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Group Delivers Petition to ICC and UN Human Rights Commissioner on #EndSARS killings…. seeks justice for victims of Lekki shooting

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have been urged to open an international inquiry into the killing and maiming of #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020 in Lekki, Lagos.

This demand is the main thrust of a petition delivered to the two bodies by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), which has attracted signatures of 10,027 individuals and 154 organisations from 75 countries. Among the signatories are two former UN special rapporteurs, several members of the United States Congress, and Cornell and Harvard University professors. A dozen notable international figures also voiced their solidarity with the movement for justice in Nigeria. CAPPA started the petition on October 23 following what it anticipates would be “unlikely outcomes” of the judicial panels set up to look into the cases of rights abuses linked to SARS and government’s initiatives supposedly targeted at addressing the corruption in the system.
At a press briefing to intimate the media on developments related to the petition, Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi explained that events after the October 20 shootings have been most disturbing with daily reports of police arresting identified protesters from their homes, denying them access to their families and lawyers, and prominent supporters of the protests denied their right to travel out of the country by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) based on supposed instructions “from above”.
Oluwafemi frowned at the censorship of media organisations alleged to have reported the protests in a manner deemed unfavourable by the government and the subsequent censorship of Arise Tv, Africa Independent Television and Channels TV by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The NBC had on October 26 slammed a fine of N3 million on the three broadcast stations after describing their reports as “unprofessional”.
He said it was also curious that the obnoxious Social Media Bill which was widely debated in the 8th National Assembly and criticized by Nigerians was resurrected in the Senate by lawmakers who have spoken openly against the #EndSARS protests.
He also frowned at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for further intimidation of the #EndSARS protesters after obtaining an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze 20 of accounts of #EndSARS protesters domiciled in Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.
“These happenings are most unacceptable. Suddenly Nigerians are waking up to the reality that the civic space is shrinking. While the Federal Government claims it is waving the olive branch with left hand, it is using the right hand to muzzle the right to free speech and peaceful protests which is a right of every Nigerian guaranteed by the Constitution”.
On why CAPPA sought the intervention of the ICC and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, he stressed that with justice seemingly distant, the group had no option than to seek help elsewhere, and felt the best way to look is the ICC and the Un Commissioner for Human Rights.
Speaking in the same vein, Aderonke Ige, CAPPA associate director said righteous anger motivated the organisation to take the path of the ICC petition in view of the seeming failure of the judiciary to take up the gauntlet of defending the murdered protesters and democracy in Nigeria.
Executive director of Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran noted that the police service in Nigeria is getting worse and more brutal by the day, and has come to a point where the police see themselves as a force to be feared but not respected.
Adeniran insisted that the deaths and crisis that has engulfed the nation and particularly Lagos would have been avoidable if the Nigerian government had acceded to the genuine and well-thought out five-point demand of the #EndSARS protesters which included justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and compensation for their families, among others.
Comrade Soweto of the Youths Rights Campaign (YRC) explained that the violation of the rights of citizens have escalated since after the October 20 killings and evidence abound that the civic space is now shrinking.
Soweto reiterated the belief that in many ways the events that led to the 13-day resistance is still evident and that Nigerians are tired of panels set up by the government whose recommendations are swept under the carpet. Hence, he insisted that the petition to the ICC was the right path to take.
Some of the organisations that endorsed the petition are the Joint Action Front (JAF), Peace and Development Project (PEDEP), Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-Hope),

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Man With 39 Wives, 94 Children, Dies In India

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Children

The death of Ziona Chana, a 76-year-old patriarch in India who was recently recognized as head of the world’s largest family, has been reported by Indian authorities.

 

Ziona, who was the head of a local Christian sect that permits polygamy, had 39 wives and 94 children.

 

His demise was announced on Sunday by Zoramthanga, the chief minister of his home state, in Mizoram area of northeast India.

 

Zoramthanga broke the news via a tweet.

With a total of 167 members, the late Ziona’s family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33, are counted.

 

Aside from Ziona, Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, who has around 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total, is another personality who is close to matching his record.

 

Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

 

The sect, named “Chana”, was founded by Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families.

 

Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.

 

They shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

 

Despite his family’s huge size, Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview that he wanted to grow it even further.

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Igbo’ll Feel Less Marginalised If They Produce Next President, Says Ngige

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Marginalised

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the South-East producing the next president will help in addressing the feelings of marginalisation in the region.

 

He, however, lamented that the 1999 Constitution doesn’t support zoning, which would have boosted the chance of the region in the 2023 presidential election.

 

Ngige who spoke during Channels Television’s Newsnight programme stated that what suits the current situation is the 1995 Constitution by the late General Sani Abacha.

 

“The people in the area have perceived that they are marginalised, that they are unappreciated, whether it was done by propaganda and brainwashing or not, that is now immaterial.

 

“So I agree with that proposal, unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution does not have that. This is where I quarrel with those who authored the 1999 Constitution.

 

“I still believe today, tomorrow, the Abacha Constitution of 1995 that espouses rotational presidency into the six zones in Nigeria, a single five-year tenure in order to heal all the wounds; the wounds of civil war, and the wound of June 12.

 

“Now, that constitution would have been the best constitution for Nigerians to use for the next 30 years by which the six zones would have tested the presidency,” the minister stated.

 

 

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ECOWAS Court Fixes June Date On Twitter Ban Suit Hearing

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Twitter

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States has fixed June 22 for a hearing in the suit challenging the Federal Government’s suspension of the operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria.

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 420 Nigerians, including a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili and the co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Aisha Yesufu, had filed a suit before the court, challenging the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.

 

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21, the plaintiff sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and subjecting anyone, including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

 

The plaintiffs stated, “The suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticise acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.

 

“The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censor or restraints and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive media output.

 

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy but indispensable to a thriving civil society.

 

“The arbitrary action by the Federal Government and its agents has negatively impacted millions of Nigerians who carry on their daily businesses and operational activities on Twitter. The suspension has also impeded the freedom of expression of millions of Nigerians, who criticize and influence government policies through the microblogging app.

 

“The suspension of Twitter is arbitrary, and there is no law in Nigeria today permitting the prosecution of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights through Twitter and other social media platforms.”

 

However, the court, in a notice to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and the respondent’s counsel Maimuna Lami Shiru, stated that the hearing would be virtual.

 

“Notice is hereby given that this application has been fixed for hearing of the Application for Interim Measure on the 22nd day of June 2021 at 10 am and will be heard on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjourned day of which you may not receive further notice,” the court stated.

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