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#EndSARS Report: SERAP, 116 Others Sue Buhari, Want Arrest, Prosecution Of Suspects

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 116 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to “direct and compel President MuhammaduBuhari to take immediate steps to ensure the arrest of soldiers and police officers indicted by the Lagos #EndSARS panel report for the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll-gate, and police brutality cases.”
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1482/2021 filed, last Friday, SERAP is also asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, including adequate compensation.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “It is in the interest of justice to grant this application, as it would improve respect for Nigerians’ rights, the rule of law, and public confidence in government institutions, as well as reduce the growing culture of impunity of perpetrators.”
SERAP said: “The safety of protesters in Nigeria remains as precarious as ever, and impunity for crimes against them is growing. Impunity emboldens perpetrators. A failure to bring to justice those indicted for the shooting of peaceful protesters is, in itself, a violation of the rights to life and human dignity.”
According to SERAP: “The flagrant lack of accountability for past violations of the rights of protesters has given rise to a growing sense of powerlessness, and resentment not only among victims and their families, but among the general public.”
SERAP also said: “The failure to promptly arrest, and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims and their families amounts to a travesty of justice, as justice delayed is justice denied.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that those still being detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against them are dropped.
SERAP is further seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to ensure full and effective respect for the human rights of everyone across the country, including the rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.”
Joined in the suit as Respondent is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr AbubakarMalami, SAN.
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers,KolawoleOluwadare, and OpeyemiOwolabi, read in part: “The Buhari administration has the constitutional responsibility to allow victims of human rights violations to find out the truth in regard to acts committed, to know who the perpetrators of such acts are, and to obtain justice and adequate compensation.
“The right to life is an inherent, core, and non-derogable human right, regardless of the circumstances, and even in times of armed conflict or states of emergency. Summary, extrajudicial, or arbitrary executions are clearly prohibited under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international law.
“The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary, and Summary Executions affirm that ‘extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions’ cannot be carried out under any circumstances.’
“According to the principles, ‘governments shall prohibit orders from superior officers or public authorities authorizing or inciting other persons to carry out any such extra-legal, arbitrary or summary executions.
All persons shall have the right and the duty to defy such orders.’
“International law requires that the use of lethal force, such as firearms, is an ‘extreme measure’ that should only be considered when strictly necessary in order to protect life or prevent serious injury from an imminent threat.
“Articles 2(1) and 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party require State Parties to ‘undertake to respect and ensure’ and provide effective remedies for violations of the rights in the Covenant.
“The remedies must be accessible and effective remedies and take into account the special vulnerability of certain categories of person.
“The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of principles relating to states’ obligations to the victims of serious violations of international human rights law that makes clear that states are obligated to investigate violations of international human rights law thoroughly and impartially, and where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible.
“States also have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for violations.
“President Buhari has a constitutional duty, being the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, and that there is no impunity for allegations of human rights violations.”
The suit followed the submission of the Lagos #EndSARS panel report on the Lekki shooting incident and police brutality cases to the state governor, BabajideSanwo-Olu.
The leaked report is said to have indicted some soldiers and police officers for “the shooting of protesters, leading to grievous injuries and deaths.”
The panel reportedly found that “the shooting of protesters at the Lekki toll-gate on October 20, 2020 was unwarranted, excessive, provocative and unjustifiable in the circumstances of the state of the protests, which was peaceful and orderly.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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PSC Appoints Three DIGs, Suspends Promotion Of Eight CPs, 11 DCPs

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The Police Service Commission has approved the appointment of three Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, Aji Janga, and Adeleke Bode, to the rank of Deputy Inspectors General of Police.
The new DIGs are expected to fill the vacant duty posts created due to the retirements of three DIGs representing the North-Central, North-East and the North-West geopolitical zones.
The Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, revealed this in a statement, yesterday.
The PSC noted that the approval of the appointments of the new DIGs had also ensured that the defined succession policy in the Nigerian police is sustained.
The Force Secretary, Hafiz Inuwa, will be replacing retired DIG Mustapha Dan-Daura for the North-West slot. Dan- Daura retired on January 15 this year.
Aji Janga from the North-East will replace DIG Zanna Ibrahim who retired on November 26, 2022, while Adeleke Bode of North-Central will replace DIG Sanusi Lemu who retired on January 31 this year.
The new appointments were part of the decisions of the reconvened 18th plenary of the commission which held in Abuja, last week and chaired by the acting chairperson of the PSC, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi.
Meanwhile, the commission has suspended the promotion of eight Commissioners of Police to the rank of Assistant Inspectors General and 11 Deputy Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Commissioners due to their failure to appear before it for the mandatory promotion interview.
Ani said, “The PSC had sent invitations to the officers to appear before it for the usual interaction to ascertain their suitability and capability for the new offices.
“The commission expressed surprise on their failure to honour the invitation especially as the 2023 general election is just days away.”
The commission also approved the promotion of 10 Assistant Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Deputy Commissioners; 17 Chief Superintendents of Police to Assistant Commissioners and 301 Superintendents of Police to Chief Superintendents.
Meanwhile, 47 skipped Deputy Superintendents of Police from previous recommendations to the commission were also promoted to Superintendents of Police while 665 Assistant Superintendents of Police were promoted to Deputy Superintendents of Police.
The recommendations for ACP Nwamanna Nelson, SP Iliyas Casmir and SP Alheri Mamman were also endorsed and the officers promoted to their next ranks after they were absolved of any pending disciplinary matter.
Justice Ogunbiyi congratulated and wished the officers success, while charging the newly-promoted officers to give their best to the service of the nation especially now that Nigeria will be going to the polls to elect new leaders.

