Amnesty International Frowns At Alleged Torture Of Suspects By Nigeria Police, Military

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Amnesty International has decried the alleged use of torture by Nigeria military and police to get information from suspects.

The group said its arm in Nigeria has continued to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody despite an existing law against the use of torture.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement released by Amnesty International in commemoration International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

“Nigerian authorities must do more to end the ongoing use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law enforcement agencies.

“Despite recent government measures aimed at reducing the incidence of torture in the country, Amnesty International Nigeria continues to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody. Moreover, victims are still being denied justice, with the Nigerian judicial system failing to prevent or punish torture, perpetuating a culture of impunity,” the statement read in part.

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The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in the statement added that, although steps have been taken to address torture in Nigeria, including the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in December 2017 and the setting up of the presidential panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) the use of torture by the police and others is still widespread.

“Our research also shows that despite an existing law against the use of torture, no police officer has been charged under the act. Moreover, the Nigerian police is yet to amend Force Order 237 which allows police officers to shoot at fleeing suspects, giving room for lethal use of force that sometimes leads to extrajudicial killings.

“On 5 March 2018 a high court in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay compensation to Ugochukwu Oraefo for extortion, illegal arrest, unlawful detention and torture after he was arrested by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Awkuzu, Anambra state. The police have neither paid the victim nor ensured that the police officers involved have been brought to justice.

“Amnesty International highlighted rampant torture and ill-treatment especially by the SARS police unit in the report: Nigeria: ‘You Have Signed Your Death Warrant’ in 2016, yet shocking incidents of torture still continue. Every now and then videos of police officers or soldiers torturing suspects surface and generate outrage.”

The human rights group said it is time Nigerian authorities declare, in strong terms, that security personnel will be held accountable for torture and that victims of torture will get justice, including rehabilitation and compensation.

In 2018 Nigerian activists launched a nationwide social media campaign #EndSARS, demanding an end to torture and other ill-treatment by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAR), a special police squad created to fight armed robbery cases. In response, the police authorities acknowledged that SARS has been responsible for widespread violations and announced some reforms, while the government directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a panel to investigate the activities of SARS.

The panel submitted its report in May 2019.

An Amnesty International poll in May 2019 indicated that 63 percent of poll respondents regard torture and unlawful killings by the police, as the most serious human rights violation they want the government to address.

Amnesty International Is Not Credible, Says Military

Nigeria military has claimed that Amnesty International is not a credible organisation alleging that the aim of the organisation is to ‘harm’ Nigerians.

Defence Spokesperson, Brigadier General John Agim, who was a guest on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily on Friday, claimed that, although Amnesty International has credibility in other countries, it lacks credibility in Nigeria.

“Amnesty is a very credible organisation out there, but in Nigeria, they are not,” he said.

Explaining further why he thinks Amnesty International lacks credibility, the Nigeria military spokesperson alleged that the international organisation takes advantage of Nigeria, whenever there is a security situation.

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“Amnesty International takes advantage of whenever we have security situation in Nigeria. Whenever there are gaps, and something happens, they always take advantage of it. And over the years, we have realised that the intention is to harm Nigerians.”

Agim also reacted to the report by Amnesty International which accused the Nigerian military of failing to prevent the abduction of 110 schoolgirls in, Dapchi Yobe State despite being warned.

Amnesty International in a statement on Tuesday said the military failed to act on advance warnings that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading to Dapchi town.

In reaction to this statement, Agim said the military never received any warnings from Amnesty International. According to him, the Defence Headquarters should have been informed of any query instead of telling the public.

“If you are going to condemn an organisation that they are not doing well, and you don’t make effort for them to answer some queries from you which even though it may not change your narrative, why don’t you make attempt to talk to them,” he questioned.

Calling for the support of Nigerians to fight insecurity in Nigeria, Agim said the fight against insecurity in Nigeria is not only against Boko Haram.

The fight in Northeast and other parts of the country, according to him, is a fight against Boko Haram and the ‘bad people’ including enemies of the country.

We Don’t Have Manpower To Deploy Troops In All Schools – Military

Defence Spokesperson, Brigadier General John Agim.

 

The Nigeria military on Friday said it doesn’t have enough workforce to have a huge security presence in all Nigerian schools.

Defence Spokesperson, Brigadier General John Agim, who was a guest on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily said due to the huge land mass, especially in the Northern East which is volatile to attacks, it is difficult to deploy troops to schools.

“The military doesn’t have the manpower to deploy (troops) to all the schools. It is not possible.

