Category: News

Press Statement December 21, 2023

December 21, 2023

Press Statement

Rights group calls on FG to drop charges against Sowore

The Federal Government has been asked to drop all charges against a renown civil liberty advocate, Mr Omoyele Sowore who has been facing treason charges since 2019.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community, NIRCO, a coalition of 132 civil rights and community based groups asked the FG to drop the charges which all appear to be driven by politics of persecution.

In a statement signed by two of its officials, Mr Fred Ojinika and Lateef Kole Ajayi the group said there was no need for the continual trial of the radical journalist.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community said in a statement on Thursday: “The trial of Sowore which has lasted for more than four years is political and a deliberate attempt to isolate and persecute him.”

The Nigerian Human Rights Community described Sowore as the most victimized and velified Nigerian journalist in the past one decade.

“We call for an immediate halt to the trial of Mr. Omoyele Sowore who was accused of treason in a case that the government has failed to bring forth any iota of evidence. i
It is ridiculous that Sowore alleged conspirator was a secondary school boy who was barely learning about the meaning of treason when he was arrested.”

The group said the Federal Government should halt the trial and stop embarrassing the country.

It said since the trial of Sowore began “we have received enquiries from all over the world including diplomats wondering why the Nigerian Government was using an armoured tank to kill a fly. Each time the government takes him to court brings back memories of the tyrannical years of military rule.”

The group said “The former President Muhammadu Buhari and the cabal in his cabinet acted as if they had personal grudges with Sowore. It is not about law, neither is it about any offense committed, but a clear case of witch-hunting and reckless abuse of power. We call on the current Government not to sustain the obnoxious principle that portrays the Nigerian state on a vengeance mission against an individual.”

The coalition asked the Attorney General of the Federation Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN) to withdraw all charges against Sowore with immediate effect.

“He has been denied access to his family, his wife and children for the past more than four years. His immediate junior brother was shot dead in curious circumstances, armed agents trail him from dawn to dusk abridging his freedom and curtailing his liberty in the most vicious manner.”

The coalition said Sowore has suffered persecution more than any other Nigerian journalist in the last ten years adding that it is easy to conclude that some people just want him dead.

“There is no justification for denial of liberty to a man whose platform has provided the widest window for freedom of expression to millions of Nigerians. Sahara Reporters remains the first online platform that opened opportunities for rich and poor, armed and defenseless, politicians and non-politicians, state and non state actors to express their fears and aspirations about their past, present and future. The worst any Government can do to destroy democracy is to endlessly assault the pillars of free speech which Sowore and Sahara Reporters stand for “

Family groans as UNTH seizes woman’s corpse for one year

By Raphael Ede

The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu, has continued to detain the corpse of Mrs Janet Nwaosu one year after its doctors allegedly killed her, even as the hospital management has also denied family access to the corpse for the past one year.

Recall that the family of the late Romanus Nwaosu of Amaeta village in Mgbowo, Awgu Local Government of Area Enugu State had accused one Dr Chibuoke and a nurse of killing their mother, Mrs Janet, who was on admission at the UNTH on October 18, 2022.

The family claimed that the said doctor (Chibuoke) and the nurse injected their mother with a drug that killed her less than five minutes after the injection, without the consent to inject her the drug.

According to the family, the accused health practitioners were not the ones assigned to take care of the deceased at the hospital when they injected the drug that killed her.

Story continues on PUNCH

Publication: HISTORIC EXCLUSION OF ITSEKIRI FROM THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY

HISTORIC EXCLUSION OF ITSEKIRI FROM THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY: A CLARION CALL FOR JUSTICE AND EQUITY

The Press Conference Addressed by the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NIHRCO)-A coalition of 121 Civil Society and community based groups across Nigeria) on the political and economic situation in Nigeria as it affects the Itsekiri people of the Niger Delta held on Thursday, August 17, 2023

https://irohinodua.org/we-cant-breath-itsekiri-cry-out-to-tinubu-over-exclusion/

https://independent.ng/itsekiris-lament-continued-marginalisation-in-political-economic-spaces/

https://guardian.ng/news/group-seeks-tinubus-intervention-over-marginalisation-exclusion-of-itsekiri/

https://www.blueprint.ng/nhrc-itsekiri-leaders-seek-tinubus-intervention-over-marginalisation/

https://www.blueprint.ng/nhrc-itsekiri-leaders-seek-tinubus-intervention-over-marginalisation/

https://tribuneonlineng.com/ministerial-list-coalition-itsekiri-people-appeal-to-tinubu-over-marginalisation/

https://thesourceng.com/itsekiris-president-tinubus-in-laws-lament-exclusion-from-ministerial-list-alleges-marginalization-at-state-federal-levels/

https://newstral.com/en/article/en/1242597409/itsekiris-lament-continued-marginalisation-in-political-economic-spaces

https://www.tvcnews.tv/2023/08/itsekiri-nationalities-demand-ministerial-slot-flays-neglect/

Press Statement: Historic Exclusion of Itsekiri People

HISTORIC EXCLUSION OF ITSEKIRI FROM THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY: A CLARION CALL FOR JUSTICE AND EQUITY

Being the Press Statement of the Press Conference Addressed by the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NIHRCO) – A coalition of 121 Civil Society and community based groups across Nigeria) on the political and economic situation in Nigeria as it affects the Itsekiri people of the Niger Delta held on Thursday, August 17, 2023 in

Gentlemen and ladies of the press

On behalf of humanity, we bring to the attention of the world the political and economic situation of one of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, the Itsekiri. We do this for posterity and for justice towards a stronger country based on respect for liberty and human dignity.

We wish to draw the attention of Nigerian people and their leaders to the striking case of exclusion of an ethnic community that contributes no fewer than 30 percent of Nigerian oil yet have been constantly and humiliatingly neglected by successive governments since the Nigerian independence in 1960. The politics of exclusion, trampling underfoot of indigenous people including Itsekiri are largely responsible for instability in many Nigerian communities today.

Today, we draw the attention of President Bola Tinubu, The National Assembly, the local and international communities to the critical situation of the Itsekiri, a very strategic ethnic group in Nigeria, small in population in comparative sense but strategic in terms of its profound contributions to the Nigerian economy with oil input in the range of over $60million dollars per day to the Nigerian purse, yet the people are left to endure the most degrading economic and political situations.

We call on people of good conscience to overview the pathetic state of  Itsekiri people and the historic injustice they have suffered in the hands of successive governments since 1960 and now renewed with vigour since 1999 when democratic governance returned to Nigeria.

ITESEKIRI HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

The Itsekiri are a sub ethnic group whose homeland is in today’s Delta State. Their existence which dated back to centuries, has shown close relationship and shared history with Ijebu people, Ile-Ife and Benin. Their traditional institution dates back to the 11th century.

The Itsekiri were the first people in Nigeria to establish diplomatic contact with the Europeans, the Portuguese who were exploring the West African coast. As far back as the earliest centuries, the Itsekiri were exchanging envoys with Portugal as a sovereign people with a remarkable civilisation.They are historically, culturally and linguistically related to the Yoruba They are most closely related to the South-Eastern and South-South area of Yorubaland sub-groups – Ijebu, Akure, Ikale, Ilaje, Ondo and Owo.In the 1950s, the Itsekiri were grouped with the Old Western Region underscoring their cultural and ancestral ancestry.

From the 1950s, the Itsekiri have stood firmly supporting progressive political movements. They have made sacrifices for Nigeria including paying the maximum price of death. In 1966, during the coup, Chief Okotieboh was murdered in cold blood. In November 1995, Pa Alfred Rewane was shot and killed in Lagos being one of the main financiers of the National Democratic Coalition, (NADECO). Pa Rewane alongside others fought for the democracy of today without which there would be no today’s elected leaders.