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RSU Commences Academic Activities In Satellite Campuses

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The Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, has commenced academic activities for the 2022/2023 session in her satellite campuses at Emohua, Etche, Ahoada and Sakpenwa.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, DSSRS, disclosed this when he led other Principal Officers of the University, Head of Etche Campus and Dean, Faculty of Agriculture on a courtesy visit to the Paramount Ruler of Abara, Etche, last Wednesday, as part of assessment tour of the various campuses.
Speaking at the palace of the Paramount Ruler, the Vice-Chancellor expressed appreciation to the Ochimba and his Council of Chiefs and the entire community for the support given to the university which, according to him, contributed to the speedy completion of the various structures at the Etche campus.
He said that the satellite campuses had commenced studies with the year one students for the 2022/2023 session, expressing optimism that more accommodation for staff and students will be provided by the university within the year.
He appealed for more support from the community, stating that the Etche campus is a replica of a full fledgef university, which all over the world, is a centre of development.
He explained that the presence of the campus would stimulate economic activities and assist in the development of the host community and neigbouring communities.
He assured the leaders of the community that the iniversity would continue to maintain its corporate social responsibility with her host community.
Responding, the Paramount Ruler and Ochimba of Abara Etche, Eze Jonah Nwala, thanked the Rivers State Government for completing the project and the take-off of academic activities at the Etche Campus of the university.
The paramount ruler said that what the State Government has done for the people of Abara Etche is beyond providing a school, explaining that the campus is an industry which has started impacting on all sectors of the economy within the community.
While appreciating the management of the university for ensuring the take-off of studies, he assured the university of the community’s continuous support for the sustenance of the Etche campus.

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2023: Wike Enjoins Military To Be Apolitical

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised officers and men of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt to be apolitical throughout the 2023 general election.
The governor stressed that in the interest of the country’s democratisation process, the military must adhere to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army’s commitment not to interfere in the 2023 general election.
He stated this during the 6 Division West African Social Activities (WASA) 2022, that held in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Governor Wike, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, was represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Emeka Woke.
The governor, who commended the military for its active role in fighting crime in the State, urged officers and men of the 6 Division to work assiduously with personnel of other security to provide level playing for all political parties and politicians in the State.
“We want to thank you for the relationship we have enjoyed. You have also contributed a lot in terms of crime fighting. But as you are aware, we are now in election season. It is on public notice that Mr President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (Muhammadu Buhari) has said at different forums that he will not interfere in the forthcoming election.
“And that he will ensure a free and fair election. The Chief of Defence staff has also said at different forums that the military will be apolitical and they will not interfere in the general election. I want to believe that men and officers of this 6 division will follow suit.
“I want to believe they will follow the position of Mr President, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff not to interfere in politics. I am saying this because of the ugly experience the people who live and do business in Rivers State had during the last election.”
Governor Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, recalled how the Nigerian Army Bori Camp barracks, which is the headquarters of the 6 Division in Port Harcourt, was practically converted to a collation centre during the 2019 governorship election.
He expressed dismay that the military allowed itself to be used to interfere in what ordinarily ought to be a civil exercise.
The governor, however, said that with the level of discipline and focus that the present officers of the 6 Division have shown and exhibited, he is hopeful there would not be a re-enactment of the despicable incidences of 2019 general election.
“Allow the citizens of Rivers state to exercise their civil responsibility in an atmosphere of free and fair election. Work with other security agencies to provide level playing field for politicians”, he said.
He congratulated the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruq Yahaya; the General Officer Commanding, Major General O.O Oluyede, and the personnel of the 6 Division for a successful completion of the training year 2022 and the beginning of a new year, 2023.
Governor Wike extolled the GOC 6 for efforts put in place since his assumption of office to fight all forms of criminality especially in areas of crude oil theft and kidnapping in his area of responsibility.
He said, “Your effort has brought about maintenance of peace in the region. I want to congratulate you and the entire personnel of 6 Division for a job well done and also urge you not to relent in your efforts.
“Let me use this opportunity to solicit for support of all stakeholders to join hands with the 6 Division to eradicate criminalities in our society.”
In his remarks, the GOC 6 Division, Major General O.O Oluyede, who was represented by Brig. General A.A Idris, explained that West African Social Activities (WASA) is customary in the Nigerian Army to mark the end of each training year as well as ushering Nigerian Army into the new year.
Highlight of the event was presentation of awards to some personnel of the Nigerian Army who distinguished themselves in the previous year.

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