Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is pleased to invite you to the Press Briefing on the “Rule of Law Crisis: How persistent failure to obey court judgements makes Nigeria more Vulnerable to corruption“, and the public presentation of SERAP Law Report.
SERAP is a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria. SERAP received the Wole Soyinka Anti-Corruption Defender Award in 2014, and was nominated for the UN Civil Society Award and Ford Foundation’s Jubilee Transparency Award. SERAP is a member of the UNCAC Coalition, a global anti-corruption network of over 350 civil society organizations (CSOs) in over 100 countries. SERAP previously served as one of two Sub-Saharan African civil society representatives on the governing Committee of the Coalition.
The press briefing, which is organized with support from the MacArthur Foundation aims at bringing together the media to discuss the lack of enforcement of court judgments by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. The press briefing will also highlight recent judgments obtained by SERAP and implications for the fight against corruption in the judiciary, education and electricity sectors.
SERAP believes that your experience, expertise and participation would be invaluable to the success of the event.
Please kindly acknowledge receipt of the letter, and indicate your acceptance of the invitation.
Please accept the expression of our highest consideration.
Further details of the Press Briefing are as follows:
“THE ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPMENT” @ LASMALL HOTEL & RESORT RUMUKALAGBOR PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE.”
1ST DECEMBER, 2021. 9AM PROMPT.
Arrival of Guest and introduction of Dignitaries. Then, with an opening prayer. Opening Remarks by The Sole Administrator (President) of PMAN Rivers State Chapter Lady IB: In her remark, she emphasized that Rivers State belong to all of us and we all have a role to play. It is high-time Entertainers in Rivers State know their rights. It’s unfortunate, that Government do not want to invest in the Entertainment industry. She expanded by saying, let’s come together to build a better Entertainment Industry. She asked the question: Are Entertainers ready to stop betrayal? The audience responded, YES! She thanked everyone for coming, the DJs, all Entertainers and those who decided to honour PMAN today.
Performance by PMAN South South Band.
1st Lecture by C.P. Eboka Friday (Commissioner of Police-Rivers State) ably represented by Opanga (Ph.D), D.P.O. G.R.A Division. His topic was on “Entertainment: A Tool for Peace Building”. His delivery was insightful and fun.
Performances by Angel D Laugh, Jayreigns and other Artistes.
2nd Lecture by Chris M. Oluigbo, Station Manager/AOP Megalectrics Ltd (Operators of Beat Fm, Classic Fm and Naija Fm). He facilitated on the topic; “Entertainment Development”. Music is Life, Music is Culture, Music is History. Musicians use Music as a tool to talk about different issues. Music keeps Society alive. Music a trend setter and Music is Commerce. Musicians dress differently. Musicians should invest in BRANDING and VISIBILITY. Music is part of Development. Music promotes social gathering and this in turn promotes Commerce. Music is a reflection of the Society.
Performance by K.O. Baba and other Artistes.
3rd Lecture by His Royal Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe, he discussed on the topic; “Entertainment in Politics”. Music as an entertainment in the political space, bonds the people and help electorate participates in election. Music has no bound or limits. Music influence political movement and rituals. Music is the soul of man. Music travels wide. Sometimes, music helps us express ourselves, aggrievances through music. Music can be used as a tool for advocacy or to create awareness.
Special Address by The PMAN President Mr. Pretty Okafor: His address focus is on “Worth of Musicians in the Creative Industry”. Every year PMAN loses out trillions of naira. Musicians earn only 1% of their Royalty. The biggest employer of Labour is the Creative Industry (with Music in focus), but for the fact the industry is unchecked, the Government is not paying attention. The Creative industry is the only industry that will sustain this country. The talent subscribers, digital subscribers collect 75% of the 1% that is supposed to come to Musicians. Musicians daily take home is 0.7% unfortunately. Musicians can create something out of nothing. Musicians are the best species of God’s creation and they are gift from God.
This event was anchored by Charles Barida (OAP-Viatmin C of Rhythm 93.7FM), Hon. O.C.J Okocha San/MFR/DSSRS/JP was represented and received an Award. Hon. Prince Tonye Princewill was represented and he received an Award and Apostle Gift Chinyere G.O. Omega Power Ministries OPM received an Award and was represented and the Chief Host (Hon. Lasbry Amadi), CEO of Lasmall Hotel and Resort also received an Award and was present. Sunny Neji, Zaaki Azay, Ruggedman, Aita Bonny and Pa. Odili of Rex Lawson band (Elders Council PMAN Rivers State) was present among other outstanding Artistes, Dancers etc.
