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There is Massive, Pervasive Corruption in Buhari’s Govt- US Report

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The United States Department of State has said there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment.

 

The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, said Nigeria had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service.

 

The US Congress mandates the executive to produce a report on the state of human rights worldwide every year.

 

For Nigeria, the findings in the 2018 Human Rights Report, released Thursday, were largely similar to those of the previous year’s report, indicating lack of real progress in the government’s anti-corruption war.

 

The report said, “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

 

“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year.”

 

The report stated that the country’s two key anti-corruption agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had broad powers to prosecute corruption, but rarely applied such powers to conscientiously and logically prosecute corruption cases.

 

It stated, “The EFCC writ extends only to financial and economic crimes. The ICPC secured 14 convictions during the year. In 2016 the EFCC had 66 corruption cases pending in court, had secured 13 convictions during the year, and had 598 open investigations.

 

“Although ICPC and EFCC anti-corruption efforts remained largely focused on low and mid-level government officials, following the 2015 presidential election, both organisations started investigations into and brought indictments against various active and former high-level government officials. Many of these cases were pending in court. According to both ICPC and EFCC, the delays were the result of a lack of judges and the widespread practice of filing for and granting multiple adjournments.

 

“EFCC arrests and indictments of politicians continued throughout the year, implicating a significant number of opposition political figures and leading to allegations of partisan motivations on the part of the EFCC. In October the EFCC arrested and indicted former governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose on 11 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering amounting to 2.2 billion naira ($6 million). After a Federal High Court ruling, Fayose was out on 50 million naira ($137,500) bail.”

 

On financial disclosure, the report noted the constitutional requirement under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (CCBTA) for public officials, including the president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, cabinet ministers, and legislators (at both federal and state levels), to declare their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before assuming and after leaving office. The constitution calls for the CCB to “make declarations available for inspection by any citizen of the country on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe,” said the report. “The law does not address the publication of asset information. Violators risk prosecution, but cases rarely reached conclusion.”

 

Perhaps, more chilling was the finding that arbitrary deprivation of life and unlawful killings were prevalent in Nigeria in 2018. The report cited several examples.

 

It said, “There were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. The national police, army, and other security services used lethal and excessive force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects and committed other extrajudicial killings.

 

“Authorities generally did not hold police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.

 

“State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths generally did not make their findings public.

 

“In August 2017 the acting president convened a civilian-led presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, and the panel submitted its findings in February. As of November no portions of the report had been made public.

 

“As of September there were no reports of the federal government further investigating or holding individuals accountable for the 2015 killing and subsequent mass burial of members of the Shia group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and other civilians by Nigerian Army (NA) forces in Zaria, Kaduna State. “

 

The report noted the 2016 nonbinding report of the Kaduna State government’s judicial commission, which found that the Nigerian Army (NA) used “excessive and disproportionate” force during the 2015 altercations in which 348 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and one soldier died.

 

It said, “The commission recommended the federal government conduct an independent investigation and prosecute anyone found to have acted unlawfully. It also called for the proscription of the IMN and the monitoring of its members and their activities.

 

“In 2016 the government of Kaduna State published a white paper that included acceptance of the commission’s recommendation to investigate and prosecute allegations of excessive and disproportionate use of force by the NA.

 

“As of September, however, there was no indication that authorities had held any members of the NA accountable for the events in Zaria. It also accepted the recommendation to hold IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky responsible for all illegal acts committed by IMN members during the altercations and in the preceding 30 years. In 2016 a federal court declared the continued detention without charge of Zakzaky and his wife illegal and unconstitutional.

 

“The court ordered their release by January 2017. The federal government did not comply with this order, and Zakzaky, his spouse, and other IMN members remained in detention. In April the Kaduna State government charged Zakzaky in state court with multiple felonies stemming from the death of the soldier at Zaria. The charges include culpable homicide, which can carry the death penalty. As of December the case was pending. In July a Kaduna High Court dismissed charges of aiding and abetting culpable homicide against more than 80 IMN members. As of September the Kaduna State government had appealed the ruling. Approximately 100 additional IMN members remained in detention.

 

“In October security forces killed 45 IMN members that were participating in processions and protests, according to Amnesty International (AI).”

