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Release Pregnant IPOB Detainees In Ebonyi, HURIWA Tells Governor Umahi

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Umahi Begs for Igbo Presidency

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the Ebonyi State government for allegedly detaining for months nearly 300 suspected members of the Indigenous Peoples’ of Biafra (IPOB),some of them pregnant without prosecution.

HURIWA urged Governor David Umahi to order the unconditional release of these detainees who have been illegally kept in the jails beyond the constitutionally stipulated pre-trial detention periods prescribed in Section 36 of the Constitution.

The rights group has also asked the National Human Rights Commission to wake up to its responsibility and visit prison facilities in Ebonyi State to seek the freeing of these detainees.

HURIWA cited Section 36 state thus:36. (1) as follows: “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such a manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.

“(2) Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this section, a law shall not be invalidated by reason only that it confers on any government or authority power to determine questions arising in the administration of a law that affects or may affect the civil rights and obligations of any person if such law –

“a)    provides for an opportunity for the persons whose rights and obligations may be affected to make representations to the administering authority before that authority makes the decision affecting that person; and

‘b)   Contains no provision making the determination of the administering authority final and conclusive.

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“3.    The proceedings of a court or the proceedings of any tribunal relating to the matters mentioned in subsection (1) of this section (including the announcement of the decisions of the court or tribunal) shall be held in public.

“4.    Whenever any person is charged with a criminal offence, he shall, unless the charge is withdrawn, be entitled to a fair hearing in public within a reasonable time by a court or tribunal:

Provided that –  a)    a court or such a tribunal may exclude from its proceedings persons other than the parties thereto or their legal practitioners in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, the welfare of persons who have not attained the age of eighteen years, the protection of the private lives of the parties or to such extent as it may consider necessary by reason of special circumstances in which publicity would be contrary to the interests of justice;

“b)   if in any proceedings before a court or such a tribunal, a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a commissioner of the government of a State satisfies the court or tribunal that it would not be in the public interest for any matter to be publicly disclosed, the court or tribunal shall make arrangements for evidence relating to that matter to be heard in private and shall take such other action as may be necessary or expedient to prevent the disclosure of the matter.

“5.     Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty;
Provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts.

“6.    Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to –

“a)    be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence;

“b)   be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

“c)    defend himself in person or by legal practitioners of his own choice;

“d)    examine, in person or by his legal practitioners, the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court or tribunal and obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court or tribunal on the same conditions as those applying to the witnesses called by the prosecution; and

e)    have, without payment, the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial …

“When any person is tried for any criminal offence, the court or tribunal shall keep a record of the proceedings and the accused person or any persons authorised by him in that behalf shall be entitled to obtain copies of the judgement in the case within seven days of the conclusion of the case.

‘8.    No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offence was committed.

9.    No person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence or for a criminal offence having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a superior court.

10.  No person who shows that he has been pardoned for a criminal offence shall again be tried for that offence.

“11.  No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall be compelled to give evidence at the trial.

(10.Subject as otherwise provided by this Constitution, a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefor is prescribed in a written law, and in this subsection, a written law refers to an Act of the National Assembly or a Law of a State, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provisions of a law.”

READ ALSO: Why I’m In Anambra Governorship Race – Okonkwo Of ZLP

In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was shameful that Ebonyi State could be used as a slave or labour camps for citizens caught in conflict with the law only because they belonged to the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for months without following due process of the law.

“We are worried that the nation has a national institution for the promotion and protection of human rights known as the National Human Rights Commission, yet we have 300 accused members of IPOB some of them pregnant woman being kept in pre-trial detention facilities that aren’t habitable even when they are to be presumed innocent until convicted by the court of law as stipulated constitutionally. This is a shame of the 21st century and to think that the Ebonyi State Governor is the Chairman of Igbo governors makes the entire scenario even the more worrisome and pathetic”.

HURIWA recalled that in a statement from its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB condemned incessant killings, unprovoked attacks and abduction of its members and security operatives, Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the State.

The statement partly reads: “The global family of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu strongly condemns the incessant killings and unprovoked attacks and abduction of those suspected to be IPOB members and Eastern Security Network, ESN operatives in Ebonyi state by the wicked Nigeria security agents.

“This atrocity is being perpetrated with the connivance of the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi and the infamous EBUBEAGU security outfit.

“Their intention is to unleash terror on innocent citizens of Ebonyi State, and possibly stop them from supporting the agitation for Biafra restoration.

“These agents of oppression supported by Gov. Dave Umahi have continued to kill IPOB members and innocent Biafrans, tagging them ESN operatives.

“Over 300 members of IPOB are currently languishing in jail and other detention facilities across Ebonyi State, and many have died in the prison.”

Relatedly, HURIWA condemned the alleged maltreatment by the state security services of the legal representatives of the detained leader of Mazi

Nnamdi Kanu just as the group said the right to dignity is a fundamental human right and therefore the security agency must be law- abiding.

HURIWA recalled that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor has revealed how operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) humiliated them when they went to visit the IPOB leader in detention.

According to Ejiofor, DSS operatives disgraced them on Thursday by forcing them to remove their shoes, glasses.

Ejiofor said that they were offered slippers after being searched like ‘hardened offenders.’

 

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Why Millions Of COVID-19 Vaccines Expired – Govt

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Why Millions Of COVID-19 Vaccines Expired - Govt

The Federal Government has explained why some COVID-19 vaccines in the country have expired and they were not used.

The Federal Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that some of the vaccine doses which were given by donors had residual shelf lives.

The ministry made this clarification following a report published by Reuters, which stated that over one million doses of coronavirus vaccines were expired in the country last month.