@Performing Musicians Art of Nigeria Rivers State. @PMAN Pretty Okafor Sunny Neji Ruggedman Ruggedybaba @Performing Musicians Employer Association of Nigeria.
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo has called on all well- meaning citizens, especially the male folk to join the campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Dr. Banigo made this call in her good will message from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Thursday, 25th November 2021, to commemorate the 2021, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Dr. Banigo, who urged the male folk to be strong advocates in the quest to eliminate violence against women and girls, noted that violence against women and girls increase in the society during crises.
The Deputy Governor said it manifests in physical, sexual and psychological means and most times perpetrated by trusted family members, while the rest of society look the other way, adding that sometimes women are also culpable when it comes to violence against fellow women.
Dr. Banigo said the State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike takes the security and wellbeing of women as top priority with a zero tolerance for violence against women.
It would be recalled that the 25th of November, each year is set aside to commemorate the International Day for the elimination of violence against Women. It also marks the launch of 16 days of activism that would end on December 10th 2021, which is the International Human Rights Day.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”
WOMEN UNITED FOR ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (WUEE) (An NGO for Women Economic Development) funded by UNDEF FNUD! Activity: Launching of Local Government CSO’s Review Mechanism.
@ALDGATE CONGRESS HOTEL, Plot 308 Abacha Road, G.R.A Phase 3, Port Harcourt. 25th November, 2021.
The Executive Director of WUEE, Mrs. Iniobong Frank.
Opening Prayer…. Second stanza of the National Anthem. Introduction by all participants including CSO’s present. Launching of Local Government CSO’s Review Mechanism.
**The event is the Launching of the public forum workshop conducted in Rivers State which involves CSO’’s and citizens including LGA’s Chairpersons.**
**Three CSO’s and citizens where these Civic Education Projects were carried out was ask to give a goodwill message.**
Lolo of African Women Initiative (One of the CSO’s), was very happy working with Women United Economic Empowerment (WUEE) and UNDEF on this project, she further said, that last year and this year has been so impactful to the benefiting Communities on Good Governance and they have learnt not to sell their votes.
Another testimonial from Nwagere Foundation, an Implementing CSO, said, the project has touched the lives of rural communities and therefore appreciates WUEE and UNDEF, that one of the take home, was that the project changed lives of the citizens with regards to Good Governance and Accountability and thanked other implementing CSOs as well.
From Degema LGA, Dandison added his voice by appreciating and saying a big thank you to WUEE and UNDEF, he was happy that a community reached out that they want to embark on a Community Development Plan, that is a big plus.
Another Implementing CSO’s Capacity Enhancement Initiative carried out the project in Ahoada East LGA, and emphasized that the project was a great initiative, the kind of enlightenment from the project can be compared to none. The impact from WUEE and UNDEF will remain in the lives of the community dwellers and the Organization alike. The M & E model ensures Accountability and was re-assuring.
A Community Leader present at the event, said, he has never seen a programme like what WUEE and UNDEF has initiated and the impact of the programme on Good Governance and Accountability is mind-blowing. The programme has opened the eyes of the youths of the Community towards development.
Mr. Joshua, re-emphasized that, after the Civic Education programme, there was a focus group discussion in the Communities like Obio-Akpor, Port Harcourt City and so more…
Dr. Etim Okon: Gave an Overview of the Local Government CSO’s Review Mechanism (LGCRM). Project Title: Strengthening Good Governance and Democratic Processes at the Local Level in Nigeria- (Rivers State). Focus Area: Local Government Administration Gap Analysis and it was sponsored by United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). Consultant: CDREA Consult. Dr. Etim, emphasized that, the first thing is to identify the gaps that exist at the LGA’s level, then look at the Constitution. For 13 good years Nigerians do not know anything about LGA’s, but Decrees. Up till date, LGA’s are not reformed. However, LGA’s are the business of the States, because Nigerian Constitution is a rigid one, otherwise, why the interference by National Assembly. 45 years down the line, no reforms for the LGA’s. How do we demand Good Governance from the Local Government or our duty bearers? Transparency and Accountability, one leads to the other. Cardinal principle of fair hearing originated between God and Adam during creation. We have; (i)State of Nature (ii) Social Contract and (iii) Government….. Government is the agent of the people, primarily. Government creates MDAs (Ministries) for the purpose of structure and in turn, the Ministries create Departments. “Community Charter of Demand”; Look for innovative ways to demand for transparency and accountability from our duty bearers. Understanding Joint Commitment and Consensus as a Component of Good Governance.
