NHRC’s Challenges

THE National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, is to set to unearth all the state-sponsored killings from 1995 to date. To carry out the job is a five-man panel constituted by the commission, on Wednesday, January 15. The panel which is headed by Chidi Odinkalu, chairman of the governing council of the NHRC, would also investigate the allegation contained in a controversial letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan last year. In the letter, Obasanjo had alleged that the Jonathan administration had been training snipers and placing political opponents on a watch list.

To get the investigation started, the council directed Bem Angwe, executive secretary of the commission, to call for a memorandum from Nigerians on state-sponsored killings from 1995 to date. The panel, according to a statement issued after the emergency meeting of the governing council, would also have Angwe, Eugenia Abu, D.O.C Ezeigwe, and Ibrahim Nikau, as members. The commission said it would not restrict itself to the allegations contained in Obasanjo’s letter but would “investigate every incidence of state-sponsored killings from 1995 to date”.

The commission described the allegations contained in Obasanjo’s letter which was subsequently transferred to the commission from Mohammed Adoke, SAN, attorney-general of the Federation and minister of justice, to be “quite weighty and grave and concluded that they raised issues of serious and systematic violations of the right to life, access to fair hearing and justice, personal liberty, safety and security, equality before the law and the prohibition against discrimination.”

Salami Indicts Nigerian Judiciary

Ayo Isa Salami

AYO Salami, retired justice and former president of the Court of Appeal, is unhappy with the nation’s judiciary. According to him, the nation’s judiciary has an embodiment of dishonourable people. Salami, who was the chairman at the 10th Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s memorial lecture tagged ‘Fawehinmism’, organised by the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, on Wednesday, January 15, said it was sad that several dishonourable people had found themselves as judges in the judiciary system.

“The problem with the Nigerian judiciary is that some dishonourable people who are not fit to be judges get into the stream and then make it to the highest level of the judicial career,” Salami said. According to the jurist, the problem with the judiciary would remain as long as it remained unresolved or even be compounded for a long time because people were intolerant saying the truth. Salami said part of the sins he committed was his ability to resist all temptations to be influenced by anybody in dispensing justice.

He said he wished the NBA would have the will and capacity to implement the recommendations of the Okpoto committee that carried out the investigation into the Sokoto State governorship tussle case which led to his travails.

Who Wants Sheriff Killed?

IT WAS not a good for Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and his predecessor in office, Ali Modu Sheriff. Both politicians were pelted with stones and abuses by political supporters alleged to be loyal to both sides. As Shettima and Sheriff were still nursing their wounds there were bomb blasts in which 30 persons were killed and 50 others injured in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, on Tuesday, January 14.

Kashim Shettima, Borno State governor

As if that was not serious enough, shortly after the bomb incident, hundreds of irate youths in the state capital went on the rampage and paralysed commercial activities. They destroyed 19 vehicles and torched the political office of Sheriff and some of his properties in the city. The blast drew the ire of Shettima, who condemned it and requested for a probe into the occurrence, which he described as demonic and cruel.

On Wednesday, January 15, Sheriff added another twist into the incident, saying he was the target of the attack of the bomb blast and that the incident was not by Boko Haram, Islamic fundamentalist group. Bako Bunu, chairman of SAS campaign organisation, said the fact that Sheriffs’ property at the old UTC Road was also targeted was a clear indication that he was the prime target. He also claimed that there had been no Boko Haram attack in Maiduguri for the past 11 months until the former governor visited, giving the impression that the sustained opposition against his visit was a calculated move to stop him. “It is sad that vehicles bearing Ali Sheriff’s posters were either vandalised or burnt, which further points to the fact that Sheriff was the actual target… We are aware that the Boko Haram incident was used as an alibi for some people to perpetrate mayhem and distract the attention of the security operatives,” Bunu said. He added that it was a pity that despite all the good things the former governor did for the state, his reward had been to instigate public anger against him and attempts to link him with terrorist activities.

But in a swift response, the Borno Elite for Peace, Progress and Stability, BEPSP, a non-governmental group, expressed dismay at the allegation from the former governor’s campaign organisation. In a statement signed Imam Ibrahim Gazali, chairman; Saleh Yerima Biu, vice-chairman and Mary James Bata, secretary, BEPSP said it was revealing that Sheriff knew those behind the Tuesday deadly explosion in Maiduguri. “For Sheriff to publicly declare that the attack was not carried out by the Boko Haram but by some persons, shows that the former governor could perhaps be of a great service to the security operatives in Borno, by volunteering information on what really transpired. And we will indeed be glad if he can come forward to do so. By this, there is no need for the security operatives to look too far, in their bid to unmask and apprehend those bombing Borno and killing our citizens,” the BEPSP said. It, therefore, called on security agencies to call in the former governor for interrogation to obtain more facts.

– Jan. 27, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT