Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis: ‘We survived militants but face starvation’

BBC

A nutritionist feeds a malnourished baby at the Molai General Hospital Maiduguri, Nigeria. November 30, 2016.REUTERS Maiduguri has become the centre of aid efforts

Kawu Ashe is just one of up to 120,000 people facing starvation in north-eastern Nigeria, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Last month, she made the life-and-death decision to flee her village after militants delivered a chilling message: “We are coming back to take your son.”

The insurgents killed her husband, a cattle trader, two years ago and were now insisting that the couple’s two-and-a-half-year-old son Abdullahi belonged to them.

Ms Ashe knew she had to act – even if the penalty for trying to escape could be execution.

Kawu Ashe and her two-and-a-half-year -ld son Abdullahi in northern Nigeria
Abdullahi faces a serious risk of starvation

Under the cover of darkness, she and her two children and a younger sister walked through the bush for nine hours to safety.

But although Abdullahi survived the militants, he now faces another deadly threat – starvation.

He is among the estimated hundreds of thousands of children in north-eastern Nigeria currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The UN describes it is as the “greatest crisis on the continent” and is appealing to the international community for more than $1bn (£793m) to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to almost seven million people in the region.

Abdullahi is skeletal. His body weight at 7kg (15lb) is around half of what it should be at his age.

“There was barely any food or clean drinking water in the village,” said Ms Ashe, speaking at a Unicef malnutrition clinic set up in the region’s main city, Maiduguri.

“Even if we did get some food the militants would take it away. Things are little better here. But I’m still struggling to feed my children.”

‘It starts with the kids’

Last month, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said thousands of children had already died of starvation during the crisis.

The seven-year-long Boko Haram insurgency has laid waste to this region – killing thousands and forcing millions to flee their homes in north-east Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

But as the Nigerian military pushes the insurgents from territory they once controlled, the sheer scale of the hunger and devastation is being revealed.

Frequent Boko Haram attacks mean farmers have been unable to plant anything in their fields for the third year in a row and aid convoys are ambushed on insecure roads.

There are allegations of wide-spread aid theft, which are being investigated by Nigeria’s senate.

Women and children are seen gathered at the water point at the internally displaced peoples camp Muna camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, December 1, 2016.REUTERS The UN says there is not enough money to fund the aid efforts

The military has also closed down markets because of security concerns but it means people have nowhere to buy food or to make a living.

The UN says millions are now reliant on food aid and there is simply not enough to go around.

“Without more international assistance, many more people are going to die” says John Ging, operations director for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“It starts with kids because their parents have no means to actually take care of them,” he says.

“We can do better than that in 2016 – it’s a rich world. We need a very small fraction of those riches for international humanitarian action. At the moment we’re not getting that small fraction.”

‘Bloated’ with hunger

The city of Maiduguri is now the centre of the aid efforts. Its population is swollen by the hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled the violence and are now living in make-shift camps.

The worst cases of children suffering from starvation are brought to the MSF medical facility in the city.

In the intensive care unit, around a dozen severely emaciated children lay on beds.

They were hooked up to oxygen. Some had drips attached to their skulls as that was the only place the nurses could find a vein.

One of them is two-year-old Ali, who was born albino.

His mother Zara Mustafa said that her husband struggled to find work after they were forced from their home and they had no money to feed the family.

“Sometimes we don’t eat for three days straight,” she says.

Zara Mustafa and her two-year-old son Ali, an albino, who is starving
Ali’s family struggled to feed him when they were driven from their home by militants

In another bed lies one-month-old Mohammedu – his little body bloated my malnutrition. His mother, Aisha Umar has six other children.

“It’s unbelievably difficult to get food here. I have to send my children out to beg,” she says.

While the children are in a terrible state, they are at least getting some care.

There are still areas under the control of Boko Haram, which aid agencies cannot reach.

Conditions there will almost certainly be worse than those in Maiduguri.

And with the start of the dry season under way, yet more hunger is now on the horizon.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram videoBOKO HARAM VIDEO Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and often displays its trademark black flag
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory in the last 22 months.