Dandison moderated the session on “Development of Action Planning for Achieving the Result of the LGCRM….Page 10 of the Book”. Some of the pointers from participants are; Continuous enlightenment will help to engage in Political participation. Get Citizens enrolled and registered in the forthcoming Election. Encourage Citizens to know that their Votes counts. Incentive to Vote should be done, outside financial rewards or gains. Start a Movement (Operation hashtag #IHAVEREGISTERED to encourage Voter Registration.
A CPR session was facilitated by Mrs. Faith and the petition for promoting CPR can be accessed online via http://www.change.org .
In Closing, Emem J. Ekpo, thanked all participants for coming and actively participating all through the event. She specially appreciated the CSOs present and mentioned that nine (9) strong CSOs are standing for WUEE. Community Leaders and Chief presents and everyone at the events, God grant you all journey mercies to your destinations. Lunch was served and the programme came to a close.
“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” – Section 14(2) (b) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest, Global Rights calls on the government and citizens of Nigeria to introspect on the definition of nationhood, citizenship and democracy. The events which reached tipping point right after the marking of the nation’s 60th anniversary in 2020, was a watershed moment in the nation’s history and must not be forgotten by both the demand and supply sides of governance.
We remind all Nigerians that at the crux of the #EndSARS protests is a simple cry by citizens for DIGNITY. The right to live without oppression in their own country. A right to fair hearing. A right to freedom from discrimination. A right to life. All rights guaranteed by the nation’s constitution. Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’; while Section 17(2)(c) instructs that “governmental actions shall be humane”. If the Nigerian government had simply followed the injunctions of the Constitution, it is very doubtful, that the throes of a global pandemic young Nigerians mainly in their 20s and 30s, would take to the streets no longer fearing the pandemic or the brutal treatment meted on protesters.
Global Rights notes with dismay that while 28 of the 31 Judicial Panels on SARS had completed their assignments (most as far back as July), their recommendations for punitive measures against the erring officers have been implemented. Also as importantly, we note with dismay the blatant impunity that followed the protests, has resulted in an upward turn in the numbers extra-judicial killings across the country rather than a reduction. We noted that between October 2019 and September 2020 there had been at least 135 extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, excluding the number of persons killed during the #EndSARS protest. However, in spite of the government’s promise to end impunity and reform the security forces to respect the right to life and dignity of all persons as ensued by the Constitution, between October 2020 and September 2021, there was an unconscionable rise in extrajudicial killings to at least 187. Global Rights therefore calls on the government of Nigeria to live up to its constitutional mandate of ensuring the security and welfare of all citizens, by investigating and indicting the hoodlums and security agents that disrupted the peaceful protests, implementing the recommendations of the Judicial Panels on Police, and institute reforms to ensure that security forces respect the rights of citizens.
Again, we remind the government that the right to hold dissenting opinions and the right to protest are constitutionally protected rights for all persons. The threats by the Nigerian Police Force to disallow protests related to the anniversary of the protest is unconstitutional and unbecoming of a government that professes democratic ideals. Governance will be a more productive venture when citizens feel listened to and heard by the elected representatives and public officers.
Abiodun Baiyewu Executive Director, Global Rights Nigeria.
Remembering #EndSARS: Lingering Socio-political Unease Calls for Government-Citizen Reconciliation
“NPF’s excessive use of force has remained unchanged because many of the abuse cases have not been investigated. The inability of the state to investigate and hold perpetrators to account for their acts of terror on citizens have helped to build public distrust and resentment towards the men and women of the criminal justice institutions and state more generally.” — Chris M A Kwaja, Ph.D Policing, Police and the Feasibility of Their Reform in Nigeria
The call by Nigerian citizens at home and in the diaspora to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was a legitimate demand. This demand was informed by the apparent silence of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the federal government in dealing authoritatively with the inhumane and brutal actions of operatives of the SARS unit towards Nigerians, particularly the youth.
