NHRC expresses concern over rise in hate speech
The National Human Rights Commission has expressed concern about the rise in hate speech across the country, fueled by politicians seeking political patronage.
It said the rise in hate speeches have led to ethnic and religious sentiments being used to create division, fear, and hatred among different groups.
Executive Secretary of the Commission Chief Tony Ojukwu OFR, SAN, stated this in Abuja ahead of the Gubernatorial and State Assembly polls on Saturday. He lamented that this menace has crept into places of worship where religious leaders have joined the unholy enterprise of spreading hate speeches.
He noted that the use and misuse of social media to spread ethnic and religious hate-laced messages is also worrisome, with far-reaching and complex implications. These incidents according to him can lead to violence and tension between different religious and ethnic groups, disrupt social, cultural, and religious harmony, and affect rights to associate, assemble, freedom of movement, and the right to live in any part of the country.
He also warned that this situation can lead to a breakdown of law and order, increasing vulnerabilities and risks, including death, internal displacements, kidnapping, drug use, recruitment into terrorist activities, and other forms of human rights and humanitarian concerns.
The learned silk reiterated that Nigeria is a party to regional and international human rights instruments that reinforce and guarantee everyone’s right to association, assembly, residence, expression, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
“The Commission affirms that Sections 38 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) protect these rights. In addition, the Nigeria’s Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015 criminalizes the use of the internet to send offensive messages or post messages that are intended to cause harm, fear, or distress, Individuals who engage in hate speech online can face severe consequences” he emphasized.
He called on the government to take all steps to reaffirm its commitment to the secular nature of the Nigerian State under section 10 of the Constitution. “It should protect all persons from the violation of their right to freedom of residence, association, assembly, political party, or association of choice, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion while also protecting everyone’s right to participate in elections and vote for candidates of their choice anywhere in the country,” he said.
The Chief Human Rights officer of Nigeria urges all persons involved to take urgent steps to stop these divisive tendencies. He said the Commission is concerned about the impact this can have on the 2023 General elections and beyond, “it is therefore imperative that we address this urgently, because disseminating ideas that project the supremacy of one tribe or religion over another or incite violence on one religion or tribe against others constitute a crime and violate the 2022 Electoral Act” he added.
He stated further that the Commission confirms that under Sections 40 and 43 of the Constitution, every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he/she may form or belong to any political party, trade union, or other associations for the protection of his/her interests.
”Every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property, and no movable or immovable property owned by any person in Nigeria can be acquired compulsorily, or such a person dispossessed of such a property without payment of compensation”.
While affirming its commitment to upholding human rights and protecting everyone’s rights to freedom of expression, the Commission expresses grave concerns over the use of hate speech in the country and warns that anyone who engages in it will face severe consequences under the law.
Labour Party rejects Enugu governorship poll results
The Labour Party has rejected the result of Saturday’s governorship election that produced the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Mbah, as the winner of the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had Wednesday night declared Mbah winner of the poll after the results of the controversial Nkanu East Local Government Area were accepted and recalculated over allegations of over-voting among others.
LP had through its agent, Dr Eugene Edeoga, on Sunday night, raised objections on the results of Nkanu East, stating that the elections were not conducted inline with INEC Guidelines.
He said that there was over-voting, manipulation of election results and non-use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine in the LGA.
He, however, demanded the results should be cancelled. On Monday, following the protests and petition, INEC suspended the collation and declaration of poll results. On Wednesday, INEC said it had revised the results and found out that there was manipulation and over-voting in Nkanu East LGA.
However, after allocating votes to parties according to what it said were genuine votes from the local government, the returning officer declared Peter Mbah of PDP the winner of the poll.
However, reacting to the results of the election as declared by INEC, the LP said it would not accept the result, adding the March 18, 2023 election was marred by widespread and wholesale rigging, intimidation of voters, doctoring, mutilation and manipulation of the results.
LP in a statement issued on Thursday by the State Publicity Secretary, Onuora Odo, stated, “It’s on record that the process of accreditation and use of BVAS was not followed in some of the pooling booths, especially Nkanu East.”
“It’s also on record that in the course of the collation of results, the results of Nkanu East showed monumental disparities between the number of registered voters and the total number of votes, but the obviously compromised INEC decided to disregard the provisions of the Electoral Act and went ahead to declare the conspicuously padded results despite complaints from the opposition parties.
“This was the reason why they deliberately delayed the announcement of the result to pave way for further manipulations.
“The position of the party, therefore, is that the result as declared by INEC on the 22nd of March, 2023, four days after the elections were concluded, was heavily doctored and does not reflect the wishes of Ndi Enugu State.”
He added, “In view of the foregoing developments, we are, by this media release, registering our dissatisfaction over the electoral irregularities and malfeasances activated and actuated by heavy financial inducements.