Nigeria – how the bail system favours the rich and influential

Premium Times

Photo credit: Pulse.ng

Photo credit: Pulse.ng

When Samson Gbadebo, an 18-year-old man was arraigned before a Lagos State magistrate court for allegedly stealing goods worth N26,200 recently, the magistrate granted him bail in the sum of a whopping N200,000. On face value, the bail condition is grossly disproportionate to the crime for which Mr. Gbadebo was standing trial.

That appeared the case too for Ejike Ezekweghi. On October 12, the 39-year-old businessman was arraigned at an Area Court in Karmo, Abuja for allegedly stealing six bottles of assorted wine. Ruling on his application, the presiding judge, Sadiq Abubakar, admitted him to bail in the sum of N500,000.

The two cases above appear to indicate that judges apply their prerogative to impose stiff bail conditions on persons accused of minor offences. This appears even more so when you consider the usual bail conditions for politically-exposed persons and more influential Nigerians charged with more serious offences. PREMIUM TIMES found that in recent cases, this class tends to get much more lenient bail conditions, especially when compared against the allegations that took them before judges.

Take the case at an Abuja high court involving Godsday Orubebe, a former Niger Delta Affairs Minister. He was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, alongside two junior staff of the ministry, Oludara Alaba and Ephraim Zeri on a six-count charge involving their alleged diversion of N2.3 billion.

On September 7, when the judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, ruled on the accused persons’ respective bail applications, he asked Mr. Orubebe to produce a bail bond of N10 million and one surety in like sum.

For the two other defendants however, the judge asked each to produce a bond of N20 million, with a surety in like sum who must be an assistant director in the civil service and also own land within the court’s jurisdiction. Note that all three accused faced the same charges.

Or take the case of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. His office was alleged to have been used for the diversion of $2.1 billion. In one of the many cases against him, Mr. Dasuki was accused of illegal possession of arms. The judge granted him bail on self-recognizance.

In a separate case, Mr. Dasuki was accused, alongside two others and two companies, of diverting N9.6 billion. The court admitted the three accused persons to bail in the sum of N250 million each, representing a fraction of the sum they had been charged with diverting.

More recently on November 22, a Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Nguta, who had been charged for alleged corruption involving tens of millions of local and foreign currencies, was admitted to bail in the sum of N100 million.

The trial judge, John Tsoho, attached no condition to Mr. Nguta’s bail, ruling that the personal appearance of the accused made the presentation of sureties unnecessary.

So why does justice appear not to be blind to the status of the accused when judges rule on bail applications?

Going by the provisions of Nigeria’s Constitution and other relevant laws, bails are at the discretion of the trial judge.

According to Section 158 of the ACJA; “When a person who is suspected to have committed an offence or is accused of an offence is arrested or detained or appears or is brought before a court he shall, subject to the provisions of this part, be entitled to bail”.

Section 162of the same Act states that: ‘The defendant charged with an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term, exceeding three years shall on application to the court, be released on bail except in any of the following circumstances:

“Where there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant will, where released on bail, commit another offence.

“Attempt to evade his trial; prejudice the proper investigation of the offence; or undermine or jeopardise the objectives or the functions of the Criminal Justice Administration, including the bail system”.

As stated above, section 165 of the ACJA allows courts discretion on bail terms and conditions.

PREMIUM TIMES sought the views of legal analysts on the factors that influence judges in the exercise of that discretion.

Photo credit: authorityngr.com
Photo credit: authorityngr.com

Adegboyega Awomolo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, explained that the purpose of bail is to ensure that a person accused of a crime is available for trial.

“The bail conditions must not be too stringent as to indicate a refusal or punishment pending trial”, Mr. Awomolo said.

“Every person charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. The amount allegedly stolen does not matter, because it is an offence which the law regards as ordinarily bailable.

“However if it is murder, treason or terrorism; the law requires special consideration to entitle such a person to be admitted to bail”.

Mr. Awomolo agrees that the status of a defendant sometimes weigh on the mind of the court in determining bail application, “particularly where the prosecution did not oppose the application on very strong or special grounds”.

The senior advocate said “For example, a man notorious for stealing or rape will not enjoy favourable exercise of discretion of the court”.

