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SERAP petitions UN over ‘vicious assault on Justice Mary Odili’

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Justice Mary Odili
Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Mr. Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, to “put pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a credible, thorough, impartial, independent, transparent, and effective investigation into the vicious assault on Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili by rogue officials.”

SERAP also urged him to “ask the Nigerian government to ensure that any investigation into the assault is based on human rights principles, and protected from undue influence. The outcome of the investigation must be made public, and the suspected perpetrators and their sponsors brought to justice.”

SERAP’s petition followed the recent invasion of Justice Odili’s Maitama, Abuja residence by armed personnel.

In the petition dated 13 November 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The intimidation and harassment of Justice Odidi is a flagrant assault on judicial independence, and apparently aimed at further weakening judicial independence and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

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SERAP said: “The unconscionable attacks against Nigerian judges would seem to be a deliberate attempt by the authorities to exert pressure on the judiciary and undermine its independence and authority. These attacks are putting Nigerians’ freedoms at risk.”

According to SERAP, “The current investigation by the Nigerian police fails to meet international standards, as it is neither independent nor effective. As such, the investigation is incapable of identifying all the suspected perpetrators and their sponsors, and credibly delivering justice in the matter.”

SERAP has petitioned UN's Diego García-Sayán over the invasion of Justice Mary Odili's residence
SERAP has petitioned UN’s Diego García-Sayán over the invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s residence

The petition, read in part: “We urge you to push for the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council to establish an international, independent, and impartial investigative mechanism into the attack on Justice Odili, and other unresolved cases of intimidation and harassment of the judiciary, and assault on the rule of law in Nigeria since May 29 2015.”

“An international investigation into the cases of intimidation and harassment of judges in Nigeria will meet the highest international standards and best practices, and assist the Nigerian authorities to take steps to improve respect for the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, and access to justice for victims of human rights.”

“If not urgently addressed, the attacks, intimidation and harassment of the judiciary may render judges unable to defend the rule of law, to provide accountability for the many gross human rights violations in the country, or to protect the rights of the Nigerian people.”

“Nigerian authorities have a legal obligation to take measures to protect the independence of the judiciary, and ensure the safety and security of individual judges.”

“SERAP urges you to visit Nigeria to carry out a mission to investigate cases of intimidation and harassment of judges, assess the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, and to continue to monitor the situation.”

“The proposed visit would help to support the efforts to bring Nigeria’s justice system in line with international standards, and free of political interference.”

SERAP

“Nigerian authorities continue to fail to thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate cases of attacks, intimidation and harassment of judges, the very people who protect and guarantee human rights.”

“While the Nigerian authorities have arrested some of the suspected perpetrators, at least ten more persons reportedly involved in the assault on Justice Odili are still at large.”

“Independence of the judiciary is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and under human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The attack on Justice Odili is not an isolated incident. There have been several violations of judicial independence and the rule of law in the country. In 2016, for example, Nigerian authorities reportedly invaded in the middle of the night the homes of some judges of the Federal High Court and Justices of the Supreme Court.”

“The authorities have so far failed and/or refused to identify those suspected to be responsible and to bring them to justice.”

“An independent judiciary is essential to the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law. The principles of independence are the hallmarks of the rationale and the legitimacy of the judicial function in every State. Their absence leads to a denial of justice, and makes the credibility of the judicial process dubious.”

“It is the principle of the separation of powers, together with the rule of law, that opens the way to an administration of justice that provides guarantees of independence and transparency.”

“As expressed in the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, “Judicial independence is a prerequisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial.”

“According to our information, on Friday, October 29, 2021, some people claiming to be soldiers and policemen, invaded the Abuja home of Justice Mary Odili. The perpetrators identified themselves as members of a government joint task force, and used a fraudulently obtained search warrant to attempt gain access into Justice Odili’s residence.”

“The perpetrators claimed they had information that “illegal activities” were going on in the residence.”

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Time For Community Policing In Imo

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When Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State started this year with commissioning of projects, it took very many people by surprise.