EndSARS was and remains a call from Nigerians and well-meaning people globally who were tired of being abused and traumatized by the people empowered to protect them. It ignited an awakening in young Nigerians to their civic duty of demanding accountability from the government. The protest was a peaceful convergence of young Nigerians for two weeks across cities in the country until criminals took advantage of the national outcry and decided to rob, rape, attack people and police officers, and destroy property. This informed the immediate suspension of the protest by protesters who also became victims of these criminals. It is important that the efforts of patriotic Nigerian youths exercising their civic rights and duties in demanding an end to police brutality are not defined or undermined by activities of criminals. The right to peaceful assembly remains a fundamental human right and Nigerian youths still seek justice for lives lost, citizens maimed and properties destroyed.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was established in 1992 to fight crimes associated with robbery, car theft, kidnapping and firearms whilst keeping citizens and neighborhoods safe. It eventually became an integral part of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID).
However, due to alleged (and confirmed) extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, extortion, torture, framing, blackmail, kidnapping, illegal organ trade, armed robbery, home invasions, rape of men and women, child arrests and other unprintable deeds, SARS came under heavy public scrutiny and was investigated several times in response to waves of public outcry.
All the reforms promised by the federal government in 2016, 2017 and 2018 failed to produce any meaningful outcome. Particularly in 2018, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered a complete overhaul of the dreaded unit and the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Kpotun promised the nation a new security unit under the name, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). It seemed like a glimpse of hope, however, nothing changed!
Consequently, 2019 saw a far more terrifying SARS, targeting young, innocent Nigerians without respite. The tech community was especially hit, when young men with laptops and dreadlocks became easy targets for SARS operatives. These young people were subjected to unjust profiling leading to arbitrary arrest, detention, extortion and in some cases death. This was done under the guise of fighting internet-fraud, which was clearly out of their scope of operations.
Last year’s #EndSARS protests were triggered by the alleged killing of a youth in Delta State; a gory incident that was caught on camera. The video which was circulated on social media platforms brought back the conversation on the brutality of SARS operatives with young people sharing their experiences on social media. The online protest swiftly turned into major protests across cities in Nigeria with Nigerians, particularly young people, consistently taking to the streets for a period of two weeks.
A week into the protest, on October 12, 2020, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu disbanded the unit assuring the public of a new order in the federal security agency. They were renamed the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), an already existing unit within the Police. Unfortunately, the renaming simply reinforced the perception that the government was only interested in cosmetic change, nothing structural.
One year after the start of a series of events that would significantly change police-citizen relationships in Nigeria, it is evident that #EndSARS became a platform for young people to express their frustration with a security architecture that had failed in its primary purpose—protecting the lives and property of Nigerian citizens. However, this socio-political outburst was not to negate the hard work of members of our security agencies – police and military officers – who are constantly on the frontlines, protecting citizens and the integrity of Nigeria’s borders.
Indeed, it was in recognition of this that one of the #5for5 demands focused specifically on erring police officers—calling for the instituting of an iIndependent body to oversee prosecution of officers and the immediate suspension of all officers indicted in previous panels while prosecution commences. They include officers such as Yusuf Kolo (Abuja) and CSP Sola Aremu (Oyo) among several others whose negligence or direct action led to the death of protesters and bystanders. Two of the 5 demands focused on the welfare of the police officers, financial and psychological: (1) regulations for the Police Act 2020 to implement improved welfare for police officers and (2) psychological evaluation of disbanded officers before redeployment and ongoing psychological evaluation of police officers.
However, when bad apples are not removed from a basket, they invariably spoil the whole basket. Citizens felt that the leadership of the Police Force and the various government bodies responsible for them: the Ministry of Police Affairs, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Police Trust Fund and the Police Service Commission were not doing enough to discipline its erring officers and thus, show a zero tolerance for abuse and extra-judicial killings. This was also demonstrated during the protests as the morning SARS was disbanded, the police shot at and water bombed protesters in Abuja.
