Afghanistan Announces Delay In Taliban-For-Hostages Exchange

 

The exchange of three senior Taliban prisoners for two foreign hostages announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been delayed, a spokesman said Saturday.

The Taliban prisoners “are still being held by the Afghan government. The inability of the Taliban to meet the conditions has caused a delay in the exchange,” Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi wrote on Twitter.

The government “will review the exchange process in light of Afghanistan’s national interests,” he said, without providing further details.

Ghani announced the exchange on Tuesday, saying the Taliban prisoners held at Bagram prison would be “conditionally” released.

They include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network, a notorious Taliban affiliate.

The two foreign hostages — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — were kidnapped by gunmen wearing military uniforms in Kabul in August 2016.

Ghani said that “their health has been deteriorating while in the custody of the terrorists”.

He added that the release of the two men, both professors, would “pave the way” for the start of unofficial direct talks between his government and the Taliban, who long have refused to negotiate with Ghani’s administration.

Niger Governor Releases 13 Prisoners

 

The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has released 13 prisoners in the state.

Governor Bello made the announcement on Saturday at the 2nd General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture.

He said their release is part of a negotiation deal with a group of bandits that have agreed to broker peace with the state government.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Military Intervention Unnecessary Unless Dialogue Fails – Niger Governor

The governor advocated the engagement of traditional rulers, especially village and district heads in peacebuilding and conflict resolution process as they are closest to the grassroots.

He identified population explosion and lack of clear cut grazing routes as catalysts for most of the security challenges in the country, as reflected in the clashes between farmers and herders

He urged the ex-convicts to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace and progress of the country.

 

 

 

HRW Accuses Cameroon Of Torturing Over 100 Prisoners

 

Cameroonian authorities detained and tortured more than 100 prisoners, including suspected members of the country’s anglophone separatist movement, after a jail riot last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday.

The prisoners were taken to a military detention facility the morning after rioting broke out in the Central Prison in the capital Yaounde on July 22, the rights group said.

They were held incommunicado, beaten by gendarmes and guards and interrogated at gunpoint, it said, citing interviews with 14 detainees and several lawyers.

“The gendarmes put a piece of cloth on my nose and beat me. I was tortured like this, beaten badly several times on my legs and back,” HRW said, quoting a 37-year-old man from the city of Bamenda.

The rioting in Central Prison had been sparked by anger at overcrowding, living conditions and delays in bringing detainees’ cases to court, HRW said.

Many of those held there were suspected anglophone rebels, whose movement has declared a separate state for English-speaking rebels in the majority francophone country, its report said.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in violence between separatists and security forces in the anglophone regions since October 2017, according to an independent toll.

Others at the Central Prison were members of the opposition party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC), according to HRW.

According to HRW, “at least 100” were taken to a facility called the State Defence Secretariat (SED), where the abuse occurred. They were held between July 23 and August 4, it said.

On August 3, the government said that 244 prisoners had been held in connection with the unrest.

Communication Minister Emmanuel Sadi said detainees were being held “in line with legal procedure, with the utmost respect for the law.” Several of them had been found in possession of knives, he maintained.

AFP

Yobe Governor Pardons Five Prisoners

Yobe Govt. Disburses N18.3 Million To Returning IDPs Who Lost Farms

The Yobe State Governor, Mr Ibrahim Gaidam has pardoned five prisoners convicted and jailed for various offences in two prisons across the state.

A statement issued by his media aide, Abdullahi Bego said the state Chief Executive exercised his powers in pursuit of Sections 212 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

He added that the governor acted based on the counsel given him by the State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy headed by the Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ahmed Goniri.

“The pardons were granted based on the Prerogative of Mercy powers conferred on the governor by Section 212 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” Bego said on Sunday.

The pardon, he added was made possible “based on the recommendation of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy chaired by the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Ahmed Mustapha Goniri.”

Beneficiaries of the amnesty were: Mohammed Gidado, Adamu Ardo and Jibrin Mohammed all serving at the Potiskum Medium Security Prison.