Management experts have argued that with careful planning, the sublime is achievable within the shortest possible time. It is also said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Therefore, following Uzodinma’s plans, policies and projects, it may not be difficult to understand how he could achieve the feat.
The governor is a listening governor. Wherever he is going wrong and it is pointed out, he quickly corrects himself. He is doing a good job under the circumstances.
These are difficult times in the last two years and he’s come out well. I commend him for the ongoing renovation of over 305 health centers across the INEC Wards of the twenty-seven local government areas of the state. He never allowed himself to be distracted by the previous occurrences that triggered the state of unrest in Imo.

The renovation of the health centres would open fresh window for employment opportunities for Imo indigenes. No matter the falsehood dished out by few persons on social media under the sponsorship of desperate oppositions who are not sure of their own destination, the good news remains that Uzodinma is doing well.

The issue of unknown gunmen and kidnapping should be put to an end. Community policing is very important. Community policing remains the best security tool to stamp out all shades of criminal practices. There should be no further delay. Vigilance groups should be formed and equipped.

The governor has promised to do this. I heard him say “we shall create a Neighbourhood Security Watch code-named “North East West” (NEW) involving a coordinated network of Community Intelligence Gathering Programme in liaison with the NPF, DSS, NSCDC, NSO and some Private Security Companies.

“In tandem, we shall launch Operation “FOC,” (Flush Out Criminals) – a combined security operations targeted at flashpoints and centres of high criminal activities, including hideouts, jungles, uncompleted buildings, forest, shrines, lakes and creeks, etc. Whether in Ohaji Egbema, or Nwaorieubi Shrine at Ifakala, or in the thick jungle at Akokwa, or Njaba or Urashi, We shall rout them and free our society of the menace of banditry, kidnappings, and ritual killings including Yahoo-Plus, and Alibaba Gangstars.

It shall be a “SAD” season for criminals in Imo State” Government should intensify manhunt operations against identified target groups and criminal syndicates. People from the communities know these criminals and kidnappers and they can help government smoke them out from their holes.
•Uwadi writies from Mahu-Egbema, in Imo State

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Foluke Daramola-Salako denies being paid to endorse Tinubu

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Nollywood actress Foluke Daramola-Salako has responded to the criticisms projected towards her and her colleague for singing Tinubu’s praise in a viral video in which they chant “Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.”

It was reported that the video offended many Nigerians who accused her of endorsing Tinubu. Foluke said, however, she did not receive any money, claiming, instead, that they were preaching peace.

She insisted that the video had nothing to do with politics nor her singing was intended to endorse Tinubu’s candidacy for the general election in 2023.

The 43-year-old actress said that despite her being a card-carrying member of the APC, she had not endorsed anyone at that time.

“I need to set the record straight, I never endorse anyone, please don’t get things twisted,” she said in a video uploaded to Instagram.

“What we went to do yesterday had nothing to do with politics, we are in a group advocating for peace and unity in Nigeria.

“Although I’m a card-carrying member of APC, we did not go in the capacity of endorsing Asiwaju Tinubu for President and it was not a Nollywood thing.

“I was not paid in any way for this, it was meant to be a unity and peace campaign nothing more.

“Don’t let us get it twisted, it does not have anything to do with politics or Nollywood, let’s be guided!”

Daramola-Salako is most notable for being nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 2013 at the Africa Movie Academy Award.

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Video: Actress Didi Ekanem Left Helpless As Fire Engulfs Her Mansion In Lagos

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Actress Didi Ekanem was seen crying helplessly as she shared videos of her house engulfed in flames.

The fire incident broke out on Sunday in her lagos apartment.

Ekanem stated that the fire had engulfed everything she had worked for in Lagos.

While weeping and counting her loss, Ekanem lamented that all her late nights of hard work had gone in a second.

She added that the only tangible thing in her possession from the wreck is her international passport.

She wrote: “Everything that I have worked for in this Lagos, all my efforts to have a good place to live in this , all my late nights of hard work gone within a second . I’m only left with my passport . Don’t know where I and my sister can go from here . I’m lost! Someone wake me up 

Born on August 27, 1988, Ekanem is best known for her performances in Doll House (2015), Damaged Petal (2015) and Journey to Dreamland (2016).

She co-starred with Juliet Ibrahim in the drama Doll House.

She studied linguistics at the University of Port Harcourt.

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