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Rape Of IDPs: Amnesty International Hails …Senate Accuses Military Of Intimidation

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Amnesty International has said the Nigerian military is increasingly resorting to threats, intimidation and smear campaigns in a bid to discredit its work documenting the human rights violations committed by officers and men.
This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by Isa Sanusi, Media Manager, Amnesty International Nigeria.
AI recalled that after release of its latest report, “They Betrayed Us”, which documented the prevalence of sexual violence against starving women and girls detained in satellite camps under the control of Nigerian soldiers and militia, the military has been organizing smear campaigns and issuing threats to “take action”
The statement quoted Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, as saying “Rather than taking action to address the issues raised in this report, like investigating countless allegations of rape and other war crimes, the Nigerian military has fallen back on its usual hostile tactics of denials and threats”.
“Amnesty International always shares the findings of its investigations with the Nigerian military before publication. We ask detailed questions to ensure the military can provide its side of the story, but in all cases the military has either completely ignored these attempts to engage, or referred us to other arms of government, in a clear attempt to evade our questions.”
AI, however, described the decision of the Senate to probe allegations raised in “They Betrayed Us” as a welcome development, and a sign of hope for victims seeking justice.
It added: “Amnesty International’s work in Nigeria goes far beyond documenting violations by the military. The organization has also released reports on the multiple horrific abuses carried out by the armed group Boko Haram, and human rights violations by the Nigeria Police Force.
“Researchers have also documented violent forced evictions by Lagos state government, and worked with communities facing forced evictions in Kaduna state and in the Federal Capital Territory, in both cases supporting the right to adequate housing. The organisation has also highlighted ongoing pollution by oil companies in the Niger Delta, and for decades has been calling for accountability for the resulting environmental devastation.
“According to standard practice, all Amnesty International’s reports on human rights violations in Nigeria call for investigations into the allegations they contain, but the Nigerian military has repeatedly responded instead with smear campaigns, intimidation, and threats.
“For example, in 20 March 2017, sponsored protesters carrying a coffin invaded Amnesty International’s office in Abuja chanting slogans against the organization like “Amnesty International supports Boko Haram,” and “You are demonic, leave Nigeria now.”
“The protesters, some of whom were internally displaced persons from camps outside Abuja, said they were paid N1400 every day by agents of the sponsors of the protest, who they met at Unity Fountain, Abuja.”
On military’s response to the report, Ojigho stated: “These diversionary tactics are a shameless attempt to avoid investigating the accounts of human rights violations which have been presented by Amnesty. The statements by the Nigerian military clearly show that they have not read our reports”.
“For example, while our recent report was based on remote satellite camps in places like Bama and Banki, the military took journalists to the wrong camps in Maiduguri in their attempts to prove us wrong.

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390,676 Civil Servants, 559 MDAs Captured In IPPISS, FG Confirms

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A total number of 390,676 civil servants in 559 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been captured on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPISS) platform as of January 31, 2021, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, has said.
She made the disclosure at a press briefing in Abuja as part of activities to kick-start the 2021 Nigeria Civil Service Week, yesterday.
The Federal Government had in 2006 introduced the IPPIS to weed out ghost workers from the civil service and automate salary payments for transparency and accountability in public expenditure.
In October, 2019, the Federal Government directed workers in its MDAs to enroll on IPPIS.
Recalled the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had last year gone on strike over the Federal Government insistence that its members enroll in IPPIS
Only last week, the salaries of 331 civil servants cutting across all were suspended over their failure to update their records on IPPIS despite repeated directives to do so.
According to Yemi-Esan, 390,676 staff across the 559 MDAs have now been captured on the platform.
She added that the figure excludes the army, paramilitary, police, and universities.
“As of 31st January, 2021, a total number of 559 MDAs with 390,676 employees have been captured on the IPPIS platform. This figure excludes the Army, para-military, police and universities.
“Accordingly, several activities have been initiated and carried out by the office towards driving, implementing and deployment of the Human Resource module of IPPIS.
“With full deployment of the HR Module of IPPIS, human error would be minimized through streamlined data, cost reduced based on available accurate data, financial and manpower resources efficiently and effectively utilized and planned for; while storage of data collected on employees of the Federal Public Service is secure and only accessible to authorized officers.”
Speaking further, Yemi-Esan said the civil service took advantage of Covid-19 to accelerate the digitalisation of its processes to enable it “continue to function effectively as the backbone of government within the new normal”.
Yemi-Esan also disclosed that the process of reviewing the nation’s Public Service Rules was almost completed, saying it is ready for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
“The office, in the last one year, has finalised the review of the PSR and it has presented to the 2020 National Council on Establishment in Lagos which approved the revised document in principle.
“The office has produced the final draft for onward transmission to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” she said.
According to her the government has spent N2.4billion in settling 594 families of deceased civil servants while outstanding death benefits will be paid soon.
Yemi-Esan added, “Sometimes last year, the Ministry of Finance released N2.5billion to pay backlog of death benefits to the next of kin of deceased officers.
“As of today, out of N2.5billion, N2.468billion has been expended to settle 594 beneficiaries.
“The others that are outstanding will be completed once the office receives the requisite bank’s attestation.”
Yemi-Esan said a committee would soon be set up on the Steve Orasanye report on rationalisation of government agencies.
“As regards the Orosanye report, the SGF and I have planned to set up two committees to look into the report.
“We are going to look at what happened before the Oransanye report and after the Oransanye report,” she said.