Another legal practitioner, Emmanuel Ejeh, tended to agree with Mr. Awomolo’s submission. He told PREMIUM TIMES that courts consider factors including the accused person’s criminal history, the content of the allegation and the prosecution’s strength of arguments in determining bail applications.

“Bail bonds should not become a disguised punishment for an accused person. It should not be considered punishment ahead of trial”, he stressed.

“A bail bond is just a statement; it is not a fine. What it means is that if the accused jumps bail, his surety will be punished by having him pay the bail bond.

“The court could also ask that the accused person’s surety to deposit things like landed property. It all depends on if the court thinks the man is likely to jump bail. If he is, the court will demand something substantial,” said Mr. Ejeh.

Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, said the only thing that matters to the court in exercising its discretion on the issue is that the accused will be in attendance at all sittings of the trial.

Photo credit: PM News Nigeria
Photo credit: PM News Nigeria

“What is paramount is that there is the likelihood that the person will attend the trial. Because it is discretionary, one case cannot be an example for the other,” he said.

The explanation by the lawyers could mean that in the case of the teenager, Mr. Gbadebo, the judge made the bail sum so high because he was less sure the accused would be able to attend trial. It could also explain why former minister Orubebe got less stringent bail conditions than junior civil servants though they were accused of the same crime.

Mr. Jacobs, who is a counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in several high-profile cases, however added that Nigeria should explore other ways of ensuring that suspects attend trial.

He argued that the current practice of demanding sums of money, landed property, and the submission of international passports, among other things, was inadequate.

The discretionary nature of the bail system is opposed by a civil society group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL.

“We cannot be manipulated by the discretion of the judges. The law should apply equally to the poor as to politically exposed persons,” Debo Adeniran, the group’s leader said, while supporting the ongoing clampdown on judicial corruption by the federal government.

“The politically exposed persons have the financial capacity to employ the services good lawyers that can canvass their cases well; than the downtrodden people rely on lawyers to canvass their plight on pro-bono.

“The judges sometimes misapply their discretions based on the inducements they get from accused persons.
“That is why the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders is very happy with what is going on in the judiciary. The reform in the judiciary should ensure specific pronouncements against certain offences,” the activist said.

How Nigerian security forces killed 150 pro-Biafra protesters – Amnesty International

Premium Times

Photo: TodayNG

A new report by Amnesty International (AI) has revealed how extrajudicial execution and torture by Nigeria security forces, especially the Nigerian Army, led to the death of at least 150 pro-Biafra protesters across Nigeria’s south-east, between August 2015 and August 2016.

The report titled: “Bullets Were Raining Everywhere”: Deadly Repression of Pro-Biafra Activists,released on Thursday relied on the analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eye witness testimonies that revealed soldiers of the Nigeria military firing live ammunition to disperse protesters, most of them members of the separatist group, Indigenous People of the Biafra (IPOB), without warning.

According to AI, at least 60 defenceless IPOB protesters were shot dead within two days leading to the Biafra Remembrance Day of May 30.

The AI report corroborated PREMIUM TIMES’ investigations published in June showing the vicious clampdown and wanton executions of members of IPOB by soldiers of the Nigeria Army, the police and operatives of the Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Services (SSS).

IPOB, which was formed by Nnamdi Kanu, seeks the restoration of breakaway sovereign state of Republic of Biafra from Nigeria. Biafra was a secessionist state in the south-east region of Nigeria that existed from May 30, 1967 to January 1970. The secession of Biafra was the main cause of the Nigeria Civil War. Over 1 million people died in the war.

Mr. Kanu was arrested on October 14, and is being tried for treason. There has been an increase in the agitation of pro-Biafra activists since his arrest.

President Muhammadu Buhari is strongly opposed to the creation of Biafra. In May 2016 during a visit to the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Mr. Buhari suggested that it is better for Nigerians to commit mass suicide than for the actualization of the breakaway state of Biafra.

“We will not let that happen. For Nigeria to divide now, it is better for all of us to jump into the sea and get drowned,” he said.

 

Extrajudicial Killings

The Amnesty International report revealed that the largest number of IPOB members were killed during the Biafra Remembrance Day of May 30, 2016. It stated that as over 1,000 members of the group gathered for a rally in Onitsha, Anambra State, security forces swooped on their homes and a church where they were sleeping.

“On Remembrance Day itself, the security forces shot people in several locations. Amnesty International has not been able to verify the exact number of extrajudicial executions, but estimates that at least 60 people were killed and 70 injured in these two days. The real number is likely to be higher,” the organisation revealed in a statement accompanying the report.

 

Recounting some of the chilling incidents that happened on the day, AI spoke to a woman named simply as Ngozi (not her real name), the 28-year-old wife of one of the slain members of IPOB.

Ngozi told AI that her husband called her shortly after he left for work in the morning that soldiers have shot him in his abdomen. He said he was in a military vehicle with six others, four of whom were already dead.

“He started whispering and said they just stopped [the vehicle]. He was scared they would kill the remaining three of them that were alive… He paused and told me they were coming closer. I heard gunshots and I did not hear a word from him after that.”

The next day after searching for her husband, Ngozi found his body in a nearby mortuary. The attendants at the mortuary told her that the military had brought him and six others. She said he had three gunshot wounds one in his abdomen and two in his chest, which confirmed that the military had executed him.

Similarly, Chukwuemeka (not his real name), a 25-year-old trader, told AI that he was shot and taken together with corpses to the barracks.

“They dumped us on the ground beside a pit. There were two soldiers beside the pit. The pit was very big and so many dead people were inside the pit. I cannot estimate the number of people in the grave. … We were dumped on the ground.”

He said that he escaped and hid in the bushes.

The organization said it reviewed videos of a peaceful gathering of IPOB members at Aba National High School on February 9. The Nigerian military surrounded the group and then opened fire on everyone in sight without any warning.

Many of the protesters were then rounded up and taken away. Four days later, 13 corpses including some of the men taken away were found near the Aba Highway.

According to AI, the military took the bodies of people killed and injured in Onitsha and Asaba to the military barracks in Onitsha. Video footage shows soldiers loading dead and wounded people into their Hilux van.

“Initially, when they were still dumping corpses, I could see 10 to 12 lifeless bodies. That was in the morning. In the evening, there were more but I could not estimate,” A man who was detained in the barracks and who saw the corpses dumped in front of the military mortuary said.

Torture

The report also revealed the disturbing use of widespread torture and ill-treatment of those arrested by the military.

Vincent Ogbodo (not his real name), a 26-year-old trader, said he was shot on May30, 2016 in Nkpor and hid in a gutter. He said when soldiers found him they poured acid on him.

“I covered my face. I would have been blind by now. He poured acid on my hands. My hands and body started burning. The flesh was burning… They dragged me out of the gutter. They said I’ll die slowly.”

A man detained at the Onitsha Barracks revealed that “those in the guard room were flogged every morning. The soldiers tagged it ‘Morning Tea’.”

“This deadly repression of pro-Biafra activists is further stoking tensions in the south east of Nigeria. This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has caused at least 150 deaths and we fear the actual total might be far higher,” said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“The Nigerian government’s decision to send in the military to respond to pro-Biafra events seems to be in large part to blame for this excessive bloodshed. The authorities must immediately launch an impartial investigation and bring the perpetrators to book.”

“It is chilling to see how these soldiers gunned down peaceful IPOB members. The video evidence shows that this was a military operation with intent to kill and injure,” said Mr. Kamara.

AI stated that most IPOB protests have been largely peaceful. It however, added that on occasions, protesters hurled stones, burned tyres and in one case shot a police officer.

“Regardless, these acts of violence and disorder did not justify the level of force used against the whole assembly,” AI stated.

 

Impunity

AI stated that despite overwhelming evidence detailing the extrajudicial killings and torture of protesters, no action has been taken by Nigerian authorities to investigate them or punish perpetrators.

 

It stated that this lack of accountability for human rights violations by the military is similar to documented cases in other parts of the country especially in the country’s north-east region where the military fights a war against Boko Haram.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the government of Nigeria to initiate independent investigations into evidence of crimes under international law, and President Buhari has repeatedly promised that Amnesty International’s reports would be looked into. However, no concrete steps have been taken,” said Mr. Kamara.