 

The report recalled the January 2017 bombing of an informal internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlement in Rann, Borno State, by the Nigerian Air Force, which resulted in the killing and injuring of more than 100 civilians and aid workers.

 

It said, “The government and military leaders publicly assumed responsibility for the strike and launched an investigation. The air force conducted its own internal investigation, but as of December the government had not made public its findings. No air force or army personnel were known to have been held accountable for their roles in the event. There were reports of arbitrary and unlawful killings related to internal conflicts in the North-east and other areas.”

 

The report identified the following human rights issues in Nigeria: unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and non-state actors; forced disappearances by both government and non-state actors; torture by both government and non-state actors; and prolonged arbitrary detention in life-threatening conditions, particularly, in government detention facilities. Others are harsh and life threatening prison conditions, including civilian detentions in military facilities, often based on flimsy or no evidence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; criminal libel; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and refoulement of refugees.

 

The report also identified as human rights abuse corruption; progress to formally separate child soldiers previously associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF); lack of accountability concerning violence against women, including female genital mutilation/cutting, in part due to government inaction/negligence; trafficking in persons, including sexual exploitation and abuse by security officials; crimes involving violence targeting LGBTI persons and the criminalisation of status and same-sex sexual conduct based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and forced and bonded labour.

 

The report, however, noted that the government took steps to investigate alleged abuses but took fewer steps to prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government.

 

“Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government. The government did not adequately investigate or prosecute most of the major outstanding allegations of human rights violations by the security forces or the majority of cases of police or military extortion or other abuse of power,” the report added.

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Lagos to Benefit from £38m UK Mobile Development Programme

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Lagos State Government is to benefit from the United Kingdom’s thirty-eight million pounds extended programme on mobile for development in Nigeria, owing to its socio-economic and political significance as the commercial nerve centre of the country and sixth largest economy in Africa.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign Commonwealth Office who also doubles as Minister of State for Department for International Development, Harriett Baldwin during a courtesy visit on the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to the Minister, the Mobile for development programme was to enable a lot of people access financial services through their mobile phones and buy things like solar system for their homes and businesses.

She added that owing to the significant impact of the programme on the people, the UK government was extending the programme to further affect positively the lives of other twenty-seven million people around the world, including many in Lagos, noting that the programme was exactly designed to absolutely impact the grassroots.

In addition, she said, the programme would enable women in the market to use the financial services by investing in solar fridges, solar freezers and something that would really help them in their homes in areas where they did not have access to reliable electricity.

According to her, it would also help everyone with the ambition to ensure that they were able buy health insurance and mobile financial services in the future, emphasizing that Lagos was very often at the cutting edge of some of this investment in technology which was why the UK Government was basing its science and technology centre in Lagos.

Describing Lagos as amazing and vibrant city, Baldwin noted that the UK government was willing to learn from some of the state’s innovation and share some of theirs.

Responding, the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat assured the United kingdom team that Lagos State Government was set to collaborate with their government in any area that would be of immense benefit to the good people of the state.

While emphasizing that the programme was an extension, Hamzat stated that the state government would embark on sensitizing her citizens to understand the benefits of the programme and take advantage of it.

He added: “With the population advantage of Lagos, any developmental programme embarked upon would be of great benefits to the residents by empowering them. This would also be of imminence benefits to every Nigerian and foreigners based in the state.”

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Benin Industrial Park Secures $250m Investment

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Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo says an investor, Anchor Tenant, has committed about 250 million dollars to the development of Benin Enterprise and Industrial Park project.

Obaseki made this known when a World Bank Team led by Gloria Joseph-Raji, paid him courtesy visit on Tuesday in Benin.

He said that his administration had continued to make considerable progress on the Benin Enterprise and Industrial Park project. Obaseki said that the plan was to commence construction at the site before the end of the year.

“We have made considerable progress on our industrial park as we touched on an anchor tenant who has committed close to 250 million dollars for their operation.

“This has been confirmed. As I speak, we have two others from China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and we are working closely to get a commitment from them,” he said.

Obaseki said his administration was focussed on building conducive business environment to scale up investment and create more job opportunities in the state.

