10/21/2021

[GIST] Cold World

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When the Kaduna Riot erupted in February 2000, the late Chibuike Ikeagwuchi was still in his mother’s womb. The riot, which led to over 200 deaths and many properties destroyed, later extended to Kano, where Chibuike’s parents lived at the time.

As Chibuike’s mother, Agnes’, due date drew nearer, the riot had intensified. Chibuike’s father, Dominic, decided to prioritize the safety of his wife and family by evacuating them from Kano. 

One night in March 2000, Dominic managed to get his plan of escape in motion. But there was a problem. When he and his family arrived at the Sabon Gari Park, the last bus of the F.G. Onyenwe Transport Company to Owerri was almost full, unable to accommodate all six family members. 

Dominic decided to put his pregnant wife and four children on the bus so he could stay behind and join them later. He wanted to, as he recalls, “allow my wife and children to arrive home safely without any pressure on the pregnancy.”

His family did arrive safely, and so did he, a month and two weeks later. The family had relocated to their hometown at Oboukwu Obizi in the Ezinihitte local government area of Imo State. There, Chibuike Ikeagwuchi was safely delivered.

“I avoided every trouble. I dogged every bullet,” Dominic remembers. “I did everything I could to make sure that the child was safe and secure.”

But two decades later, Dominic would not be in the position to protect his son, who was murdered in cold blood. 

It was the afternoon of September 19, 2020. when an officer named Isaiah Bene, attached to the Nigerian Mobile Police Force (MOPOL) at the Elelenwo area of the Obio/Akpor local government in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, killed Chibuike, who had turned 20 just months before.

Chibuike and his friend, identified as Reuben, were reportedly walking along the road when they saw operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force. Having previously heard and seen atrocities committed by the unit, the two friends started running in fear. The officers chased after them and, when they could not keep up, raised a false alarm with shouts of “thieves! thieves!” 

To avoid being killed, Chibuike and Reuben eventually stopped to explain themselves to the SARS officers, who were still running towards them. During their short wait for the SARS officers to catch up to them, the duo was approached by MOPOL officer Bene, who was stationed in Elelewon. 

Reuben recalls emptying the bag he was carrying when he heard a gunshot behind him. Chibuike had been shot in the back by Bene and had fallen face down on the ground. The incident was videoed by eyewitnesses and posted on social media.

When the SARS operatives finally arrived at the scene, they handcuffed Reuben. At that time, Chibuike was still breathing, but the SARS operatives refused to take him to the hospital. Rather, they put him on the floor of a tricycle where he breathed his last breath around 3:00 pm.

While Reuben was taken to the police station, Chibuike was taken to the University of Port Harcourt (UPTH) mortuary.

Dominic heard about Chibuike’s shooting from his (Dominic’s) eldest son, Michael. When he heard, he went to the Elelewon police station, where he requested to see his son, but was informed Chibuike was not in their custody.

He then received a phone call from Reuben’s mother, who told him not to leave the police station. When Reuben’s mother arrived at the station, they were allowed to see Reuben, who told them Chibuike had been killed and taken to the mortuary by the SARS operatives. Dominic slumped.

“I did not know when I fell,” he says. 

He was shocked but also angry that his son had not only been shot, but taken to the mortuary without his consent. “They allowed my boy to die slowly,” he says.

When Dominic got to the UPTH mortuary that evening, the mortuary attendants did not doubt his claim of being the father of the deceased, because of the striking resemblance.

By the time I saw his body, he was very dark,” Dominic remembers. 

The SARS operatives had apparently dumped Chibuike’s corpse and registered him under the name Daniel Anambra, a 30-year-old accident victim.

Dominic took his son’s corpse and travelled to their hometown, where he ensured Chibuike was buried in the family compound on December 21, 2020.

“The boy was a son I did not know I would lose like that,” the 69-year-old Dominic laments. “He was not a cultist - it was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Throughout the time of his death till now, I never saw any group come to say he was their member.”

Dominic describes his late son, who was his fifth and last child, as a potential music superstar who went by the stage name Sleek. Chibuike, Dominic reveals, was in a group that already had an album to their credit.

In 2020, Chibuike was admitted to study civil engineering at the Federal University of Owerri (FUTO), but could not attend because of complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In addition to being an artist, he also installed aluminium windows and roofs.