AI stated that the “Nigerian government must ensure adequate reparations for the victims, including the families. They should end all use of military in policing demonstrations and ensure the police are adequately instructed, trained and equipped to deal with crowd-control situations in line with international law and standards. In particular, firearms must never be used as a tool for crowd control.”

Army’s denial

Meanwhile, in a move aimed at countering the planned release of AI’s report on Thursday, the Nigeria army on Wednesday evening released a statement denying that soldiers killed and tortured defenceless pro-Biafra agitators.

It stated that the report was an attempt to tarnish the reputation of Nigerian security forces and that of the army especially.

The statement by the acting director of army public relations, Sani Usman, a colonel, stated that IPOB members relished in the use of violence that threatens the security of the country.

It claimed that IPOB members attacked and killed people from other ethnic groups in the south-east and injured several soldiers and policemen. The statement also claimed that the protesters vandalised military and police vehicles.

He stated that the military acted within its mandate and in fact, approached the protesters with restrain despite their use of “unjustifiable violence”.

“The evidence of MASSOB/IPOB violent secessionist agitations is widely known across the national and international domains.  Their modus operandi has continued to relish violence that threatens national security.  Indeed between August 2015 and August 2016, the groups’ violent protests have manifested unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of the South East Nigeria,” the statement read.

“A number of persons from the settler communities that hailed from other parts of the Country were selected for attack, killed and burnt.  Such reign of hate, terror and ethno-religious controversies that portend grave consequences for national security have been averted severally through the responsiveness of the Nigerian Army and members of the security agencies.

“These security agencies are always targeted for attack by the MASSOB/IPOB instruments of barbarism and cruelty.  For instance, in the protests of 30 – 31 May 2016, more than 5 personnel of the Nigeria Police were killed, while several soldiers were wounded, Nigeria Police vehicles were burnt down same as several others of the Nigerian Army that were vandalized.

“The strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha came under threat thus leading to disruption of socio-economic activities.  In the aftermath of the encounter that ensued between security agencies and MASSOB/IPOB militants many of own troops sustained varying degrees of injury.  In addition, the MASSOB/IPOB recurrent use of firearms, crude weapons as well as other cocktails such as acid and dynamites to cause mayhem remain a huge security threat across the region.

“Therefore, it is rather unfortunate for the Amnesty International to allow itself to be lured into this cheap and unpopular venture that aims to discredit the undeniable professionalism as well as responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.”

Nigeria -How Justice Ngwuta moved N27m cash, exotic cars from house

Punch


Justice Sylvester Ngwuta during his arraignment for money laundering at the Federal High Court in Abuja … on Monday. Photos: Olatunji Obasa

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Federal Government alleged on Monday that a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, on October 9, 2016, tampered with evidence likely to incriminate him while on bail – following his arrest by the operatives of the Department of State Service on corruption allegations between October 7 and 8.

The Federal Government, in opposing the bail application which Ngwuta’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), argued after his client’s arraignment before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, stated that the evidence the accused allegedly tampered with were a cash sum of N27m and three exotic cars.

The prosecution alleged that after Ngwuta was granted administrative bail by the DSS in Abuja on November 9, 2016, he made a call to someone in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, to move the sum of N27m cash and three exotic cars to some other locations in order to conceal them.

The cars, which were said to have been recovered by the DSS from where they were moved to, were a Hummer Jeep, a Wrangler Jeep, and a BMW 5 Series sedan.

The government, however, stated that the N27m cash along with some vital documents moved in bags from the bathroom of the Abakaliki home of the justice of the apex court was not recovered because it had been “dissipated”.

Ngwuta, who appeared before a Federal High Court in Abuja, sporting a grey suit with a blue shirt and a red tie, was arraigned before Justice John Tsoho on 16 counts, including money laundering and offences relating to obtaining of multiple passports.

The justice of the apex court was allowed to sit in the dock.

But he stood up to plead not guilty when the charges were read to him at about 10.41am on Monday.

Following his arraignment, his lawyer moved his bail application which was opposed by Federal Government’s lawyer, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips.

Despite the prosecution’s opposition to the bail, the judge returned from about two-hour break to grant bail to the Justice of the Supreme Court in the sum of N100m to be guaranteed by his own recognisance.

