The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has asked that individuals be allowed to vent their opinions freely with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keyamo who lately has been taking on the COVID-19 issue via social media, the people must be allowed to vent their opinions because it is a sign of the times.
He also stated that the challenge that soon will face governments around the world is how to keep their citizens safe from COVID-19 by imposing inactivity and at the same time how to keep them safe from poverty, hunger & depression as a result of the inactivity.
The preponderance of opinions in countries around the world is that majority of citizens are blaming their govts for not doing enough to curb COVID-19. We must be tolerant & allow people vent their opinions. It’s a sign of the times. The grass is always greener on the other side
The challenge that’ll soon face govts around the world is how to keep their citizens safe from COVID-19 by imposing inactivity & at the same time how to keep them safe from poverty, hunger & depression as a result of the inactivity. It’s a decision between the rock & a hard place
Senior Advocate of Nigerian, Femi Falana, has challenged Nigerian lawyers to stand up to their responsibilities describing their actions and inactions as comfortable towards impunity and human rights violations.
Falana disclosed this on Wednesday in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
He also went down the memory lane saying the NBA has a history of protecting the rule of law but present-day NBA simply holds seminars and annual lectures.
“Nigerian lawyers are comfortable with impunity, abuse of the rule of law, and violations of human rights.
“We have a history of struggle in this country. Under the previous military regimes, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stood its ground in protecting and defending human rights. That is no longer the case.”
He stated further that in 1987 when the late Alao Aka-Bashorun was NBA president, no one or even dictator dared violate court orders but the reverse is the case in the present-day NBA.
“Today we are only interested in organising annual seminars, dinners and at the end of the day, the bar is not doing much.
“I am talking of when human rights were put in abeyance by military dictators. Our judges insisted that the rule of law must be fully complied with.
“So, nobody or regime was allowed to treat court orders with contempt or disdain,” the human right lawyer said.
Falana further lamented that it is only when rich people are oppressed that the NBA and even the media speak out loud.
“It is only when the rich are arrested, where we can make money, that we shout from the rooftop. So there is human rights violation in Nigeria.”
He further called for human rights enlightenment and education in Nigerian schools and called on the state government to introduce human rights courses in school curriculum.
President Muhammadu Buhari says he is doing his best to protect the fundamental human rights of citizens in the country.
The President who received Letters of Credence from the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Mary Leonard, noted that there are no hard feelings in steering the affairs of the country.
“I know that those with access have created an impression of being marginalised,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
President Buhari added, “I sit here with a clear conscience. I took an oath and I am honouring the office.”
He urged the US government to ensure that its sources of information on Nigeria cut across all sectors, saying some people might provide misleading and manipulative narratives for self-serving purposes, ignoring the larger picture of a united country.
The President decried that the recent listing of Nigeria for human rights concerns created an impression that some people were being unfairly treated or marginalised in the country.
He recalled his visit to Washington DC where he met with US President Donald Trump who expressed concern with reports of attacks on segments of the society.
President Buhari disclosed that he took some time to explain the situation in the country to the American leader.
“It is not an easy task to work for the unity of the country, and I am doing my best.
“During your stay in the country I am asking you to ensure that your sources of strategic information cut across,” he told the US diplomat.
The President also asked her to use the opportunity of her posting to Nigeria, with her experience, knowledge and energy to get the facts on the country.
In her remarks, Leonard said Nigeria was listed on a watch list to deepen conversation on the humanitarian situation in the country, accepting that some people could “flare the flames and crystalize issues’’ that could affect peaceful coexistence.
“There are people who make things less attractive than they seem,” she said, noting that the report would deepen conversation of the situation in the country, especially with religious leaders and mediators.
“I want to assure that the United States recognises and celebrates the integration in Nigeria,” the US envoy said, adding that her country would always side with transparent processes.
She noted that Nigeria and America have a lot in common in terms of “being big among neighbours, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial”.
Leonard also assured President Buhari of support from the United States, especially on the humanitarian challenges and commended the willingness to always share useful information and intelligence with her country.
“I feel it’s a privilege and great honour to be here; coming to see the giant of Africa.
“I have worked for 30 decades before coming to Nigeria. We will do a lot together for peace, security and delivering humanitarian assistance,” she added.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday advised Nigerian soldiers to keep to the rules of engagement and international code of conduct while carrying out their constitutional duties.
The President was speaking at the annual Chief of Army Staff Conference in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The Nigerian army has been serially accused, by rights groups, of flouting human rights during its operations.
However, on Tuesday, President Buhari commended the army for its work in keeping the country safe from terrorists.
“I urge our soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and ethos and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations,” the President said.
He then saluted the “army’s courage and gallantry” while noting that its achievements have come with associated costs.
“Many personnel have lost their lives, some have sustained injuries and a significant number have been away from their families for a long time,” he said.
“I, once again, send my condolences to the families of those who have paid the supreme sacrifice in an effort to safeguard the sovereignty of our great nation. May their souls rest in perfect peace.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq, has advised law enforcement agents to stop desecrating the judiciary.
Ojukwu made the appeal while reacting to the alleged refusal of officials of the Department of state services to release on bail the social campaigner Sowore after the order of his release by the trial court and his lawyers meeting the bail conditions.
“There is need for the three arms of government to work harmoniously with utmost respect for each other as envisaged under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
According to Ojukwu, many cases have been reported to the commission about investigating police officers and state security officers deliberately refusing or delaying to verify bail conditions following court orders just to punish suspects unduly for reasons that are not constitutional.
He, however, holds the opinion that “the constitution guarantees the innocence of every citizen of Nigeria until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction”.
He further stated that a situation where the order of courts are continuously disobeyed by security agents makes such security agents judges onto themselves and such situation does not augur well for our democracy based on separation of powers and rule of law.
According to him, it makes the law uncertain at any point in time and leads to loss of confidence of the people in government and state institutions of which the judiciary is one.
He, therefore, called for a renewed commitment on the part of law enforcement agents to submit to constituted authority and oversight and release all detainees who have met their bail conditions as ordered by the courts of the land.
“You cannot approbate and reprobate” he said.
On the part of the Commission, “we shall continue to train and sensitize law enforcement agents on the need to respect the law and the constitution which they have sworn to protect so as to engender a culture of respect for human rights in the country”.
The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against Cuba’s former president Raul Castro, accusing him of violations of human rights.
In his continued role in the communist party, “Raul Castro oversees a system that arbitrarily detains thousands of Cubans and currently holds more than 100 political prisoners,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
The United States said Thursday it would bar the entry of Chechnya’s prime minister for allegedly orchestrating human rights violations in the Russian republic.
Under a US law that requires action against foreign officials over human rights concerns, the United States announced that Chairman Muslim Khuchiyev and his immediate family will be ineligible for US visas if they apply.
The State Department said in a statement that it had “credible information that Muslim Khuchiyev was involved in torture.”
Chechnya’s pro-Moscow authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov last year elevated Khuchiyev, previously the mayor of the Chechen capital Grozny which was reduced to rubble when Russia crushed two separatist wars that left tens of thousands dead.
While the Muslim-majority republic has largely been pacified, Chechen authorities have still engaged in unlawful arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings, according to a report last year by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The public designation comes amid a slew of rifts between Russia and the United States, which has pressed President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s support for separatists in Ukraine and alleged interference in US elections.
Global human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has raised concern over the inability of the Nigerian government to hold those involved in human rights violation accountable.
In a statement by the Media Manager of Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, the group decried what it described as pervasive violence against women.
According to the statement, these include purported rape of women and girls at various Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps, as well as sexual violence against female detainees by security operatives, sometimes in order to extract confessions.
The group said it was worried that the violations have continued, despite the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act by the National Assembly in 2015.
“While welcoming Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations to intensify efforts to combat gender-based violence, the organisation urges the government to ensure that victims throughout the Federation can seek legal redress for gender-based violations, in line with the provisions of the VAPP,” it said.
“Since the beginning of the armed conflict in northeast Nigeria in 2009, Amnesty International has documented war crimes and other human rights abuses by Boko Haram and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the security forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions,” it stated further.
It, however, frowned on the lack of accountability for crimes committed by Boko Haram, as well as by government forces in the fight against the insurgents, and called on the government to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice in fair trials.
The organisation noted that several states had called on the Federal Government to strengthen the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
In order to promote these rights, it disclosed that it recently launched a campaign on freedom of expression in Nigeria.
Amnesty International explained that this was a platform to call on the government to ensure that journalists and other media professionals could operate without fear of arrests or other reprisals.
Noting that the Human Rights Council has adopted a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome on Nigeria, the group commended the nation’s cooperation with the review process and its positive response to some of the recommendations made by other states in the UPR Working Group.
The United States on Friday urged Tanzania to safeguard the rights of journalists and civil society, voicing concern over a growing crackdown on media, activists and the gay community.
Two press freedom advocates were taken in for questioning and released Thursday, while a powerful Dar es Salaam official last week vowed to track down people suspected of engaging in homosexuality — illegal in Tanzania.
“The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights, creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation and discrimination,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“The deteriorating state of human rights and rule of law in Tanzania inhibits development, economic prosperity, peace and security,” she said.
“We call on Tanzanian authorities to act decisively to safeguard the rights of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, health workers, political activists and all people,” in accordance with local and international law, she said.
She added that the United States was “troubled” by arrests and harassment of the LGBT community.
The United States has had warm relations with Tanzania, which has received aid under the Millennium Challenge Corporation which is only eligible to countries that respect democratic norms.