On October 27, 2020, Dominic instituted two separate cases - criminal and human rights - against the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Police Force in the Rivers State High Court. The human rights case was speedily carried out and on November 27, 2020, Dominic was awarded the sum of 50 million naira for damages. The criminal case was adjourned to April 14, 2021, while officer Bene was remanded in prison.

Chibuike’s mother, Agnes, cries as she reflects on her son’s life. “Life has never been the same,” she says, sobbing. “I keep calling his number. I was there when they were burying him but I still call his number [to see] whether he would answer me.”

“Though I have other children, the departure of that boy seems as if 20 people left my house,” she adds.

Dominic, meanwhile, says the loss of his son has shattered him, almost driving him to insanity. “His loss disorganized me,” he explains. “Since his loss, I’ve become disoriented.”

#EndSARS News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
[GIST] #EndSARS: Memorialization or Fanfarization? By Adebayo Raphael

[GIST] #EndSARS: Memorialization or Fanfarization? By Adebayo Raphael

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It is only human to acknowledge, first, the unfortunateness of those whose lives suffered untimely dispatch a year ago in Nigeria. These were indeed unfortunate deaths, and the burden of life in a cannibalistic society as Nigeria, I think, imposes a most daunting responsibility of remembering the dead on the rest of us. But I now suspect that we are yet to grasp the profundity of this responsibility which, like a jangling knell, bellows into our collective minds a reminder, to reflect a little more deeply, on the ascendancy of fanfarization in the modes of memorialization.

Adebayo Raphael speaking at a public function.

It is noble, no doubt, to remember the dead. But I also think it is ignoble to remember the dead inadequately or excessively. The question here is this: How do you remember the dead? Further, shall we commemorate all deceased humanity in the same way, or shall we remember some differently? The answer should be clear to discerning minds: there is simply no prestige in death for those who die by the brutal cudgels of tyranny and inhumanity. It is they who have lost the battle of conscience, and except the living remembers and exacts justice on their behalf, they would have died for nothing. Those who live and depart this life free of these horrendous cudgels assume a more sober place among the dead, and it is they to whom we may concede the luxury of fanfare. Even so, the self-immolation of Bouazizi or Mayrock affirms a particular moral high-ground in honour of irrepressible convictions, one which may be memorialized only by acts of historical eternization for the hearts and minds of the living and the unborn.

However, there is a kind of death that reeks of inhuman dispatch, which compels consciences to question the ethical core of some human beings. It is no honourable death; it is the death of unwilling martyrs, of enforced martyrdom, of martyrdom by twisted circumstance. Those who suffer this kind of death—like those who died during supplications to conscienceless tyranny in October 2020—should not be further diminished in death by the trumperies of fanfare. These victims of inhuman dispatch—many of them young and unnamed—continue to sleeplessly roam the surfaces of the water and soil of Southern Nigeria. It seems, therefore, that we dance on the fringes of dishonour when we fail to remember appropriately these victims who remain a blain on our collective consciences, yearning for a particular type of justice, one which will never be achieved by the organized processions of parodic hearses. 

This is no ethical censure; it is merely an attempt to remind us of the daunting responsibility of memorialization. We have just not done enough; perhaps we have done nothing at all, and I fear we never will for as long as the chaos for justice is tempered in deference to the tyranny of a cannibalistic society and the continued pleasure of sadistic human species.

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Adebayo Raphael Disable advertisements : 
[GIST] Nigeria: No Justice For Victims Of Police Brutality One Year After #EndSARS Protests

[GIST] Nigeria: No Justice For Victims Of Police Brutality One Year After #EndSARS Protests

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PRESS RELEASE

20 October 2021

 

• Despite promises of reform police impunity goes on

• Investigation panels dashing victims’ hope of getting justice

• Pro-government mobs used to instigate violence

 

One year after peaceful #EndSARS protests ended in a brutal crackdown by Nigerian security forces in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country, no one has been brought to justice for the torture, violence, and killings of peaceful protesters, while reports of human rights violations by the police continue, Amnesty International said today.

 

An investigation by the organization found that Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 people on 20 October 2020 at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos. Amnesty International was able to establish that pro-government supporters instigated violence at many of the demonstrations, providing cover for the police to use lethal forceagainst peaceful protesters. The organization also found that detained protesters were tortured and refused or denied immediate access to lawyers. 

A year on, despite the gravity of these human rights violations, not a single member of the security forces has been prosecuted while judicial panels of inquiry set up to investigate abuses by officers have made little progress.

