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Outrage in Edo Over Oshiomhole’s failed N30billion Storm Water Project

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A car submerged in flooded waters
A car submerged in flooded waters

As rains turn Benin-City into an ocean – drowning innocent people, cars, houses, schools, hospitals and businesses – Edo State citizens have taken to the social media to express outrage over the failure of the Benin Storm Water Project initiated by the then governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole.

The ex-governor, now Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had borrowed N30 billion for the project meant to contain the perennial flooding of the city but there is little to show where the money has gone into.

Adams Oshiomhole awarded the project in 2014 at N30 billion to Hitech Nigeria Limited but soon afterwards the contractor moved out of site suggesting that the Storm Water Project may had been conceived to be another white elephant or a conduit pipe.

Ever since, the worry of Benin residents, especially those around the Evbotubu suburb of the city is the danger of gully erosion which poses grave threats to lives and property. So far, six persons including Osarobo Obayuwana, an okada rider, have been killed at the gully erosion sites which developed as a result of the contractors digging deep voids as drainage channels only to abandon them, creating death traps.

Hapless residents have written series of petitions and protest letters to the State’s Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities to register their plight and fears. The rain last week and the havocs in its wake opened a floodgate on the social media as indigenes of the state resume their demands for explanations on where went the N30 billion.

A car submerged in flooded waters

A car submerged in flooded waters

The most vociferous of the social media groups is the Edo Political Forum:

Ralph Odua‎: “What moral justification does Adams Oshiomole have to talk about corruption?”

Ehinomen Odiakachukwu Omelemen‎: “This is Okhoro junction in New Lagos Road. See how flood overtook the area. It was the same situation in 2nd east circular road, Stadium road etc.The question that is begging for answer is; why is the storm water project that Oshiomhole spent #30 billion on not controlling erosion in Benin and environs?”

Knowsayaba D. Enofe: “And there is a moat a pole away from the location of that flood…”

Rene Osayande: “Where are the government vuvuzelas?”

Mayor Scott: “Even before I left Nigeria, the same problem persisted. I can’t believe my eyes that after these year, this problem is till there….

Gab Ezomo Ovi: “It is always a matter of time. There is no secret hidden under the sun.”

Ogiemwanre Victor: “The flood at Okhoro junction pulled off my car bumper & I lost one of my fog lights, I am so sad.”

Elliot Osagie: What are you guys saying? did they spend the money on the water Project? Thing are happening for some reason. We all see what he did in Edo state so you don’t need to complain. What you see is what you get brother.”

Frank Omoregie: “Oshio Lake”

Marvis Pukka Airemwen: “It’s so unfortunate to know we keep praising mediocre in government. The finesse with which our government purported and presented the WATER STORM PROJECT to the people is not what we see today. I can vividly remember the enthusiasm and vigour with which the government attacked the project…. Seven years later, I begin to wonder! I am not judging who is right or wrong, but I am majorly concerned about what should be, should have been but is not….”

A car submerged in flooded waters

A car submerged in flooded waters

Omoregie Osaretin: “Wow! This is disturbing”

Marvis Pukka Airemwen: “Seriously disturbing, how long do will continue to believe lies!!!”

Omoregie Osaretin: “I would have not believed this if not for this picture though someone told me about it before.”

Omoregie Osaretin: “D projects will end up been campaign tools…. As wen election don reach u go see trailer for all project sites…. Tractor campaign strategy”

Marvis Pukka Airemwen: “We are too quick to blow trumpet of mediocres, asked them only road, road and roads. we want leaders who can think outside the box!!!”

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American lawyers drag Buhari, Army Chief, to International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague

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Bruce Fein, Bruce DelValle & Prof Akujieze of EKWENCHE Org, Chicago, USA

Days after Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, issued a controversial order asking the military and the Police to be ruthless and to shoot dead ballot box snatchers, information has emerged that lawyers in America have dragged the President and his Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague.

On 11th February 2019, the Washington-based law firm, Fein & DelValle, acting in concert with Ekwenche Research Institute filed a genocide complaint at the Office of the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Madam Fatou Bensouda.

A statement released by a Nigerian-based human rights organisation, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
(Intersociety) said the genocide complaint was “in response to Nigerian Government ordered genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated or committed against defenseless citizens of Igbo origin in Eastern Nigeria”.

Extract Of Criminal Complaint Filed At ICC Against PMB, Buratai & Ors

Executive Director of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, said “the horrendous crimes were committed in non-war situation without any form of justification under Nigeria’s extant laws nor international laws, including treaty laws signed and ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The filing of state-crime complaint against the President was in accordance with Article 15 of the ICC Statute of 1998 and based on
“overwhelming evidence” earlier submitted by Mr. Bruce Fein, a former US Associate Attorney General. Fein and his associate, Bruce DelValle were invited by the ICC Chief Prosecutor to The Hague to make their formal presentation. The duos were accompanied by Prof Justin Akujieze, President of Ekwenche Research Institute, and Mr. Luke Nwannunu, Chair of the Genocide Legal Committee of the same
organization.

