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The Police in Rivers State have arrested suspects who allegedly abducted and buried their victim alive after collecting ransom.
The victim, Praise Daakian, is a former chairperson of the Community Development Committee in Kereken-Boue, Khana Local Government Area of the state.
The suspects identified as Baridapdo Igia, 33, and Elvis Gordon, 26 allegedly buried alive the victim after collecting N200, 000 from his wife as part payment for ransom.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Olatunji Disu stated this on Monday in Port Harcourt, during his maiden news briefing after assuming duties in the state, Punch newspaper reported.
Mr Disu did not state whether the victim had died or was rescued.
The suspects, Mr Disu said, were arrested on 15 November in separate operations by officers of the Anti-Cultism Unit in Kereken-Boue community of Khana Local Government Area.
“On the day of resumption, I had before me a security deficit in many areas of Rivers State. One of those areas was Khana Local Government, and we immediately deployed tactical units to quell the situation.”
“After a series of interrogations, the duo confessed to being leaders of Iceland and Degbam cult groups in Khana Local Government Area, and have been terrorising Khana Local Government Area for the past three years.
“These cult groups have been known to have endless clashes in the community. During interrogations, they also admitted to kidnapping and burying alive Mr Daakian.
The police said they have also arrested three suspected armed robbers and cultists in the Trans-Amadi area of the state.
The police commissioner identified the three suspects as Elsharawy Joseph, 27, Thankgod Achese, 23, and Ibrahim Ishaq, 25, and said they were intercepted in a tricycle and arrested on 19 November by the police while on patrol along Danjuma Drive.
“Upon a thorough search, one locally made pistol and a dagger were recovered, alongside the tricycle which is suspected to be stolen. The suspects confessed to the crime of robbery using the ‘one chance’ model and have robbed and stole phones and valuables from unsuspecting victims.
“They use their tricycle (Keke) along Odili Road and Abuloma areas to search for passengers to rob and push the passengers out after forcibly taking their valuables. They owned up to using a dagger and a locally made pistol to scare their victims. They obtained the pistol from one Nkpogeto, who is still at large.”
Mr Disu urged members of the public to furnish the police with necessary information to enable them to fight crimes in the state.
No fewer than 500 private legal practitioners have volunteered to defend Alhaji Nasir Gawuna, the Kano governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Supreme Court.
This was made public on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Joseph Onwudiwe, Spokesperson for the lawyers, under the aegis of the Guardians of Democracy and Rule of Law, announced the development at a news conference.
Onwudiwe explained that the gesture was to enhance the country’s democracy.
He said: “Nigerians have observed keenly the situation unfolding in Kano State regarding the March 18 governorship election.
“As a group saddled with the onerous responsibility of safeguarding our democratic ethos and values, we are no longer comfortable with the unwarranted attacks on the judiciary.
“And certain moves to blackmail the Court into giving backing to wanton electoral malfeasance and vote heist.
“We will no longer fold our arms as lawyers and watch the judiciary be continuously harangued and the temple of justice desecrated by a group of people who failed to perfect an electoral heist”.
Onwudiwe applauded the sound reasoning that resonated in the judgments of the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
He said that the judgments aligned with the yearnings and aspirations of the majority of Kano people as expressed in the valid number of votes cast in the March 18 Kano Governorship election.
He said the group was not surprised that Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State and his agents had become insistent in selling propaganda in the name of a contradiction in the CTC of the Appeal Court Judgment.
“Nigerians will have nothing but pity for a party in a suit who finds no premise upon which to launch a successful appeal against a judgement backed by law and fact.
“May we repeat here that the judgement of the Court of Appeal on this case was a very straightforward one which rightly dismissed the appeal of Abba Yusuf and upheld his sack by the tribunal,” he said.
He said that the courts envisaged clerical errors in judgement and therefore embedded in their handbook and rules, enactments that empowered it to vary its judgement to reflect original intentions.
Onwudiwe urged Nigerians not to be misled by the narrative being pushed by the agents of Governor Yusuf who were grasping at the clerical error on page 67 of the CTC of the Court of Appeal judgement.
This, he said, was geared to bring the honourable justices who delivered the sound judgement to public disrepute.