“President Muhammadu Buhari must fulfill his promise of reforming the police to end the reign of impunity Nigerians have been protesting against for many years. Failure to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the torture and killings of #EndSARS protesters on 20 October 2020 is yet another indication that Nigerian authorities lack the political will to ensure accountability for these atrocities, and end police brutality,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. 

“Under the pretext of restoring order, horrific injuries were inflicted on hundreds of people and at least 56 people were killed, among them dozens of young people lost their lives as Nigerian security forces used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters across the country. It is unacceptable that despite overwhelming evidence, the government continues to deny the use of live ammunition on protesters at Lekki toll gate exactly a year ago.”

Amnesty International had documented incidents at Lekki Toll Gate Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, showing the violent response of the Nigerian security forces to peaceful protests. The clear aim of the crackdown was to instill fear, discourage peaceful protests and punish those demanding an end to widespread human rights violations by the police. 

Use of pro-government supporters to whip up violence

While most of the #EndSARS protesters were peaceful, there wasviolence, mostly instigated by pro-government supporters.

After reviewing videos and photos of the protest sites, Amnesty international found that in nearly 21 incidents where violence occurred between peaceful protesters and pro-government supporters, security forces not only failed to take preventive measures to avoid peaceful assemblies from being disrupted, but they also failed to protect protesters from violent attacks.  

“In many instances, the police and other security agents watched as apparently government-backed armed thugs attacked peaceful protesters. In some cases, these thugs were brought to the protest sitesin government vehicles. On at least two occasions, these attacks resulted in the death of protesters,” said Osai Ojigho.

Excessive use of force

Almost every person arrested during the protests described being beaten with the butt of a gun, whips and fists during their arrests. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 12 journalists were attacked during the #EndSARS protests by security forces and unidentified perpetrators.

Many of those detained interviewed by Amnesty International said that they were tortured while in detention. In many cases, police abuse continued in detention, in police stations and other holding facilities, and on the way to detention, in police vehicles. Several such cases amount to torture and other ill-treatment. 

Delayed or no access to legal counsel

Amnesty International also documented numerous cases in which police denied or delayed access to lawyers and medical care to detainees. This was despite repeated requests from detainees to see or call a lawyer – and repeated requests from lawyers at places of detention to have access to the detainees. Several lawyers and human right defenders said they spent days moving from one police station to another trying to find out where those who had been arrested were being held.

One person arrested during a protest on 18 October 2020 and held at Lagos state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti, said he repeatedly asked to call a lawyer. He was told by a police officer to shut up. While in detention, he was denied access to a lawyer whohad come to see him and was unable to meet with a lawyer until a week after being arrested.

Providing timely access to lawyers is an important safeguard for many human rights, such as the right to a fair trial and ensuring the detainee’s rights are respected in custody, including the right to access medical care when needed, as well as protection from coerced confessions and torture and other ill-treatment.

Investigative panels set up to look into police brutality have so far been marred by prolonged adjournments, intimidation of witnesses by police lawyers and the failure of police officers to appear as witnesses, according to observer reports verified by Amnesty International. Panels have failed to sit in some states, and in others have gone on an indefinite break.

“What we observed at these panels is discouraging and clearly shows there is no real commitment to ensuring justice for victims of police violence across Nigeria. These panels raised hopes of getting justice but in some states, this is quickly vanishing,” said Osai Ojigho

Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to put words into action and decisively end police impunity. Use of pro-government thugs to violently disperse and undermine peaceful #EndSARS protests must be thoroughly, independently, impartially, and transparently investigated and suspected perpetrators brought to justice in fair trials. 

Nigerians must not be denied the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to peaceful protest. All those detained or missing since the #EndSARS protests must be immediately released or reunited with their families. Nigerian authorities must ensure access of victims and their families to effective remedies, including adequate compensation, restitution, and guarantee of non-repetition.

“The #EndSARS movement was met with the same use of excessive force by the police it was set to fight against. It is time for the authorities to ensure accountability and end impunity for police violence in Nigeria,” said Osai Ojigho

Press Release AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
[GIST] #EndSARS: Might Becomes Right, By Cheta Nwanze

[GIST] #EndSARS: Might Becomes Right, By Cheta Nwanze

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A year ago today, at least 44 people were killed in nine separate incidents around the country, most infamously at least nine killed at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. One year on and justice still eludes the peaceful protesters who were brutally cut down. It is a bitter irony that the very security services whom were the subject of the protests, and in many cases, would have been beneficiaries of the very reforms sought by the protesters, were deeply involved in perpetrating the violence on the people they are sworn to protect.