“People don’t know the land mass that we have in the North East and the number of troops that are deployed in that place. The land mass is very large,”

Agim, who lauded efforts of the Federal government which has authorised civil defence and the police officers to secure schools in Northeast Nigeria, emphasised that the military cannot deploy to schools like some people are demanding.

“It is very difficult. It is not possible,” he said.

The Defence Spokesperson also blamed this lack of sufficient man capacity on the abduction of over 110 schoolgirls in Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.

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Explaining the role, which the military played in securing Northeast, Agim said the military wasn’t negligent as being rumoured but the troops were redeployed for other assignments few weeks before the terrorists, unfortunately, invaded the school in Dapchi.

“Where the military was deployed in Dapchi, they (the troops) were taken away. They were deployed for other assignments. So, it is possible that the Boko Haram can operate in a place for a long time without the military presence.

“They were withdrawn out of Dapchi for another assignment on January 10 and this attack took place on February 19,” he said.

Dapchi, a remote town in Yobe State was a safe haven before the abduction of 100 schoolgirls in GGSTC. Although a sizeable number of schoolgirls have been returned, Nigerians are still left in shock over the attack, wondering which school or pupils will be the next target by the terrorists.

BBOG Rallies Support For Nigerian Military Personnel

ezekwesiliThe Bring Back Our Girls campaigners are asking the government and Nigerians to improve the welfare of the Nigerian military.

The group made the demand on Sunday when they gathered in Abuja at a special sit out to honour departed Lieutenant Colonel Abul Ali and other fallen heroes.

It maintained that only a well-motivated force could subdue the Boko Haram terrorists that have pushed for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the north-eastern region for over six years.

While praising the courage of the late army Colonel, they also called on Nigerians to show love to the families of military personnel, as a mark of appreciation for their supreme sacrifices.

A leader of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, further charged the military authorities to step up intelligence gathering in the fight against insurgency as well as be accountable to the Nigerian people.

“Just looking at the duty allowances and bonus that they get, the way that they’re honoured and the prestige with which they are treated as those who are executing that war at the battle front, more support would make a big difference.

“In many ways, the psyche of our military needs to be so overhauled towards a sense that the society and the government are with them and that they are not left to their own fate. I think that it is important that we, not just we as BBOG, but all of us in the country, have to put a voice out there. We must demand accountability from our military.

“The military establishment must be subject to the demand of accountability and we never cease doing that. That is one thing.

“The other thing is the soldiers at the frontline of battle deserves our support. They deserve our encouragement and gratitude. All other countries around the world have these seasons when they specially show appreciation to their soldiers. We cannot make it a one off event. It has to be something that is constant and we hope that spirit will see an expression in the motivation of our soldiers to even do more,” she told the gathering.

Another member of the group, Aisha Yesufu, also stressed the need for Nigerians to show soldiers in the frontline that they are with them and would continue to protect them and look after their families.

“We are calling on, not only the Nigerian government, but individuals for us to adopt families of soldiers that are at the front.

“That is the thing that we are talking about today,” she added.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali was killed in gun battle with members of the Boko Haram sect few days ago alongside some other soldiers.

Niger Govt. Sets Up Committee To Investigate Military Invasion

Sani Bello, Niger State, MilitaryA three-man committee has been constituted by the Security Council headed by the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG) to look into the military invasion of some communities in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

This comes after the military in Niger State invaded Lunko, Kopa and environ villages in Bosso Local Government Area of the state at about 1:00am local time on Thursday.

The Government has requested for feedback on the incident within 24 hours.

According to a statement by the State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, the government, after an emergency State Security Council meeting on Friday, directed an extensive investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the unfortunate incident, with the aim of having a permanent solution and forestalling future occurrence of such act.

The council also directed that residents of the affected villages, community leaders, party chieftains, religious leaders and political office holders in the area should embrace peace and assist the committee by proffering suggestions that would bring lasting solution and guarantee an enduring peace in the area and the state at large.

The council, while commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives, appealed to the military to ensure strict adherence to rules of engagement while assuring them of government’s resolve to recover the missing arms during the unfortunate incident.

As normalcy returns to the affected area, the council appealed to members of the public to go after their lawful duties, avoid engaging in any act capable of breaching peace of the state and report any suspicious person or movement to appropriate authorities.

The armed soldiers drawn from the 31 Artillery Brigade in Minna and the Air Force base in Bosso, allegedly stormed the villages in a brutal commando style, waking the sleeping villagers, causing distress and inflicting pains on them.

Niger Delta Avengers Claims It Blew Up Chevron Oil Well

Niger Delta AvengersA militant group in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), on Wednesday claimed it blew up Chevron Oil Well RMP 23 and RMP.

The group said the attack on the facility occurred at about 3:44 a.m.

Although the attack  had not been confirmed by security agencies or Chevron, a tweet on the group’s Twitter handle read: “With the heavy presence of 100 Gunboats, 4 Warships and Jet Bombers NDA blew up Chevron Oil Well RMP 23 and RMP 24 3:44am this Morning”.

According to the NDA, the attack was carried out to “show the whole world that Nigeria Military is good in harassing innocent Civilians”.

It further explained in another tweet that RMP 24 and RMP 23 are Chevron Swamp Highest producing Wells.

Militancy is resurging in Niger Delta, with the group claiming responsibility for most of the recent attacks on oil facilities in the region holding Nigeria’s oil wealth.

The Niger Delta Avengers had last week said something big was coming, without giving details.

The attack came weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari had promised oil companies carrying out mining activities in the region that the government had intensified efforts to end the attacks on their facilities.

Buhari Says Patriotism Will Encourage More Foreign Investments

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-Qatar on Foreign InvestmentsPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Doha urged Nigerians to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and selfless service to encourage more foreign investments.

At a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in Doha, the President gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to create the enabling environment for investments in Nigeria. He said that most of the government efforts would be anchored on peace and security.

“We have abundant natural and human resources in the country, including huge oil and gas deposit.

“But the challenge is securing those installations and to persuade some of our countrymen to be more patriotic and stop sabotaging the installations.

“When people are being abducted and some are being murdered, when installations are being blown up now and then, the incentives for people to invest in our infrastructure is quite slim,” he told the gathering.

President Buhari also promised to look into the complaints of alleged blanket denial of visas to families and relatives of Nigerians intending to visit the State of Qatar.

“Like I tell other Nigerians living in other countries, you must be good ambassadors of the country because globally things are quite difficult in terms of security and the economy.

“If you have something doing, please hold it tight to your heart and try to improve on it because things are quite difficult all over.

“For us in Nigeria, we are trying to do our best to reduce unemployment and we realised this quite early enough, that is why we campaigned on the diversification of the economy.

“We have to go back to agriculture, like in the good old days of cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, cottons, groundnuts, hides and skins,” he stressed.

On the fight against terrorism, the President told Nigerians living in Qatar that the military had made remarkable progress in dislodging Boko Haram terrorists from their previous strongholds in the North eastern part of Nigeria.

“When we came in May 2015, the Boko Haram were effectively holding 14 local governments out of 774 local governments in Nigeria but today they are not holding a single local government,” he stated.

He said the military and law enforcement agencies were working very hard to prevent and counter Boko Haram attacks on soft targets in the country.

Military, Police To Improve Collaboration On Intelligence Gathering

monday-morgan--and-Solomon-AraseThe Nigerian military and the police force have agreed on more collaborative efforts in intelligence, especially in the face of the security challenges in the nation’s north-east.

At a meeting on Monday between the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, the Chief of Defence Intelligence said that intelligence gathering would not make any difference if there was no collaboration among all security agencies and even the citizen.

He stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to confront the nation’s common enemy, the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Air Vice Marshal Morgan promised to support the Nigeria Police Force through an improved capacity building on intelligence gathering for Police officers with a view to enhancing National Security.

He also expressed satisfaction in the leadership and management team of the Nigeria Police

The Inspector General of Police told the Chief of Defence Intelligence that quite a good number of Police Officers had benefited from the Intelligence course offered by the Military Intelligence School.

He, however, urged the Defence Intelligence Chief to extend same opportunity to Junior Police Officers with a view to boosting the ties between the two agencies

“Collaboration would work better when officers and men in the lower ranks were properly oriented to work together,” he said.

Mr Arase sought for an avenue were a combination of officers and men of the different security agencies could be jointly trained to work together.

Security analysts have stressed the need for security agencies in Nigeria to put more efforts into intelligence gathering in the counter-terrorism operation in the north-east, if the activities of the Boko Haram sect would end.

Minister Tasks Military To Remain Loyal To Constituted Authority

MaiduguriThe Minister of State for Defence, Col. Augustine Akobundu, has tasked the Nigerian Armed Forces to maintain its loyalty to constitutional authority, even as the current government begins to wind down.

The Minister during his maiden visit to the Defence headquarters also commended the military for its resourcefulness in tackling the insecurity in the country.

He urged the leadership of the armed forces to accord the incoming administration the same loyalty and support accorded previous administrations and the current administration.

On his part the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, maintained the loyalty of the armed forces rests with the constitution alone.

2015 Elections: Academics, Others Call For Peaceful Polls

ElectionsAppeals have continued to come from different quotas for peaceful polls in the rescheduled March 28 and April 11 general elections.

‎The University of Port-Harcourt Alumni Association, members of the civil society and other concerned individuals on Thursday, asked Nigerians to come out en mass to vote without causing trouble.

They also appealed to security operatives to be on the alert.

‎Acknowledging the transformation agenda of the present administration, the group advised voters not to be intimidated by tension in the atmosphere, noting that they have the freedom to make their choice by going to the polls.

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff had on the previous day, warned that any one who threatens violence, no matter his position, would be met with organised violence by the Nigerian Army.

Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah stated that the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies have made adequate arrangements for security, ahead of the general elections commencing on Saturday.

He urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and vote candidates of their choice without fear for their safety.

Chief Of Army Staff Warns Against Election Violence

kenneth-minimah-ArmyNigerian Chief of Army Staff has warned that any one who threatens violence, no matter his position, will be met with organised violence by the Nigerian Army.

Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah said on Wednesday, that the Armed Forces, the police and other security agencies have made adequate arrangements for security, ahead of the general elections commencing on Saturday.

He thus, urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and vote candidates of their choice without fear for their safety.

Minimah noted that some politicians would want to disrupt peace during the elections, he does not envisage any problems.

The Chief of Army Staff had last week, given an assurance of victory against the Boko Haram sect in the north-east, at the first quarterly conference of the Nigerian Army for 2015.

He note in the meeting, when he was called to do stocktaking of the Nigerian Army’s operations in the north-east, and help prepare for the coming elections, should their services be required as proscribed by law, that the military would continue to adopt new strategies that will help end insurgency in the north-east.

Minimah further stated, that the military would continue to change strategies and restructure its plans as the operation demands to ensure  total victory  against the sect.

He however, attributed the recent victory in the north-east to the resilience of the Nigerian soldiers and  improvement in their equipment, welfare and training.

 

 

 

Navy Holds Capacity Training For Officers On Maritime Laws

Nigerian navyThe Nigerian Navy has organised a capacity training seminar for its officers aimed at equipping them with the relevant maritime laws and regulations.

The force said the training was part of efforts to boost maritime security along the nation’s territorial waters.

The seminar, which was organised by the department of Maritime Warfare at the Armed forces Staff and Command College, Jaji, Kaduna State, is an annual event designed to create a forum for discussion on issues relating to the maritime environment.

The event was also based on ensuring that the Nigerian Navy personnel conduct their operations within the bounds of the 1986 United Nations Convention for Law of the Sea, which Nigeria was a signatory. It was also part of the senior course curriculum of the college.

Addressing reporters at the event, Deputy Commandant of the college, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, emphasised the important role of the Nigerian Navy in policing the nation’s maritime space, which he said included fighting Sea Pirates, Pipeline Vandals and Oil Thieves.

He explained that certain aspects of the maritime laws had been contravened by officers and men in discharging their functions.

“The seminar was held to update the knowledge and capacity of the officers in observing such laws while discharging their duties.”

The Deputy Commandant also stressed the need for strong cooperation between the Navy and other relevant stakeholders in the maritime industry in order to effectively secure the nation’s maritime environment.

Nigeria is a littoral state with a coastline of 420 nautical miles, and a vast sea space of 84,000 square nautical miles.

Within this areas are living and non-living resources such as fish and crude oil which account for about 90 percent of the nation’s foreign earnings.

However, this economic activities has continued to attract some security challenges with attendant legal implications in recent times.

Some of the security challenges include pipeline vandalism, piracy, oil theft and illegal oil refineries among others.

To checkmate this challenges, the Nigerian Navy had gathered 49 of its officers across the country to build their capacity and also improve their ability to extend the rule of law within their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

The college’s deputy commandant said the seminar was also necessary and timely for the Nigerian Navy in its quest to extend her continental shelf, especially with the current heightened military, diplomatic and economic interests in the Gulf of Guinea.

The policing role of the Nigerian Navy, aimed at ensuring that the nation’s maritime space is conducive for economic activities, cannot be overemphasised.

With the training, it is expected that the service while carrying out such enormous responsibilities, would do so in line with the laws of the sea.