President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday insisted that the federal government of Nigeria will continue to partner with the judiciary to ensure independence.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2021 biennial all Nigerian Judges’ conference held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.
The President told the Judges that more needs to be done to strike a sound balance between a high level of productivity, the quality of judicial decisions and careful consideration of cases.
This was disclosed in a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President.
The statement read, “My Lords, I bring you the warm felicitations of President Muhammadu Buhari who would have been here in person but for his state engagement today in South Africa, which is why I have the privilege this morning of reading his address.)
“My Lord the Chief Justice of Nigeria, thank you for the kind invitation to attend the opening ceremony of this Biennial All Nigeria Judges’ Conference. I note with deep gratitude that this is an honour that you have consistently extended to me since 2015.
“As a platform for collective reflection, this conference is coming at a very crucial time; a time when our country, along with the rest of the world, is dealing with the massive socio-economic challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“As My Lords may recall, in my 2019 address to this gathering, I stressed the need for implementation of measures that will ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the country through the dual-track of removing administrative bottlenecks in the judicial process and adopting modern time-saving technology.
“Lessons learned during this difficult period of the pandemic have provided measures for achieving both goals. We have seen how the Judiciary has risen to the challenge. Practice Directions were issued by several courts for remote hearing of cases, electronic filing of court processes, service of hearing notices via email addresses and mobile phone numbers of counsel, and e-payment of filing fees; with relevant devices installed.
“These innovative approaches have, in addition to ensuring compliance with the Covid-19 protocols, ensured that the wheels of justice continued to move unhindered – in some cases even faster than what was obtained during physical hearings. Speed, efficiency, and effectiveness were attained. It aided in the decongestion of cases, did away with the obsolete method of physical filing, and ensured structured use of both judicial and administrative time and resources. Travel time to-and-from the court for litigants, counsel, and witnesses was no longer an issue, effectively minimizing the need for adjournments.
“I believe that a universal application of these approaches across the country will greatly enhance access to and speedy dispensation of justice. As My Lords are aware, delay in the dispensation of justice coupled with the increase in the number of cases in our courts have remained subjects of grave concern. As someone said, “our problem is not access to justice, it is exiting the justice system.”
“And I know that delays are not necessarily the fault of judges, lawyers are often responsible. Should we not then, as been suggested by some, be evolving a cost-award system that recognizes the court as a finite and expensive public resource? And as such delays and other dilatory tactics are visited with deterrent costs?
“We are part of the global marketplace for investment and legal services. The extent to which we can attract business to our country depends in part upon investor perception of the quality of our justice delivery system. If we are seen as inefficient and ineffective, we would lose out to more efficient systems.
“The other point that I think must be made is that of judicial integrity. There is, in my humble view, nothing as important than for judges to be trusted for honesty and integrity. Men and women who have the power over the lives and livelihoods of others are not like the rest of us, we must place them on the highest scale of probity. I would like to urge that your Lordships must not allow a few to undermine the respect and trust both local and international that our Judiciary has built up in over a century of its existence.
“I am not unaware of the number of challenges slowing the pace of transformation in our administration of the justice system. More needs to be done to strike a sound balance between a high level of productivity, the quality of judicial decisions, and careful consideration of cases.
“My administration, through the Federal Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the National Judicial Council, has been working towards the resolution of these challenges. Some of the measures being taken include:
“a. Development of strategic infrastructure that will provide ease in case management, including electronic recording of proceedings to replace the tedious longhand recording currently practised in the majority of our courts. Advancements in courtroom technology (E-Court systems) have increased the level of efficiency in the justice system in the areas of speed of documentation, accuracy, security, and accessibility of records.
“b. Enhanced welfare of judicial officers, especially in the area of conditions of service – salaries, allowances, and retirement benefits for Judicial Officers. Provision of comprehensive medical insurance. On this, I wish to commend the National Judicial Council for the institution of the NJC Health Insurance Programme, which provides comprehensive international insurance for all members of the Federal Judiciary as well as comprehensive local coverage within all the States of the Federation.”