He stressed that the importance of the judiciary in keeping the country’s democracy alive and thriving could never be overemphasised.
“We are with the judiciary and we assure them of our unflinching support as they move to save Nigeria’s democracy from vote riggers and election fraudsters.
“We must sanitise our electoral system now and build a strong democratic wall against vote inflation and other electoral malfeasance,” Onwudiwe said.
He called on peace-loving Nigerians to rise in defence of the country’s democracy.
Popular Yoruba actress, Bisola Badmus, has opened up on her battle with a brain disease called, Encephalopathy.
Encephalopathy is a brain disease that alters the mental state, leaving one confused and not acting like they usually do.
This was made known in a post on the actress’s Instagram page, during her birthday celebration.
It was a tough one indeed that made me stay away from social media.
” In between, I lost my precious mother.
Unquestionable God, I thank you for everything particularly for me to witness yet another birthday.
“I will be an ungrateful soul if I fail to appreciate my family and friends, colleagues in the industry, business associates and the brands I represent for standing by me during the challenging period. Thank you all.”
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Tuesday, presented a budget of N434.2 billion for 2024 to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
According to Makinde, the budget is made up of N222.3 billion for capital expenditure, and N211.8 billion for recurrent expenditure.
Presenting the budget tagged: “Budget of Economic Recovery”, the governor said the capital expenditure is 2.4 per cent higher than the recurrent expenditure.
He added that the 2024 budget was estimating an increased Internally Generated Revenue of N72 billion with an average of N6 billion monthly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that education gets the highest share of the budget with N90.6 billion or 20.8 per cent of the budget, followed by Infrastructure which gets N74.3 billion or 17.1 per cent of the appropriation bill.
The health sector takes the third position with N40. 9 billion, that is 9.4 per cent and Agriculture has N15. 8 billion, that is 3.6 per cent of the total budget proposal.
He promised that the 2024 budget would cover projects, policies and actions “which when implemented will cushion the effect of the hardship the people are facing as a result of fuel subsidy removal.”
Makinde further said that his administration would continue to use technology to block loopholes, saying his government has no plan of increasing tax.
He urged the House of Assembly to see to the speedy passage of the budget proposal for the state economic growth and benefit of the people of Oyo State.
Responding after the presentation, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr ‘Debo Ogundoyin (PDP Ibarapa East) assured the governor of speedy consideration of the Appropriation Bill.
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, presented a N325.3 billion budget to the Edo State House of Assembly, for the 2024 fiscal year.
Naija News reports that the 2024 budget is a slight increase from the N320 billion budgeted for the year 2023.
Employment enablers, road infrastructure, health, education, others top priorities to the appropriation bill.
More details shortly...
Jumia has announced the appointment of Sunil Natraj as the new Chief Executive Officer for Nigeria. According to a statement from the company, Sunil Natraj appointment will be effective from January, 1st 2024.
The new CEO will take over the reins of the company from Massimiliano Spalazzi who will exit his role in the company effective from 31st December, 2023.
The CEO of Jumia Group, Francis Dufay spoke on the exit of Massimiliano Spalazzi and congratulated the new CEO saying,
- “We extend our sincere thanks and wish the best to Massi as he departs our teams following 11 years since the very start of Jumia. We wish the very best for Sunil for this new challenge,”
About the new CEO
Mr. Sunil joined Jumia in 2022 and served as the VP of Sales and Marketing based in Lagos, Nigeria, he managed the Jumia Express logistics business before assuming the role of CEO for Jumia Ghana.
Before joining Jumia, Sunil worked in the FMCG sector across Africa for over 11 years with brands such as GBFoods and others.
He had been based in Ghana for over 10 years, where he worked for large food-producing multinationals with operations in Europe and Africa. Sunil is an IT Engineer and an MBA from The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.
He holds a B.S in Engineering and an MBA from The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.
Speaking on the appointment, Mr Sunil said,
- “I’m thrilled I will be leading Jumia in Nigeria, one of our largest markets, and to help transform Africa’s economy through e-commerce.
- It’s an honour to contribute to Jumia’s success in the country, prioritizing customer satisfaction, secure payments, and strong partnerships.
- Our dedicated team is key to our future success, and I am confident we will achieve even greater milestones, always earning our customers’ trust.”
