CHANGE IS HERE

CHANGE IS HERE

Sunday, May 27, 2012

13 Ways the Nigerian Government is Similar to Boko Haram--NIYI AYIRI

Jonathan and former IGP Ringim


Boko Haram, with its campaign of incessant bombing commits murder and slaughters the lives of countless innocents without mercy. The Nigerian government, with its campaign of mindless corruption, diversion of public resources into private bank accounts, conversion of the Nigerian judiciary into its pockets and other crimes based on greed, and selfishness, also slaughters the lives of countless Nigerians without mercy.

The only difference is whilst Boko Haram with their explosive carnage slaughter innocents fairly quickly, often without the deceased even knowing the pain that led to their death, the Nigerian government  ensures that the majority of the citizenry die a slow and painful death whilst subsisting on less than a dollar a day. They are killing the masses with needless poverty, hunger, disease and other ailments and even the Presidency is culpable.

I wonder if  it is a sign from the Heavens saying “look you superstitious people, always praying for good luck and fortune in life. Well now Goodluck is in power, has he saved you? You fools need to save yourselves!”

Only this week we discovered due to a foreign source, that our President, Attorney General and other high level members of the cabinet are involved in a $ 1.1 billion oil block scam that was initiated by Abacha, sustained by Obasanjo and perfected by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Their names reading like the holy trinity of corruption – Northerner, South-Westerner and Southerner, separated by religious lines but amalgamated by greed and corruption.

The full report on the atrocities can be viewed here in the Global Witness report.
Another bombshell dropped this week from foreign sources again, the United States State Department released a report on the corruption and human rights abuses of this administration.  Whilst reading the report one isn’t sure if even the American bureaucrats know the difference between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

Here are a few excerpts from the report and thirteen reasons the Government is as much a burden on the people as is Boko Haram:

1. “The most serious human rights problems during the year were the abuses committed by the militant sect known as Boko Haram, which was responsible for killings, bombings, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and the widespread destruction of property; abuses committed by the security services with impunity, including killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, and destruction of property; and societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence.”

2. “Other serious human rights problems included sporadic abridgement of citizens’ right to change their government, due to some election fraud and other irregularities; politically motivated and extrajudicial killings by security forces, including summary executions; security force torture, rape, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees, and criminal suspects; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; prolonged pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption; infringements on citizens’privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse; female genital mutilation (FGM); the killing of children suspected of witchcraft; child sexual exploitation; ethnic, regional, and religious discrimination; trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor; discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; vigilante killings; forced and bonded labor; and child labor.”

3.” Impunity was widespread at all levels of government. The government brought few persons to justice for abuses and corruption. Police generally operated with impunity. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases of police abuse or punish perpetrators. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.”

4. “On July 9 the JTF reportedly committed illegal killings in response to a Boko Haram bombing in Maiduguri, Borno State. Local residents, media, and the international nongovernmental organization (NGO) Amnesty International (AI) reported that the JTF killed at least 23 and up to 40 persons, destroyed property, illegally detained residents, and raped women in the vicinity of the bomb blast.”

5. “Credible reports also indicated that other uniformed military personnel and paramilitary mobile police carried out summary executions, assaults, and other abuses across the Niger Delta and Borno State… The national police, the army, and other security forces committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects, as well as to disperse protesters. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. Police generally operated with impunity in the illegal apprehension, detention, and sometimes execution of criminal suspects. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.”

6. “On September 12, members of the police unit Operation Famou Tangbei (OFT) raided the home of Freddie Philip Ockiya in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Members of the OFT arrested Ockiya and took him to the local police station. His family searched for him until September 21, when his body was discovered at the morgue. The family filed a suit against members of the police and government in a federal high court. The inspector general of police disbanded the OFT in late September, but authorities did not arrest any members of the OFT in connection with Ockiya’s death by year’s end.”

7. “In 2009 AI published Killing at Will: Extrajudicial Executions and Other Unlawful Killings by the Police in Nigeria, which documented 39 cases of security force killings and enforced disappearances based on interviews and research conducted between July 2007 and July 2009. According to the report, national police were responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions, other unlawful killings, and enforced disappearances each year. In a country where “bribes guarantee safety,” those who could not afford to pay risked being shot or tortured to death. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases or punish perpetrators. When investigations occurred, they did not comply with international standards, and officers suspected of extrajudicial executions generally were sent away on training or transferred to other states instead of being prosecuted. Police often claimed that the victim was an armed robber killed in an exchange of gunfire or a suspect killed while trying to escape police custody. AI charged that Police Force Order 237, which permits officers to shoot suspects and detainees who attempt to escape or avoid arrest, “lets the police get away with murder.”

8. “Police use of excessive force, including live ammunition, to disperse demonstrators resulted in numerous killings during the year. For example, on February 11, Ekiti police reportedly shot and killed five persons protesting the announcement of the relocation of a federal university to Oye-Ekiti that the state governor previously had promised would be located in the Ado-Ekiti community. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the killings by year’s end.Police used gunfire to control or disperse political rallies, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. For example, on February 12, police attempting to control the flow of participants at a PDP rally in a Port Harcourt stadium fired into the air. The gunfire prompted a stampede resulting in the death of 20 persons. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the incident by year’s end.”

9. “In 2010 AI released the report Port Harcourt Demolitions: Excessive Use of Force Against Demonstrators, which documented an attack in 2009 in which police and the JTF fired into a crowd of citizens peacefully protesting the proposed demolition of their homes. The report stated that the JTF shot and seriously injured at least 12 persons, and witnesses claimed that they saw six bodies in a police vehicle. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the killings by year’s end.”

10. “On August 14, police in Anambra State reportedly shot five persons at a roadblock after they would not pay a bribe of 20 naira ($0.13). One of the passengers reportedly died at the scene, while the other four were rushed to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Eyewitnesses stated that the driver claimed to already have paid 20 naira but could not produce a receipt that the policeman demanded. When the driver attempted to leave, the police opened fire. A police representative confirmed that one person was killed and three were rushed to the hospital. There were no developments in the case by year’s end.For example, on October 16, police reportedly shot and killed Victor Emmanuel in Bayesla State after he criticized the police for extorting money from passing motorists on the road from his church. On October 28, police officials announced that the accused officers received an “orderly room trial” that could lead to dismissal or prosecution; however, the case remained pending at year’s end.”

11. “Police sometimes shot bystanders by mistake. For example, on September 10, four federal police officers guarding a funeral procession in Akoko, Delta State, opened fire on mourners after drinking heavily, killing at least three persons. A police spokesman confirmed the incident but offered no explanation for the actions of the officers. The police force dismissed the four officers, and at year’s end the four officers remained in custody awaiting the filing of criminal charges.Police and military personnel used excessive and sometimes deadly force to quell civil unrest and interethnic violence, and to deal with property vandalism. For example, on June 12, antiriot police reportedly shot protesters in Ogoni, Rivers State. After villagers gathered to protest excessive use of force by police during an earlier protest over the construction of a military base in a nearby village, police attempted to arrest the protesters. Police reportedly opened fire, killing three persons. The Rivers State government reportedly investigated, but there were no developments in the case by year’s end.”

12. “On October 20, police shot and killed a girl and injured her two sisters while they were working in the fields of their family’s farm in Ekiti State. Local residents angered by the shooting protested outside the police station. When they would not disperse, police opened fire, injuring at least six individuals. On October 24,State Governor Kayode Fayemi criticized the killing and called for an immediate investigation. An investigation remained pending at year’s end.”

13. “According to credible reports, during the year security forces committed rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls with impunity. In May 2010 the Open Society Justice Initiative reported that rape was “a routine but unspoken aspect of policing” and was “one of the fringe benefits attached to night patrol.” This report on corruption within the country’s police force highlighted the problem of rape of arrested prostitutes by police. The report described police officers raping women who could not pay as little as 1,000 naira ($6) for their release. Police allegedly raped women who came to report crimes at police stations. The report also claimed that officers, both male and female, sodomized women with bottles and metal pipes. In August 2010 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing widespread police abuse of power, including acts, or threats, of rape or sexual assault, as a means to extort bribes from female detainees or women traveling between road checkpoints.”

Niyi Ayiri wrote in from Lagos.
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