In the last 2023 election, many prominent leaders in Itsekiti fully supported the All Progressives Congress, APC. Though the Itsekiri produce some 30 percent of Nigerian total oil output, the history of the people has been that of exclusion. Over the years, in the midst of armed insurrection by some ethnic groups in the Niger-Delta, the Itsekiri have never been involved in armed uprising neither are they involved in oil theft or destruction of oil pipelines. However, for decades the Itsekiri have suffered historic sidetrack relating to political and economic isolation indicated in the following signposts:

EXCLUSION FROM POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS FROM 1960

From 1960, when Nigeria obtained independence, the Itsekiri have been marginalised. At the Federal level, the Itsekiri produced the first Federal Minister of Finance (Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh) who was killed during the military putsch of 1966. It was not until the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that an Itsekiri (Dr. Roland Oritsejafor) had a stint with a ministerial position which lasted for less than two years. Ministers are usually picked on state basis, but find below how ministerial positions have rotated within the trio-senatorial districts and the respective ethnic groups.From 2011 – 2023, this was how the State produced its Ministers for Federal Government of Nigeria.

  • 2011 – 2015, Elder Godsday Orubebe (Ijaw) from Delta-South was Minister of Niger Delta.
  • 2015 – 2019, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu from Delta-North (Igbo) was Minister for Petroleum.
  • 2019 – 2023, Festus Keyamo (Urhobo) from Delta Central was Minister for Labour and Productivity.

Clearly, there has been Itsekiri brazen exclusion from Ministerial appointments by the Federal Government since 1999. Eventhough each state in Nigeria is expected to produce at least one Minister, the Itsekiri have been continuously denied this opportunity either in Delta or in Edo State. Other forms of marginalisation are listed below:

  • Marginalisation of Itsekiri in oil related ventures since 1959. This finds expression in the form of denial of top positions like the Managing Director or NIMASA, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Niger-Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) etc.
  • Monopoly of top positions in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and exclusion of Itsekiri despite the fact that the positions of the Managing Director is expected to be rotated among the oil producing communities.Since the existence of the NDDC, no Itsekiri person has been appointed to the positions of Chairman, or Managing Director, despite the quantum of oil and gas that the Federal Government extracts from Itesekiri land. For example, the Urhobos have produced two Managing Directors since its existence, even though the ethnic group is far behind Itsekiri in oil production. Other parastatals such as Nigerian Ports Authority and NIMASA that are based in the Niger Delta region have been administered with conscious Itsekiri exclusion.
  • Equally to be noted is that since the position of Adviser on Presidential Amnesty was established, only persons of Ijaw extraction has always been appointed, even though Itsekiris have equally been involved in the amnesty program.
  • Added to the above forms of alienation at both the Federal and state levels, is that no person of Itsekiri extraction has been appointed at the federal level to head any major parastatal since 1999.
  • Infact since 1999, hardly had any person of Itsekiri been appointed to any board or parastatal of the Federal Government. Throughout the era of former President, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, only one person of Itsekiri extraction was fortunate to be appointed into a board and that was the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja (Dr. Alex Ideh).

ITSEKIRI AND THE CURRENT SOCIO-POLITICAL SITUATION IN NIGERIA: A DECIMA OF HUMILIATION

  • 46 Ministers have been appointed by the present Government of President Bola Tinubu. Not a single person is of Itsekiri. Twenty Advisers have been appointed, not a single person is of Itsekiti.
  • It is alarming, embarrassing and humiliating to discover that no Itsekiri person was fortunate to make the ministerial list, Special Adviser and Assistants to the President of Nigeria.
  • Thoughmembership and positions in boards and parastatals are yet to be constituted, from what we have seen, the marginalisation of Itsekiri is an historical pattern that will once again follow.

GRAND ALIENATION BY OIL PRODUCING COMPANIES

  • Denial of top positions in oil companies even though Itsekiri are some of the most educated people in Nigeria and exclusion in strategic positions of oil refineries eventhough one of the refineries is located on Itsekiri land.

