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Press Statement!   Press Statement!!   Press Statement!!!

PRAWA CALLS ON NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT TO INTEGRATE SPECIALIZED AND HOLISTIC REHABILITATION OF TORTURE VICTIMS INTO NIGERIA’S PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM

As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CAT) which sets out this very fundamental consensus, the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) is using the occasion to call on Nigeria government to fulfill its obligation under the CAT by integrating specialized and holistic rehabilitation of torture victims into Nigeria’s public health system.

No doubt, physical and psychological torture is a common place in a number of State institutions in Nigeria.  Physical torture is a common practice in police detention facilities where for reasons of inadequate forensic facilities, inadequate capacity, training and oversight, the majority of detainees experience torture. The deteriorating conditions of detention in Nigeria’s Prisons also subject many victims to psychological torture. “Whatever its context and whoever it may affect the bottom-line is that any victim of torture has a right to justice and reparations. There is no room for distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ or ’ innocent’ victims”- World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

Unfortunately, Nigeria as a State offers no rehabilitation services to support victims of torture. PRAWA is one of few Civil Society Actors providing such services. PRAWA, which is also marking its 20th year anniversary this year, has overtime worked to provide treatment/rehabilitation and support for torture victims by providing: counseling services to meet the psychological needs of victims of torture; research and advocacy on issues of torture, justice, prisons and security sector reform; and conducted human rights monitoring of detention facilities, amongst many other interventions.

Torture victims need to be given their rights with real remedies.

For further information, please click link to download a factsheet on torture in Nigeria- Factsheet on UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture-26Jun14

Yinka Lawal Esq.

Deputy Director

PPRAWA.                                                                                                                                        

Cynthia Abang Esq.

Assistant Program Officer

PRAWA.

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lagos-state-lawLagos State Law Reform Commission has disclosed that it has identified the need to review certain provisions of the existing Lagos State Tenancy Law of 2011 with a view to further ensuring fairness and reposition the law to reflect present societal values and realities.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, made this known at the stakeholders’ meeting on Tenancy Law of Lagos State organised by the Law Reform Commission.

Mr Kazeem noted that the modernization of Lagos into a smart city made it imperative for its legislations to reflect modern day realities, especially in the provision of shelter.

The Commissioner added that the proposed review of the law was also part of the ease of doing business drive of the state government aimed at drastically reducing all bottlenecks capable of hampering commerce and other practices that negate global practices applicable in developed countries of the world.

Mr Kazeem said that feelers from members of the public reveals that the citizens were not pleased with the present state of the law, hence the need to consider the introduction of rules of procedure to help fast-track proceedings for recovery of possession and propose time limits for the disposal of tenancy matters, among other grey areas contained in the law.

The Attorney-General stated that “like every other piece of legislation, this law requires periodic review in line with the government’s housing policies as a way of dealing with insufficient housing problem due to the fast growing population of the state.”

He reiterated that the existing Lagos Tenancy Law was a compilation of the reviewed Recovery of Premises Law Cap 118 Laws of Lagos State 2003 and the Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises Edict No. 6 of 1997.

The Commissioner maintained that some aspects of the law have not really been obeyed by the concerned stakeholders, noting that the section of the law on advance payment which makes it unlawful for a landlord to receive more than a year’s rent in advance was still being flouted.

He expressed hopes that the Lagos State House of Assembly would ensure speedy adoption and passage into law, the resolutions that would be inserted in the proposed bill as would be presented by the Law Reform Commission upon review of the law.

On her part, the Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Mrs Funmilayo Tejuosho, promised that the Assembly would ensure fairness in the passage of the review of the law through a call for public hearing to reflect the opinion of the majority.

She urged concerned stakeholders to also consider the issue of Agreement Fee charged by landlords, adding that whatever amendment that would be made to the law should be able to stand the test of time and bring comfort to all residents of the state.

Delivering a welcome address at the event, the Chairman, Lagos Law Reforms Commission, Prof Gbolahan Elias (SAN), disclosed that the goal of the commission was to introduce revised tenancy legislation that will be sensitive but pragmatic, just and efficient.

He added that the proposed review would focus on the role of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, legal practitioners and the judiciary in tenancy matters.

Participants at the stakeholders’ meeting acknowledged the fact that the law cannot absolutely favour both parties involved as either of the parties would be seeking to justify their stance at the expense of the other.

The stakeholders looked forward to a situation where individuals who run afoul of the provisions of the law will be prosecuted by the state government to serve as a deterrent and boost public confidence in the law.

DE7vNmkXUAAW8hkNigerian Bar Association President A. B. Mahmoud OON, SAN, signed a memorandum of Understanding on partnership with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria

After Inaugrating the NBA committees that will assist him in achieving the objectives of #ABraveNewBar, the President of the NBA proceed to a “One Day National Stakeholders Consultative Workshop on Pro Bono Legal Services and Paralegalism in Nigeria”, organised by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria in partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association at Reiz Hotel Abuja, where he gave the welcome Address.

Furthermore, the President signed a memorandum of Understanding on partnership with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has given a major boost to the offering of pro-bono legal services in Nigeria with the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON).

The ceremony which took place at the Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja on Monday, July 17, 2017, had the President of the NBA, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, OON, SAN, and Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel, Director-General, LACON formally sign the MoU, between the two bodies to provide a practical framework for the partnership in furtherance of the administration of Pro Bono legal services in Nigeria to enhance the justice delivery system.

Speaking prior to signing the MOU, A. B. Mahmoud, SAN, said

“The reform of the Justice sector is a very critical project in this country. Two days ago we had a roundtable discussion with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo over the need for a reform of the Justice Sector and criminal justice system in Nigeria. Also, a visit to the prisons reveals a congestion in which the overwhelming majority of prisoners are awaiting trial. This indicates a dysfunctionality of our criminal judicial system. We are very delighted to partner with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria to deliver the Pro Bono legal services, which, hopefully, would ease this difficult situation”.

Buttressing the necessity for the partnership with the LACON, the NBA President whilst alluding to the MacArthur Foundation grant for boosting the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria; talked about the NBA North-East Task Force, Niger-Delta Task Force, and the NBA engagement in the resolution of the Southern Kaduna crisis. He concluded that “It is worthy of note that part of the conditions for the award of the prestigious Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is an evidence of contribution to Pro Bono legal services”, and admonished all lawyers within the NBA to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the administration of justice system in the country.

In response, the Director-General, LACON, Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel lamented the predicament of the multitude of prisoners who were on the ‘awaiting trials list’ in the prisons for many years. She stated, “We want to make sure that indeed this perennial problem of having 70% to 80% of prisoners on ‘awaiting trials list’ across the country simply because they cannot afford legal services or they don’t even know that they have a right becomes a thing of the past. We hope to turn this around immediately after signing this MoU”.

Professor Ayo Atsenuwa, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG), traced the 25 years’ efforts to establish Pro Bono legal services within the legal profession and concluded that all the challenges they met were surpassed all in an effort to promote and encourage Pro Bono legal services in Nigeria.

Bukar Alhaji Waziri, Esq.
National Publicity Secretary
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
July 18, 2017

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Amnesty is often at odds with Nigerian government

In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani explores the constant war of words between the Nigerian military and the rights group Amnesty International.

If the Nigerian military were to draw up a list of its enemies, Amnesty International might feature near the top, perhaps a name or two below Islamist militants Boko Haram.

However, while the Nigerian military continues its protracted battle against Boko Haram with arms and ammunition, its even longer war with Amnesty International is with words.

Clashes that are often covered in Nigeria’s media, with headlines such as:

Amnesty vs Nigerian army: Who is telling the truth?

You Are A Liar, Nigerian Army Tells Amnesty International

Nigerian Army and Amnesty International clash over report

The international rights body has repeatedly accused the Nigerian government of ignoring calls to conduct independent investigations into its reports.

The Nigerian army in turn has accused Amnesty International of being sponsored by politicians and fifth columnists who are out to damage the country’s reputation.