However, the country’s health ministry in a statement by the minister in charge, Osagie Ehanire, explained that the vaccines which were received in form of donations through COVAX and AVATT facility had residual shelf lives leaving the country with a limited period to facilitate distribution and usage.

READ ALSO: One Million COVID-19 Vaccines Expire In Nigeria

The statement partly read : “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Health has been drawn to reports circulating in the media to the effect that some COVID-19 vaccines had expired in Nigeria.

“This press statement is to properly brief the public and set records right. Nigeria has, of late, enjoyed the generosity of several, mainly European countries, who have offered us doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of their stockpiles, free of charge, through COVAX or AVAT facility.

“These donations are always acknowledged and thankfully received. However, some of them had residual shelf lives of only a few months that left us a very short time – some just weeks – to use them, after deduction of time to transport, clear, distribute and deliver to users. If such vaccines arrive back-to-back or are many, logistic bottlenecks occasionally arise.

“We appreciate the kind gesture of donors, but also communicated the challenge of short shelf lives, whereupon some manufacturers offered to extend the vaccine shelf life after the fact, by three months; a practice that, though accepted by experts, is declined by the Federal Ministry of Health, because it is not accommodated in our standards.”

The ministry stated that the dilemma is not typical to Nigeria, but a situation in which many low- and medium-income countries find themselves.

It said: “Donors also recognise a need to give away unused vaccines, before they expire in their own stock, but they need to begin the process early enough and create a well-oiled pathway for prompt shipment and distribution through the COVAX and AVAT facilities, to reduce risk of expiration. With better coordination, vaccines need not expire in the stock of donors or recipients.

“Nigeria has utilized most of the over 10m short-shelf-life doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far supplied to us, in good time, and saved N16.4B or more than $40m in foreign exchange. The vaccines that expired had been withdrawn before then and will be destroyed accordingly by NAFDAC.

“The Ministry of Health shares its experience with partners regularly and now politely declines all vaccine donations with short shelf life or those that cannot be delivered in time.

“The long-term measure to prevent such incident is for Nigeria to produce its own vaccines so that vaccines produced to have at least 12 months to expiration. This is why the Federal Ministry of Health is collaborating with stakeholders to fast-track the establishment of indigenous vaccine manufacturing capacity. This is a goal we are pursuing with dedication.”

 

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Police Arrest Three Housemasters, Five Pupils Of Dowen College Over Dead Pupil

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Police Arrest Three Housemasters, Five Pupils Of Dowen College Over Dead Pupil

The police have stepped up their efforts to find the killers of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. as they have arrested three
housemasters and five pupils of Dowen College, Lagos.

Three pupils of the school were earlier arrested on Tuesday by homicide detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti Street, Yaba.

Sylvester Oromoni allegedly died as a result of the injuries he sustained when he was beaten up by some pupils of Dowen for refusing to join their secret cult gang.

Shedding light on the extent of the investigation carried out so far, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said that the five pupils mentioned by the late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. before he died as being responsible for bullying him and three housemasters of Dowen College Lekki were in his custody.

He said nobody was above the law, noting that the case would be thoroughly investigated with a view to getting to the root of the matter.

He said four of the pupils were mentioned by the parents of the victim to be directly involved in the crime while the fifth pupil is assisting the police in their investigation.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Three Suspects Over Dowen College Pupil’s Death, Two On The Run

The police added that: “The pupils whose names were mentioned are in police custody and investigation is on.

“Equally too, I have gotten in touch with my colleague in Delta State.

“Yesterday, I spoke with the mother of the deceased. I got them invited, so once they come now, we will be able to get the full facts of the case.

“The school has told us their own version of the case and the parents too, we will get their own version of the story.

“The four groups involved in the investigation now are the police, the bereaved family, the Dowen school authorities and the governments of Lagos and Delta State.

“So now, the four groups will come together to witness the post-mortem that will be conducted on Sylvester’s corpse in order to achieve an objective result. So, that is the latest situation.”

 

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Terrorists Burn To Death 30 Bus Passengers In Sokoto

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Terrorists Burn To Death 30 Bus Passengers In Sokoto

Terrorists have burnt to death between 24 and 30 bus passengers in Sokoto State .

The terrorists, known locally as bandits, have in the past year carried out violent attacks targeting villagers and commuters travelling on highways and kidnapped hundreds of school children for ransom in the north of the country.

Sanusi Abubakar, spokesman for the Sokoto Police Command, said the bus was carrying 24 passengers when it was on Monday set alight by armed men and that seven people had escaped with injuries and were taken to hospital.

But two residents who reached the scene and helped retrieve bodies said that the bus was overloaded and the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

According to reports, the bandits first fired at the bus, before setting it ablaze.

They counted body parts of at least 30 people, including women and children.

READ ALSO: Gumi Protests As Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

The residents said the villagers were ambushed on a road linking the Sabon Birni local government area and the village of Gidan Bawa.

The terrorists move around on motor-bikes and are known to hide in forests, where they often keep kidnapped victims while awaiting ransom payment.

One of the hospitalised survivors of the attack related his ordeal to Rundunar Adalci, a human rights group.

“I’m from Rumbukawa. We were attacked by bandits yesterday before we reached Bayin Gidan Bawa.

“They shot several people that tried to escape and burnt down the vehicle. I don’t know what happened to my co-passengers but two of us miraculously escaped death,” he said.

Basharu Guyawa, coordinator of Rundunar Adalci told newsmen that they took the passengers to the hospital.

“They were 24 people including men and women on the bus. There were several infants and children in the vehicle.

“For now, we have eight people with several degrees of injuries that have been taken to the General Hospital in Isa town. The chairman of Isa town has settled the medical bills,” he said.

Mr Guyawa said five of the passengers died in the hospital. He said they were three women, a girl and a man.

 

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