The Zamfara State Unit of the National Cash Transfer Programme says it has started investigation into the alleged non-payment of more than 10,000 cash transfer beneficiaries in Tsafe Local Government Area of the state.
More than 10,000 beneficiaries from 17 communities in the local government area staged a protest on Thursday.
They protested over the alleged non-payment of their benefits since their enrolment in 2018.
The Training and Communication Officer of the unit, Nasir Ja’afar, told newsmen in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, on Monday that the matter had already been channelled to the National Cash Transfer Office, Abuja.
Ja’afar said: “We are aware of the uproar coming from communities in Tsafe Local Government Area over non-payment of the benefits.
“I am appealing to affected beneficiaries and communities to be patient as the issue has already been channelled to the National Cash Transfer Office, Abuja.”
A total of 130,000 poor and vulnerable households were enrolled into the National Cash Transfer Programme in Zamfara State in a pilot scheme.
The pilot scheme covered Anka, Bungudu, Birnin-Magaji, Kaura-Namoda, Tsafe and Talata-Mafara local government areas.
The National Cash Transfer Programme is one of the social safety net programmes of the Federal Government.
The programme, conceived as part of the Federal Government’s larger growth and social inclusion strategies to address key social concerns, began in September 2016.
It is a component of the National Social Safety Nets Project supported by the World Bank to provide financial support for targeted poor and vulnerable households.
The Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has described as shocking and disheartening the N15 billion allocation for the construction of the residence of the Vice-President.
In a series of tweets on his X handle, said it was wrong for that amount to be thus allocated given the level of poverty in the country.
Peter Obi wrote: “Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as I am compelled to ask : what is exactly wrong with us as a country?
“I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation, in these critical times. The recent news about a budget provision of N15 billion for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation. Just recently in the Supplementary Budget, the sum of N2.5 billion was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence.
“Again, during the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3 billion was allocated for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Lagos. If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5 billion for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people are falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from. Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing.
“I am convinced that 99.9 per cent of Nigerians can only dream of living in the current residence of the Vice President. Several people employed in the universities are not being paid. Just to give an example, the salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400,000, which without removing tax is about N5 million a year. What we have budgeted for the housing of the Vice President who is already luxuriously housed is, therefore, the annual salary of about 3000 professors! This is the finance needed to develop the much-needed human capital”.
Mr Eazi, the Nigerian singer, has alleged that comedian I Go Dye failed to show up at a concert in Ghana despite getting paid to perform at the event.
Speaking on the recent episode of Afrobeats Intelligence podcast, the singer said he hosted an award show while studying at the Kwame Nkrumah University.
Mr Eazi said due to his popularity in school, he was able to invite top entertainers like I Go Dye, Sarkodie, R2Bees, and Wande Coal.
The singer claimed that the comedian did not return the money he was paid despite failing to show up at the event.
“I did not stop at parties. Now we are doing parties, we need to do an award show. I had the first social award of my university, Swagatainment Award. That was when I booked Sarkodie, R2Beees, and Wande Coal. Wande Coal did not show up at the show. He was in town but did not show up… I did not know he did not receive his full money,” he said.
“I was like begging Sarkodie. It was like $2,500 or less. Please, even though I have not paid you in full, come on stage. He came on stage. Like he saved me by coming on stage. That is why he is more than a friend. He is my brother. I had Sarkodie, R2Bees. I Go Dye ran away with my money. I Go Dye if you are hearing this now. You took money from Kwame Nkrumah University students and never showed up.
“I remember texting him that you never pay me my money. I hope the next time I see him and say ‘bro, you still need to pay me my money’… it is no beef. It is somewhere at the back of my mind.”
The claim by Sultan Al Jaber, the president of the COP28 Climate Summit that there is “no science” that says phasing out fossil fuels is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, has alarmed climate scientists and advocates.
The future role of fossil fuels is one of the most controversial issues countries are grappling with at the COP28 climate summit. While some are pushing for a “phase-out,” others are calling for the weaker language of a “phase-down.”
Al Jaber made the remarks during the She Changes Climate panel event on November 21, which was first reported by The Guardian (UK), and the Centre for Climate Reporting, an investigative journalism organisation.
He suggested a fossil fuel phase-out would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”.