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The military is accused of atrocities in the fight against Boko Haram

In one of its reports, published in February, Amnesty alleged human rights abuses had been committed by Nigerian security agencies.

The abuses were not only during the fight against Boko Haram militants but also in the armed forces’ quelling of protests in other parts of the country.

“There was continued lack of accountability for serious human rights violations committed by security officers.

“No independent and impartial investigations into crimes committed by the military had taken place despite the president’s repeated promises in May.

“Moreover, senior military officials alleged to have committed crimes under international law remained uninvestigated,” the organisation stated.

‘Heinous Intent’

The Nigerian army’s response was that the human rights NGO was bent on tarnishing their reputation, and went on to state: “For the umpteenth time, the Nigerian Army has informed the public about the heinous intent of this non-governmental organisation which is never relenting in dabbling into our national security in manners that obliterate objectivity, fairness and simple logic.”

After the report was published, a group of protesters barricaded the Abuja office of Amnesty International and demanded that the organisation quit Nigeria within 24 hours.

They called on Nigerians to “join the movement to get this evil out of our land before it plunges us into real war.”

The protestors further said “Unfortunately, if this organisation is allowed to continue carrying out its atrocities here it will destabilise Nigeria”

And they went on to add this ominous warning, “We would be left without a country and we would not be welcomed in other nations. We will become mere footnotes in its next annual report since it stops showing interest in places it has successfully destroyed.”

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A protest against Amnesty in Abuja in March

In Nigeria, gathering a crowd to cause a stir on one’s behalf is only a matter of cash, so few people took the protesters seriously.

However some civil society groups and human rights organisations in Nigeria openly condemned the protests.

They challenged the military to take the criticisms objectively rather than dismissing them outright.

“The facts and figures contained in Amnesty International’s report have not been disputed or shown not to be correct or concocted,” said the national coordinator of one of the groups.

Response to Amnesty challenge

Much to everyone’s surprise the Nigerian military took up this challenge, this time going beyond issuing strong denials and bombastic press statements to actually setting up a board to investigate the Amnesty report.

Three months later, the board has made known its findings.

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Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

“Nigerians bemused by the differing accounts of the same events remain divided as to whom exactly to believe.


Their verdict? The army is not guilty of the accusations.

It, however, noted areas where the army could improve, such as in allowing Boko Haram suspects access to legal representation.

“The board found that a common feature in all the detention facilities visited was the delay in the legal processing and trial of Boko Haram detainees,” a spokesperson for the board said.

Amnesty International is not happy with this outcome. And so, the war of words continues.

“We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough; criteria that this panel clearly does not meet,” the organisation said.

In the meantime, Nigerians, bemused by the accusations and counter-accusations, and the differing accounts of the same events, remain divided as to whom exactly to believe.

Conveyed by: BBC

IMAG0122-e1498197917584Preston Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, on Thursday organised a program in Abuja to campaign against female genital mutilation.

The World Health Organization said Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of FGM in the world, with about 40 million women said to have undergone the practice in the country, thus indicating about 41 per cent prevalence.

The awareness stunt, held at the Federal Ministry of Health car park at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, required the campaigners to lie on the ground as a sign of advocating against the practice, and to symbolise the harm it does to women, especially during child birth.

According to the WHO, FGM includes all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural and non-medical reasons.

Zikar Elendu, programme officer, PDF, said the organisation embarked on the awareness campaign because of new cases in the country.

She urged the federal government to take stringent measures to campaign against the practice, especially within the hospital environment.

“Our lying down here symbolizes what happens to many of those cut during child birth. Many of them die during child birth, many of them have difficulty during labour because they have been cut, most of them cannot enjoy the sexual aspect of life and it is wrong”.

Ms. Elendu said women cut were punished for crimes they were yet to commit.

“It is like sending them to jail for a crime they have not committed. Female Genital Mutilation makes girls pay a lifetime price for an “offence” they did not and might never commit.

“Promiscuity which is arguably the major reason for female circumcision in Nigeria has been proven to be more related to poverty, peer influence, poor parental supervision and drug use and not necessarily being uncircumcised. FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women”.