“Let it be known that our great party is poised to deepen the root of democracy in Nigeria and can not fold our arms and allow this level of the electoral heist to go unchallenged.
“In due course, the position of the party will be made known as we have started assembling our facts together to do the needful. Surely, this is a rape of democracy.”
Military, other security agencies curb violence during elections ,says DHQ
The Defence Headquarters has attributed several arrests the military and other security agencies made prior to February 25 and March 18 general elections to the relative peace enjoyed during and after the elections.
It said that all the political thugs arrested by the troops during the general elections and the weapon they seized from the thugs were handed over to the Nigeria Police authorities for further action.
The Director, Defence Media Operations,Major General Musa Danmadami who disclosed this on Thursday at the fortnightly media press briefing on the activities of military against the insurgents and criminals in the country did not give the number of arrests.
He said that prior to the elections all the issues raised about trouble spots across the country were addressed and nip in the bud, “that is why we did not see wide spread violence during and after the elections.”.
On the ongoing military operations in the country, Major General Danmadami said that In the past 2 weeks, both kinetic and non-kinetic operations were conducted in the various theatres of operations by the troops, with significant results recorded.
He said that not less than 27 terrorists were neutralised in encounter at various locations with the troops between March 9 and 23 while more than 46 AK-47 rifles were recovered from Boko Haram/ Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP during the period.
Danmadami said that in the North East zone, the troops recovered 16 AK47 rifles, 1 x 60mm mortar bomb, 10 dane guns, 12 dummy rifles, 1 pump action gun, 1 PKT gun, 280 rounds of 7.62mm special, 118 rounds of 7.62 x 50mm NATO, 13 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, 10 rounds of 7.62 x 54mm NATO ammo, 1 round of 12.7mm NATO, 17 AK47 magazines, 1 firing pin, 1 mechanic tools box, 2 knives, 6 motorcycles, 24 mobile phones, 41 live stocks, assorted food items and 1 vehicle.
Troops of the Joint Task Force, Operation HADIN KAI and other operations in the North East zone also sustained and continued to dominate their general area of operations.
According to the military spokesman, “Operational activities were conducted in villages, forest, mountains, towns and cities of Gwoza, Askira – Uba, Kukawa, Monguno, Damboa, Mobbar, Konduga, Ngala, Bama, Dikwa and Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State and Yunusari, Geidam, Karasuwa and Damaturu Local Government Areas of Yobe State.
“Operations were also conducted in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State. Several raids, fighting patrols and ambushes operation were conducted to curb the activities of terrorists and other criminals elements within the Area of Operation.
He said that troops while acting on credible intelligence ambushed Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists at locations within Askira-Uba, Kukawa, Gwoza and Damboa Local Government Areas of Borno State. At these locations, troops made contact with the terrorists, during which 7 terrorists were neutralized.
Troops exploited the area and recovered 8 AK47 rifles, 64 rounds of 7.62mm special, 128 rounds of 7.62mm belted ammo, 1 pump action gun, 1 PKT machine gun, 13 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, 1 jack knife, 1 mechanic tools box, military camouflage uniform, 1 boafeng radio, 6 motorcycles, 1 blanket, 4 mobile phone and 1 sack of groundnut.
In same vein ,troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE have sustained the offensive against terrorists and other criminal elements in the North Central Zone.
He said that in furtherance to this, operational activities were carried out in villages and Local Government Areas of Kwara, Plateau, Kogi and Niger States.
“On 12 March 2023, troops arrested 2 suspected kidnappers while attempting to collect ransom for a kidnapped victim at Gegu-Beki village in Kogi Local Government Area, Kogi State. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was sent to collect the sum of N2,000,000.00.”
While troops of Operations HADARIN DAJI and other operations in the North West zone have also continue to sustained their dominance over the menace of terrorist and other criminal activities.
“Precisely, on 10 March 2023, troops intercepted and arrested 11 suspected terrorists at Dukku town in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State”, the director said.
According to him,a search of the general area by the troops led to recovery of 7 pump action guns, 2 locally fabricated cartridges and 10 mobile phones.
He said that between 11 – 13 March 2023, troops conducted fighting patrol to bandits camps at villages within Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State as well as villages within Wasagu/Danko, and Zuru Local Government Areas of Kebbi State and made contact with terrorists.
Following the various encounters, troops neutralized 2 bandits while others fled with gun shot injuries and made a recovery of 139 rounds of 7.62 x 54mm links of PKM ammunition, 8 motorcycles, 175 cows, 113 sheep and 2 mobile phones rescued 12 kidnapped victims from their camp.
Ekweremadu, wife found guilty of organ trafficking
A former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
The duo alongside their daughter, Sonia, and a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found on Thursday.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date according to The Guardian UK.
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