Al Jaber was asked by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current chair of the Elders Group, an independent group of global leaders if he would lead on phasing out fossil fuels.
He replied: “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C.
“A phase-out of fossil fuel, in my view, is inevitable, it is essential. But we need to be real, serious and pragmatic about it.”
Scientists and campaign groups reacted with anger to Al Jaber’s remarks.
Asked to respond to Al-Jaber’s comments, John Kerry, the United States climate envoy replied, “That’s not the argument.”
“The G7 countries voted that there should be a phasing out of unmitigated fossil fuel emissions and what there is science for is keeping 1.5 degrees as your North Star,” Kerry told CNBC’s Tania Bryer at ongoing COP28 climate summit on Sunday.
“Every decision we make should be geared to say, ‘does this advance the 1.5 degrees or is it going to be more destructive and take us in the wrong direction?’”
A spokesperson for COP28 told CNBC the story regarding Al-Jaber’s comments was “just another attempt to undermine the presidency’s agenda, which has been clear and transparent and backed by tangible achievements by the COP president and his team.”
They said Al-Jaber has been “unwavering” in saying that keeping global warming to 1.5°C involves action across a number of areas and sectors. “The COP president is clear that phasing down and out of fossil fuels is inevitable and that we must keep 1.5°C within reach. We are not sure what this story was supposedly revealing. Nothing in it is new or breaking news.”
Fossil fuel production in 2030 is expected to be more than double what would be necessary to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees, a recent report from several scientific institutions, including the UN Environment Programme, found. That report used scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) to reach its conclusion.
“If the IPCC and IEA do not count as science then I don’t know what does,” said Ploy Achakulwisut, a climate researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute and one of the authors of the report. She told CNN it concluded “that all fossil fuels have to be phased out especially if carbon dioxide removal and carbon capture and storage measures fail to scale.”
Romain Ioualalen, global policy lead at non-profit Oil Change International, said in a statement Al Jaber’s statements during the panel discussion were “alarming,” “science-denying” and “raise deep concerns about the Presidency’s capacity to lead the UN climate talks.”
Joeri Rogelj, a climate professor at Imperial College London, said he strongly recommended Al Jaber revisit the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“That report, approved unanimously by 195 countries including the UAE, shows a variety of ways to limit warming to 1.5°C — all of which indicate a de facto phase-out of fossil fuels in the first half of the century. Will that take the world back to the caves? Not,” he said in a statement.
Mohamed Adow, director of climate think tank Power Shift Africa, said Al Jaber’s remarks were a “wake-up call” to the world and COP28 negotiators. “They are not going to get any help from the COP Presidency in delivering a strong outcome on a fossil fuel phase-out,” he said in a statement.
Al Jaber’s presidency of the COP28 summit has been controversial. The Emirati businessman is the UAE’s climate envoy and chairs the board of directors of its renewables company, but he also heads the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Not less than 2,000 workers in different ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government have had their November 2023 salaries withheld.
It was learnt that the salaries of the affected workers were withheld over issues with their status on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Naija News recalls the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) recently conducted a verification exercise for civil servants on the IPPIS platform.
Sources familiar with the development however told Punch on Monday that some workers were not cleared due to discrepancies in their records, hence their November 2023 salaries have been withheld.
A senior civil servant at the Federal Ministry of Defence was quoted to have said under anonymity due to Public Service Rules which forbid civil servants from speaking to the press, that the majority of workers in the ministry had not received their salaries.
Another senior civil servant in a top federal government agency explained that a certain percentage of civil servants had their salaries withheld.
“About 2,000 civil servants are actually involved and it’s due to failed verification on the IPPIS,” he said,
Speaking on the development, the spokesperson for the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Bawa Mokwa, told the platform that, “Salaries started dropping on Thursday last week. It’s not all civil servants. When I get the position of the director of IPPIS, I will get across to you.”
Similarly, the National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants, Tommy Etim, said that the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation had already started working on the issues.
He noted that salaries for November have been concluded therefore, those affected will not be able to get their salary for the month of November but once cleared, they would get their December salaries and November arrears.
The Labour leader also appealed to the government to ensure December salaries are not delayed.