Others included Kachallah Bukar currently serving at the Gashu’a Prison and Baba Isa serving his term at Potiskum Medium Security Prison.

The repentant prisoners are to be freed with immediate effect, according to the statement issued by the governor’s aide.

500 Inmates Regain Freedom As Buhari Visits Kano

Photo Credit: Bashir Ahmed, Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday attended a ceremony in Kurmawa Central Prison Kano where 500 prisoners regained freedom.

According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, the inmates were either pardoned or set free upon the payment of fines by Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

The President graced the occasion with his presence during his two-day working visit to the state, his first since he was elected in 2015.

READ ALSO: Buhari Arrives Kano On Working Visit

Addressing the freed inmates, he asked them to remain law-abiding and stay away from committing crimes that may likely lead them back to prison.

“I am pleased with this visit and I have learnt a bit more about the conditions of the prisons and inmates. This building in front of us was built since 1910.

“Rehabilitation of prisoners and training of inmates is very important to us and we would continue to invest more on this. I asked one of the inmates (released) how old he was and he told me he is only 19 years old.

“If we have people of 18 and 19 years in the prison, and there is no continuous training, then their lives will be completely destroyed. We will invest more in education and vocational training,” he said.

Kano Central Prison is one of the most congested detention facilities in Nigeria but Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State says the ongoing renovation of the facility is geared towards decongesting the prison.

Speaking earlier at the Emir’s palace while on a visit to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, Buhari said, “I know Kano people are aware of the tremendous job we did on security and agriculture.”

He explained that the stability of the north and Nigeria is paramount and he is determined to make Nigeria a peaceful country.

After granting amnesty to the 500 inmates at the state’s central prison, President Buhari also commissioned the Panshekara by Madobi junction Underpass and the CBN Quarters by Hotoro road.

Prisoners Are Doomed Without Training, Says Buhari

Prisoners Are Doomed Without Training, Buhari Laments
File photo

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said prisoners across the country are doomed without getting continuous training to help improve their lives.

The President said this at a ceremony in Kurmawa Central Prison, Kano, where 500 inmates were either pardoned or set free.

“If we have people of 18 and 19 years in the prison, and there is no continuous training, then their lives will be completely destroyed.

“We will invest more in education and vocational training,” he said in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

President Buhari reaffirmed that prison reforms and decongestion would continue to receive prompt attention and be pursued with greater vigour by his administration.

He, however, lamented that some of the freed inmates were young and asked prison authorities to make every effort to make better citizens of prisoners.

He also emphasised the need for prisoners to receive proper care, support and rehabilitation to make them better citizens after serving their prisons terms.

“I am pleased with this visit and I have learnt a bit more about the conditions of the prisons and inmates. This building in front of us was built since 1910.

“Rehabilitation of prisoners and training of inmates is very important to us and we would continue to invest more on this. I asked one of the inmates (released) how old he was and he told me he is only 19 years old,” he said.

The 500 inmates granted pardon, including men and women, were drawn from various prisons in Kano State, including Kurmawa prisons which has 1,398 inmates as opposed to 750, the established capacity.

The President, who arrived Kano to a tumultuous welcome by the government and people of the state at the start of a two-day state visit, had earlier paid homage to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

At the Emir’s place, he recounted his fond memories of Kano, as a symbol of peace, trade, commerce and industry in Nigeria.

He said: “If there is a problem here, the whole country has a problem. I remember the industry and employment people get in Kano.

“Before the problem in the North East, I remember the number of articulated vehicles that leave this city to Maiduguri and the Cameroons; and the number of vehicles that come in from Chad and Niger, providing millions of jobs to Nigerians.

“A lot of people in Nigeria didn’t realise how much the instability in the North East have cost the people and the industry here.”

To this end, President Buhari assured all Nigerians that the fight against Boko Haram terrorists would be sustained, in addition to the positive trends in the economy and the fight against corruption.

“The three things we said in our campaign on security, economy and fighting corruption; nobody will be able to successfully disabuse the minds of Nigerians on our clear intentions for our country and our people,” he said.