The defendant, who only had to sign a bail bond worth N100m and guaranteed by his status as a Justice of the Supreme Court, was seen being driven out of the court premises in his official Mercedes Benz E350 at about 3.30pm on Monday.

The judge, after dismissing the fear expressed by the prosecution about the possibility of the defendant interfering with evidence and evading trial as baseless, fixed December 7 and 8 for commencement of trial.

However, while opposing the bail application earlier, Adeogun-Philips referred to the counter-affidavit which was filed on Monday narrating how Ngwuta allegedly committed more offences by trying to conceal the origin of the N27m and the exotic cars by instructing Chukwuebuka to move them from his Abakaliki house to other locations.

The counter-affidavit deposed to by Mr. Ganau Wando, an official of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, read in part, “That whilst on administrative bail between October 9 and 21, 2016, the defendant/applicant committed further offences.

“That, in particular, following his arrest on October 7, 2016, and subsequent release on administrative bail on October 9, 2016, the defendant/applicant sought to obstruct the proper administration of justice, having tampered with the evidence likely to incriminate him in criminal acts by engaging one Mr. Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka through a telephone call on October 10, 2016, to remove the properties from his private residence located at Engineering Close, Off Onwe Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The properties are as follows:

“A bag located in the defendant/applicant’s bathroom containing some vital documents which was initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of one Abraham Ezeani in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, and subsequently recovered from there by investigators from the DSS in November 2016.

“A bag located in the defendant/applicant’s bathroom containing the sum of N27m in cash which was initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of one Abraham Ezeani in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, following which it was subsequently dissipated by Mr. Chukwuebuka on the direct instructions of the defendant/applicant.”

The counter-affidavit added that the Hummer Jeep Sports Utility Vehicle, Wrangler Jeep Sports Utility Vehicle and BMW 5 Series Vehicle were “previously located in the compound of the defendant/applicant’s private home in Abakaliki and initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of an aunt to Chukwuebuka in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, and subsequently recovered from there by investigators from the DSS in November 2016.

The prosecuting counsel, while arguing the government’s objection, said the prosecution “regrettably” had to oppose the defendant’s bail application because of his (Ngwuta’s) acts of dishonesty which he had demonstrated by also obtaining multiple valid passports.

“There must be consequences for wrongful conduct. So many times, things have been done in our society with disregard to consequences,” the prosecutor said.

He added, “In counts 10 to 16 of the charges, the defendant is alleged to have maintained multiple identities.

“My lord, in any jurisdiction in the world, I cannot but reject him being released on his own recognisance or being released at all.

“On October 8, a day before the call was made to Abakaliki, the defendant was found with four valid passports. Two of those passports were diplomatic passports and two were standard. He didn’t stop there, investigation showed that earlier this year the defendant had declared two of those passports lost.

“Now we have this problem–we are confronted with such acts of dishonesty. We are confronted with offences that were committed while still on administrative bail.

“The objection is an outright objection. But I have also realistically identified that if your lordship is minded to grant bail, it should be on stringent conditions.

Replying on the point of law, Agabi, however, said the prosecuting counsel was merely repeating the content of the charges and urged the trial judge not to reach conclusions before trial commenced.

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Nigeria and UNHCR say world ignoring humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram

Daily Trust

  •  
The Nigerian government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have accused world powers of ignoring the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s Northeast region.

Speaking at an annual stakeholders Press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, Chief Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr. Ayoade Olatubosun-Alakija who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian government, said more than 14 million persons were in immediate need of humanitarian assistance in the northeast.

While noting that the humanitarian challenges in the northeast were huge, she lamented that African lives seems to mean nothing to world powers as they have intentionally ignored the humanitarian crisis in the country.

She said Europe, America and Asia gets more assistance from the world than Africa, warning that action must be taken quickly to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Also speaking, the UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Angele Dikongue-Atangana said funding was fast dwindling from donors.

She said donors believe Nigeria has the capacity to tackle her humanitarian crisis, adding that the crisis was bigger than what the country could handle.

She said in August, UNHCR declared a Level Three emergency mode in the northeast- the highest level of emergency- because of the increasing needs in the region.