“As of today, only those who had earlier completed their verification exercise but were mistakenly delisted have had their salaries restored while 5,000 civil servants still have discrepancies on their date of first appointment and dates of birth.
“A total of 2,772 have been verified and forwarded to IPPIS for payment because there were no issues. The names of 5,000 workers who have discrepancies are to be forwarded to their DHR for confirmation.
“There are six teams working tirelessly to ensure that the exercise is completed on time. It is advisable for public servants to develop the habit of checking the HOS website for regular updates. We have confirmed that the salary for the month of November 2023 is concluded, therefore, those affected will not be able to get their salary for the month of November.
“However, effort is being made by the HOSF to ensure that those cleared will get their salaries for December 2023, including the arrears from September.
“We appeal to the Federal Government, through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to expedite action to ensure that the salary of December is not delayed,” Etim said.
Fintech company, Opay, has been down for over an hour as Nigerians cannot send money through its app on Monday evening.
This is even as Nigerians have gone to various social media platforms to express their fears.
A social media user, @8jagistplug tweeted: “I no understand weytin Opay Dey do this night make I just sleep wake up first. Abeg make nothing happen to my 1.5 Billion”
Another user, @iamvinicius_snr, said: “If opay crashes the amount of small businesses that would crash with it would be crazy.”
Also, @cajal_ebuara: “Please oh I made a transfer of 80k from my Opay and I haven’t gotten the money in my other account and the most scary thing is that it’s not showing in my transactions!”
Meanwhile, Opay, via its app had explained that it was undergoing maintenance, adding that all services will be restored soon.
The statement reads: “Dear user. The system is currently under maintenance and all services will be restored soon. Please bear with us.”
More than five years after the Anti-Torture Act was enacted, security operatives have continued to subject suspects to varying shades of savagery in the name of interrogation. Even with Section 8 of the Act providing for vicarious liability for torture, both senior and junior officers dehumanise their “victims” without a care in the world. NGOZI EGENUKA reports that several factors including lack of political will, ignorance, conspiracy of silence, capacity gap, etc., were behind the gross lack of implementation of the Act.
Yambali Umaru, a carpenter, was in detention for seven years after his friend alleged that he was a member of Boko Haram insurgents, in 2011.
The “friend” who framed Umaru up was arrested when he attempted to return a stolen motorcycle from a village, which had been raided by the insurgents.
Following his detention, Umaru, alongside others, who were unable to write a statement for three months, was taken to an underground cell in the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCIID) Area 10, Abuja, where they were stripped to their panties, and allowed to feasted on by bedbugs, which resulted in skin infections.
“They asked us to claim that we are Boko Haram members or risk death. They hung me on the rafters, used live electric cables to shock my penis, whipped me with everything in sight including an iron rod, cane, and whip lashes, as well as used pliers to remove my toenail. From the barbaric experience that we were subjected to, about five people among us died.
“From there, we were transferred to Wuse Zone Three, where we were further tortured and starved routinely. They, thereafter, moved us to Sankangi Road, Niger State, where they kept more than 3,000 people in a hall. We were masked and handcuffed, while the policemen kept collecting money from our family members on the pretext that they would soon release us,” he narrated.
He explained that after three years, a police officer advised their parents to engage the services of a lawyer. It was the lawyer who was engaged that petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP). “The IGP then ordered the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) to take us to court.”
The victim said that he and others went through a harrowing experience, of deprivation while the matter lingered in court before they were eventually discharged and acquitted for lack of evidence on March 30, 2018.
Also, Patrick Okachi, a hotel Janitor at the Statement Hotel, on November 3, 2022, was brutalised by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS), over an alleged foreign currency and jewelry theft leveled against him by his employer.
According to him, the hotel’s representative called in the DSS operatives, who on arrival, started beating him with an electric cable, while threatening him with a handgun and knife. He was thereafter stripped, blindfolded, and taken away to a Portakabin, where the operatives, in collaboration with a vigilante group, continued beating him with pieces of wood, and belts, and also smashing bottles on his head, just as he was teargased.
After spending the night inside the container, was taken to a police container at Katamkpe, on the outskirts of Abuja. Upon hearing of his ordeal, the police officers asked the DSS officials to take him to the station.