The governor said that the state government was concentrating on key elements to improve ease-of-doing-business in the state by improving land reforms, law and order, streamlining the state revenue service and human capital development.

He said: “We have received support from the Universal Basic Education Fund to build a digital laboratory at the College of Education in Abudu, and we will work with you to build human capacity.

“The law for restructuring the College of Education is before the parliament and will be considered soon.

“Procurement for laboratory equipment for the Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) has been completed and will be ready for use by the last quarter of the year.

“We have identified three other technical colleges in Isi, Irrua and Igarra for similar projects.”

Joseph-Raji said the visit was planned as a follow-up to the earlier one by the Team in January 2019. Leader of the World Bank delegation said: “Our overall objective is to support your government to boost jobs creation for youths in the state.

“We settled on supporting your administration to build a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive.

“The private sector creates the jobs, but government ensures an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”

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Vice-Chancellor tasks students to imbibe patience, fear of God in their Future endeavours

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L-R Rep. of the Chairman, CKA Board of Trustees, Dr. Mrs Joke Coker; Guest speaker, Vice Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Prof. Olatunji Olatunde; Head of School, Ms. Abiola Lamikanra, at the City of Knowledge Academy Graduation Ceremony, held recently in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State
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Professor Ganiyu Olatunde, Vice Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State has charged the graduating students of the City of Knowledge Academy (CKA), Ijebu Ode, also in Ogun State to imbibe patience and the fear of God in their future endeavours. He made the call at the 6th Honours’ Day Ceremony of the school, held on 11 July, 2019.

 

In his remarks, the university don, who was the guest speaker at the event, advised the out-going students of the school, to build their leadership potentials by being creative, innovative, actionable, accountable and maintaining self-discipline, attributes that, according to him, would enable them achieve success in their chosen careers.

 

“As you prepare to face the challenges on your journey to greatness, I greatly implore you to exhibit patience, be prayerful and have the fear God in all your dealings,” Professor Olatunde advised the graduating students of the school.

 

Earlier in her address, the Head of School, Ms. Abiola Lamikanra informed the audience that the Honours’ Day Ceremony is aimed at showcasing the best of the City of Knowledge Academy (CKA) as well as celebrating the students who have distinguished themselves during the outgoing school year.

 

According to her: “Today we celebrate not just the Year 12 students who leave the school, but also the students who have excelled in various areas of school life. Today we showcase the best of CKA, founded on the three ethical pillars of Culture, Character and Confidence.”

 

She extolled the Class of 2019 saying, “judging by their results in a couple of external examinations and all the activities they have engaged in over the years, I am assured that they are all confident in their interactions with their juniors, peers, adults and the public and I am emboldened to say that their character will stand the test of time.”

 

Lamikanra said one of the students of the school, Zainab Lawal, who took the IGCSE examinations passed with 3A*s, 4As, 1 B & 1C, and also scored 293 in the Joint Matriculation Examinations, organized by JAMB.

 

The high points of the day were the presentation of awards and certificates to deserving students who excelled in the various academic and extra-curricular activities of the school in the last academic session. Among the honorees are Zainab Lawal, the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019 and the out-going Head Girl who bagged the Best Graduating Student award with a GPA of 4.2 and has also been offered admission by two colleges in the USA.

 

Others are Sidikat Olajuwon who bagged nine awards including the Best Student in Her Year, Best Behaved Student in the School, Best in Science, Best in Physics and Best in Art awards. Also, Omasirichi Tasie-Amadi, a 13-year-old Year 9 student, went home with the prize of the year as the best overall student with a cumulative grade point of 4.3. She was also named, the best student in the Languages Department and is known for her prowess in playing the clarinet.

 

Established in 2013, City of Knowledge Academy (CKA) is a co-educational secondary institution aimed at providing excellent academic and leadership training for young minds. The institution is an outstanding boost to the nation’s quest for academic excellence, providing invaluable opportunities in a safe and secure environment for the holistic development of the child.

 

The ever vibrant and robust School Orchestra thrilled and entertained the audience made of   guests, parents and the friends of the School and earned the admiration of the Guest Speaker who extended an invitation to the group to perform at a University function in the coming school year.  The CKA Dance group thoroughly entertained the audience with a Zulu dance to cap it all!

 

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