100 Prisoners Escape On Hurricane-Hit British Island

Flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston following Hurricane Harvey August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Over 100 high-risk prisoners escaped in the British Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, a British junior minister said on Tuesday, as he raised the death toll in British territories to nine.

“We had a serious threat of a complete breakdown of law and order in the British Virgin islands (BVI),” junior foreign minister Alan Duncan told parliament.

“The prison was breached, over 100 very serious prisoners escaped,” he said.

Duncan said Royal Marines were deployed to cope with the threat but did not disclose how many prisoners had been recovered or how many were still at large.

“We have maintained and kept law and order on the BVI, which at one point, could have dramatically threatened the already unfortunate plight of those who had been hit by the hurricane,” he said.

Contacted by AFP, the foreign ministry declined to comment.

The Daily Telegraph said notes from a cabinet meeting that were leaked to the press on Tuesday suggested as many as 60 had yet to be recaptured.

“We are working with St Lucia and BVI authorities to secure the transfer to St Lucia of 40 high-risk prisoners that have escaped in BVI,” the briefing notes were reported as saying.

Duncan said a total of nine people died in British Caribbean territories — five in the BVI and four in Anguilla. The authorities had previously reported one person killed in Anguilla.

Britain’s response to Irma has been criticised by some local inhabitants as too slow with some complaining about a breakdown of law and order and being left to fend for themselves.

Briton Claudia Knight said her partner Leo Whitting, 38, was stranded on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands archipelago.

“Everyone’s turned feral and no-one’s going out without being armed… It’s turning really nasty,” she told the Press Association news agency.

“Leo carries a knife with him,” she said.

But Duncan said he “wholeheartedly and comprehensively reject the criticism”.

“I think they are unjustified,” he added.

Ayade Grants Clemency To Over 30 Prisoners

The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has granted clemency to over 30 prisoners currently serving jail terms for various offences.

Professor Ayade explained that their release was in the spirit of the celebration of the state’s golden jubilee, which coincides with the Children’s Day celebration.

He used the occasion of Cross River State at 50 to urge the people of the state and residents to join his administration towards ensuring a better future for the state.

A breakdown of the figure showed that five prisoners were on death row, 16 on life sentences, four inmates above 60 years, while nine others were terminally ill.

Ayade Pardons 30 Prisoners as Cross River Celebrates Golden Jubilee

CSOs, Ben Ayade, Man Of The YearThe Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, has granted Clemency to over 30 prisoners currently serving jail terms in the state.

Announcing the decision in a state-wide broadcast in Calabar, the governor maintained that their release is om the spirit of the celebration of the state’s golden jubilee.

The governor who further explained that his decision is based on Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which gives him the power to pardon prisoners.
According to him, five of the prisoners are on death row, 16 are serving life sentences, four are above sixty years of age and nine are terminally ill and may likely die if they are not pardoned.

He said the names of the prisoners would be released soon.

Ayade further used the occasion to urge all indigenes of the state and residents alike to join his administration in ensuring a bright future by building upon the legacies of his predecessors.

“As we march into another half a century, let us do so with hope, pride, confidence and optimism that our story tomorrow will be loftier than yesterday’s,” Ayade said.

“Today signifies the beginning of a greater tomorrow. For as we gaze into a new horizon, we see the actualisation of the deepest seaport in Africa, the Bakassi Deep Seaport; we see the realisation of the most digital evacuation corridor, the 275-kilometer superhighway; the crystallisation of the most sophisticated rice seedling centre in Africa and many other ambitious projects that would ultimately alter our narrative as a state.”

According to the governor, the unity and support of the people are vital to the achievement of the goals.

“All we have to do to actualise these lofty goals is stick together, working in harmony with a singularity of purpose,” he said.

“It is, therefore, imperative that we forge a common front in our collective desire to completely rebrand our state.”

Adaka Boro Avengers Oppose Arms Mop Up To End Niger Delta Crisis

Adaka Boro Avengers, Niger Delta, MilitantsMembers of the Adaka Boro Avengers say arms mop up exercise in the Niger Delta without dialogue with the militants will not bring lasting peace in the region.