She said 40 million women and girls in Nigeria have undergone FGM and urged government to take serious measures to fight the practice.

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“At PDF, we believe that FGM is more than a policy. We believe that behind every statistical expression is a victim, a girl child that has paid a lifetime price. We want the layman on the street to know about the dangers of FGM. We want every mother to know that FGM is in no way an empowerment. We want women to know that FGM has never been about the girl’s good or happiness.

“That is why we have organised this awareness stunt and social media campaign to demand action in order to end FGM. We hereby urge urgent action from the government as well as communities to end FGM,” she said.

Ms. Elendu said government passing a law against it would go a long way to reduce the practice and pains women go through during child birth.

Nwando Onuigbo-Chatta, the knowledge management officer of the organisation, said Nigeria might be able to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality if FGM is stopped as it is one of the causes of death during child birth.

“Though there is no statistics in the country to specify how many people lose their lives during child birth due to complications of FGM, it is a known fact that some people die during the process because they have been cut.

“We want more than just words for the government to ban the practices, we want action, as we believe if the government join hand with us to prosecute people who carry out these acts, we will be to discourage people and get an end to it,” she said.

A survey conducted by the United Nations Population Funds, UNFPA, in 2015 showed that the practice was high in the South-West in spite of the geo-political zone’s high literacy and awareness rate.

The report said Osun State still ranked highest in the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation practice in Nigeria with over 76.3 per cent, followed by Ekiti which had 71.2, Oyo, 69.7; Ebonyi, 55.6; Imo, 48.8; and Lagos, 44.8 per cent.

Conveyed by: PREMIUM TIMES

courtThe Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has held that the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, was not entitled to pre-action notice before any legal action can be brought against it.

Delivering judgment in an appeal by a former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, against the decision of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which struck out his case against the commission, the court, in a unanimous decision, upheld the appeal and ordered that the case be remitted to the Chief Judge of the court for reassignment to another judge.

The commission, at the lower court, had raised an objection that the action was incompetent on the grounds that at least one month notice was not given to it before the suit.

Citing a plethora of authorities, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in law by striking out the case.

In the substantive suit, Professor Osunbor had asked the lower court to declare that his purported indictment by the commission for electoral violence was unlawful and unconstitutional because the commission did not give him any opportunity to defend himself before arriving at the indictment.

In addition, he prayed that the purported indictment be set aside because the rights commission went outside its powers by reviewing the judgment of the election petition tribunal which nullified his election and drawing a conclusion different from that reached by the tribunal.

He contended that no allegation of electoral offence was made against him by anybody and that the rights commission on its own and without any evidence from any witness indicted him for electoral offence.

But the commission filed an objection to the suit, arguing that the former needed to give it at least one-month notice before proceeding to court.

Reacting the judgment, Professor Osunbor hailed the Appeal Court judgment for stating the correct position of the law.

He added that the judgment would bring to an end the reign of impunity by the commission and its penchant for violating the rights of Nigerians and always shielding itself from legal action with a defence that it does not have.

The professor of law stated that the judgment would also make the commission to be more responsible in its operations and respect the human rights of Nigerians that it is meant to protect.

Conveyed by: VANGUARD

Shell 360 Final Flat

  • New case could put an end to decades of impunity for Shell
  • Esther Kiobel has fought for justice for her husband for more than twenty years

Oil giant Shell stands accused of complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s, Amnesty International can reveal today, following the launch of an explosive new case against the company in the Netherlands over four of the executions.

The civil case has been brought by Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women. Esther Kiobel has pursued Shell for 20 years over the death of her husband. He was hanged in 1995 along with the writer and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and seven other men, collectively known as the Ogoni Nine. At the time the executions sparked a global outcry.

Esther Kiobel accuses Shell of complicity in the unlawful arrest and detention of her husband; the violation of his personal integrity; the violation of his right to a fair trial and his right to life, and her own right to a family life. Amnesty International supported Esther’s legal team to bring the case to the Netherlands, and has released a new briefing, In The Dock, detailing the role played by Shell in the executions.

