ABUJA – Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Founder of The Kukah Centre, Matthew Hassan Kukah, says Nigerian culture was designed to encourage injustice and oppression, particularly against women.
He also said religion, which had all the instruments of reformation, had been wrongly applied in Nigeria, thus placing the country in its current bad shape.
The fiery preacher spoke at the public presentation of the National Ethical Policy for Combating Gender-Based Violence, (GBV) in Nigeria, in Abuja.
The clergy regretted that Nigerians were wrongly defending injustice, abuse, and attacks women suffer in the country in the name of religion or culture.
Noting that the act was far from religion or culture as mostly claimed, he tasked women to begin to stand up for their rights, like Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist who survived an assassination attempt at the age of 15 for speaking out publicly against the prohibition on education of girls by the Pakistan Taliban.
According to him, women are being viewed as commodities using religion as a cover-up. “Women have always been commodities; if a war ends, you give out women; if you want to make peace, you give out women; and we as Christians and Muslims believe that it is not culture that created human beings,”he said, noting that people have the duty and responsibility to go beyond the bastardization of religion.
Speaking on how the Nigerian culture was designed to encourage injustice and oppression, the bishop said, “I recall vividly the images when we were little children when your father was beating your mother, you can only go and hold her leg or your father’s leg because that is the best you could do.
“Our African culture also suggests you cannot go and report your father, you cannot go and report your mother and your father is beating your mother until he kills her, you cannot say anything because ‘how are you going to disgrace your father?
“Today, we are talking about women being sold. There are parts of Nigeria that even up till today, people will tell you that if you enter the palace of a king with your wife and the chief likes your wife, if he crosses her leg, then you go home alone.
KATSINA, North-West, Nigeria – Katsina State Governor, Dr Dikko Radda, has directed the immediate suspension of Lawal Ibrahim, principal of Government Day School, Dantankari in Dandume Local Government Area of the state, on alleged sexual harassment of a female student.
A statement signed by the Director of Press to Secretary to the Government, Abdullahi Yar’adu’a, said the Governor received a report on allegation of sexual harassment against one Lawal Ibrahim (a staff of Ministry of Education) who was then the Principal of Government Day secondary School, Dantankari in Dandume Local Government Area, involving a female student of the same school.
“In consequence thereof, the Governor directed as follows, the Hon. Commissioner of Basic and Secondary Education to immediately suspend the said Lawal Ibrahim and investigate the allegation with dispatch, take appropriate action and report back to the Governor.
“The Commissioner of Police Katsina State Command to: investigate the allegation.
“Investigate the DPO Dandume on allegation of gratification and compromise of the matter, and report back to the Governor.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) Katsina Command, ASP Abubakar Sadiq, confirmed the incident in a chat with newsmen, saying the Command was aware of the allegation against the said DPO.
“The command is on it. CP has since given directive and investigation has commenced accordingly,” he said.
BAUCHI, North-East, Nigeria – The Centre for Information Technology and Development, (CITAD) has condemned the continued detention of Mrs Rhoda Jatay by authorities in Bauchi state over a social media post in which she condemned the killing of Miss Deborah Samuel in Sokoto for alleged blasphemy.
Executive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Ya’u, in a press conference on Friday in Bauchi, demanded for the immediate release of Rhoda and all charges against her dropped
He called on the Federal Government and the relevant authority to ensure that Jatua is released without further delay.
The CITAD ED also called on Bauchi State Government to order the Attorney General in the state to facilitate Jatau’s release unconditionally.
He recalled that Jatau was arrested by security operatives in the Bauchi State for sharing a Whatsapp message to her friends condemning the killing of Miss Samuel Deborah in Sokoto for alleged blasphemy, urging for respect of the fundamental right of every citizen to express themselves.
He recounted that Jatau was said to have been picked up at her residence on May 20, 2022 by Nigeria Police Force on the allegations of alleged incitement and inciting public disturbance.
He urged the Nigeria Police Force to desist from arresting the citizens for exercising their constitutional rights online. “This action has directly infringed on her rights to freedom of expression and speech as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“Her post, while perhaps strong in its language, did not incite violence or hatred.
“It was simply an expression of her opinion, a right guaranteed to her by our constitution. It is an outright abuse of her digital right to freedom of expression online.
“However, immediately after sharing the post, she was arrested and taken into custody.
“Her bail was consistently denied, and she has been held behind bars ever since.
“This is not just an injustice to Rhoda; it is an attack on the digital rights of every citizen in this country.
“Denying someone bail based on a social media post sets a dangerous precedent for our collective freedom and democracy.
“It sends a bad signal that the government can silence any dissenting voice if they deem it contrary to their own opinion.
“And if this trend continues, it will make people afraid to speak their minds, express themselves and associate online for fear of being attacked, arrested or molested by the Nigerian government or its agencies as in the case of Rhoda’s and many others.
“To reinforce our stance, it is crucial to remember that Sections 38 and 39 of the 1999 Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution guarantee freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expression.
“Additionally, the Government of Nigeria is a signatory to various international human rights law instruments and treaties, including the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which all hold the fundamental human rights of the citizens in Nigeria.