Okachi said that immediately after the policemen left, the DSS boss sent for him, but on seeing his near-death condition – bleeding eyes, nose, and genitals- he immediately sent him back to the security post (Portakabin) to avoid dying at the DSS’ Office.
The company’s representative, Okachi stated, then invited the police to take full custody of him. But the DPO, who was equally alarmed by his condition, refused to detain him but ordered that he be taken to the Police Hospital, Garki for treatment, where he was freed upon recovery.
Like Okachi, Victor Oduka, a victim of state torture now has to live with an ear defect, after being slapped and beaten multiple times when he was detained for three days in Ogun State, after he was accused of having soft copies of some company documents, in August 2022, by his boss, an Indian.
Oduka explained that being an administrator sometimes required the exchange of documents on the phone.
He said while in detention, his phone was forcefully seized, and when they didn’t find any soft copy of the alleged documents, the mobile phone was returned to him and he was released from detention. But the case is currently ongoing.
Since 1975, Nigeria has been a signatory to the “United Nations Treaty Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” which prohibits torturing suspects to extract information, or to subdue them.
Section 34 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly (a) No person shall be subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
Determined to check the continuous use of torture by state agencies in the course of doing their jobs, on December 29, 2017, the Eight National Assembly passed the Anti-Torture Bill, and former President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law.
The Anti-Torture Act was established to put an end to torture and other forms of inhuman treatment.
The Act fills the existing legislative gaps by explicitly making the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment a non-derogable right, criminalising torture, and protecting victims and witnesses of torture.
Section 1 of the Act titled “Duty of Government” imposes an obligation on the government to ensure that all persons, including suspects, detainees, and prisoners are respected at all times, and that no person under investigation, or held in custody is subjected to any form of physical/mental torture.”
It admonishes the government to adhere to domestic and international standards on absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture.
More than five years later, this Act is observed more in breach, as the majority of law enforcement officers, whose duty it is to interrogate suspects brazenly abuse the law with the continuous use of force and torture against suspects.
In September 2023, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, said that the Nigerian government has taken strategic measures aimed at unequivocally routing out torture in the country.
Jedy-Agba who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice said that the nation would review anti-torture legislation and institutionalise anti-torture measures in law enforcement and detention facilities.
Speaking on the blatant failure of implementation of the anti-torture law, a legal practitioner and the Executive Director, of Sterling Law Centre, Deji Ajare, said that a combination of factors including a lack of political will, corruption within the force, the prevailing culture of violence and impunity in were to blame.
According to him, despite the promising provisions outlined in the legislation, there has been a distinct lack of urgency and commitment from political leaders to actively enforce and promote its implementation. This, he said, may be due to a lack of understanding regarding the gravity of torture as a human rights violation, or a failure to prioritise this issue amid other pressing concerns.
His words: “Corruption, which unfortunately pervades many aspects of the Nigerian society, also undermines the successful implementation of the Anti-Torture Act. This legislation requires effective enforcement mechanisms and institutions, as well as, the allocation of resources, staff, and training within the internal and external accountability mechanisms to prevent and address torture within law enforcement agencies.
“However, corruption within these institutions hampers efforts to build effective systems, as it perpetuates a cycle of incompetence, dishonesty, and lack of accountability.”
Ajare explained also that Nigeria faces a general culture of violence and impunity that further obstructs the implementation of the Act. He said that violence has long been ingrained within society, exacerbated by factors such as economic inequalities, ethnic tensions, and social unrest.
Sometimes, citizens, he pointed out, mobilize law enforcement agencies to arrest and brutalise other citizens for civil matters that ought to be resolved through the usual methods of conflict resolution.
“Similarly, you see citizens sometimes cheer law enforcement agencies on when they perpetuate violence as was the case in North-East in the counter-insurgency quest and currently in the South-East under the guise of an anti-secessionist offensive,” he stressed.
He stated that to ensure implementation of the Act, efforts must be directed towards fostering political will, promoting transparency and accountability within institutions responsible for enforcing the act and changing societal attitudes towards violence and impunity.
The Deputy Director of Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Mrs. Ogechi Ogu, a lawyer, said that Section 10 of the Anti-Torture Act, mandates the Attorney General of the Federation and other law enforcement and investigative agencies to ensure that mechanisms for the implementation of the Act are put in place.
