Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the Governor, Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, requesting him to “immediately halt all further eviction and demolition of Fresh FM building and to show full respect for the safety and dignity of residents and owner of Fresh FM.
We also urge you to immediately begin repairs of the Fresh FM building and to adequately compensate the radio station and its owner and publicly guarantee non-repetition.”
The organisation urged Ajimobi to “ensure full and effective respect for the rights to freedom of expression and media freedom in Oyo State. We request that you take this step within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will take national and international legal actions to compel your government to act in the public interest and the overall interest of the rule of law.”
In the letter dated 21 August 2018 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said, “We have information to suggest that the destruction of Fresh FM was based on political considerations and retaliation against the radio station on purported allegations of defamation against you. The facts suggest that the demolition of Fresh FM building failed to comply with the principle of lawfulness and reasonableness. The demolition was neither done in the public interest nor carried out to achieve a legitimate aim.”
The organisation said, “This apparently unlawful action has set a bad precedent, and created a high level of uncertainty and anxiety among many radio stations and other media organisations in Oyo State about the future because of the likelihood of their buildings being demolished when they are deemed to broadcast views which the Oyo State authorities may consider too critical or ‘defamatory’.”
The letter read in part: “By going ahead to demolish the Fresh FM building despite being served with the court papers in the case filed by the station, you implicitly obstructed access of the radio station and their owners to appropriate forms of legal protection, contrary to the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party and which is legally binding on the government of Oyo State.”
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the Oyo State authorities carried out the demolition of Fresh FM building with wilful disregard for the dignity, health, and safety of residents and the owner, who is a person with disabilities. The demolition of the radio station has now exposed residents to the elements and the public to the risk of complete collapse of the building.”
“Since your government’s action in this case suggests serious disregard for the safety and welfare of the residents of Fresh FM, the authorities’ conduct may have risen to a level of severity so as to constitute inhuman and degrading treatment of residents and owner, contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.” “Your government has reportedly cut water, sewer, electricity, gas, and telephone lines to the radio station, rendering it uninhabitable and incapable of discharging its constitutional duties of informing the citizens and ensuring that government is both responsible and accountable to the people.”
“We contend that the action by your government has no basis in our laws, which provide that no public authorities must resort to self-help and carry out forced evictions and demolitions without a properly obtained court order.
Your government’s action also violates Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to protect private property.”
“Your government has responded to the demolition of Fresh FM building on Sunday, 19 August 2018, claiming that it demolished the building worth over N800 million because your government was ‘carrying out its statutory role in the public interest. Your government claimed it gave “ample opportunity for Fresh FM to regularise its building plan”.
Your government also claimed the demolition of the Fresh FM building was not politically motivated.” “However, available facts reveal that the demolition may have been influenced by political considerations, and done in retaliation for alleged defamation by Fresh FM.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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