“While wishing you successful deliberations, it is my singular honour and privilege to formally declare the 2021 Biennial All Nigeria Judges’ Conference, open.
“I thank you all for your attention. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Police, brothel make millions as child prostitution, sex trafficking reign in Osun communities
In this undercover investigation, our reporter, Sikiru Obarayese, exposed how security operatives abet child prostitution, trafficking and make millions of Naira from the illegal activities in Osun communities.
Sometime in early 2021, a 17-year-old girl, Victoria, who came from Southern Nigeria, followed a boyfriend to an Osun community in search of a greener pasture. After she was maltreated and sent out to the street by her boyfriend, the teenager met a young woman in an Osun community offering her “woman’s job” with no further explanation about the offer.
Victoria was later invited to Ilesa by a young lady identified as Precious where she would start the “woman’s job” — Vitoria had told Precious, who claimed she is 22-year-old, about her inability to gather fare from Osogbo to Ilesa, in which the lady promised to settle the fare after meeting her at a park.
In another conversation with Precious among several discussions they had; Victoria, who is an undercover agent, asked again to reaffirm if being a 17-year-old old girl – an underage – would not be a problem. The young lady acknowledged her age and gave her the green light to meet her at a roundabout, near a motor park in Ilesa.
Victoria eventually met with Precious who is a sex worker at Frayo, Itishin area in Ilesa. The brothel is one of the few with high numbers of underage girls trafficked from eastern and northern parts of the country.
Child trafficking, according to the United Nations Organization, refers to the recruitment, harbouring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a minor for the purpose of exploitation, forced labour, slavery and commercial sex act.
Sex trafficking on the other hand is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery, which is considered a form of modern slavery.
Though there is no law against prostitution in Nigeria about age or consent, but according to the UN, it is illegal when someone is harbouring, transporting for the purpose of exploitation, or forced labour for commercial purposes.
Meanwhile, security operatives in Osun community have been exploiting and benefitting from the sexual escapades of the little girls. Sources told our reporter that police makes millions of Naira weekly from aiding the act.
Impeccable sources confirmed that security operatives make at least N1.4 million monthly from a brothel in Ilesa alone in their involvement – complicit – taking bribes.
These operatives are in cahoots with the owners of the brothel, thereby exploiting, harbouring and obtaining from sex workers.
According to DAILY POST findings, the brothels, especially Frayo, have huge patronage due to the high number of underage girls. The owner of the brothel popularly call by the name of the brothel (Frayo), makes about one Million Naira weekly from the girls.
The sex economy
The two brothels under investigation were mixed with aged women and young girls, some of whom are underage. A source who is very familiar with the business said the girls have been trained. “The girls have been trained to lie and they are good at what they do,” the source said.
Frayo has over 50 rooms – all partitioned with iron panes. The owner of the facility, it was uncovered, slammed cruel punishment on any of the occupants that goes against the rules.
It was also revealed that the owner of the brothel runs the place alongside his mother – the mother who monitors the movement and activities of the ladies.
“We cannot go outside to buy what his mother sells. Though her things are expensive, her price is three times higher than the normal price, even with that, anybody caught buying things outside will be fined. The fine is always monetary,” a sex worker lamented.
Many of the girls living in the brothels said they face different challenges. None of the girls are allowed to raise the alarm or create any scene. “We all face our own businesses. Everyone has been careful here and afraid of being caught in anything that will make (Oga) Frayo lock your door,” another sex worker revealed.
One of the underage girls said, “I have been fined N50,000 before and I begged him (Frayo) for everything. They will lock your room if you commit any offence. I didn’t work for about a week until I paid him N37,000 with several pleas.”
Further findings revealed that each sex worker makes a return of N2,500 to the brothel which adds up to N125,000 daily with the calculation of 50 rooms, 875,000 weekly and N3, 750,000 monthly.
A security source told this medium that those brothels would not have been functional without the backing of security operatives, adding that there is a high possibility of involving in other illicit activities such as baby factories and harbouring criminal elements.
