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BREAKING: No Dime Was Paid To Free Dapchi Girls, FG Refutes UN Report |RN

  The Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

 

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Federal Government has insisted that it did not pay any ransom to secure the release of the Dapchi girls.

In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, challenged anyone who has any evidence of payment to publish such.

Related: Nigerian Government Paid Huge Ransom For Release Of Dapchi Girls – UN Report

”It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such a claim.

“Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture,” the minister said.

A report released by the United Nations had claimed that the Federal Government paid a huge ransom to Boko Haram for the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls in March 2018.   (Punch)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings Worse Than Boko Haram, Says United Nations |RN

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security Council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in favour of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the U.S. allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

The Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has expressed concern over the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria.

According to him, the conflicts, which are more pronounced in the Middle Belt region, were becoming “more sophisticated and deadlier.”

Mr Chambas, who is Head, UN Office for West African and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in a report presented to the UN Security Council, said the violence was a major security threat in the region, warning that it risks changing into terrorist attacks.

“Violence between farmers and herders is increasingly a major security threat in the region and risks morphing into the terrorist attacks that have defined the security landscape.

“Farmer-herder conflicts are becoming more sophisticated and deadlier, especially in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

“During four days in June, new spates of attacks and retribution killings between herders and farmers in this region resulted in scores of deaths,’’ the UN envoy said.

In the Lake Chad Basin, Mr Chambas said in spite of gains made by the Nigerian armed forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force, Boko Haram remained active.

According to the UN envoy for West Africa and the Sahel: “The trend of Boko Haram, using female suicide bombers continue, and reportedly almost one in five suicide bombers is a child. The most recent attacks on a Nigerian military garrison in Yobe and the ambush of a military convoy in Borno are the latest manifestations of the threats still posed by Boko Haram.

“There is a need for increased support to diplomatic, security and humanitarian responses to Boko Haram, in a holistic manner.

“To this end, UNOWAS is providing technical support for a joint summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), on July 30, as called for by Security Council resolution 2349 (2017).”

He explained that the severe depletion of Lake Chad had led to environmental degradation, socioeconomic marginalisation and insecurity for 45 million people.

According to him, an estimated 2.3 million people remain displaced by the aggregate effects of insecurity and climate change.

He appealed to member states to support the humanitarian response to the Lake Chad crisis, which remains critically underfunded and revitalisation of the Lake Chad Basin.

“Let me stress that any military response to security challenges in the region needs to be matched by the implementation of comprehensive strategies linking security and humanitarian interventions to development and human rights initiatives.

“There is also need to increase our collective efforts to address the challenges facing the Sahel region with actions that combine politics, security and development,’’ Chambas stressed.

He said the period under review saw an upsurge in popular discontent in the region manifested through often violent demonstrations calling for political and economic reforms.

“The sometimes violent conduct of security forces, notably in dealing with popular demonstrations, has also fuelled political tensions.

“Commitment by countries of the region and support from the international community will be key to ensuring the effectiveness and accountability of security sector institutions as part of broader security sector reform efforts. Several countries continue to struggle with justice, national reconciliation and human rights challenges. Among those is the concerning number of high-profile arrests, judicial prosecutions and convictions against political and civil society actors,’’ he said.  (The Sun)

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SERAP Takes Buhari To UN For Disobeying Court Judgements |RN

Muhammadu-Buhari4
              President Muhammadu Buhari

Ade Adesomoju, Olaleye Aluko and Oladimeji Ramon

A human rights advocacy group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has called on the United Nations to prevail upon President Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to wilful disobedience of court judgments by his government.  The organisation, in a petition dated May 11, 2018, to the UN, lamented the Federal Government’s habit of picking and choosing court judgments to obey.

It expressed concern that if not checked, a situation where the Federal Government wilfully disobeyed court judgments would ultimately “put the rule of law in Nigeria under siege.”

The letter, signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, was addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr Diego García-Sayán.

SERAP urged García-Sayán to use his good offices to prevail upon President Buhari to ensure the sanctity of the country’s constitution as well as respect for the country’s international obligations.

Among others, SERAP noted that the Federal Government had so far refused to obey the court judgment ordering the release of the leader of the Shi’ite movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenatu, who have been in military detention since December 2015.

It noted also that despite a court judgment, a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was still being detained in prison custody.

Besides these, SERAP noted that it had got two different judgments against the Federal Government, which the Buhari administration had continued to disobey.

It said, “Other court orders that the government continue to disobey include: the ECOWAS court judgment ordering the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination; the rulings by the Nigerian courts ordering the authorities to establish education banks to assist poor students to obtain loans to pursue tertiary education and the restoration of people’s bank to give loans without collateral to underprivileged citizens.

“At least two of the court rulings SERAP recently obtained from the Federal High Court have been disobeyed by the Nigerian authorities. The first involves a case with suit number FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011 delivered in March 2016 where Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria to widely publish details on the spending of recovered stolen funds by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.

“The details ordered to be published by the court include: detailed information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria; the amount that has been spent from the recovered stolen public assets and the objects of such spending; and the details of projects on which recovered stolen public assets were spent.

“The second court judgment involves a case with suit number FHC/CS/964/2016 delivered in July 2017 where Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordered the government to tell Nigerians the circumstances under which allegedly recovered stolen assets were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.

“However, the Nigerian authorities would seem to have only partially obeyed the court orders in this case. The authorities are not known to have appealed any of these court judgments and rulings.

“Under both the Nigerian constitution and international human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to the right to an effective remedy, and to seek justice in courts in cases of violations of human rights.”

SERAP warned that continued disobedience of court judgments and rulings would undermine “the crucial role of the judiciary in combating corruption and obstruct access to justice, contrary to international standards, including Article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

FG has no reason to disobey judgment – CACOL

In an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, shared in SERAP’s concern, particularly as regards El-Zakzaky.

Adeniran said, “It is not right for the Federal Government to disobey court orders even if it is a drunken judge that delivered the judgment, it should be obeyed. Once a court gives a judgment, if it is not immediately appealed and there is no stay of execution of the judgment, there is no reason for the government to disobey it.

“They claim to be keeping El-Zakzaky in protective custody, but if he says he does not need government’s protection, it is uncharitable for them to continue to keep him.”

Falana hails SERAP, spanks FG

Also, a human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday, described the effort by SERAP to institute a case against the Federal Government at the United Nations as commendable.

Falana who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone secured the yet-to-be-obeyed December 2, 2016 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordering the release of El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeinab, from the custody of the DSS.

He noted that it was embarrassing that a government that promised to end impunity and with at least 12 of its cabinet members being lawyers, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, in the persons of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, could be treating court orders with “absolute disdain.”

While urging the Nigerian Bar Association to take up the challenge of fighting against the ugly trend, he recalled that a former NBA President, the late Alao Aka-Bashorun, led lawyers to boycott courts to protest against the then military regime’s flouting of court orders.

He said, “It is a very commendable effort. Since the government has shown unprecedented contempt for our courts, the United Nations will have to intervene to remind the government of its obligation to operate under the rule of law.

“It is particularly embarrassing that the government that promised to end impunity would treat valid and subsisting court orders with absolute disdain.

“It is more embarrassing that there are no fewer than 12 lawyers, including the Vice-President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria, in the government. It means two of the cabinet members are SANs.

“I do hope that the Nigerian Bar Association would take up the challenge. Under a military dictator, Nigerian lawyers, under the leadership of the late Comrade Alao Aka-Bashorun of blessed memory, boycotted courts to protest against government’s disobedience of court orders.”

We’re in military democracy – CD, CDHR

Also, two civil society organisations, the Campaign for Democracy and Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, have condemned the Federal Government’s continual disobedience of court orders, noting that such amounted to “executive recklessness and a military democracy.”

The CD President, Usman Abdul, said the civil society stood with the SERAP’s UN petition, noting that the Federal Government, by its continual disobedience of court orders, was taking Nigeria back to the military era.

Abdul said, “This disobedience shows that the dictatorship in the military era is playing out in this government. The President should be aware that these cases of disobedience will not go in vain. Therefore, the CD will join other groups to seek redress of justice at whatever level.

“We are not in a lawless country and so we expect this government to abide by the core values of democratic ethics. It is baffling that the Federal Government wants to be a judge in its own cases and undermine the judiciary. This is not in tandem with the principle of separation of powers. As investigations continue, the government ought to obey the court orders and release these persons.”

Also, the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “It is completely condemnable that the Federal Government has refused to obey several court orders regarding the release of El-Zakzaky and Dauski.

“Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution states that the government is bound by the decisions of the court and obligated to implement them. So, it is a constitutional duty. To refuse to do that is to show executive recklessness and impunity.”  (Punch)

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Fulani Herdsmen: Afenifere Asks For UN Intervention, Says Presidency Behind Them

By Fikayo Olowolagba

 

Fulani-Herdsmen3

 

The apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has criticised the Federal Government over its warning issued to prominent Nigerians against inciting statements.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had in a statement, said unrestrained pronouncements were capable of encouraging criminals to defy legal and democratic institutions.

Reacting, Afenifere, in a statement by its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin described the Presidency’s reaction as insensitive and offensive and an indication that the government supports the activities of the killer herdsmen.

He called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide to investigate the killings before a chaotic situation breaks out in the country.

The statement reads, “Is it asking Nigerians being killed to defend themselves that could lead to a breakdown of law and order? Seventy-three people were killed in one day in Benue.

“Many people have been killed in the last three years. Not one person has been brought to book by this government.

“This statement is so embarrassing, offensive, unfeeling. It shows clearly that the Nigerian Government is fully behind the activities of the herdsmen who are killing people and that is why we restate our demand.

“Since there is no justice from the Federal Government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide should look into what is going on in Nigeria before there is a breakdown of law and order.”  (DailyPost)

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UN Says Trump Budget Cuts Would ‘Make It Impossible’ To Do Its Job – New York Times

APTOPIX Israel United Nations

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the U.S. allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

The United Nations said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts would “simply make it impossible” for the global organization to maintain essential operations.

The statement, by a United Nations spokesman, added to the growing criticism of a budget submission for the 2018 fiscal year that would reduce funding of the State Department by roughly a third and cut foreign assistance by about 29 percent.

The spending proposal, which was released on Tuesday, would reduce American financial support for the United Nations, including for its peacekeeping operations and international aid programs. The United States is the organization’s biggest single donor.

“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres, said in response to queries about the budget proposal.

Republicans and Democrats have criticized the proposed budget’s cuts to foreign assistance, saying that such reductions would undercut national security and send the wrong message about American generosity as humanitarian crises are escalating in the Middle East and Africa.

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has said the United States wants the United Nations to use American taxpayer money more efficiently.

But she has also expressed opposition to what she has called a slash-and-burn approach to budget reductions and has suggested that final allocations will not be as austere as what has been proposed.

“I was a governor; I had to do an executive budget,” Ms. Haley said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal during a visit to the Middle East this week. “What an executive budget is is the start of a conversation.”

Mr. Dujarric acknowledged that the “budgetary process in the U.S. is complex and lengthy, and it needs to be completed.”

He also said, “We are indeed very grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organization’s largest financial contributor.”

The United States contributes 22 percent of the United Nations’ core operating budget of $5.4 billion. That share is set by an international agreement and is based on the size of the American economy. The United States has also been a leading provider of aid to United Nations organizations that rely on voluntary contributions.

Twenty-eight percent of the United Nations’ peacekeeping budget of nearly $8 billion has been paid by the United States. The Trump administration’s budget proposal would reduce the American portion to about 25 percent.  (New York Times)

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Israel PM, Netanyahu Calls UN ‘House Of Lies’ Rejects Vote On Jerusalem |RN

Wade Massey
Donald-Trump-Benjamin-Netanyahu

Just a few hours before the UN General Assembly vote against the USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital “regardless of whether the UN recognizes it or not”.

Turkey and Yemen requested the meeting after an Egyptian draft resolution against the recognition was presented to the Security Council and was vetoed by the United States, although the 14 other members of the council voted for it.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft. “Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem“.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

“The State of Israel rejects this vote out of hand even before it was approved”, he added.

In the run-up to Thursday’s vote, Israeli diplomats stationed overseas made strenuous efforts to get as many countries as possible to oppose or abstain on the resolution.

“The attitude to Israel of many nations in the world, in all the continents, is changing outside of the UN walls, and will eventually filter into the UN as well – the house of lies”, he said.

The prime minister, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, has long argued that Israel’s diplomatic relations are flourishing due to the Jewish state’s technological and security prowess.

Netanyahu’s remarks, particularly his “house of lies” line, were met with instant ridicule on social media, with users pointed out the absurdity of a state founded thanks to a United Nations mandate slamming the worldwide body. “It won’t be forgotten”, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said after the vote.

“Ultimately, the truth will prevail”, he declared, speaking in English.

Unlike the UN’s 15-member Security Council, the US does not have veto power in the General Assembly. “Well, we’re watching those votes”.

With time ticking until the beginning of a UN General Assembly vote on a proposal to urge Washington to scrap its Jerusalem declaration, Tel Aviv has stepped up its rhetoric. (234VibesNews)

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United Nations Vote 128-9 To Denounce US Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital |RN

APTOPIX Israel United Nations

United Nations

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.

The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington’s threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 were absent.

The resolution reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he completely rejects the “preposterous” resolution.

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour called the vote a victory not only for the Palestinians but for the United Nations and international law, saying U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley “failed miserably” in persuading only seven countries aside from the U.S. and Israel to vote against the resolution.

“And they used unprecedented tactics, unheard of in the diplomatic work at the U.N., including blackmail and extortion,” he said.

The United States and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the measure, with Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the U.S. Trump went further, threatening a funding cutoff: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

But in the end, major U.S. aid recipients including Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa supported the resolution. Egypt received roughly $1.4 billion in U.S. aid this year, and Jordan about $1.3 billion.

The nine countries voting “no” were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo. Among the abstentions were Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Mexico.

The absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close U.S. ties.

The U.S. is scheduled to dispense $25.8 billion in foreign aid for 2018. Whether Trump follows through with his threat against those who voted “yes” remains to be seen.

After the vote, Haley tweeted a photo naming the 65 nations that voted no, abstained or were absent, and said: “We appreciate these countries for not falling to the irresponsible ways of the UN.”

But within hours, the Trump administration appeared to be backing away from its funding threats. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said cuts to countries that opposed the U.S. are not a foregone conclusion.

“The president’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward with other nations,” Nauert said. “However, no decisions have been made.”

During the debate, Arab, Islamic and non-aligned nations urged a “yes” vote on the resolution, which was sponsored by Yemen and Turkey.

Yemeni Ambassador Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany warned that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem undermines any chance for peace in the Mideast and “serves to fan the fires of violence and extremism.”

He called Trump’s action “a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations, and all Muslims and Christians of the world,” and “a dangerous violation and breach of international law.”

On Wednesday, Trump complained that Americans are tired of being taken advantage of by countries that take billions of dollars and then vote against the U.S. Haley echoed his words in her speech to the packed assembly chamber, threatening not only member states with funding cuts, but the United Nations itself.

Haley said the vote will make no difference in U.S. plans to move the American Embassy, but it “will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N., and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N.”

“And this vote will be remembered,” she warned.

Trump’s pressure tactics had raised the stakes at Thursday’s emergency meeting and triggered accusations from the Muslim world of U.S. bullying and blackmail.

“It is unethical to think that the votes and dignity of member states are for sale,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “We will not be intimidated! You can be strong but this does not make you right!”

The Palestinians and their supporters sought the General Assembly vote after the U.S. on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other U.N. Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem.

The resolution adopted by the assembly has language similar to the defeated measure.

It “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.”

___

Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Joe Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Source: Associated Press

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