“Though there are recorded efforts made concerning the implementation of the law, these efforts have not made much impact because the element of investigation, prosecution, and punishment of offenders are yet to be seen by the general public,” she said.
Explaining, she said Section 8 of the Act provides for vicarious liability for torture, which means that the person who participates in the perpetration of torture, a person present during the commission of the act, and the superior officer of the perpetrator who issues an order to lower ranking personnel to torture a victim are all liable as principal perpetrators.
“Consequently, there is in existence what can be called a conspiracy of silence, which then makes the report of cases of torture, or proper investigation of such sabotaged to save the many officers that would be affected by the outcome of such investigations,” she said.
Ogu, however, said that from experience gathered through training of officers, especially the police, most of them are unaware of the Act and its implications.
“Also, Rules and Regulations for the effective implementation of the Act as provided for in Section 12 are yet to be made by the Attorney General of the Federation, though this is in progress.
“Section 11 of the Act, which provides that the AGF and other concerned parties shall ensure education and information for law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment, is yet to be implemented.
“Very little has been done in the area of capacity building, awareness creation, and sensitisation by the government. The most that is done currently is by NGOs,” Ogu said.
She added that the issue of the capacity gap, and unavailability of modern equipment and technology for investigation, makes officers resort to torture as a matter of practice and available means of eliciting evidence from suspects need to be addressed.
For the former National Coordinator of Network of Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN Foundation), Emmanuel Ikule, the implementation of the Act is possible because it was enacted to ensure things are done rightly.
He said that torturing suspects to get confessional statements promotes laziness among officers. He noted that there is a need to ensure accountability of the powers given to security agencies and demand transparency in their investigations.
According to him, implementation can thrive if the law enforcement agents are ready for it by adhering to all the processes of investigation.
Ikule added that having a functional national committee on torture, which is the oversight agency on the law that ensures its implementation would aid execution.
He also said that the police should develop its capacity to use forensic equipment to get perpetrators of crime make use of camcorders and CCTV for documentation and collaborate with other organisations to enhance their jobs.
He emphasised, however, that all these laws work better when there is a political will to push for implementation.
In his reaction, the National Coordinator of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Chino Obiagwu (SAN), said the Act is not implemented because agencies responsible for enforcement are the main culprits.
He added that a major factor fueling the continuous violation of the Act is that victims are worried that if they complain and seek redress, they might be targeted for more victimisation since the same security agencies are still empowered to handle such complaints.
“The Anti Torture Act prescribed punishment of up to 14 years for acts of torture, but no one has been effectively prosecuted despite the widespread reports of torture.
“Without the victim’s complaints, it is not possible to identify perpetrators and enforce the law,” he pointed out.
Nigeria’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion has continued to generate mixed reactions in the public space.
There is a blend of pessimism and optimism on whether the budget would impact the lives of ordinary people, especially the proposed N1.33 trillion on infrastructure.
The concerns were heightened as Nigeria’s Budget in recent years had hardly witnessed optimal performance.
The 5 per cent infrastructure allocation, which is N1.33 trillion despite the country’s huge infrastructure deficit, has further compounded the fears among Nigerians.
Infrastructure, including provisions for works and housing, power, transport, water resources and aviation, are major drivers of the country’s economy; some experts believed the N1.33 trillion would not address the country’s annual infrastructural gap.
Meanwhile, a single annual budget cannot address the nation’s infrastructural challenges, another expert told DAILY POST.
Christened Budget of Renewed Hope, a perusal of the Budget showed that Security and Defence took the highest allocation with N3.25 trillion, representing 12 per cent, going in the same trend as former President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
With a budget allocation of N2.18 trillion, education trailed behind security and defence.
An additional analysis of the 2024 budget indicated that the total figure is 10.8 per cent higher than N24.82 trillion in 2023.
Accordingly, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, said the budget targets an estimated revenue of N18.32 trillion, with a deficit of N9.18 trillion.
Also, in the proposed budget, N8.490 trillion, representing 30 per cent, is for debt servicing, N9.918 trillion is for recurrent non-debt expenditure, and N7.717 trillion is for contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure.
Other highlights include a Crude Oil Benchmark of 77.96 USD per barrel benchmark, a daily oil production of 1.78 million bpd and a foreign exchange rate (Naira-USD) of N750.
