The Defence Headquarters on Monday said that, contrary to planned report by the Human Right Watch, there are no children kept or tortured in detention facilities in the northeast Nigeria.
In a statement by the Acting Director Defence Information Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the DHQ noted with deep concern that while troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) are intensifying effort to ensure lasting peace in the North East (NE), Human Rights Watch (HRW) is set to release a report accusing the AFN of arbitrarily detaining children in its detention facilities in the North East (NE).
The statement reads: “This report is not only false but capable of undermining the joint efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to restore peace in the NE.
“It is an established fact that Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) indoctrinate women and children who they use as suicide bombers in the theatre of operations. In the conduct of their operations troops arrest these children while attempting to detonate explosives and provide tacit support to insurgents such as intelligence on troops movement and deployments.
“Contrary to HRW claims, however, the AFN manages children in the North East theatre as victims of war and not as suspects. Apprehended children are kept in secured places, where they are adequately fed, profiled and de-radicalized before their release.
“This was evidently captured in the HRW Report, where it stated that “since January 2013, Nigerian Authorities have released at least 2,200 children from detention nearly all without charge. This statement further attests to the fact that the children are released to appropriate authorities after de-radicalization efforts by appropriate government agencies and NGOs.
“It is expedient to state that only profiled Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are held in detention pending their prosecution by appropriate prosecuting agencies, as the AFN is not vested with the power of prosecution.
“It is also necessary to clarify, that aside the set of children involved in acts of terrorism, some adult female Boko Haram terrorists arrested in terrorists’ enclaves during combat have also been found to be with children.
“During the process of profiling and investigations the women opt to keep their children rather than hand them over to relations. While the female terrorists are kept in the detention facility, their children are given protected care in a welfare holding facility, not a detention facility, where they could be accessed by their mothers under supervision by female personnel.
“The children are provided with regular feeding, clothing, requisite medical attention, in-house spiritual and educational tutoring and other welfare needs.
“The DHQ, therefore, wishes to state that no children are kept and tortured in any detention facility.
“The children caught in the act of terrorism are moved to safe facilities such as the Borno State Rehabilitation Centre in Bulunkutu, Maiduguri, and Operation SAFE CORRIDOR, where they are de-radicalized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society. Those whose families could not be traced are handed over to IDP Camps officials for administration.
“It must also be noted that several attempts have been made by these sponsored Rights groups to lay allegations of arbitrary arrests and extra judicial killings at the doorstep of the AFN all in an effort to undermine the successes so far recorded in the ongoing Nigeria’s Counter terrorism and Counter insurgency operations against Boko Haram and ISWAP in the North East.
“It must be emphasized, that contrary to the insinuation, the AFN does not engage in arbitrary arrests since its operations are intelligence driven.
“The AFN is at war in the North East against Boko Haram and ISWAP; terrorist groups that are globally recognised for the most inhuman and callous attacks on humanity.
“Arresting and detaining members of these terrorists groups to face trial and obtain justice for Nigerians for the atrocious attacks and callous killing of innocent citizens and foreigners cannot be described as arbitrary or unlawful.
“Their arrest and detention are professionally handled and within legitimacy of the mandate of the Counter terrorism and counter Insurgency operations in the North East. Suspects (adults not children), caught in the act of terrorism or aiding and abetting terrorism are arrested, profiled and processed for prosecution after thorough investigation.
“More also, terrorists and insurgents neutralized in combat with troops does not translate to extra judicial killing as erroneously portrayed. The AFN does not condone extra judicial killing and erring personnel are sanctioned according to the dictates of the military justice system and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The AFN is a professional military with extant doctrines and Standard Operating procedures, hence, extra judicial killing or summary execution is an aberration and not permissible in our operational engagements.
“The DHQ is using this medium to remind the general public that it works in conjunction with other relevant government agencies and NGOs in handling children in the various safe facilities provided by both federal and state governments.
“We also want to reaffirm our commitment and adherence to Rules of Engagement (ROE) and Laws of Armed Conflicts in all our operations. It is pertinent to state that over the years the AFN has periodically taken NGOs and other Civil Society Organizations (CSO) on guided tours of our operational areas to ensure transparency and openness.
“All NGOs and CSOs operating in the NE and other parts of the country are enjoined to desist from publishing poorly researched and shallow reports on the activities of the AFN, as this is capable of undermining national security efforts to restore peace in the northeast (NE).
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Human Rights Groups in Nigeria claimed that the report by the Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations was a plot to discredit the 100 days in office of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The coalition said the report was attempt to ingloriously portray a scenario that smacks of mischief by stating that the Nigerian Military has detained children without charge for months or years in squalid and severely overcrowded military barracks, with no contact with the outside world.’
Maxwell Gowon, the Executive Director of the coalition, while addressing newsmen on the development on Monday, cautioned those that are hell-bent on misleading the general public to desist from such nefarious actions in the interest of peace and stability in Nigeria.
He said, “The Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria is in receipt of a grand plot by some agents masquerading under cover of civil society organizations to discredit the laudable strides of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria having extensively studied the intended report slated for release to the media in Nigeria wishes to state that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) is in the vanguard of the nefarious plot after huge amounts of monies have exchanged hands.
“The Human Rights Watch a supposedly Human Rights Organisation in a news release titled ‘Nigeria’s Military: Holding Children as Boko Haram suspects” attempted to ingloriously portray a scenario that smacks of mischief by stating that the Nigerian Military has detained children without charge for months or years in squalid and severely overcrowded military barracks, with no contact with the outside world.’
“While it is expedient to put the records in proper perspective for the discerning minds to make their informed decisions, the Coalition for Human Rights groups in Nigeria wishes to state that the report by the Human Rights Watch is indeed an attempt at discrediting the laudable initiatives of the Muhummadu Buhari led administration.
“As a start, the Human Rights Watch as an organization is not credible enough to issue a report on the state of affairs in Nigeria because there have been unanswered questions regarding its methodologies and presence in Nigeria and other climes it is operating from.
“It is also on record that in times past, some members of the opposition in Nigeria paid hefty sums of monies to the organization for it to release or to commission false reports on the state of affairs in the country to paint a picture of gloom and despair before the local and international community.
“The recent report titled ‘Nigeria’s Military: Holding Children as Boko Haram suspects’ is one of those numerous attempts aimed at causing disaffection in the polity. It is also instructive to state that the report, is intended for mischief purposes as there are no tangibles that suggest that the Nigerian Military would hound women and children into cells in Giwa Barracks in Borno state.
“The Human Rights Watch as an organization is one that has a history replete with mischief and activities geared towards achieving pecuniary gains. This is evident in the postulations that the Nigerian Military has indiscriminately hounded young children in detention on fictitious allegations.
“In the words of the Human Rights Watch, Children are being detained in horrific conditions for years with little or no involvement with Boko Haram terrorist is at best the fiction of their imaginations. This is expedient of the fact that the Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria has followed the activities of the Nigerian Military in North-East Nigeria with keen attention, and there has been no instance where cases of indiscriminate arrests were made in North-East Nigeria. Also, to think that the Human Rights Watch could make such bogus assertions defeats common sense.
“The Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria is aware of the grand plot to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari led administration, and it’s consequently appalled by such blatant disregard for the sensibilities of Nigerians and Nigeria as exhibited by the Human Rights Watch.
Suspected serial killer admitted killing seven women in Lagos, Owerri and Portharcourt hotels
A suspected serial killer, Gracious David-West, 39, arrested by the police has admitted killing at least seven women in hotels in Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt.
TIMELY POST learnt that the suspect was arrested on Thursday, following CCTV footage which showed him leaving an unnamed hotel in Port Harcourt, after he allegedly killed the lady he slept with the previous night.
Mr David-West confessed to killing the seven women to journalists on Friday after his arrest by the Rivers Police command.
“So far, I’ve killed five girls in Port Harcourt; one in Owerri (Imo) and another in Lagos. I started the killing in Lagos.
“I took N52,000 from the bank account of the first girl I killed in Lagos. Thereafter, I went to Port Harcourt, then to Owerri and later returned to Port Harcourt.
“After I kill a girl, I collect her phone, and sell the phone at Waterlines and MTN office (areas in Port Harcourt).
“I met the last girl (latest victim) at a club in Port Harcourt,” Mr David-West told reporters.
Mr David-West, who hails from Buguma in Asari Toru Local Government Area in Rivers, further gave horrific details on how he murdered his victims in cold-blood.
The suspect, who did not betray any emotion, said he usually picked his victims from clubs and drinking spots.
“I take a girl into the hotel, we eat, make love and sleep. Later, I wake up in the middle of the night and put a kitchen knife on her neck, ordering her not to shout.
“I threaten her that if she shouts that I will kill her. I promise her that if she cooperates that I will not kill her, so, the girl, out of fear will not shout.
“After the girl relaxes, then, I will tear the bed’s pillow case and tie her hands and legs, so that she will not struggle. Thereafter, I strangle her,” he confessed.
Mr David-West said before strangulating his victims that they usually pleaded for their lives by offering him money as well as details of their bank account.
Read also: Nigerian senator involved in auto crash responding to treatment – Aide
He said after obtaining the victim’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and pin and other belongings that he still went ahead to kill the women.
“So, I collect their ATM pins, and after dawn, I go to ATM to withdraw money from the account. I usually use the money to get other girls.
“I don’t know what is making me to kill people. Immediately the urge comes, I kill, and after killing, I regret and feel sober. But later, I will still go and kill again,” he said.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, said Mr David-West was arrested by cops on routine stop and search along the Ogoni stretch of the East/West Road.
According to him, the suspect was arrested inside a commercial bus that was travelling to Uyo from Port Harcourt.
“The suspect is definitely not alone in these killings. So far, three suspects are in our custody and are being investigated in connection with these killings,” the police chief said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five deaths in Port Harcourt sparked outrage in Nigeria, with protests erupting across the city by women activists fearing a rise in killings targeting suspected sex workers.
Police investigating the murders immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect and later arrested him while he attempted to flee Port Harcourt to neighbouring Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.
Police arraigns 15 for allegedly plotting to kill Patience, wife of former President Jonathan
Authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command have arraigned 15 persons before the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa over alleged plot to kill the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and rob her of her valuables worth over N.3billion.
A 17-count charge of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit felony with armed robbery, malicious injury to property, conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and burglary were filed against the suspects.
Those arraigned included Golden Vivian (40 years, Erama Deborah (45yrs),Precious Kingsley (20yrs), Vincent Olabiyi (28yrs),Ebuka Cosmos (25yrs), Williams Alamo (29yrs),Tamunokuro Abaku (32yrs) and Boma Oba (42yrs).
Others include Emmanuel Aginwa(42yrs), Emeka Benson (33yrs), Tamunosiki Achese Frisberesima (30yrs), Wariboko Salome (28yrs), Sahabi Lima (35yrs),Reginald Sunday(20yrs) and John Dashe(39yrs).
The charge sheet was signed by S. A. Ofoegbu Esq. O.C. Legal State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa Bayelsa State.
Defending the accused persons are Stanley Damabide, Padiowei P.P. Tamuno, E. Samuel, Chuks Momoh.
They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In the charge sheet, the count 1 accused the arraigned persons of conspiring to commit murder which is an offence punishable under section 252 of the Criminal code law cap. C14 laws of Bayelsa State.
According to the charge, ”All the accused and some at large, sometime in the month of June, 2019 at Otuoke community in Ogbia local government within the Ogbia Judicial Division of the state high court did conspire to kill Her excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan,former first lady ,there committed an offence.’
”That you and some other persons at large,on the same date and place aforementioned Judicial division of Bayelsa did steal seven gold bangles and jewelries, five Samsung Air Conditioner,Two sets of upholstery chairs,six Samsung flat screen television stands at two hundred Million naira (N200,000,000).These are property of Dame Patience Jonathan and there by committed an offence.”
It would be recalled that operatives of the Operation Puff Adder of the State Police Command had in June arrested some persons over alleged involvement in the illegal entry into his home in Otuoke community in Ogbia local Government area, carting away jewelries, custom made walking stick and other valuables worth over N.3billion.
TIMELY POST gathered that one of the arrested suspects, who is a management staff of the Aridolf Resort, Hotel and Spa owned by the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan had mysteriously duplicated the keys to the rooms where the valuables were kept and led the forceful entry and gradual looting of the valuables.
It was also gathered that after some domestic staff to the former President discovered he was informed and he quickly called in men of the Bayelsa Police Command to effect their arrest and recover the looted valuables.
Atiku reacts to presidential tribunal judgment, vows to appeal
Atiku Abubakar, 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has finally reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Tribunal earlier this month.
TIMELY POST had reported that the Justice Mohammed Garba,-led Tribunal dismissed Atiku and PDP petition in its entirety.
The court ruled that Buhari was duly elected as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the presidential election held on 23rd February 2019.
The tribunal ruled that electronic transfer of results which was the crux of the opposition’s petition did not take place at any level.
Reacting, Atiku in a series of tweets on Twitter handle on Friday urged Nigerians to continue their support for constitutional order via the courts.
He also thanked the governors elected on the platform of PDP.
Atiku said: “I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal.
“And the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every strata of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday, September 11, 2019, when the PEPT rendered its verdict.
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.
“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker.
“If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.
“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.
“It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted.
“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.
“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed.
“We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary are not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation.
“I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support.
“I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the @OfficialPDPNig, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief.
“Finally, I say to all concerned, that we will all die and give an account of our lives to our Creator. Thank you and may God bless Nigeria.”
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