civil society organisations that security officials were complicit in the violence and disruption that characterised the Kogi and Bayelsa elections. The House is also aware that Governor Seriake Dickson reported that soldiers were deployed in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.”

The lawmaker also made reference to the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, and the Situation Room which called for cancellation of the elections following the role of security agents.

Okechukwu further said, “The House is disturbed that in spite of such massive deployment of security personnel coupled with the intelligence reports, the elections witnessed such a degree of violence resulting in the death of one Mrs Salome Abuh. The House is concerned that the Police Service Commission also blamed insufficient manpower as reason for the widespread chaos during the elections. The House is mindful of the constitutional mandate of parliament and the need to forestall a recurrence.”

The lawmakers, therefore, prayed the House to “constitute a joint committee on Police Affairs, Army, Justice, Electoral Matters and Human Rights to investigate the pre and post-election security breaches in Kogi and Bayelsa.”

However, Gbajabiamila, before the motion was unanimously adopted through a voice vote, said he would amend the motion before it was passed. He warned the joint committee against naming or blaming any political party in its report.

UN condemns Kogi killings, commends investigation

The United Nations condemned the killings during the Kogi State governorship election. It also said it supported measures taken by the government to check hate speech, but not the death penalty.

The UN’s Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, told State House correspondents in Abuja that the global body commended President Muhmmadu Buhari for condemning the loss of lives in Kogi State.

She also stated that the President took the appropriate step by calling for an investigation into the killings that took place in Kogi State.

Mohammed stated, “ (On) The recent loss of lives in politics of Kogi State, we commended Mr President for condemning the killings and asking for investigation.”

She said hate speech had become a major issue, which countries could introduce measures to check.

Mohammed, who was reacting to a question on the bill before the Nigerian Senate, which proposed death penalty for hate speech, noted that the UN would not subscribe to killing offenders as punishment.

She said it was a good development that the sponsor of the bill, later deleted the death penalty from the bill.

Mohammed said, “Measures and checks taken that will reduce hate speech are supported. However, we are not in support of the death penalty, and we are happy that the sponsor of the bill has taken that provision out of it”, Mohammed stated.

Mohammed said she visited Nigeria to express the appreciation of the Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, to the Nigerian President.

It’s irresponsible to say FG blackmailed Jonathan – Presidency

Meanwhile, the Presidency said on Tuesday that it was “false and irresponsible’’ for anyone to give the impression that former President Goodluck Jonathan fell to blackmail by supporting the All Progressives Congress in the just-concluded governorship poll in Bayelsa State.

It noted that before the poll, the former President and the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson, already had a sour relationship. It added that this was enough a reason to make Jonathan support another party other than the PDP.

“It just doesn’t make any sense”, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated in an interview in Abuja.

Garba added, “Our media really must learn to verify whatever they publish. And people who make wild allegations during interviews should be made to produce the facts backing their claims by editors.

“A newspaper can be sued for granting space to people who belch false allegations against individuals with no proof.’’

He recalled that for five years, Jonathan had been out of power, adding that there was no time there was an allegation that he was blackmailed by the APC government to take any decisions.

“Anyone who has been following the politics of Bayelsa State should be aware of the sour relationship between Dr Jonathan and the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson.

“That is more than enough reason for the former President to decide to work against his party, if indeed he did.

“We really must stop this habit of blaming President Buhari for everything, including issues that are not his business”, a statement by the Deputy Director, information, Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, quoted Shehu as saying.

A former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, had in an interview (not in The PUNCH), said Jonathan traded off the PDP for the APC during the governorship poll in Bayelsa because of his alleged link with $1.6bn Malabu scandal, an allegation that the ex-President had denied.

#Newsworthy…

South Africa: Ramaphosa Raises Alarm Over Sex Violence…

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, on Monday, launched a campaign against gender-based violence which he described as “a great shame”.

Ramaphosa said, at the launch ceremony in Lephalale, Limpopo Province that Limpopo and other provinces have seen a rise in gender-based violence over the past recent months.

“Violence against women and children goes against our African values and everything we stand for as a people,’’ the president said.

South Africa made headlines in recent months, during which dozens of women were killed as a new spate of gender-based violence hit the country.

“As I stand before you, I invoke the memories of the many women and girls in this province and throughout the country, who have suffered from the brutality of men,’’ Ramaphosa said.

The campaign, known as “16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children”, coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which falls on November 25.

The national campaign is aimed at raising awareness around the rights of women and girls and changing the attitudes of men and boys.

“I will say it again – violence against women is not a problem of women, it is a problem of men,’’ he said.

Ramaphosa urged men to play their part in raising awareness around the rights of women.

He said his government had heard the calls by the communities, including the people of Lephalale, to do more to end gender-based violence.

Two months ago, the government announced an Emergency Action Plan that has seen 1.6 billion rands ($108 million) of government funding reprioritised towards programmes to tackle gender-based violence.

It focusses on improving access to justice for survivors, prevention campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour and measures to strengthen the criminal justice system.

Another area of the funding focus is the creation of economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse.

“Since the plan was rolled out, I have been receiving regular weekly updates on our progress,’’ Ramaphosa said.

The government, he said, is also working to reduce the gender-based violence case backlogs at forensic laboratories and is developing a tracking mechanism, to be rolled out in January 2020.

National and provincial 24-hour call centres to deal with complaints against South African Police Service and legal officers in matters of gender-based violence are up and running.

“We have achieved our target of attending to all complaints within seven days,’’ Ramaphosa said

#Newsworthy…

We have evidence that Dino melaye caused the violence – Gov. Yahaya Bello…

Governor Yahaya Bello’s aide has accused Senator Dino Melaye of being responsible for the violence witnessed in the last Kogi State election.

Mohammed Onogwu, Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Governor who made the allegation while appearing on a Channels TV program on Sunday November 24, said they have a video evidence to back their claim.

“We have (video) clip evidence where he (Dino Melaye) was distributing money on the line where they were voting.

“Going by the reports that various observers have turned in after the election, the Governorship election was largely adjudged as being fair and credible.

“All the violence that took place in the last elections was orchestrated by Senator Dino Melaye who was a candidate in that election,” he said.

This is coming ahead of the rerun election the PDP Senatorial candidate and his APC Counterpart, Smart Adeyemi are expected to participate in.

#Newsworthy…