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Nigerian Law School, PH Campus’ll Be Ready In Six Months, Wike Vows

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has received a formal letter of approval from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for the establishment of a Nigerian Law School campus in Port Harcourt.
The letter was presented to the governor by the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Huyatu Chiroma, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike said it was gratifying that the Council of Legal Education and the Attorney General of the Federation have graciously given approval to the Rivers State Government to assist in the establishment of a Law School in Port Harcourt, an offer which was initially rejected by the immediate past administration in the state.
The governor commended the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for his statesmanship and commitment to the growth of legal education in Nigeria.
“This is devoid of any political affiliation. I must commend him for this show of sportsmanship, for this show of leadership, that at the end of the day, it is Nigerians and Rivers people that will benefit from the establishment of this campus in Port Harcourt.”
Wike explained that construction work had already commenced at the site approved by the state government for the Port Harcourt campus of the Nigerian Law School.
According to him, the campus will be ready in the next six months and the Certificate of Occupancy for the school is ready.
“The six months that we have given is not six years. Six months is six months. Even if any other project will be suspended, let it be suspended. This project must be finished within six months. And I also urged you to appoint a deputy DG who should move down to Port Harcourt immediately.”
The Rivers State governor explained that some corporate organisations, including banks, have expressed their readiness to build hostels and library in the campus, pending the approval of the authority of the Nigerian Law School.
The governor urged the Nigerian Law School management to graciously immortalise the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for the Federation, Justice Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas, SAN, by naming the Port Harcourt campus after him.
The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Huyatu Chiroma, said the process for the establishment of a Law School campus in Port Harcourt started on the June 4, in Yenagoa when Governor Wike threw a challenge that if given an opportunity, Rivers State Government was ready to construct and deliver a new campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt within six months.
He explained that afterwards, the Council of Legal Education met and unanimously agreed to accede to the request of the Rivers State Government and this was also endorsed by the Attorney General of the Federation.
The Attorney General of the Federation in this letter to Governor Wike which was read by Chiroma, said immediately he received the letter from the Rivers State Government to assist in the establishment of a new campus in Port Harcourt, his office forwarded same, via Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary for consideration by the Council of Legal Education.
“I am delighted to convey to you the acceptance of your offer by the Council of Legal Education at its meeting held on June 18, 2021. A copy of the approval letter and a draft Memorandum of Understanding to guide or govern the conduct of the partnership project is hereby forwarded to you for your kind consideration and further action.
“While appreciating the kind gestures of the Rivers State Government in the promotion of legal education in Nigeria, please accept the assurances of my best regards and high esteem as always.”
In his remarks, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor, said the Law School campus in Port Harcourt will stand out as one of the most iconic achievement of the Governor Wike’s administration.
The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, commended the Attorney General of the federation and the Council of Legal Education for the approval and assured that the state will construct a befitting campus in Port Harcourt.
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C.J. Okocha, SAN, said though the new campus is in Port Harcourt, it will be for the benefit of all Nigerians and the legal profession.
The chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere applauded the approval, and urged the Federal Government to devolve some of its obligation in the Executive List to the federating States.

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Buhari Off To London For Medical Check-Up, Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday travel to London, for a scheduled medical follow-up.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Femi Adesina, confirmed this in a statement, yesterday.
Adesina said the President is expected return to the country in the second week of next month.
“He is due back in the country during the second week of July, 2021,” the statement said.
It would be recalled that on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Buhari had visited London to receive medical attention from his physician.

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