The spokesman for the group, Edmos Ayayeibo, said in a statement that the militant groups in Nigeria’s south-south region have laid down their arms.

He added that the militants are also prepared to dialogue with the Federal Government, to end the crisis in the region.

Ayayeibo described as insincere, the plans by the military to move into camps to dislodge the militants after they had laid down their arms.

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has been nominated by the militants as one of those to represent them on the negotiating table with the government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had disclosed that the Federal Government is also open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the Niger Delta region.

He, however, said the government does not believe the militants have announced a ceasefire, saying the government was yet to identify their leaders.

“We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more.

“Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues,” he asked in Kenya.

Buhari Agrees To Swap Boko Haram Prisoners For Chibok Girls

Muhammadu Buhari on Chibok GirlsNigeria’s President has again renewed his commitment to the rescuing of the Chibok girls, saying the government will not give up in the search.

 

Commenting on this via Twitter on Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari paid glowing tributes to the military for their efforts in the war against insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.

The President also said he was willing to swap Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls.

But that is on condition that they are able to list those they want released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.

He says the Federal Government will want the girls out safe without any harm done to them.

Recently, the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners had called on the President to accept the swap of the Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in Borno State two years ago.

The President was in Nairobi, Kenya for the African economic summit which dwells on diversification and advancement of African economies.

Full text of the President’s statement:

Nigeria Ready To Take All Necessary Measures To Free Chibok Girls – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the preparedness of the Federal Government to discuss the release of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terror group since 2014.

In an interview with journalists in Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend, President Buhari said the Nigerian government is ready to dialogue with bonafide leaders of the terror group who know the whereabouts of the girls.

“I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised.

“What we said is that the government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram.

“If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know.

“If they do it through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO, then Nigeria will be prepared to discuss for their release,” he said.

President Buhari, who spoke to the media on the margins of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), warned that the Federal Government will not waste time and resources with “doubtful sources” claiming to know the whereabouts of the girls.

“We want those girls out and safe. The faster we can recover them and hand them over to their parents, the better for us.”

The President maintained that the terror group, which pledged allegiance to ISIS, has been largely decimated by the gallant Nigerian military with the support of immediate neighbours from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin.

“Some of the information about the division in Boko Haram is already in the press and I have read in the papers about the conflict in their leadership.

“The person known in Nigeria as their leader, we understand was edged out and the Nigerian members of Boko Haram started turning themselves to the Nigerian military.

“We learnt that in an air strike by the Nigeria Air Force he was wounded. Indeed, their top hierarchy and lower cadre have a problem and we know this because when we came into power, they were holding 14 out of the 774 local governments in Nigeria. But now they are not holding any territory and they have split to small groups attacking soft targets.

On the militancy in the Niger Delta region, the President said the Federal Government is also open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the area.

“We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more. Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues,” he said.

Garba Shehu

SSA to the President (Media & Publicity)

August 28, 2016

 

55th Anniversary: Obiano Grants Prisoners Freedom, Gives 1 Million Each

obianoTwenty five prisoners from the three prisons in Anambra state have regained their freedom as well as received empowerment to the tune of one million naira each from the state government.

Governor Willie Obiano announced the prerogative of mercy and the empowerment on the prisoners serving different jail terms in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi prisons as part of activities marking the nation’s fifty fifth Independence Anniversary and as a measure of hope to them to be able to re-integrate into the society and fend for themselves.

At a personal visit to Awka Prisons where he meets the five lucky inmates, it was a scene of overflowing emotion as the prisoners were in tears appreciating the gesture and pledged to lead a life worthy of emulation as they reunite with their families and the larger society.

The Attorney General and Anambra State Commissioner for Justice who called on the governor to perform the function of amnesty said it was the first time a sitting governor would be supervising the handing over of pardon on prisoners in the state.

The governor expressed his joy for performing the function that would give hope and bring life to the beneficiaries.

The governor signed the prison’s visitors register and had a group photograph with the released prisoners alongside other dignitaries.

Sixteen prisoners were released in Onitsha Prisons while four would regain their freedom in Nnewi prisons.