“The executions of the Ogoni Nine shocked the world. Shell has been dodging accountability for its complicity in these deaths for more than twenty years but now, thanks to Esther Kiobel’s determination and bravery in taking on this corporate Goliath, the past is finally catching up with it,” said Audrey Gaughran,  Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International.

“Today is a watershed moment in Esther Kiobel’s uphill battle for justice. Shell has to answer for the bloody footprints it left all over Ogoniland.”

A Brutal Campaign

The executions were the culmination of a brutal campaign by Nigeria’s military to silence the protests of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), led by Ken Saro-Wiwa. MOSOP said that others had grown rich on the oil that was pumped from under their soil, while pollution from spills and gas flaring had “led to the complete degradation of the Ogoni environment, turning [their] homeland into an ecological disaster.” In January 1993, MOSOP declared that Shell was no longer welcome to operate in Ogoniland.

The military authorities responded to the MOSOP protests with force, committing numerous serious human rights violations including killings, torture and rape.

Stopping protests was a major concern for both Shell and the Nigerian government, who were business partners in operating wells across the Niger Delta. At the time of the executions Shell was by far the most important company operating in Nigeria. It pumped almost one million barrels of crude oil a day, roughly half of Nigeria’s total daily oil production. Nigeria’s oil exports made up some 96% of the country’s foreign earnings.

“Shell encouraged the government to stop Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP, knowing this was highly likely to result in human rights violations being committed against them. Shell had plenty of evidence that the Nigerian military was responding to the Ogoniland protests with abuse,” said Audrey Gaughran.

Just weeks before the men were arrested the Chairperson of Shell Nigeria had met with then-president General Sani Abacha, and raised “the problem of the Ogonis and Ken Saro-Wiwa”. This was not the first time Shell had engaged with military and security forces to frame the Ogoni protests as a “problem”. Shell also repeatedly reminded the authorities of the economic impacts of the MOSOP protests.

“Shell was reckless in raising Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP as a problem, significantly exacerbating the risk to Saro-Wiwa and those linked to MOSOP. Shell knew full well that the government regularly violated the rights of those linked to MOSOP and that it had targeted Saro-Wiwa,” said Audrey Gaughran.

“Even after the men were jailed, suffering from mistreatment and facing an unfair trial and the likelihood of execution, Shell continued to discuss ways to deal with the “Ogoni problem” with the government rather than expressing concern over the fate of the prisoners. Such conduct cannot be seen as anything other than endorsement and encouragement of the military government’s actions.”

A Devastating Injustice

Esther Kiobel is bringing a civil case along with Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula, whose husbands were executed along with Barinem Kiobel. The claimants are demanding damages for harm caused by Shell’s unlawful actions, and a public apology for the role that Shell played in the events leading to the deaths of their husbands.

In May 1994, four Ogoni chiefs known to be opponents of MOSOP were murdered. Without presenting any evidence, the government blamed MOSOP and arrested scores of people, including Ken Saro-Wiwa and Barinem Kiobel. Kiobel was not a member of MOSOP, but had a senior government position and had been critical of the military’s actions in Ogoniland. He said he had tried to stop the murders – a version of events that was supported by evidence presented at the trial. Amnesty International considered Ken Saro-Wiwa and Barinem Kiobel Prisoners of Conscience, detained and ultimately killed for their peacefully held views.

After the arrests, at least two prosecution witnesses came forward to say that they had been bribed by the government to incriminate the accused, including with offers of jobs at Shell, and that Shell’s lawyer was present when they were bribed. Shell has always denied these claims.

Many of the Ogoni men arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of the four chiefs suffered repeated torture and other ill-treatment while detained. Even after the start of the trial, the military commander responsible for the incarceration allowed consultations between defendants and their lawyers only by prior arrangement with him, and usually only in his presence. Relatives said they were assaulted by soldiers when trying to visit the defendants.

Esther Kiobel has alleged that, while visiting her husband in prison, she was assaulted by a military commander and spent two weeks in detention where she was denied food and water.

