#SexForGrades: NHRC Sets Up Panel To Investigate Cases Of Sexual Violence

FILE PHOTO: Women protest on the streets of Abuja following arrests of over 100 women at different in Abuja nightclubs for alleged prostitution.

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is set to investigate cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Executive secretary of the commission, Toby Ojukwu, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday said an investigative panel has been set up to look into the cases.

READ ALSO: #SexForGrades: We Are Not Doing Enough To Protect The Girl Child – Kiki Mordi

Ojukwu said the investigative panel is necessary following the arbitrary arrest of women in Abuja by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the BBC documentary which exposed some lecturers demanding sexual relationships from female students in exchange for grades.

He also made reference to the case of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje who died in 2018 due to complications from an alleged rape by a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic.

“The rising cases of gender-based violence have necessitated the need for a stronger policy and laws to protect the rights of Nigerians especially women and children,” he said.

NHRC Visits Channels TV Over Precious Owolabi’s Death

Precious Owolabi's Family Asks FG To Immortalise Their Son

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday paid a condolence visit to Channels Television’s office in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The visit comes three weeks after the 21-year-old journalist died from gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on July 22.

READ ALSO: Final Journey Of Late Precious Owolabi

While demanding for a transparent and conclusive investigation, Mr Anthony Ojukwu promised to work with the station as Nigerians await police probe into Owolabi’s tragic death.

Although the young corp member’s funeral was held at the Wusasa cemetery in Zaria, prominent Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari have commiserated with the management of Channels Television and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

NYSC members and staff of the station were on ground to ensure that Owolabi was given a befitting ceremony.

Notably present at the funeral service is the Director-General of NYSC who was represented by a Director in the corps.

FG Compensates Victims Of Apo Killings With N135m          

Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and a Federal delegation presents a cheque of N135million to victims of Apo Killings.

 

The Federal Government has ordered the payment of N135 million as compensation for the families of those who were killed and wounded at some squatters in the Apo Area of Abuja.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on Thursday said the decision to compensate the victims was based on findings by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that they were not Boko Haram members as was alleged by security agencies.

Eight civilians died while 11 sustained injuries on September 20, 2013, after security operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) carried out the raid on an uncompleted building in Apo area.

READ ALSO: Detained Senator Peter Nwaoboshi Gets Bail

The victims were discovered to be innocent after an investigation by a three-man investigative panel of the NHRC, led by Professor Chidi Odinkalu.

The panel of inquiry had indicted the DSS of violating the rights of the victims and ordered the security agency to pay compensation.

Malami, while presenting the cheque on behalf of the Federal Government said his office had, after series of negotiations, persuaded the DSS to accept the verdict.

“This gesture in no small measure has emphasised the role of the National Human Rights Commission as an independent organisation, which statutory duties for the promotion and protection of human rights.

“It also serves as an extra-judicial mechanism for the enhancement of the enjoyment of human rights. The commission performs its statutory functions without interference from the Federal Government,” he said.

The commission, according to the Federal Panel had gone through a painstaking exercise to ensure that the right persons are paid. All payments in relation to the commission will be paid through the bank after verification of the accounts, the signatures and photographs of the victims.

Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and a Federal delegation addresses journalists before presenting the cheque of N135million to victims of Apo Killings.

Alleged Soldiers Attack: Victims Threaten To Drag Case Before NHRC

Victims of last week’s attack on Naka, the capital of Gwer West Government Area of Benue State, allegedly by soldiers, have threatened to drag the Nigerian Army before the Human Right Commission for rights abuse.

The threat follows the statement issued by Deputy Director Information and Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, denying the Army’s involvement in the arsonist attack, rather blaming the attack on some unidentified hoodlum.

“Following the barbaric killing of a soldier of 707 Special Force Brigade Makurdi on Internal Security at Naka community in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State on the 18th of April, 2018, and the  subsequent arrest of some suspects, it was gathered that at about 1600 hours on Thursday the 19th April 2018, some unidentified hoodlums attacked and burnt some houses at the community”.

One of the victims, Mr Kwatse Innocent, alleged that the attackers were soldiers with marked Army number plates who stormed the town in five trucks and brandishing the gun at them.

Other victims led the team to inspect the extent of the damages, as the traditional ruler of Nagi, decry soldiers abuse of power.

Addressing the victims after a tour of the devastation, a member of the House of Rep. Mr Mark Gbila, tasked the Army authority to fish out one of the soldiers identified as Umaru Isah and his colleagues for the crime against humanity.

Senate Probes Resumption Of NHRC Boss Without Confirmation

The Senate is asking its Committee on Judiciary Human Rights and Legal Matters to immediately open investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged resumption of the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, {NHRC}, Mr Tony Ojukwu, without confirmation from the Senate.

This decision by the Senate follows a Point of Order from Senator Dino Melaye, who is drawing the attention of the Senate to how the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubarka Mallami allegedly ordered Mr Ojukwu to resume office which he says is in contravention of the Civil Service Rules and the Act establishing the commission.

Senator Melaye says the action by the AGF is an affront to the Senate.

He is, therefore, calling on the Senate to henceforth disqualify appointees who resume without confirmation from the Senate.

The Senate also warns against the practice of appointees of government resuming office without Senate confirmation and is asking the AGF to ensure that this practice does not reoccur.

NHRC, Army To Investigate Rights Abuses

A special board of inquiry set up by the Nigerian Army has asked the National Human Right Commission to partner with it in investigating allegations of human rights abuses, brought against army personnel.

The President of the special board of inquiry, Major General Abubakar Jubrin (rtd), said the move is to ensure that all allegations are thoroughly, impartially and objectively investigated.

According to him, this would enable relevant authorities to take appropriate actions. He therefore asked the commission to furnish the committee with any case of violation that has been reported to it.

Speaking on behalf of the National Human Rights Commission, the Director of the Monitoring Unit, Mr Tony Ojukwu, told the board that the two agencies are already in cooperation on many levels that have yielded results and that the commission would not fail to make any input it can to help the board carry out its assignments.

Shiites Demand Release Of Leaders

kano, police, ShiitesThe Islamic movement is asking the Federal Government to comply with the order of a Federal High Court which ordered the unconditional release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.

In a petition presented to the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja, the group claims that Zakzaky is gradually going blind due to lack of access to quality medical care.

The group appeals to the NHRC to intervene and ensure that their leader, who has been in detention since December 2015, is released to enable him attend to his failing health.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

Also on January 18, the Shiites took to the NHCR headquarters in Abuja to protest what they called “a flaunt on the laws of the land with impunity” by the Federal Government.

The Federal High Court in Abuja had in a ruling on December 2, 2016, ordered the release of the Shiites’ leader and his wife in 45 days, a deadline which had expired.

The Federal Government, however, is yet to obey the order.

The Shiites maintained that the government must obey the court order and release their leader and his wife, Zeenah.

Lawyers Protest Arrest, Detention Of Members

Lawyers Protest Arrest, Detention Of MembersA group of lawyers under the aegis of Lawyers in Defense Of Democracy are protesting the continued detention of their members by the Department Of State Services (DSS).

They have called for the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Apart from asking for the release of their members, the group also called on the commission to ensure the disbandment of the Police probe panel into the Rivers State re-run elections killings.

According to the coordinator of the group, Agu Okwukwe, the arrests, detention and the probe panel constituted by the Inspector General of Police are targeted at their members for the role they played in ensuring that votes count during the re-run election in Rivers state.

Meanwhile, the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Oti Ovrawah, has promised to investigate the allegations.

Shiites Ask NHRC To Intervene In Zakzaky’s Continued Detention

Shiites, NHRCMembers of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria have appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene in the continued detention of their leader, Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

The group, popularly known as Shiites, took to the NHCR headquarters in Abuja to protest what they called “a flaunt on the laws of the land with impunity” by the Federal Government.

The Federal High Court in Abuja had in a ruling on December 2, 2016, ordered the release of the Shiites’ leader and his wife in 45 days, a deadline which had expired.

The Federal Government, however, is yet to obey the order.

The Shiites maintained that the government must obey the court order and release their leader and his wife, Zeenah.

The Secretary to the Academic Forum of the Islamic group, Mr Abdullahi Musa, described the continued detention as “unconstitutional and an infringement on the rights” of their leader and his wife.

Zaria Residents Protest Against El-Zakzaky's Release
Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky

“The court has ordered the government to free him (El-Zakzaky) within 45 days and today (Tuesday) is the 47th day (and) the government has not done anything. It has not shown any response to the court of law and law of the land, but at the same time they are calling (on) us to be peaceful.

“We have been peaceful since last three decades; we have been peaceful in this country (but) they have been killing us. The reason why we are here is to let the masses know that this government is not ready to free our leader.

“He is an innocent person who has been in detention since last year. So let the people know that the government is not ready to free him despite the court order and that is why we choose to come to the human rights commission because the right of our leader is being violated,” Musa said.

The acting secretary of NHRC, Mrs Oti Ovrawah, commended the group for the peaceful demonstration.

She assured them that the commission would intervene in the matter as soon as possible.

“We are receiving your complaints now and the work of the commission is to pass your complaints and advise the government accordingly.

“We have heard your complaints here (and) we are going to do the needful. We are going to advise the government accordingly in line with your complaints,” Mrs Ovrawah assured the Shiites.

Lawyers Seek Investigation Into Allegations Of Rights Abuse In The Judiciary

Judges, NJC, NBA, investigationA group of lawyers are still kicking against the arrest of judges by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and the continued detention of Nigerians who have been granted bail by various courts.

The lawyers under the auspices of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy staged a protest on Monday in Abuja.

In a protest letter, the lawyers called on the National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria to direct all judges in the country not to hear any applications from the DSS and other agencies, except bail applications until there is obedience to all pending orders against them.

They alleged that there was continuous abuse of Nigeria and disregard for the rule of law and asked the National Human Rights Commission to investigate their claims.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Amaka Okafor, reports that the lawyers carrying placards were joined by musical groups.

The spokesman for the group, Kenga Ugochiyere, decried what he called disrespect for the judiciary by agencies of government, pointing out that it is not good for the country’s democracy.

“To ensure the independence of the judiciary the national judiciary must take a stance,” he stressed.

At the office of the National Human Rights Commission the group raised issues of abuse of court orders, citing persons that have remained in detention in spite of getting bail from the court.

After they tabled the issues, the Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, assured them that the commission would look at their request and act accordingly.

This protest comes days after another group threw its weight behind the department of state services for the raid of judges‘ homes across the country.

NHRC Declares Port Harcourt Prisons Nigeria’s Most Congested

Bem Angwe, NHRC, West Africa, Human Rights,The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has declared the Port Harcourt Maximum  Security Prison with 3,430 Awaiting Trial inmates as the most congested in the country.

In a statement made available to Channels Television, the Executive Secretary of the Commission. Professor Bem Angwe, appealed to the Federal and Rivers state government to take urgent measures to address the congestion.

Professor Angwe added that decongesting the prison based in the Rivers State Capital will help reduce the increasing cases of attempted jail breaks.

NHRC Summons Navy Chief Over Alleged Rights Abuse

Ibok-Ete Ibas, NHRC, Rights Abuse, NavyThe National Human ‎Rights Commission (NHRC) has summoned the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, to appear before it on September 26.

He has been invited to answer to allegations of human rights violation levelled against him and the Managing Director of Naval Building and Construction Company Limited, Commodore Abdul Adamu.

In the summons made available to Channels Television on Wednesday, the Commission said it was in receipt of a complaint by the Managing Director of Lexy Nigeria Limited, Prince Leye Adetipe, against Vice Admiral Ibas and some staff of the Navy whom allegedly violated the rights of the complainant.

The NHRC implored the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to direct the Navy Chief and the senior officers of the Nigerian Navy to appear before the Commission on the said date by 12 noon.

Prince Adetipe had in a petition, alleged that the Navy had terminated the company’s contract and engaged other building contractors at a construction site at the command of the Naval Building and Construction Company Ltd.

He also claimed that the Navy reneged on their joint venture agreement by refusing to declare the proceeds of the sale of the housing units and other developments, contrary to earlier signed agreement on May 19, 2015.

Adetipe accused the Navy of beating up some of their staff and other persons lawfully engaged by his company on February 19, 2016 and expressed worries that his life was in danger, as some naval ratings allegedly trailed his car on one occasion.

He has demanded for 10 billion Naira damages and asked the NHRC to grant him an injunction restraining the alleged violators from “tampering with me and members of the staff of the company and those legally engaged by my company at the site”.