The crux of child prostitution & trafficking
“I am too young to be doing this job, that’s why police come to collect money from us every week in order to protect us from being arrested,” said Doris*, an underage sex worker in Osun metropolis, Southwest Nigeria.
She was trafficked from Kwande Local Government in Benue State to a brothel, named “Frayo” in Ilesa, Osun State in August 2021, by her aunt who is also into the same ‘business’.
As a young sex worker, Doris gets more patronage and bid higher from her customers than the older ones. She has a “mother” which is her aunt from her maternal family.
“Mother” in the brothels are benefactor or “guiding angel” — they are those who brought in individuals. Every daughter contributes their daily earnings to their mother while they also pay dues including “Police money” through their mother to the owner of the brothel who will remit to the police.
According to our findings, many of the girls living in the brothel are from Benue, Abia and Cross Rivers States. Some were brought to the brothel by a family member – sisters or relatives.
It was gathered that there are ‘cuts’ for the person who brings any girl in. Doris (not real name) who was brought in by her aunt said, she delivers N5000 for daily returns while others make N2,500 return to the brothel.
Doris further revealed that she pays N17,000 for security while others pay N7,000, through her aunt who is also a sex worker in the brothel.
Her aunt promised her that she would work for two weeks but changed the agreement that she would have to stay till December. Findings show that Doris’ aunt is exploiting her against the earlier arrangement.
No one could take Doris out of the brothel without her knowledge. She sometimes helped her to bargain on price. “I know how much she gives me daily. She is young and new here so people like her,” her sister said.
Cash For Complicity
Further investigation revealed that sex workers are confident and certain that nothing can happen to them. With their relationship with the security operatives, the sex workers are sure of constant cover.
Some of them told this reporter that every Friday is ‘police payment day’ while everyone could have contributed N5000 to their bosses – the money which was increased to 7,000 this year.
“Police don’t arrest us because we pay them weekly. Initially, we paid N5000 but it has just been increased to N7,000 recently. There are over 50 rooms in this place and we make a huge amount of money.”
According to findings, the sex workers make payments to the police through the owner of the brothel. “We have the full support of the police. Oga calls them here if anybody or customer is trying to do anything funny.”
This, according to our findings, shows that police are aware of what is going on in the brothels and as well aiding it.
Corruption, a catalyst for human trafficking in Nigeria – foreign report
Internal trafficking is prevalent with Nigerian perpetrators recruiting victims from rural areas, especially the country’s southern regions, for exploitation in commercial sex and forced labour in domestic work in cities such as Abeokuta, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.
Traffickers – including some community members – exploit women and girls in domestic service and sex trafficking, as well as boys in forced and bonded labour in street vending, domestic service, artisanal mining, stone quarrying, agriculture, textile manufacturing, alms- begging, and in the tie-dye sector in the northwest and southwest of the country.
Nigeria Police Force has been previously accused of exploiting women in illicit activities. According to a US report on trafficking, “Unlike previous years, NPF reported its officers, arrested two traffickers in 2020, and media noted NPF officers arrested three suspected traffickers exploiting women in “baby factories,” as well as additional potential victims in December 2020 and March 2021 in Ogun and Katsina states respectively.
”Corruption affects all levels of government – including the judiciary, security forces, and law enforcement agencies – and undermines accountability for trafficking offences. Sex trafficking, according to the report occurs in government-run detention centres and IDP camps. “Without providing statistics, observers reported NAPTIP investigated allegations of human trafficking in IDP camps, in coordination with the Ministry of Defense zonal commanders.”
“…“Baby factories” refer to criminal enterprises often disguised as orphanages, maternity homes, or religious centres – where traffickers hold women against their will, rape them, and force them to carry and deliver a child. Experts stated this illicit activity was widespread in the country,” a United States of America special report on trafficking stated.
United States of America Department of State 2021 report from monitor and Combat trafficking in persons said the government has not met the minimum standards in several key areas fighting trafficking in the country. The US report declared corruption a significant concern in battling the crime in Nigeria.
The US department recommended to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) enhanced coordination on law enforcement efforts – including investigating illicit centres exploiting women in forced surrogacy – and prosecute suspects while respecting the rights of the accused.