On 30-31 October 1995, the Ogoni Nine were convicted and sentenced to death. At the timeAmnesty International and others raised serious concerns about the trial, describing it as politically motivated and biased. A British criminal lawyer who observed the trial said he believed “that the Tribunal first decided on its verdict and then sought for arguments to justify them. No barrel was too deep to be scraped.” He also said that the evidence was consistent with the claim that Barinem Kiobel was trying to stop the violence.

On 10 November the men were hanged and their bodies dumped in an unmarked grave.

“Esther Kiobel has lived in the shadow of this injustice for more than twenty years, but she has refused to let Shell silence her. Today her voice rings out on behalf of so many others whose lives have been devastated by the oil industry in Nigeria,” said Channa Samkalden, Esther Kiobel’s lawyer.

“The stakes in this case could not be higher – it could put an end to decades of impunity for Shell, whose name has become synonymous with the power of big corporations to trample over human rights without fear of retribution.”

A Dangerous Relationship

Internal Shell documents seen by Amnesty International reveal that the company knew that the trial of the Ogoni Nine was unfair, and was informed in advance that Ken Saro-Wiwa was highly likely be found guilty.

Nevertheless, the company maintained a close relationship with the Nigerian government, and even offered to help Ken Saro-Wiwa, if he “softened his stance” on the company.

Shell made this offer to Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother in August 1995 when Ken Saro-Wiwa was in military detention. Saro-Wiwa’s brother claims Shell offered to help get his brother freed while Shell says that all the company offered was humanitarian or medical aid.

“Shell’s version of events suggests it believed that Ken Saro-Wiwa – arrested, beaten, facing trumped up charges and an unfair trial that was set to see him sentenced to death – would be induced help Shell out in return for some humanitarian aid, said Audrey Gaughran.

“Shell’s version is frankly implausible. If true, it reveals a level of corporate self-interest that defies belief.”

Ken Saro-Wiwa rejected Shell’s offer.

After her husband’s death Esther Kiobel fled to Benin in fear for her life, and in 1998 she was granted asylum in the United States, where she still lives.

“The dangerous liaison between Shell and the Nigerian government has never been properly investigated. Decades after the horrific chain of events that led to the hanging of the Ogoni Nine, there are still huge unanswered questions hanging over Shell,” said Audrey Gaughran.

“It is time to shine a spotlight into these dark corners of Shell’s past. Nothing can bring back the lives lost but here is a chance to send the message that no company, however big, however powerful, can evade justice forever.”

Amnesty International presented the above allegations to Shell. Shell’s global headquarters did not provide a substantive response. Shell Nigeria stated that:

“The allegations cited in your letter against [Shell] are false and without merit. [Shell Nigeria] did not collude with the military authorities to supress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria….We have always denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms.”

Background

Esther Kiobel first filed a case against Shell in New York in 2002, but in 2013 the US Supreme Court ruled that the US did not have jurisdiction, without hearing the substance of the case.

In the 1990s Shell in Nigeria was a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell (they later merged), and its operations were overseen by a management structure known as the Committee of Managing Directors (CMD) based in Europe.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Amnesty International’s media relations officer Sue Montgomery at 613-744-7667 ext. 236 or smontgomery@amnesty.ca

Conveyed by AMNESTY

us-embassy-690x450The U.S. said on Friday it was “very concerned” about Sudan’s human rights record, which was supposed to have improved by early July in order for Washington to lift sanctions against the country.

In January, the outgoing Obama administration gave Sudan 180 days to improve its record and resolve its political and military conflicts before Washington lifted some economic sanctions that had been stepped up in 2006 for what it said was complicity in violence in Sudan’s Darfur region.

But with the deadline approaching, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum said on its Facebook page it wants to see the Sudanese government make “stronger progress” towards these goals.

“The U.S. remains very concerned about Sudan’s human rights record, including the continued closing of political space, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression, including press freedom,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy said it was still monitoring the government’s progress to determine if it had met the requirements for sanctions to be lifted in July.

“In this process we have pressed to ensure Sudan has adhered to its unilateral cessation of hostilities in conflict areas and ceased all indiscriminate aerial bombardment, a key human rights concern,” the embassy said.

