OKPE LEADERS HEAD TO COURT

  • WARN DETRACTOR

  • ANNOUNCE DATE FOR OKPE UNION NATIONAL ELECTION

Respected leaders in Okpe Kingdom on Wednesday appealed to stakeholders to put the interest of the kingdom above their personal interests.

The leaders also said any act capable of jeopardizing unity and development should be avoided.

In a statement titled: ‘’There are no factions in the Okpe Union; interim impostors should be ignored’’, the leaders listed the strange Orodje of Okpe Interim Committee, as one of the problems in the kingdom.

The notable leaders called the actions of the Okpe monarch and members of the interim committee ‘’a threat to the unity and security of Okpe kingdom’’.

‘’It has come to the notice of the elected National leadership of the Okpe Union that some persons have been parading as interim leadership of our great Union and using the name of the Okpe Union to fleece unsuspecting personalities of Okpe extraction asking for financial support to execute bogus projects that are unknown and not approved by the Okpe Union. For some months now, the elected leadership led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor has exercised utmost restraint following entreaties by highly placed  Okpe personalities who promised to intervene and call the usurpers to order’’.

The leaders accused some Sapele Okpe community members of trying to engineer a coup in the kingdom.

‘’In furtherance of their nefarious efforts to cause disaffection in the ranks of our branches and affiliates, the attention of NEC of the Okpe Union was drawn to the shocking viral broadcast by some leaders of the Sapele Okpe Community which purports to give credence to those claiming to be an interim leadership which is alien to the Okpe Union constitution’’

The Okpe Union leaders are heading to court as they seek to stop non-members and suspended individuals from parading as leaders of the ancient union.

‘’Okpe Union was established on May 16th 1930 and registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria under the land (perpetual succession) Ordinance No. 32 of 1924, on the 13th of December, 1934. The second registered ethnic union in Nigeria is a member only organization which bars non-members from taking up any leadership position. Only a member of a branch of the Union who pay dues in accordance with the constitution of the Union can vote and vie for any of its leadership offices’’ a statement from the national leadership of the union said..

Signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Okpe Union, Mrs. Atarhe Abuh, the union said Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni were suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities.

‘’The nine persons parading themselves as interim EXCO of the Okpe Union have only two members of the Union, Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni who have been suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities. It is noteworthy that Prof. Kenneth Eni was the chairman of the Okpe Union Electoral Committee of the Okpe Union in 2016 that conducted the elections that brought into office the current outgoing National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. Before the expiration of the tenure, he joined hands with undemocratic forces in an attempt to derail and take over the leadership of the Union leading to his indefinite suspension’’.

Lawyers acting for Okpe Union will appear in court this week.

‘’ The national election of the Okpe Union is now slated for the 14th of May, 2021 in accordance with the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution which does not recognize any external power to intervene in the governance or administration of the Union. The reason for the shifting of the date from the previous May 1st 2021 is to enable branches complete their input in the ongoing constitutional review’’ statement said.

The national leadership of the union called on members, branches and affiliates of the Union to continue preparation for the elections and ignore any distractions.

‘’The distractions are the handiwork of those who are not comfortable with the poise of the Union to speak for and protect the interests of the Okpe Nation. Like merchants of doom, they seem primed at executing an unpopular assignment whose only purpose is to destabilize and destroy the Okpe Nation. It is also clear that these individuals will stop at nothing to achieve the prebendal objectives of their paymasters’’.

The leadership also called on well-meaning Okpe personalities and office holders to use their good positions to call all those championing the so called interim leadership of the Okpe Union to order before it is too late.

‘’The NEC is resolved to safeguard the  integrity of the Okpe Union and the Okpe Nation from these marauding beggars as the Okpe Union is not known for begging for alms from those it should demand stewardship and accountability from’’.

The statement further advised the good people of Okpe kingdom to ignore stories and statements to destroy the union.

‘’We pray that God grants us the ability to continue delivering on the vision and mandate handed to us by the founding fathers of the Okpe Union and who won accolades for resuscitating the Okpe monarchy of the Orodje, won several cases for the Okpe people, instituted a scholarship scheme which trained several Okpe overseas, organized Okpe people to contribute to the fund with which the modern Orodje’s Palace was built, and which continually held and projected the identity of the Okpe people’’.

PRESS STATEMENT

CDWR CONDEMNS THE MASS SACK OF KADUNA STATE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS BY GOVERNOR NASIR EL-RUFAI

NLC AND TUC MUST COMMENCE MOBILIZATION FOR MASS ACTIONS AND STRIKE ACTION AGAINST MASS SACKS AND ALL ANTI-LABOUR POLICIES

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has concluded plans to sack about 4,000 public sector workers claiming paucity of funds. These attacks on workers have been sustained since he became the governor of Kaduna State in 2015. Since Nasir El-Rufai sacked about 21,000 public sector workers in 2017, he has also placed an embargo on recruitment and restricted local government staff to a maximum of 50, placed compulsory retirement of workers who are 50 years and above and conversion of workers on Grade Level 01-06 to casual workers. Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns these mass sack of workers and attacks on jobs in Kaduna state. These sacks are cruel, exploitative and inhuman.

There is no justification for this mass sack! The argument put forward by the Kaduna State Government as reasons for the mass sack is insincere and fraudulent.  The only reason that can be responsible for paucity of fund if truly there is any, is the mismanagement of funds and the economy by past and present governments in the state. Notable among these are the monumental waste and corruption that is currently going on in government particularly in the area of unaccounted huge security votes were often drawn from the state fund, expensive contract system that sees projects being corruptly inflated and jumbo salaries and allowances for political office holders who often idle away and their pay is hundreds of times more than a skilled public sector worker.

CDWR challenges Nasir El-Rufai to open the books and financial records for public scrutiny. The public will want to know the true state of the finance and how public funds are being managed. We hereby demand a probe panel made up of elected workers and professionals to probe the finances and make its findings public.

The problem has been that these bourgeois elements particularly in a neo-colonial backward country like Nigeria are parasites who remain in government solely for the purpose of leeching on public resources. They sack workers and reduce public spending on social services in order to maintain the same opulent lifestyle and the same volume of loots whenever there is a decline in revenue.  Besides, they do not see workers as an important aspect in the process of developing the economy because they lack the capacity to plan and sustainably grow and develop the economy to meet the needs of all. Workers are being sacked in a period when workers need an increase in wage to meet the rising cost of living.

These attacks are made possible because the leadership of trade union organisations, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the affected affiliates at the state and national level have failed to challenge these anti-poor policies in the public and private sectors. For instance, when Nasir El-Rufai brazenly sacked 21,000 in 2017, NLC and the TUC failed to challenge it in a concerted and determined manner. Except these attacks are resisted this time around, there is a danger that Nasir El-Rufai will be emboldened to carry out more attacks and these could motivate other state and local governments including the federal government to carry out more attacks on the working people and poor.

Already, over 16 state governments are yet to show any commitment towards the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage with growing casualization and loss of jobs in the private sector wherein thousands of workers have also been thrown out of jobs just to satisfy the profit greed of a few privileged and corrupt business owners. This happens without determined effort by the leadership of trade union organisations to challenge these anti-workers policies because of their strategic alliance with the bourgeois ruling elite and big business bosses.

CDWR frowns at this anti-labour collaborationist policy and calls on the national leadership of the NLC and TUC to begin the mobilization of workers in Kaduna state and across the country to resist all anti-labour actions and neo-liberal policies through mass protests, rallies, mass sensitization and general strike. Where the labour leaders in Kaduna State and elsewhere in the country fail to challenge these anti-poor policies, we call on activists and the rank and file workers to organize themselves to take actions.

 

SIGNED

Comrade Rufus Olusesan                                                    Comrade Chinedu Bosah

National Chairperson                                                              National Publicity Secretary

 Buhari’s empty rhetoric, security of people and human rights By Kolawole Olaniyan

President Muhammadu Buhari in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 promised expectant citizens that he would: “tackle head on the enormous challenges of insecurity and pervasive corruption. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us.”

Yet, his government is doing very little to address the growing insecurity, widespread corruption, and associated human rights violations in the country.

Available evidence on the ground shows increasing violence, insecurity, and abductions, leading inevitably to arbitrary deprivation of lives, and many other human rights abuses, and illustrating the troubling gap between Mr Buhari’s promise and action.

According to Amnesty International, tens of thousands of people have been killed as a result of violence and serious crimes in many parts of the country. Herdsmen and farmers clashes have worsened under Mr Buhari government’s watch. Several students remain missing after gunmen attacked the Federal College of Forestry in Kaduna state.

Abductions of schoolchildren, teachers and their families have become routine, resulting in closure of over 600 schools, including in Sokoto; Zamfara; Kano; Katsina; Niger; and Yobe states. Those statistics should cause concern to any government. But the Buhari government seems to lack the political will and determination required to address the critical human rights situation.

School closures caused by insecurity and violence have exacerbated existing inequalities, as children who are already most at risk of being excluded from a quality education have been disproportionately affected. Yet, Nigeria has endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment to protect schools, students, and education personnel from being attacked.

To make matters worse, victims of violence, killings and abductions, and their families are left to fend for themselves and rarely receive any effective remedy. Impunity for perpetrators continues to facilitate the repetition of violence and serious crimes, and associated human rights abuses, as well as the total defenselessness of victims and their families.

All too often, corruption, the lack of political will, and sometimes negligence to effectively investigate and prosecute violent acts also create a climate that is conducive to a cycle of violence, since society sees no evidence of willingness by the State to take effective action to sanction such acts.

Violence and insecurity are exacerbated by years of corruption in the law enforcement sector, and among the political class. Only recently, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, reportedly stated that $1 billion arms funds are missing under Mr Buhari government’s watch. Mr Buhari should have seized the moment, and referred the matter to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for investigation. Instead, Mr Monguno denied making the statement, despite the translated version of the BBC Hausa interview suggesting that he was not misquoted. Many questions remain unanswered, reinforcing the need for an independent investigation to establish the truth.

Corruption ‘kills’, and has a wide range of other corrosive effects on societies. It undermines the rule of law, erodes the quality of life, allows insecurity, violence and other threats to human security to flourish, thus leading to human rights abuses. By diverting funds, corruption exacerbates threats to people’s dignity and livelihood, as it undermines a government’s ability to protect and ensure the human rights of its population.

While violence and killings have been a longstanding problem, and predate this administration, the absence of leadership and the requisite political will by Mr Buhari government to genuinely combat the problem, implement human rights reforms and observe the rule of law has continued to exacerbate the problem.

There remain serious shortcomings in the way law enforcement and security agencies work to prevent, deter and suppress violence and serious crimes across the country. Apart from fostering impunity, the absence of effective and corruption-free law enforcement and intelligence apparatus also increases the sense of insecurity within the public and its mistrust of these institutions.

Both the federal and state governments spend roughly $670 million (about N242 billion) yearly as “security votes” but Mr Buhari and the 36 state governors have resisted attempts by civil society groups seeking information on how the funds are spent, and to prevent misuse and embezzlement of public funds in the name of security votes.

Violence, abductions, and corruption intersect where law enforcement agencies are corrupt and, in some cases, complicit in gross violations of human rights.

The milieu into which violence, abductions, and corruption merge is extremely threatening to the rule of law and respect for human rights in the country. The failure of the federal and state governments to recognize the centrality of this trinity is one factor that continues to allow this nexus to flourish.

The rhetoric of Mr Buhari’s promise is further illustrated by the government’s apparent unwillingness to design and implement credible policies to prevent and combat violence and crimes, and to promote the rule of law.

The issue of people’s security and safety has for too long taken the back-seat. Yet, it is the duty of any serious government to guarantee the human rights to life and security of the population.

This failure to exercise responsibility to promote and ensure the security and safety of the population constitutes a serious breach of the Nigerian government’s human rights obligations, including under the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.

Both the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter guarantee and protect the rights to life, physical integrity, and liberty among others relating to people’s security. As a corollary, the government is required to ensure the effective functioning and operation of governmental apparatus and, in general, all the structures through which public power is exercised, so that it is capable of juridically ensuring the free and full enjoyment of human rights.

It is not sufficient to abstain from violating this right: positive and specific measures are also required to respond to the needs of those who require protection because of the specific risks they face or their situation of marginalization and discrimination.  The main purpose is to ensure that no one is arbitrarily deprived of their lives, and other human rights.

Clearly, mere promises are not enough. The government must move swiftly to match its words with serious and concrete action to guarantee the human rights of all people in Nigeria if it is to be taken seriously on its oft-expressed commitment to stop the persistent corruption, violence, abductions and other human rights crimes.

It’s important for the Buhari government to urgently end the impunity that continues to facilitate a culture of official corruption, violence, abductions and killings across the country, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims.

Mr Buhari should promptly refer the allegation by his National Security Adviser to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for thorough and transparent investigation, and to ensure suspected perpetrators are brought to justice, and the recovery of any missing public funds.

The federal and state governments should honour freedom of information requests, including by the anti-corruption watchdog Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project seeking access to information in the spending of security votes meant to secure people’s lives and other human rights.

Similarly, Mr Buhari’s government must end its persistent refusal to implement court orders, including the judgment by Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordering the government to tell Nigerians about the stolen assets it allegedly recovered, with details of the amounts involved.

Doing this would contribute to improving the security of the people and guaranteeing the rule of law, as well as respect for human rights. As Aristotle pointed out: “It is better for the law to rule than one of its citizens, so even the guardians of the laws are obeying the laws.”

Mr Buhari needs to end slogans and empty rhetoric, wake up to his responsibility, and act before the insecurity situation gets worse. Addressing the people on his strategy for tackling the problems should be the easiest place to start.

Kolawole Olaniyan, author of Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa, is legal adviser at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat, London.

The unwinning war: The Parliament invitation to the Nigerian Army By Jimoh Ibrahim CFR 

Professor Matthias Strohn. Camberley’s desire of the military discussion opened the unpredicted paranoia ‘black box’ to inside the military and its operational strategy that left nothing to kept of the ethics and the pride of the Army even on the war front. When he said, “to stay within the Military realm, the conceptual component of fighting power can only be enhanced if we engage intellectually with the problems present.” (Matthias himself holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford, Germany General and faculty member of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) saw that the contemporary military must start to get used to civil society’s open encounters if the military solves civil society’s problems of human insecurity, The Army must now critically be prepared to open its books to non-accountants, including those who study history, law, or geography, once they make a member of the parliament list. Unfortunately, the operational Army is busy with how to bring back human security dearly needed in the Nigerian society given the threatening activities of the Boko Haram now going to the second decades. They may not even know who buy their uniform, machinery, and supply support, but the Parliament invites them to give account. The Chief of Army Staff or the Defence Staff must go to the Parliament to answer questions? A winning or unwinning invitation to war? Not even the Nigerian judiciary is ready for such a battle, much less of the Parliament.

No one knows when the Chief of the Army Staff of the British Army appears in the Parliament. Or that of the United States in the face of the war in Afghanistan or is the fact that nothing in monetary terms is lost that requires investigation in Afghanistan (1979-2001) or Cuba (1961), Czechoslovakia (1968), Granada (1983), Panama (1989), Iraq (2003), and Syria (2011) or close home at least hypothetically the ECOMOG account was balanced! Who can account for money spent on the war front, and who can say that the supply is regular to reflect a market price? Who is looking for justified prices of war pieces of machinery when the producer has options to sell or not to sell to us? How can the Army account for diplomacy funding spent on the stakeholders on war fronts? Even the State Governors who draw billions of Naira on security votes from the federal allocations to their states are excluded from the investigation on how they spend security money. Still, one of the problems that come with Matthias’ statement is the accounting challenges for funds spent on the war fronts, as one presented to us from the convergence of the complexities of war. In Mega Projects like war, money spent is not the priority but completion of the project or bringing the war to an end! The British parliament once asks a CEO how much it will cost to complect the London Crossrail project. The CEO asked for a blank cheque (and I am involved in this project) since already the government has spent £41.3bn or N20 trillion) costs on one project and the project is not near completion! Should the Nigeria Army ask for a blank cheque to end Boko Haram, I hope the parliament will not recommend public execution of all!

It is painful to strongly come out of the Sambisa forest and move to the Parliament to make a statement regarding the Army’s war equipment. Even when you are not involved and more so that you just resume an Army leadership position, all you get is a red security signals plus parliament invitation, as I saw the Army chief’s expression. But the gentleman put on leadership cap when he said my explanation implies apology! Yes, the Army does not ordinarily and when in uniform apologies to anyone for the image it portrays and when they do nothing wrong.

What is the mode of investigation of the Army on the invitation? A structural interview distilling verifiable investigation from the concerned institution’s written responses. A Scientific approach of “logical positivism.” (a philosophical movement inspired by empiricism and verificationism.) Or “logical empiricism.” (a type of theory in epistemology. Where experience has primacy in human knowledge and justified belief). The parliament judgment may lack empiricism and verificationism. Science aims to find the truth and predict the behaviour of the examined systems in “generality.” Once we have successfully described a hydrogen atom, we can make predictions about all hydrogen atoms in the universe. The absence of such empiricism and verificationism put the Parliament in a dilemma of desire to find justice. The Parliament has to find out If any fund is missing, but without the skill of the EFCC, the assignment may be difficult to discharge. We could easily say that scientific evidence is stupid.

What is more, we never argue from facts to theories unless by way of refutation or falsification. We may also need to falsify the falsification. There is an asymmetry between verification and falsification. The demarcation criterion is based on “potential falsifiability” for a theory to be scientific. It needs at least one potential falsifiability; that is, there must exist at least one empirical observation statement that conflicts with it!  The Parliament will win a price if they find such conflicting evidence that the money was stolen contrary to the Army memo that perhaps nothing was lost!  If they base their report on that, then the conjectures and refutation of the process of error elimination of getting closer to the truth.

What we call ‘ad-hoc auxiliary assumption’ latter ‘conventionalist stratagems’ and finally, “immunizing stratagems.” The Parliament may soon change the investigation strategy using the social science interpretivism approach. Yes, social media! It is important here to let do the video of our proceedings, or someone we don’t know will do it and circulate it such that the Army is put in public opinion court even without a trial.  And in the social sciences, there is only interpretation. Nothing speaks for itself. The Parliament will move on and may say… we are confronted with shared data and evidence problems. (error) provide a powerful motivation to employ analytic techniques that use probability theory, especially techniques that address drawing inferences from insufficient evidence. Or that the evidence is sufficient to make the recommendation that……

We should be civilized to now know that the Army remains a pivotal edifice in national security in contemporary society, and proudly the Nigeria Armey has been willing the laurels in the international fronts.

Those gentlemen have come to give their life for the peace of community permanently, and they live far away from us, and not even the human right to freedom of movement is available to them without a pass. We must respond to give them that much respect and invite them to a close door when we carry out our duties of oversight as required by the constitution, for this is what we needed in contemporary time to get that much money that is’ missing’ in the Army. At the same time, we let go of those of the NNPC!

Jimoh Ibrahim CRF is a Ph.D. Candidate of the Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History of the University of Buckingham UK.

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