Panel To Investigate Crimes By Nigerian Military Must Be Independent, Impartial – Amnesty International

The Nigerian government must ensure a presidential investigative panel set up to investigate human rights violations by Nigeria’s military is independent, impartial and effective, said Amnesty International on Monday. 

On Monday, the panel is set to “review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in local conflict and insurgency situations.”

Stakeholders, affected persons, institutions and the public in Nigeria have been asked to voluntarily submit memorandum to the panel, which will conduct hearings from 11 September 2017.

The establishment of this investigative panel is an opportunity for Nigeria to ensure justice for victims of the countless allegations of war crimes by the military in the country – and it must not be wasted,” said Osai Ojigho, Director, Amnesty International Nigeria.

However, the panel will only be able to achieve these goals if international standards and best practices on thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigations are guaranteed and implemented”, said Mr. Ojigho.

The panel has published its Terms of Reference (ToR), which is a first step towards ensuring transparency. 

However, there is lack clarity as to the panel’s mandate, working methods and the scope of the investigations, Amnesty said; adding that the panel should also publicly clarify the procedures that will be followed during the hearings and whether the findings would be made public.

In particular, the ToR lack reference to concrete measures to protect victims and other witnesses who will be testifying or submitting evidence during the hearing.

As a starting point, it is crucial that victims and witnesses are protected from harassment, threats, ill-treatment or reprisals to ensure they can make submissions to the panel without fear,” said Mr. Ojigho.

Amnesty International has submitted a memorandum to the panel outlining the findings of its years of research relevant to the investigations.

It is also calling on the Nigerian authorities to ensure the panel has the resources to facilitate its work and protect its independence.

These include adequate financial support, plus expertise in criminal investigation, forensic analysis, legal analysis, witness protection, gender advice and data management.

The Nigerian government’s responsibilities go beyond merely investigating these human rights violations; it must also ensure the panel has the mandate to make recommendations to bring the perpetrators of these violations to justice,” said Osai Ojigho.

It is also vital that the panel to makes its findings public unlike in previous investigations to ensure full transparency and accountability.

Court Dismisses Melaye’s Case And Gives INEC Go Ahead For Recall

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed the suit by Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, challenging the validity the process of recalling him by his constituents.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in his judgement, ordered that the Independent National Electoral Commission “shall proceed with the recall process”.

According to reports, the judgement effectively terminated the earlier ex parte order made by another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, on July 6, 2017, directing parties to maintain status quo.

But the Justice Dimgba, to whom the case was reassigned, ordered that the process shall only proceed with the recall process, subject to the service of the petition, the full list and signatures of persons in support of the recall process.

The judge noted that the 90 days period within which the Constitution ordered the INEC to conduct a referendum on receiving the recall petition had been paused since June 23, when Melaye commenced the suit.

He ordered that the period would only continue running from Monday.
But he ordered INRC to issue an amended recall timetable giving the senator a minimum of two weeks to equip him to defend against the recall process.

He ordered that the amended timetable should be served on Melaye.

In his judgment, Justice Dimgba held that contrary to Melaye’s contention, there was no provision in section 69 of the Constitution requiring his constituents to afford him fair hearing before sending such petition to INEC.

Justice Dimgba also admitted that although the Constitution did not expressly provide that the INEC must serve the affected legislator with the petition and the accompanying documents, it was required in the spirit of fair hearing so that the legislator could be equipped to fight the recall.

The judge described Melaye’s suit as “hasty, premature and presumptuous” as the INEC had already scheduled the exercise for the verification of the authenticity of the signatures in support of the petition being complained about by Melaye.

He must first go into the verification exercise and only when he does not get justice that he can come to court,” Justice Dimgba ruled.

The judge also dismissed the argument that the the number signatures ‎did not meet the threshold stipulated in the Constitution.

He insisted that on the face of the statistical analysis accompanying the suit, the number of signatures to kick start the recall process in the Kogi West senatorial district was 188, 588 out of the 360,100 ‎registered voters in the district, had been met.

Source: Daily Times

John Legend Slams Rumors He’s Casting Trump Supporters in New Music Video

John Legend is putting an end to the rumors surrounding his new music video.

A story was reported that the 38-year-old entertainer was hosting a casting call for white, and “preferably out of shapeDonald Trump supporters to take part in a rally/protest in an upcoming project.

John took to Twitter on Sunday night (September 3) to slam the rumors and to say that the casting call did not come from him.

There’s a casting call out there claiming to represent me looking for ‘out of shape’ Trump supporters. This didn’t come from me or my team,” John tweeted.

John has been extremely vocal in his distaste for Trump. John‘s wife Chrissy Teigen was recently blocked on Twitter by the president.

I still think Trump is awful and whoever voted for him did a disservice to the country,” John continued. “But I didn’t issue this casting call.” 

Breaking News: Kenya Supreme Court Annuls Country’s Presidential Elections

The Supreme Court in Kenya on Friday declared the presidential elections held on August 8 as null and avoid, Kenyan media reports said.

Consequently, the court ruled that a re-run be conducted within 60 days.

The presidential election held on August 8 was not conducted in accordance with the constitution,” Chief Justice David Maraga ruled, according to Kenya’s The Nation Newspaper.

The ruling favoured Raila Odinga, head of the country’s main opposition who had challenged the electoral commission’s announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner last month.

Mr. Maraga said this was a majority decision, but two judges dissented.

The electoral commission “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution,” the Supreme Court ruled.

The election was marred by violence, after Mr. Odinga rejected the result, citing irregularities and illegalities.

Nollywood Actor, Yul Edochie Emerges As DPC Candidate #AnambraGuber

Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie, has emerged the Anambra governorship candidate for the Democratic Peoples Congress, DPC.

Mr. Edochie emerged unopposed at the party’s primary yesterday in Awka, Anambra State.

The film maker, Mr Yul Edochie made this known via his instagram page

 Mr. Edochie is the son of Veteran Nollywood Actor, Pete Edochie.

Mr. Edochie, who has been campaigning on social media with the hash tag #TheLastBusStop, has said promised to change the face of governance if elected.

The election was supervised and witnessed by the national chairman of the party, Olusegun Peters, other national executives of the party, representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and some security agents.

Mr. Edochie, after his victory, urged his supporters to join hands with him to move the economy of the state forward.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Some people may say they do not know me in politics, (even) having made a name for himself in Nollywood, but, if the state is in a bad shape, it is celebrities who should speak out. I need the support of the people of the state to make it work in Anambra state.”

My ambition is driven by the ineffective leadership style of those entrusted with the leadership of the state. Since the creation of Anambra State, it has been in the news for the wrong reasons.

In all, the youths have been at the receiving end of the political tussle. The older generation of leaders recruit youths, arm them with weapons to actualise their political goals and abandon (them) when elections are won. But when I take over as governor, youths will take their rightful position as leaders of the future.”

The party also elected sate party executives to run its affairs in Anambra state for the next four years.