In the aftermath of the protests, the National Executive Council agreed that all state governments will set up Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings. Only 29 of the 36 states set up Panels. Of the 29 states: (1) Kogi was inaugurated but has not had any sittings; (2) 3 states have concluded sittings and submitted reports; (3) 18 states have completed sittings but did not submit their reports; (4) Lagos was extended until October 19th.
As different activities are being organised to mark one year since the protests, including the solemn commemoration of #LekkiKilling – October 20, Nigerians ask that the federal government take a step of reconciliation towards citizens:
First, by providing an update on what has been done to ensure victims get justice and due compensation.
Secondly, by providing an update on what the government has done over the past year to improve the welfare of police officers and ensure that our police force is equipped psychologically to enable civil interaction with citizens.
Thirdly, provide an update on how the government is equipping the Nigeria Police Force with the appropriate tools to carry out their delicate task of securing lives and property alongside a concrete plan for consequence management when such a need arises.
This anniversary is an opportunity, to foster dialogue on justice and peace, so we invite the state governments and the federal government to engage with citizens and protect them from violence in the fulfillment of their mandate as stated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) in Section 14 (2b) which states that the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government.
The demand remains for a Nigeria that is equitable and just.
“The present generation has no other country except Nigeria. Let us salvage it together.” Muhammadu Buhari (President, Federal Republic of Nigeria)
‘Yemi Adamolekun Executive Director, EiE Nigeria
Idayat Hassan Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
Cynthia Mbamalu Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa
Osai Ojigho Country Director, Amnesty International
Kemi Okenyodo Executive Director, Partners West Africa- Nigeria
Nelson Olanipekun Team Lead, Gavel
Joshua Olufemi Executive Director, The Interactive
Mahmud Yusuf Programs Manager, NULAI Nigeria
Enough is Enough Nigeria (www.eie.ng) is a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. EiE’s #RSVP – Register | Select | Vote | Protect is a key voter education campaign. EiE was an integral part of the #OccupyNigeria movement in 2012 and is very active in the #OpenNASS and #OfficeOftheCitizen campaigns. The Centre for Democracy and Development (www.CDDWestAfrica.org) is an independent, not-for-profit, research training, advocacy and capacity building organisation. CDD was established to mobilise global opinion and resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on the challenges posed to the democratisation and development processes in West Africa. The goal is to serve as the ultimate catalyst in the transformation of the West African sub-continent into an integrated, economically vibrant and democratically governed community that assures holistic security to the population and is capable of permanent peaceful conflict management. Yiaga Africa (www.yiaga.org) is a civic hub of changemakers committed to promoting democracy, human rights and civic participation through advocacy, movement building, research and capacity building. With a vision of a people-driven democratic and developed Africa, Yiaga Africa Yiaga Africa works to build democratic societies anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, transparency and accountability. Gavel (www.gavel.ng) accelerates the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, digital technology and citizens’ engagement. Amnesty International Nigeria (www.amnesty.org.ng) is a human rights organization, part of a global movement of over ten million people. Amnesty International Nigeria campaigns for meaningful human rights change, enables effective human rights activism and works to persuade governments and other actors to uphold universal human rights standards. We mobilize the humanity in everyone and campaigns for change so we can all enjoy our human rights.
PWAN (www.partnersnigeria.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, +234 8091257245) The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative is also known as Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN)/ is a non-governmental organization dedicated to enhancing citizens’ participation and improving security governance in Nigeria and West Africa broadly, achieved through its Rule of Law and Citizens Security program areas. PWAN works to ensure inclusive and transparent governance as the underpinning of a democratic and prosperous society by facilitating important conversations for security sector stakeholders, strengthening the capacity of women to participate in democratic processes, ensuring credible elections through capacity building for state and non- state actors, and developing creative ways to prevent/counter violent extremism.
The Interactive Initiative for Social Impact (www.theinteractive.org) is a civic technology organization using interactive media and technological tools to influence practices and policies that empower vulnerable and underserved groups. The Interactive was established with the mission to stimulate practices and policies that empower vulnerable and underserved groups and give voice to their experiences through impact narratives, collective advocacy and civic technology.
Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) Nigeria (www.nulai.org) is a non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organization committed to promoting clinical legal education, legal education reform, legal aid and access to justice with a mission to build a network of cohesive university-based law clinics providing pro-bono legal services to the indigent and underserved; while training a new generation of skilled law students committed to public service and justice.