“We reiterate that Rhoda’s arrest and continued detention are violation of her digital rights, and we cannot stand and do nothing while injustice is meted on one of us.
“As an organization working on the protection of human and digital rights of Nigerians, we strongly condemn the unnecessary adjournments and postponements of Mrs. Rhoda’s case hearing, which has been delayed five times since March 2023. We further denounce the rejection of her application for a “no-case submission” by her Lawyers despite having no criminal history.
“Keeping her in detention for commending extrajudicial murder is asking to detain all the people condemning the atrocious matter”.
CITAD urged the National Assembly to speed up the passage of digital rights and freedom bill, which we believe will address most of this injustice perpetrated against the citizens under the guise of national security.
“We call on the media organizations nationwide to amplify the voices of Mrs. Jatau and others who face similar injustices at the hand of Nigeria Police Force and other agencies,” he stated
ABUJA, NIGERIA – The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Thursday recommended the compulsory retirement of Osun State High Court judge, Justice S. O. Falola.
The Council’s decision follows the outcome of its committee which found Falola guilty of granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.
A statement in Abuja on Thursday by the council’s Director of Information, Adesoji Oye, indicated that the investigation committee held that Falola traveled to Lagos to visit the bank’s counsel in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings, an action which it described as unprofessional.
The statement read, “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of December 6 and 7, 2023 has recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice S. O. Falola of Osun State High Court from the Bench.
“The recommendation was made sequel to the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against His Lordship by Mr. Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against the Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 questionably and strangely, and endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.
“It further found the conduct of the subject judge traveling to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”
Soji, however, said the council has recommended to the state governor, Ademola Adeleke, to compulsorily retire him with immediate effect.
He noted that the NJC has suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by the Osun State Governor.
Also, the council declined the request by the state governor to suspend the embattled Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo.
The council also held that it would not work with the resolution of the state House of Assembly.
Soji said, “Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State requesting its permission to swear in the next most senior judge in the state in an acting capacity, following allegations leveled against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.
“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief Judge of Osun State, and would not work on the resolution of a State House of Assembly.”
Soji also said the council dismissed the petitions against Justice Ekaete F. F. Obot, Chief Judge, Akwa Ibom State; Hon Justice Benson C. Anya of High Court Abia State; Hon. Justice Z. B. Abubakar of Federal High Court, Hon Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte and Augusta Uche K. Chuku of the High Court of Rivers State, for being unmeritorious, or withdrawal of petitions by the Petitioners.
“However, Hon Justice A. I. Akobi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory is to be issued a letter of guidance to take proper charge and control of his court, ” the statement added.
Soji noted that the council received 51 fresh petitions written against Federal and State Judicial Officers and constituted 11 Panels to investigate petitions that have merits.
NOUAKCHOTT – A court in Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania, on Monday sentenced former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to five years in prison for having abused his position to amass an ill-gotten fortune.
Aziz had been on trial since January alongside 10 other prominent figures, including two former prime ministers, for illicit enrichment, abuse of functions, influence-peddling and laundering.
He was convicted of illicit enrichment and laundering but cleared of the other charges.
The court also ordered the confiscation of Aziz’s illicitly acquired assets.
Aziz, 66, did not react to the judgement.
He has been in detention since January 24, having also spent several months in prison in 2021.
Aziz spent a decade in power between 2009 and 2019.
To survive the harsh economy, Nigerian youth have resorted to selling their male and female gametes (sperms and eggs) under an advanced medical procedure known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
IVF is a system used by some medical facilities to assist infertile couples to have children.
The Guardian investigation showed that students of higher institutions formed the largest percentage of donors of their reproductive cells, and received between N100,000 and N250,000 per donation.
The University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, (UITH), Kwara State, stands out among few hospitals providing the procedures. There are other two notable ones at Tanke Area, near Judges Quarters and the other at Adewole Estate.
A medical doctor in one of the facilities, however, said, not in all cases would they require donations from third parties to boost the fertility of their patients.
While dispelling the rumour of such donations, a clinician with UITH, under condition of anonymity, simply defined the process as the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish.
“In vitro means outside the body. Fertilisation means the sperm has attached to and entered the egg,” he explained
Technical Partner with MEDCLEV Multi Specialists Hospital, Tanke Ilorin, Prof Lukman Omokanye, decried the high rates of infertility in and outside Nigeria.
“But not all these cases would require IVF to resolve. So, I don’t know anything about donors of sperms or eggs. But we can assure such patients suffering infertility that, medically, there is hope for them,” he added.
Some students, who spoke with The Guardian on the issue in Ilorin, said the development boosted their financial capabilities because, persons of their age bracket are seen as “hot cakes” for the donations due to their apparent age advantages and huge chances of fertility above older persons.
A male student in one of the higher institutions in the town, under condition of anonymity, said: “They have our phone numbers and there is a contact person, who will call us each time there is a need.
“We are not paid through the same method that other friends of the hospital are paid. This is so that the representative of the payer would not know what a particular payee is being remunerated for. The entire thing is shrouded in secrecy. They have a way of stimulating us to harvest the sperm.”
It is not, however, certain whether or not there could be a repercussion of “too much donation” for such commercial donors in future.