This has become most important as the survival of the country’s economy heavily relies on infrastructural development. The sector has been strained by fuel subsidy removal since June 2023, resulting in a ripple effect in the high cost of transportation, food, and other essential services.
Speaking with DAILY POST on Monday, the CEO of SD & D Capital Management, Mr Idakolo Gbolade, expressed pessimism about the proposed budget achieving its set goal, especially concerning its impact on ordinary Nigerians.
He said the N1.33 trillion budgeted for infrastructure failed to reflect the savings from fuel subsidy removal in June.
According to him, the saving of fuel subsidy in five months was allegedly squandered by the three tiers of Government instead of being used to impact ordinary Nigerians positively.
Gbolade opined that the budget estimate hinged on N750/$1, and a daily crude oil production of 1.78 bpd is unrealistic and may hamper its implementation.
“The Federal government budget titled ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ might dampen the hope of Nigerians if not properly implemented.
“Although the figure earmarked for debt servicing in the 2024 budget is a little lower than 2023 debt servicing estimates, it is still very high and will affect infrastructural development.
“The savings from oil subsidy removal in the past five months have not been put to judicious use because ordinary Nigerians have not felt the impact.
“Instead, it has left more money for the Federal Government, the states, and the LGs to share and squander, especially the states.
“The budget for infrastructures like electricity, roads, transport and housing is grossly inadequate to meet the challenges on the ground, coupled with the haphazard manner in which budget implementation is done in the country.
“The N534 billion budgeted for social development is by far the highest budget estimate to target poverty alleviation, but for it to be effective, the investment must be made seriously on alternative energy like Compressed Natural Gas and electric vehicles to reduce the high cost of petrol, agriculture, education, e.t.c.
“Also, I strongly believe that the budget estimates hinged on 750/1$ and daily crude oil production of 1.78 Mbps is not realistic and may affect the implementation of the budget. The previous administration’s budget was implemented sometimes up to 70 or 80 per cent.
“Yet, it was not impactful due to continuous inflation and wrong monetary policies, so it is left to be seen if the 2024 budget will be a departure from the past,” he told DAILY POST.
On his part, a don at the Lead City University in Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun said historically, Nigeria’s budget performed below expectations.
He said the 2024 budget should be business unusual as Nigerians were under serious hardship.
He envisaged that the 2024 budget should take a percentage of Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty if properly implemented.
Oyedokun called for more fiscal responsibility on the part of the Government.
He told DAILY POST: “Historically, Nigeria’s budget has not performed the way it should. That doesn’t mean that we should continue the trend.
“The budgetary allocation should take Nigerians out of poverty so that we will have fewer people in the multidimensional poverty index.
“Every Budget should have a positive impact on every Nigerian. For instance, road infrastructure would impact all Nigerians positively despite the location.
“But, if ordinary Nigerians are looking for the cash in hand through the Government, a direct impact may not be seen but an indirect impact.”
However, a renowned economist, former President, and Chairman of the Council of Chartered Institute of Bankers, Prof Segun Ajibola is optimistic that the budget would impact Nigerians if all the provisions were implemented.
“The infrastructural deficit in Nigeria has been put at about $300 billion by analysts. This figure cannot be accommodated via the annual budget of the national and sub-national governments. Different funding arrangements are sine qua non as the budget is largely constrained.
“A more realistic funding template to fix the infrastructural deficit may include Public Private Partnerships, Joint Ventures, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) among other models.
“As of today, some of these alternatives are seen in transportation (railway), roads, etc. It is, therefore, not feasible to think that an annual budget will resolve the perennial infrastructural deficit in the country.
“Most times, the budgetary figures for the various infrastructures may not be adequate to maintain what is already on the ground, plus some small new ones.
“On the social development and poverty reduction programme, the extent of its impact would be the manner of its implementation.
“The responsible agency should do all that is necessary to eliminate ‘middlemen’ in the distribution process. This would help assist the targeted beneficiaries: the downtrodden in society. And by doing so, the impact would be resounding.
“Overall, the 2024 budget is expected to improve the life of an average Nigerian. But much depends on the level of implementation of its various provisions,” he told DAILY POST.