DENIAL IN DELTA, THE ITSEKIRI HOME STATE

  • In Delta State as presently constituted, made up of 5 ethnic groups within its 3 Senatorial Districts. They include :-
  • Anomia Delta North Senatorial District (Igbo, Anomia)
  • Delta South Senatorial District (Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri)
  • Delta Central Senatorial District (Urhobo)

In Delta State as at today, top critical government positions are ‘distributed’ as follows:

  • Governor (Urhobo)
  • Deputy Governor (Anomia)
  • Speaker (Ijaw)
  • Deputy Speaker (Urhobo)
  • Secretary to Government (Anomia)
  • Chief of Staff (Isoko)
  • ITSEKIRIS has NONE!

The Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri constitute the Delta South Senatorial District. A Senator of Isoko extraction currently represents the Delta South.Now, from 2023 – 2027, the two ministerial positions allocated to Delta State has two persons of Urhobo extraction. Itsekiri has again sadly lost! Now the Urhobo ethnic group has the governorship position, including the two ministerial slots and the APC Chairmanship for Delta State.In all, at the levels of political and economic structures, the Itsekiri are at the receiving end of the stick. This is very painful.This is why the Nigerian Human Rights Community, NHRC hereby appeal to President Bola Tinubu to come to our aid and speak for the Itsekiris at the level of the presidency. We plead with all righteous voices to look at us with pity and deploy all possible political machineries to assist the Itsekiriparticularly to be appointed into such parastatals that can be deployed for the development of Itesekiri ancestral and by extension Ilaje land inclusive since both (Itsekiri and Ilaje) occupy the same geographical and ecological arears.

We trust that President Bola Tinubu has listening ears. We thank him for being steadfast all these years. We recall that President Tinubu was responsible for the memorable recognition of Pa Alfred Rewane’s role in the democratic transformation of Nigeria in which he paid the supreme price of death. President Tinubu named one of the longest streets in Lagos State after Pa Rewane to which we remain eternally grateful. We believe he will demonstrate again his passion for justice by listening to the demands Itsekiri People.

Given the background of President Bola Tinubu as a humanist and pro-democracy leader, we kindly call on him to assist in addressing these long standing afflictions of a peace loving people who are committed to a united, strong and prosperous commonwealth where liberty and justice reign supreme.

Signed

Mr Tunde Adeleke

Chief Are Kunle Oshodi

Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh

Lagos Elections Free and Credible

The gubernatorial elections in Lagos was free and credible, a coalition of human rights and civil society groups said yesterday during the presentation of its preliminary report.

The group said no election in the world is perfect, adding that the outcome of  the election in Lagos substantially meets public expectations.

At the presentation of its preliminary reports in Lagos the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NIHRCO) a coalition of 130 civil society and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) said the election was not devoid of hitches but that overall, the result of the election represented the free, prior and informed consent of the people of Lagos. The event was attended by 80 leaders of civil rights and community based groups.

“What is left now is to heal wounds and fix broken hearts fuelled by ethnic baiting and hate speeches promoted by non state actors,” the rights group said

The coalition commended the political leadership of the state government, saying that its commitment to a free and fair election eliminated acts of violence compared with previous elections in the state when lives were lost often due to the might of the federal powers forceful attempt at influencing the outcome of the elections.

The group had deployed observers in many of the 13, 390 and 245 wards in Lagos.

The presentation was supported by members of the Nigerians in Diaspora and South West Professional Forum, (SOWPROF) who spoke through zoom from abroad describing the election in Lagos State as one of the best in the country and a model for future elections in Nigeria Nosa Osaikhuiwu, a Project Management Expert from the Colorado State University said he followed the elections in Lagos, adding that it was one of the best in the country.

“I’m glad to speak to the audience. We Nigerians abroad are glad with the peaceful conduct of the election in Lagos.

This offers tremendous opportunity for Lagos to continue her leadership role as the most significant city state in Africa,” Osaikhuiwu said.

The coalition in its address read by its Senior Programme Office, Mr Taiwo Adeleye, Mr David Ajetunmobi, the former Secretary General of Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), one of the oldest professional groups in Nigeria Mr. Fred Ojinika said the Independent Electoral Commission(INEC) should be commended in many areas including early arrival of officials and materials, provision of BVAS and the prompt transmission of election results across the various polling units in Lagos. The group said it chose Lagos as one of the focal points in the last gubernatorial election. About  680 observers were deployed across the 20 local governments and Local Council Development Areas, (LCDAs).

It said observations of the election took a dialectical overview of the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats before, during and after the election.

There is no election all over the world that is 100 percent perfect.

Yet, there is no election all over the world that is 100 percent bad. We shall avoid sweeping statements condemning the election. Total condemnation of the election process and outcome is absolutely wrong and unprofessional the group said. It condemned conscious attempts to demonise the outcome of the election saying that of all the 36 states in the Federation, Lagos recorded one of the most credible election in terms of the process and the outcome.

It argued that Nigeria is a developing country with historical challenges in a plural and dynamic country that had passed through the pain of civil war which led to the death of several people.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NIHRCO) monitored the Gubernatorial election in Lagos. We hereby present to the Public our preliminary findings. Very soon, the comprehensive report will be released to stakeholders including the media, members of the diplomatic community and local and international institutions.

As part of the strength of the election, the group said though the atmosphere was preceded by ethnic and religious baiting, there was no violence while the feud did not result into any major confrontation between the parties. Residents of Lagos still came out to vote.

We observe that the Lagos State Government made concerted efforts to engage all the stakeholders in Lagos State before the Governorship election. We recoginse the impressive moral authority demonstrated by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his constructive engagements with communities, irrespective of religion or ethnicity, before the election where he sought fair and free election. This development contributed in no small measure to the peace and tranquility atmosphere that trailed the election in Lagos State, the group said

The NIHRCO said the Election was the most peaceful election since 1999 in the post military era. There was only the report of the death of one person linked to the voters but not to security operatives.  This is regrettable. The death represents a remarkable decline compared with other previous elections in Lagos State.

On security, the security operatives, the police, Nigerian Security Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, conducted themselves in professional manners. They did not interfere with the election in any manner, that is to a very large extent. There were no intimidations by security officials, while voters harassment and bullying by security officials were absent. On security, the Lagos election meets global standards.  The group said  in comparative sense, voters expressed their will without armed intimidation or widespread violence in the units monitored and across the state compared with some other states of the Federation where armed invasion of polling units was recorded on a large scale.

In the past, Lagos had witnessed armed intimidation ahead of elections, during and after elections mostly orchestrated by the Federal authority against the State which was in opposition for most parts between 1999 to 2019.

The group said officials of the Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC) deserve commendation for their actions throughout the conduct of the election.

The INEC officials arrived early in many of the polling units.

There were provisions for Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS  in all the polling units across the 20 Local Government areas and the 37 Local Council Development Areas, (LCDAs) monitored. The BVAS has led to tremendous improvement in voting culture in Nigeria. It has reduced rigging. It has helped the democratic process to eliminate phantom voters, reduced the voting time per individual and eliminated the prospect of double voting.

It noted that the election was conducted on Saturday and many of the results were transmitted through IRVs to INEC portal which could be viewed, largely, by all residents of Lagos. The voting was also completed in many of the polling units across the country in record time though elections in 10 polling units were postponed.

The group regretted however that the campaign mostly by non state actors was characterized by ethnic and religious baiting. Some of the actors in this dangerous enterprise are people who live outside the country. The ethnic baiting was mostly between Igbo and Yoruba people. However, those responsible for the baiting are fringe elements. Majority of Igbo and Yoruba people in Lagos are more concerned with their livelihood and not interested in promoting violence and mayhem.

The group said We urge stakeholders to stop stoking the embers of violence which is an ill wind that blows no one any good. We call on INEC to improve the number of polling units in Lagos. The distant between one polling unit and the other should be addressed. We call on INEC to make provisions for vulnerable communities, pregnant women,  People Living With Disabilities, PLWD in future elections.

The full report of the observations from monitors will be published and presented to local and international communities,” the group said.

Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) Raises Alarm Over Land-grabbing In Ekiti Community By Unknown Invaders

Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) Raises Alarm Over Land-grabbing In Ekiti Community By Unknown Invaders, Petitions Nigerian Police Boss, Gov. Oyebanji, Femi Falana

According to the group, investigations have revealed that the state governor is not aware of the activities of the invaders.

Acivic rights group under the aegis of Centre for Democracy and Socio-Economic Rights (CEDSER) has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, (IG), Usman Alkali Baba and the Governor Abiodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State, to launch investigations into large scale land-grabbing in Itapaji-Ekiti Community in Ajoni Local Government area of Ekiti State.

CEDSER in the petition signed by its leaders, Popoola Ajayi and Idris Shetima, said that a group of land-grabbers invaded Itapaji in the Northern fringe of Ekiti where they “are currently bulldozing several acres of land without the free, prior and informed consent of the owners or the leaders of the community”.

The group called on Governor Oyebanji to investigate the matter, saying the invasion of the ancestral land of the community raises fundamental questions about the future of the environment and livelihood of some 10,000 people who have lived on the land for close to 1,000 years.

According to the group, investigations have revealed that the state governor is not aware of the activities of the invaders.

It added that the community has confidence that the governor when briefed will wade in and stop the destruction going on at Itapaji-Ekiti.

The group also noted that it has written to Nigeria’s prominent human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and other regional human rights bodies to initiate a concerted effort to stop the environmental carnage as the invaders appeared to have come with armed men whose status is unknown.

It said that reports received from community leaders indicated that the encroachment on the Itapaji land started two years ago but was halted partly due to communal resistance.

However, the invaders came again this year to continue their mission, the group said.

“The invaders came with several heavy-duty equipment which has led to the loss of valuable trees, vast farmland, destruction of sacred spiritual sites and special species of plants and animals have been destroyed.

“The community woke up to the noise of bulldozers and caterpillars. The invaders had no discussion with anyone. The agricultural crops, spiritual worship places of the indigenous communities, their plants and lurch green forest, their health-giving plants were mauled down in a few hours by an unknown group of land-grabbers who claim to be acting on orders from above. The invaders target over 100 hectares of land which is almost half of the entire landmass of the community.

“The cost of the destruction on the land as at Wednesday this week runs into over 100 millions of naira not to talk of the priceless sacred and spiritual temples that the invaders have callously and irresponsibly destroyed,” the group said.

According to the rights group, the community youths and elders are prepared to lay down their lives rather than allow their land and ancestry to be wiped out by a “profiteering, inhuman, cruel and greedy racket”.

It urged the Inspector General of Police, state governor, Oyebanji and other human rights groups to urgently intervene to stop an epic resistance that could lead to the loss of human lives.

A new opinion poll conducted by the Nigerian Human Rights Community

A new opinion poll conducted by the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC), consisting of 134 organisations, has tipped the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to win the February 25, 2023 general election.

The group, at a briefing addressed by its Secretary-General, Taiwo Adeleye, in Lagos, yesterday, where it released its poll result, projected that Tinubu would win based on the analysis of the preferences of 19,365 persons that its researcher polled in January.

“NHRC poll revealed that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu holds a magnificent lead and is on course to win the 2023 general elections.”

Adeleye explained that the Polls also confirm a two-horse race for the second position between Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) came a distant fourth as all other contestants together scored an insignificant total.

According to the research, 7,940 (41 per cent) of those interviewed across the 774 local governments in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja said they preferred the candidate of the APC; 5,035 (26 per cent) indicated PDP’s Atiku; 4,067 (21 per cent) supported Labour Party’s Obi; while 1,743 (9 per cent) rooted for NNPPKwankwaso.
The other parties’ candidates collectively got 1,162 (6 per cent) of the respondents.

Adeleye said the poll results also predicted an outright win for Tinubu in 17 states (Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Cross River, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe and Gombe), securing 25 per cent of the respondents in 14 other states (Imo, Ebonyi, CRS, Edo, Benue, Plateau, FCT, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, and Taraba), making 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

His closest rival, Atiku, is projected to win seven states, including Adamawa, Taraba, Sokoto, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Delta.
The respondents gave seven states to Obi. They include Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Benue, and Rivers. He is also projected to win in Abuja.

Kwankwaso got only his Kano home state, while the three frontrunners are projected to battle for spaces in five states, Kebbi, Katsina, Bauchi, Plateau, and Rivers.

Explaining its methodology adopted in carrying out the research the group pointed out that the research took six months and random sampling was employed.

Adeleye explained that the questionnaires were in the three major Nigerian languages of Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa as well as pidgin.
It revealed, “From a socio-economics standpoint, religion, ethnicity, insecurity, inflation, rising poverty, and unemployment will be the determining factors during the February 25th presidential elections.

“While party loyalty, candidate integrity, political will, and track record will dominate the political reasons for voting. In addition, social media, mobile communications, and, INEC’s decision to embrace the use of technology will create more awareness and influence voters’ visions, while also curbing vote rigging and electoral violence.”

The group noted that its deductions were based on careful consideration of the respondents’ views on religion, ethnicity, party loyalty, and integrity of the candidates, adding that respondents from the North-west, North-east and some North-central states indicated their willingness to vote based on party loyalty and religion with APC enjoying more party loyalists within a Muslim-dominated population.

NHRC said the Southwestern states were likely to vote based on historical factors that favour the APC presidential candidate, being a former Lagos State governor with a far-reaching network and consistent political activities since 1991, grassroots campaign of the APC, incumbency factor of the APC controlled state governments in the South-west, party loyalty and ethnicity, which will equally favor the APC.

According to it, the Labour Party will enjoy an overwhelming majority in the South-east due to ethnicity and religious sentiment, while states like Plateau in the North-central might align with these sentiments to register sizable votes for the Labour Party on the basis of religion.

The group said the study foresaw the PDP maintaining a significant presence in its traditional areas of the South-south and the two North-east states of Adamawa and Taraba while getting significant percentages in most North-west and North-east states.

HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION ASK NIGERIANS TO SUPPORT FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

February 20, 2023

MEDIA RELEASE

HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION ASK NIGERIANS TO SUPPORT FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

Ahead of the 2023 Presidential elections, Nigerians have been asked to expose corrupt practices in order to help the country attain prosperity, peace and development. At the weekend, several human rights groups across the country after a meeting in Lagos called on Nigerians to back the on-going anti graft campaign by the relevant anti-corruption institutions, especially the fight by the notable anti-graft institution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The groups after the one-day interactive session said the civil society have historical responsibilities to the society to ensure corruption is brought down on its kneels. The meeting was attended by 35 leading Nigerian Civil Society organizations drawn across Nigeria. The groups said it is worried about the politicization of the fight against corruption by politically exposed persons. It cautioned politicians not to pollute the human rights community by promoting voices that seek to stem the anti-corruption campaign. Some of the groups in attendance were the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA), Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, Nigerian Human Rights Community, NHRC,

“We have a duty to defend human liberty one of which is to confront corruption which not only leads to poverty and misery adding that the civil society should  defend institutions that genuinely confront corruption” the group said.

The group said it noted that Nigeria is currently at the mercy of corrupt politically exposed persons whose activities threaten the livelihood of the people apart from the dangers their conducts posed to sustainable development.

The groups said it is committed to constructive engagement of the leading anti-corruption group in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and would continue to offer genuine counsel and criticisms where necessary.

The groups regret that political figures are constantly corrupting public voices to destroy anti-corruption institutions. Why the anti-graft agencies have their short comings, the plot to demystify and annihilate the EFCC through orchestrated campaigns is not only dangerous but inimical to the overall interest of millions of Nigerians who are victims of the horrendous misery arising from corruption.

The groups said that Nigeria would have been worse without the EFCC urging that the civil society has the obligation to prevent people motivated by politicians to obliterate the gains already recorded by the anti-corruption institution.

It noted that the EFCC has recovered over 400 billion in the past one years, several convictions have been recorded, highly placed political figures are being taken to court and some of them convicted. While we recognize that several miles are left uncovered, the fact is that the achievements represent remarkable movement forward and not backward.

“Corruption is like cancer. It diminishes the status of its host, destroys the fabric of the nation, fuels violence, human misery and even wars. Civil society organizations should oil the anti-corruption wheel instead of trying to be a cog in the cycle”, the group said .  According to the human rights groups, calls for the resignation of the EFCC Chairman, Bawa are premature, unnecessary and unwanted and made in bad conscience.  We do not think this is a novel demand as the reasons advanced are not legitimate enough. The groups said some of those making the calls are respected peoples and organsations within the human rights community adding that their position may have been informed by lack of adequate information. It then called on the EFCC to sustain its civil society engagements instead of keeping itsef away from popular platforms necessary to nurture many of its utilitarian policies.

“While we recognize the imperatives of the rule of law, it is important to state that the logic of law itself should be exhausted by the stakeholders and not to be hijacked by any other politically-motivated interests. Where there is a pronouncement by a court of final jurisdiction on any matter involving the anti-graft agency, it has no option than to bow to the dictate of law. That is the only instrument needed to deepen the moral high ground of any anti-corruption agency needed to sustain public trust.

NHRC asks FG to address political exclusion of Itsekiri communities

Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC), a coalition of 135 civil society and community-based groups spread across Nigeria, has called on Federal Government to address the political exclusion of Itsekiri indigenous communities in Delta State, which stems from alleged disobedience of court orders in their favour by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with implications on democracy, liberty and justice.

Taiwo Adeleye, who spoke on behalf of the group, said that giving Itsekiri recognition would go a long way to calm them and eliminate recurrent agitations.

He said: “NHRC received complaints from the people of Warri, including women, men, workers, artisans and community-based organisations concerning the delineation of 10 Wards in Delta State which affects the electorate in the designated area. Their rights to vote as entrenched in the Nigerian constitution has been fought for many years culminating in a court judgment.

“After protracted legal fireworks, the High Court in Benin declared in the Judgment that ‘the creation of new wards done by INEC in 1998 was done in flagrant disobedience to the order of the court. INEC filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Benin, which was struck out on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

“Though the court agreed that INEC had no right and cannot re-delineate the wards, nothing has been done to affect the change by reverting to the 10 ward structure,” he said.

At the meeting, which was attended by the Vice-Chairman, Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Edgar Oritsetimeyin, and three other members of INYC, NHRC called on INEC to revert to the 10 Ward structure in Warri South Local Government Area and accordingly align all materials to be printed and produced for the 2023 general election with the said court judgment as was recently done in the case of Imo, Bayelsa and Bauchi state governorship election results where the Commission was seen to have complied with court judgments.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s election victory reflects the will of the people

The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NIHRCO), a coalition of over 100 civil society and community-based groups, says Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s election victory reflects the will of the people.

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, his closet rival, who had 312,329, during the governorship election held on March 18.

At a briefing in Lagos on Thursday, the coalition presented its preliminary report on the Lagos guber election.

NIHRCO said it deployed 680 observers across the 20 LGAs and local council development areas (LCDAs) in the state on election day.

The coalition said its observations took a “dialectical overview of the strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats before, during and after the election”.

Speaking on its preliminary findings, the coalition said the shortcomings recorded during the election were not enough to undermine its outcome.

NIHRCO argued that no election is 100 percent perfect globally, adding that total condemnation of the March 18 election process and the outcome is “absolutely wrong and unprofessional”.

“We recognise the fact that the election was conducted in a democratic manner that largely meets local and international expectations.  The outcome of the election truly represents the wishes and aspirations of the people of Lagos,” the coalition said.

“The candidate announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu represents the will of the people while the results declared by the electoral umpire are a true reflection of the aspirations of the people of Lagos.”

The coalition said the election was the “most peaceful election in Lagos since 1999 in the post-military era”.

NIHRCO called on aggrieved parties to shun violence and ethnic profiling and explore all legal means instead.

The coalition also recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should improve the number of polling units in Lagos and make more provisions for vulnerable communities, pregnant women, and people living with disabilities (PLWD) in future elections.

NIHRCO said its full report on the election would be released in due course.