UNHCR Associate Protection Officer, Susan Goldis Goren said there was 82% funding gap in 2016 as donors were shunning Nigeria.

On his part, the High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria and Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Salaheddine Abbas Ibrahima challenged the international bodies to fight immigration by helping Africans stay in their countries.

He said Africans will continue to cross the Mediterranean sea to the west until world powers see reasons to assist African countries.

Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/b-haram-the-world-is-ignoring-nigeria-unhcr-fg/172129.html#be8A1XQ90LAVJErt.99

Nigeria – Boko Haram war leaves 75,000 children at ‘risk dying of hunger’

BBC

A malnourished child is fed in in Maiduguri, Nigeria's Borno state. Photo: August 2016AP The UN says that overall 400,000 children in Nigeria’s north-east urgently need humanitarian aid

Some 75,000 children in north-eastern Nigeria risk dying of hunger in “the few months ahead”, the UN says.

UN humanitarian co-ordinator Peter Lundberg said that overall 14 million people needed humanitarian assistance in a region that was the former stronghold of Boko Haram militants.

He warned that the UN did not have enough funds to avert the crisis.

Boko Haram jihadists laid waste to the region before being pushed back by Nigerian forces in recent months.

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“Currently our assessment is that 14 million people are identified as in need of humanitarian assistance” by 2017, Mr Lundberg said in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Tuesday.

He added that this figure included some 400,000 children, and that 75,000 of them “are going to die in the few months ahead of us… if we don’t do something rapidly and seriously”.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million displaced since Boko Haram began its military operations in 2009 in the Borno state and other areas.

In July, the UN warned that almost a quarter of a million children in parts of Borno were suffering from severe malnutrition.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram fighters in video released on Wednesday 7 October 2015Boko Haram fighters still appear well armed in recent propaganda videos
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, and hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has now retaken most territory

Nigeria – nine killed in clashes between police and Shi’ites in north

Reuters

By Nnekule Ikemfuna | KANO, NIGERIA

Police said nine people were killed in clashes between Shi’ite Muslims and police during a religious procession in northern Nigeria on Monday, but the minority sect said dozens of its members lost their lives.

The clashes occurred on the outskirts of Kano, a city in a state of the same name, as members of the country’s largest Shi’ite group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), conducted an annual procession to Zaria in neighbouring Kaduna state.

It was the latest in a series of incidents involving the sect. A judicial inquiry in August reported that 347 IMN members were killed and buried in mass graves after clashes with the army in December 2015, and two sect members were killed in processions in Kaduna state last month.

Kano state Police Commissioner Rabiu Yusuf told reporters that nine people died in Monday’s violence – eight IMN members and a policeman. He said several people were injured, including four police officers.

“At first we used tear gas on them. They attacked one of our personnel, who sustained a fatal injury,” he said. Yusuf said IMN members used the dead policeman’s weapon to fire at officers and they had “no option” but to use live ammunition in response.

Ibrahim Musa, a spokesman for the IMN – whose 1980s founders were inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Shi’ite Iran – said policemen opened fire on a peaceful crowd and killed “close to” 100 people including women and children.

“We view the unwarranted killings by the police as a continuation of the army pogrom started in Zaria last year,” he said. The exact death toll was unclear, he added, because most of the bodies were “ferried away by the police, possibly for mass burial”.

Last month the Kaduna state government declared IMN as an “unlawful society” on the grounds that its processions were a danger to peace, and said anyone convicted of being a member of the sect could be imprisoned for up to seven years.

Human Rights Watch estimates that IMN has around 3 million members. The sect’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, has been held without charge since December following the clashes with the army in Zaria.

Security analysts have drawn some parallels between the IMN and Boko Haram, the Sunni Muslim jihadist group whose insurgency began in 2009 after security forces killed hundreds of its members and its leader Mohammed Yusuf died in custody.

Nigeria, which has 180 million people and is Africa’s most populous nation, combines a predominantly Christian south and mainly Sunni Muslim north. Around 250 ethnic groups have co-existed mostly peacefully in the country.

(Additional reporting by Garba Muhammad in Kaduna; writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by Mark Heinrich)