Jimoh Isiaq was shot and killed by policemen dispersing #EndSARS protesters. His crime was to stand on the pavement watching the peaceful protests tens of metres away from him. He did not join them. One year on, he has not gotten justice. This article is for him, and for the unnamed driver shot at Ojuelegba in Lagos. For the many others whose deaths led to the protests. It is also for Pelumi Onifade and others who died or were arrested later.

Despite the mountain of damning evidence from various panels set up in several states to investigate the atrocities, not a single arrest has been made. The best we have gotten is recommendations to pay compensation to victims or families of some of the affected persons.

In a manner of speaking, 20 October 2020 is a logical summation of Nigeria’s issues. If Nigeria never recovers from the current dark place it is in, 20 October 2020 will stand as a huge signpost on that path to perdition. It is a moment of broken trust, and for many, it proved that the #EndSARS protestors were right not to trust the government after promises had been made to reform the F-SARS unit.

The #EndSARS protests was a decentralised group of protests demanding the government disbanded the notorious Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad who routinely wasted innocent lives rather than going after actual robbers. F-SARS officials profiled young Nigerians based on their lifestyle choices and bullied them, to put it mildly. Evidence abound about how F-SARS officers kidnapped, murdered, raped, humiliated and unlawfully detained helpless citizens.

After the government disbanded the unit four times between 2017 to 2019, Nigerian youths rose to make their voices heard. They simply wanted less police extortion and killings, but did the government listen? No. So young people marched to the streets, and were met first with government sponsored thugs being ferried around in government vehicles to attack peaceful protesters, and then eventually, the Army. And you wonder why more people have lost faith in this government?

20 October 2020 showed that a huge part of Nigeria’s inability to solve its problems is the disdain of so-called leaders. Lekki on 20 October 2020, and Obigbo in Rivers State in the days after, were not the only case of the Nigerian State killing protesters and hiding their bodies in order to downply the magnitude of the crime. Soldiers removed bodies from the scene of the crimes in Odi, Zaria, Nkpor, and so many other places.

The youths did not believe the government’s promises last year and one year on, no changes have happened. The government has lied some more and disregarded every promise about police reform. Instead, the EFCC has stepped in right where F-SARS left off.

Nigeria’s security forces learnt nothing from the Lekki Massacre. Just last month we saw soldiers stabbing Shiite protesters in Abuja in broad daylight. No one has been reprimanded. Just today, the police, after a “show of force”, deployed tear gas against people memorialising last year’s shooting. 

But of course ultimately, they all take their cue from the top. Nigeria’s security architecture is all about regime security. President Buhari is on record saying that the #EndSARS protests were about removing him from office. That is all that matters. Not the fact that security is demonstrably worse under him. Not the fact that the already high, and still rising, unemployment is feeding the army of “bandits” whom his Air Force paid a bribe to retrieve a lethal weapon. Not the fact that people are struggling to eat. All that matters to the man is remaining in power, and in that regard, he is deaf to all else.

Consider that Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police when the #EndSARS protests broke out was about three months from retirement. Would it have cost Buhari anything to sacrifice Adamu as a concession to the protesters? Instead we got the expected tone-deafness that has radicalised various groups in various parts of the country. All at a time when it is clear that the Nigerian state has lost the monopoly of violence, and rather than introspect, it is pushing more and more of its citizens towards the belief, or is it knowledge, that might, is indeed right.

 

Nwanze is a partner at SBM Intelligence

 

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Cheta Nwanze Disable advertisements : 
[GIST] One Killed As Cult Members Invade Secondary School In Delta

[GIST] One Killed As Cult Members Invade Secondary School In Delta

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A female student of Ogume Grammar School, Ogume in the Ndokwa West Council Area of Delta State has been killed by hoodlums who invaded the school.

Properties worth millions of naira were destroyed by the hoodlums, Tribune reports. 

File photo used to illustrate story.

The hoodlums, suspected to be cult members, also attacked the school's principal. She was rushed to the General Hospital, Kwale for treatment.

The report stated that the school’s ICT center, principal’s office, a car, and the administrative office, amongst others, were burnt by the cult members.

‌On Wednesday, the state government announced the immediate closure of the school till further notice. This was disclosed by the State Commissioner for Secondary Education, Rose Ezewu, during a meeting held with the leaders of Ogume community.

CRIME News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :