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Reps Summon AGF, NIA, DSS others, over Abduction of Professors in Nigeria by Cameroonian Govt

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The House of Representatives Public Petition Committee, has summoned the Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), Nigerian Intelligence Agency, (NIA), the Department of State Service (DSS) and other agencies over six Professors teaching in Nigerian Universities and four others, currently imprisoned  by the Cameroonian government, following their forceful abduction from Nigeria.

Lawyer to the six professors and four others, Barr Joseph Fru, had told the panel that his clients were illegally imprisoned by the Cameroonian authorities.

The prisoners had petitioned the House of Representatives to help secure their release after being allegedly abducted from Nigeria and imprisoned in Cameroon since January 2018.

The petitioners, all of Cameroonian nationality, of which the others include refugees and asylum seekers, said they were all legally resident in Nigeria.

They stated that they were illegally abducted  and deported from Nigeria on January 5th 2018 to Cameroon, on “frivolous allegations of plotting to destabilize the government of La Republique du Cameroon (LRC) President Mr. Paul Biya.” 

They petitioned that they were unfairly tried and incarcerated.

In their petition submitted to the House Committee on Public Petitions by their lawyers, they said two separate judgments in Nigeria had been ruled in their favour connection with the matter.

They stated that despite the judgement by Nigerian courts that their arrest and deportation were illegal hence they should be released and compensated financially, they were still being held at the Kondengui Security Detention facility in Cameroon.

They also added that in October 2022, the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-HRC-WGAD) in Communication 59/2022 of 14th October 2022, found their arrest and detention by Nigeria and Cameroun arbitrary and illegal and it had asked both countries to unconditionally free the victims and pay them appropriate compensation.

At the penultimate hearing of the matter before the House Committee on Public Petitions a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Manu, had said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no record if this petition.

He had said their findings revealed the matter was handled by the government as a security and legal matter.

Briefing reporters after another hearing on the matter on Tuesday, Fru said said they were optimistic by the intervention of the legislature in resolving the matter.

Fru, who was in the company of family members of those affected, said however rued that the representative of the United Nations and relevant agencies of the Nigerian government were missing at the hearing.

He said those who failed to turn up included the Attorney General of the Federation, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, UN High Commission Country Representative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Intelligence Agency and the Department of State Services (DSS)

He said, “There is a clarification that we need to make that is fundamental and cardinal. They were abducted. They were not arrested. When you say someone is arrested, there is a legal course for them to be picked up by the forces of law and order. And in a normal arrest situation, you have probable cause that you are being suspected of committing a crime and before you get to that point, there has to be a procedure you follow to get either an arrest warrant or search warrant that may lead to their apprehension. 

“But when someone arbitrarily without any legal course is picked up and then held for as long as they were held in Nigeria before being sent to Cameron that is called an abduction.

“An abduction does not end when we know where they are. That illegal act continues and abides with them until that illegality is cured. And to this point that illegality has not been cured and that is why we are still in prison.

“The second thing is that they were not repatriated. You repatriate someone when you go through a legal channel and you exhaust all the legal processes and the court decides that they go back to where they came from to answer in that jurisdiction. Before you repatriate someone there has to be bilateral treaty that is observed. None of that in this case.

“We adjourned for 11 June 2024 because the committee is not happy with the fact that the last time they were elements of the government of the executive arm that were required to be at the hearing but none of them showed up. 

“So motions were moved and it was adopted that these entities should necessarily appear in the next hearing so that resolution to this can be taken. In the event they do not show up, the committee is ready to move forward. How they move forward depends on their deliberation and that is above my pay grade. 

“The Chairman said they were going to give these entities a last chance to appear so they can have enough information to go by and come up with a resolution.”

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Rivers Assembly Screens, Confirms Eight Commissioner Designates

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The Victor Oko-Jumbo-led faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, on Tuesday screened and confirmed eight nominees for possible appointment as commissioners in the state.

Reports says that the screening took place at the temporary legislative chambers located within the state Government House.

The Oko-Jumbo-led three-member legislature is loyal to the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The commissioner designates are to fill some of the vacancies created by the recent resignation of nine commissioners loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike.

During the sitting, Oko-Jumbo read the correspondence from the governor, requesting the screening and confirmation of the nominees.

He expressed the assembly’s commitment towards supporting the governor to provide democracy dividends to Rivers people.

The factional speaker said that the screening was part of the assembly’s responsibility in the governance of the state

Responding, the House Leader, Mr Sokari Good-boy and Deputy Speaker, Adolphus Timothy, unanimously adopted the request.

They said that most of the nominees had previously served the state at various capacities without blemish.

The commissioner designates include, Mr Charles Bakee, Mr Collins Onunwo, Dr Peter Medee and Mr Elloka Amadi,

Others are, Mr Basoene Benibo, Mr Sydney Gbara, Dr Ovy Chukwuma and Mr Solomon Eke.(NAN)

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Police Arrest Suspect for Allegedly Defrauding Thai Citizen of $216,000, N30m

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Police in Lagos State have arrested a suspect, Chimereze Chinedu, for allegedly defrauding a citizen of Thailand of $216,000 (₦317,725,271) and N30 million.

Police spokesman in the state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the arrest in a post he shared on his X (formerly Twitter) handle @benHundeyin on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect was arrested by detectives of the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID).

“Chinedu defrauded his victim under the pretense of selling 37 tricycles to her.

“He further expanded his fraudulent activity by forging letters of SCID, Lagos, showing that the tricycles were seized by the police and further extorted N30 million from the victim to purportedly secure the release of the tricycles,” he said.

The image maker said that the suspect was arrested on May 10 in Enugu State following weeks of diligent investigation and technical support from the International Criminal Police Organization, (INTERPOL)

The spokesman said that the suspect was currently in detention, as investigations continued to uncover details towards identifying and apprehending his accomplices.

According to Hundeyin, the Lagos State Command remains steadfast in its commitment to combating internet fraud and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice. (NAN)

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Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers not Proven Effective, Says UNODC

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the move by the Nigerian Senate to impose death penalty for drug trafficking offenders would not yield the desired result.

UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe, said this at a two-day Media Personnel Training organised in collaboration with NDLEA and other partners on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that the training is centered on Anti -Corruption, Police Accountability, Wildlife Crime and Sensitisation on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care, (DPTC).

“Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty we are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Stolpe maintained that the UN had always advocated for clear distinction between crimes of drug trafficking as opposed to the issue of drug use.

He said that it was always considered primarily to be a health issue saying that it should be dealt with as such.

According to him, addiction is a health condition, it is not a choice.”

On the need for an updated drug data for Nigerians, Stolpe observed that the current national drug survey for Nigeria was last done six years ago, (2018), and therefore does not reflect the current situation for Nigeria.

He said “the drug use survey of 2018 remains as far as I can tell the most cited study in the media.

“This data is outdated and I think a very critical question that media could ask at that point is really well, how can we still refer to 2018 data to describe today’s levels of drug use?

Stolpe enjoined the media to keep the good work while ensuring that information were disseminated efficiently and effectively. NAN)

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