The UN says up to 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during the Darfur conflict.

On Thursday the UN Security Council agreed to gradually reduce the number of peacekeepers in Darfur that could almost halve the number of troops over the next year if conditions are conducive and the government is cooperative.

Sudan is one of six countries whose citizen are subject to new restrictions on travel to the U.S., following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Tuesday to revive parts of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Sudan said on it hoped the restrictions would not affect the planned lifting of sanctions.

Conveyed by: TODAY

rape-690x450Dr. Eunice Abiola, the Coordinator of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Hope Centre for Widows and Orphans, on Saturday called for the caging of anyone found guilty of rape.

Abiola said this in Ibadan that rapists were not fit to live among decent people.

She was reacting to the life imprisonment verdict passed on a former vice- principal who raped a 12-year-old student in Ekiti State.

Recall that one Taiwo Ajayi, a former vice principal, who had been on trial over alleged rape of his 12-year-old female student since March 2014, was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Abiola said that rampant cases of rape in the society required stiffer penalty that would discourage the menace.

“For what reason would a man take advantage of his female pupil?

“The thought of lust over someone who is young enough to be his grand-daughter would not even cross his mind if the teacher is in the right frame of mind.

“In view of this, the convict and other rape offenders caught should no longer be allowed to live in the society but caged for life.

“So the Ekiti judgment is commendable and we believe that it will serve as deterrent to other animals in human skin.

“We also urge our judges to follow the same mode of judgment because rapists deserve no leniency due to the gravity of the crime they perpetrate,’’ she said.

She further urged victims of rape to speak out and shun the culture of silence so that perpetrators could face prosecution.

Abiola further admonished mothers to be conscious of their environment, urging them to always monitor the movement of their female children.

Conveyed by: TODAY

PSN0Pharmaceutical-Society-Nigeria-690x450The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on the Federal Government to ensure stiffer punishment for perpetrators of drug trafficking to curb the menace in the country.

Mr Jelili Kilani, Chairman of PSN FCT Branch, made the call in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Monday to mark International day of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

The day is marked on June 26 annually by the United Nations and the 2017 theme is ‘Listen first’.

Kilani noted that listening to children and youths was the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.

Kilani, who is also the Assistant Director, Drug Information Services and Pharmacovigilant Activities, National Hospital, identified drug trafficking as detrimental to health and society at large.

He said that drug trafficking was a global trade involving the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sales of substances, which were subject to drug prohibition law.

Kilani decried the rate of drug trafficking and other substances in the country, and blamed it on Nigeria’s porous border, inappropriate measures to checkmate the menace and lack of stiffer punishments.

He described drug abuse and trafficking as poison to the well-being of youths which posed greater challenges to the socio-economic and political stability of the country.

“Our borders should be more tightened in terms of security to prevent easy access to illegal drugs into the country.

“The government should ensure that whoever is caught will be made to face the law.

“The problem we have with our legal system is that once somebody is guilty of the offence and able to afford lawyers he is set free.

“This is not the case in other countries as soon as you are caught trafficking heroin or cocaine the perpetrator is sentence to death.

“In Nigeria no capital punishment is applied hence people still engage in such unwholesome practices without caution.

“We should always think of implications or havoc to individuals and the larger society.

“Considering its harmful effect on individuals and society, government should ensure that anybody or group caught indulging in the act are severely dealt with to serve as deterrent to others.

“Unless we reduce demand for illicit drugs we can never fully tackle cultivation, production or trafficking.

“Government have a responsibility to counteract both drug trafficking and abuses,” Kilani said

The International day of drug abuse and illicit trafficking is set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness on the major problems that illicit drugs represent to the society.

UN General Assembly in December, 1987 set aside June 26 as International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in view of the growing menace of drug trafficking to the deterioration of quality of life,

The day is commemorated to make people aware and emphasised the hazards of drug addiction and illegal trafficking.

The day is supported by individuals, communities and various organisations all over the world to chart a course to rid the society of illicit drugs.

Conveyed by: TODAY