Policemen from unidentified stations come to the brothel to raid — Police
Contacting the Spokesperson of Osun Police command, SP Yemisi Opalola, she said that the DPOs Ilesa denied the allegations. She further disclosed that the DPO of Ijamo divisional police station informed her that some policemen from different parts of the state come to the particular brothels to raid the place.
Opalola confirmed that the command made different arrests of some hardened criminals in the particular brothels investigated by DAILY POST, promising that further investigation could be conducted.
“I contacted the DPOs, they said they are not aware of the allegations, that further investigation will be conducted through their men. The Ijamo DPO affirmed that they have arrested some hardened criminals before at the brothels. Likewise, some policemen from Osogbo and other unidentified stations also go there to raid.
“The command will definitely investigate further because it is unusual.”
We will investigate this — NAPTIP reacts
The zonal coordinator of NAPTIP in Osun State, Mustapha Saadu said the agency will carry out an investigation on the brothels. He added that the command had not heard about the said brothels or their activities.
Meanwhile, the head of the investigation of the agency in the zone who was in the same room with the coordinator during the visit of this reporter to NAPTIP office in Osogbo acknowledged the “police money”.
Bayelsa: Gunmen kill 3, abduct 7 oil workers in fresh attack
Gunmen suspected to be sea pirates, in the early hours of Sunday attacked two oil installations, killing three and abducting seven oil workers in Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (ANAN) learnt that the pirates ambushed their unsuspecting victims in Okoroma and Ogbokiri-Akassa communities of Nembe and Brass Local Government areas of Bayelsa.
Sources close to the affected oilfields said the gunmen reportedly shot dead two staff of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The driver of their boat, an indigene of Okoroma community, is still missing, according to the local sources who witnessed the incident and narrated same to a NAN Correspondent.
According to the sources, in the ambush that occurred at Ogbokiri-Akassa in Brass Local Government area, six oil workers allegedly doing maintenance jobs close to their platform were kidnapped and whisked away.
It was further gathered that the Agip oil workers and their security personnel came under attack at about 6am while working close to a manifold in the deep swamp.
Spokesman of the NSCDC, Bayelsa command, Mr Ogbere Solomon, confirmed the incident on Sunday evening.
Solomon said one personnel of the command died in the ambush, while two others who were missing have been found and are currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa.
“Yes, our officers were ambushed and attacked by some unknown pirates while on their lawful duty of providing protection to some Agip oil workers close to Obama manifold in Okoroma community of Nembe Local Government.
“One personnel was killed while the other two that were missing have been found and are responding to treatment,” he said.
Mr Tarinyu Joseph, the Youth President of the Okoroma Clan, said indigenes of the area recovered the corpses of those killed.
He added that those injured were taken to the hospital while the boat driver, identified as his brother, is still missing.–
BREAKING: Gunmen attacking Jos Custodial Centre trapped
Unknown gunmen who invaded a Medium Security Custodial Centre in Jos the Plateau State capital have been trapped by security operatives who are currently at the prison premises.
DAILY POST had reported that some criminal elements suspected to be bandits have stormed the facility on Sunday evening with sophisticated weapons and were shooting sporadically at the premises.
A statement by the spokesman of the Nigeria Correctional Service NCoS, CC Francis Enobore, said the gunmen have been trapped following a heavy fire power of security operatives who immediately cordoned the yard.
The statement reads; “The Medium Security Custodial Centre in Jos, Plateau State came under attack by gunmen who reportedly stormed the facility in large number with sophisticated weapons.
“The invaders were said to have arrived at the Custodial Center at about 1720hrs and immediately made for the main gate where they engaged the armed squad personnel in a gun battle before breaking into the yard.
“Although they gained entrance to the yard, they are however trapped within as men from sister security services were immediately mobilised to assist the armed guards to cordon the perimeter wall and the entire area.
“Reinforcement from the response squad of the Service has also been mobilised to the center.
“The situation is presently under control as the attackers firing power is being subdued by superior fire from a combined team of security agencies. Update will be made available as event unfolds”, he added.
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