In June 2017, Ekwenche had filed a civil claimant suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit filed on behalf of ten Nigerian families in South East Nigeria whose loved ones were “massacred or grievously tortured by Nigerian security operatives.”

The actions of the American lawyers are based on a two-year research and documentation carried out by the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law. The rights organization, with a watchdog history spanning over two decades, led the research that produced an 85-page report and another 62 pages of photo album.

The state-crime research is titled: “Under Buhari & Osinbajo: Many Have Gone & Crippled For Life In Eastern Nigeria (Detailed Chronology of Nigerian Military Massacre Operations in Eastern Nigeria: August 2015-Sept. 2017). While the petition to The Hague is filed as “A petition to open an investigation pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statue in the Int’l Criminal Court: The Prosecutor V. Muhammadu Buhari, Tukur Buratai & Ors: For Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Against the Igbo People & Biafrans.”

Vice President Yemi and President Muhammadu Buhari

Since 2015, the Nigerian Military has been tarred with accusations of extra-judicial killings, torture and detention of ordinary citizens in South East Nigeria where in 2017 it grabbed international headlines for a widely-condemned operation code-named Python Dance.

Other names in the ICC petition include Solomon Arase and Ibrahim Idris, two former Inspector Generals of Police; and a former Director
General of State Security Service, Lawan Musa Daura.

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Human Rights

Amnesty confirms 60 killed by Boko Haram in Rann

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The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. On 30 January 2019, hundreds of structures appear heavily burned. Environmental sensors remotely detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January 2019.

At least 60 people were killed following the 28 January devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International has confirmed.

The organization also analyzed satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town. Many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were shelters for internally displaced people who came to Rann seeking protection.

“We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people. Using satellite imagery we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

Satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town

“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians.”

Inadequate security

Alleged withdrawal of troops, triggered a massive exodus of civilians to Cameroon, as fear spread that Boko Haram would take advantage and attack the town. At around 9am on 28 January, a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles. They set houses ablaze and killed those left behind. They also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town.  Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 bodies were found outside.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. A closer look at one burned area on 30 January 2019 shows the severity of the damage. Many of the structures are new since 2017 suggesting they are shelters for IDPs living in the town.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. A closer look at one burned area on 30 January 2019 shows the severity of the damage. Many of the structures are new since 2017 suggesting they are shelters for IDPs living in the town.

Amnesty International was informed that about 50 people have not been accounted for. Those who took part in the burial explained what they saw.

According to an eyewitness: “Ten of us [Civilian Joint Task Force] came from Cameroon to Rann for the burial. When we arrived, we found and buried 11 corpses within the town, but the soldiers told us that they buried several others yesterday [30 January] who had decayed. Outside the town, we recovered and buried 49 dead bodies all with gunshot wounds.”

Aid agencies have reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled Boko Haram’s previous attack on Rann on 14 January.

Satellite evidence of mass burning

Amnesty International analyzed satellite images from 30 January 2019 showing hundreds of structures burned in the east, south and southeast of Rann. Environmental sensors detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. On 30 January 2019, hundreds of structures appear heavily burned. Environmental sensors remotely detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January 2019.

In the 14 January attack, Boko Haram burned well over 100 structures in other areas of Rann. These two recent attacks have left most of the town heavily damaged or destroyed.

Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to this latest deadly attack.

“Boko Haram has consistently and deliberately targeted civilians in Rann, which makes the Nigerian authorities failure to protect people all the more unacceptable,” said Osai Ojigho.

“The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require. The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily.”

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Media groups mourn slain Ghanaian Journalist in Nigeria

– March to Ghana High Commission, open a condolence register in Abuja

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The group holding a banner in solidarity with slain Ghanaian journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale

Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom, Safer Media Initiative (SMI) and colleagues from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Thursday in solidarity mourned the death of Ghanaian Journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale who was assassinated in his country on Wednesday, January 16.

Hussein-Suale, an undercover journalist with Tiger Eye, an investigative reporting project founded by Anas Aremeyaw Anas was shot three times by gunmen on a motor bike who eventually drove off without carting away with any valuables from his vehicle.

In solidarity to the fallen hero, journalists from SATELLITE TIMES, Safer Media Initiative and colleagues from the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) came out, dressed in black to mourn and also condemn the gruesome killing of Hussein-Suale. The ceremony is in continuation of a week-long activity in Abuja and Lagos by investigative reporters bent on seeking justice for their slain colleague in Ghana as well as upholding the ideals for which he gave his life.

Two days earlier, members of Safer Media Initiative took their solidarity march to the Ghana High Commission in Abuja where they called on the Ghanaian government to take action and further justice for the slain journalist.

Reacting to the murder, publisher of SATELLITE TIMES newspaper and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah, in strong terms condemned the act, adding that it is one too many on African journalists.

 Publisher of SATELLITE TIMES newspaper and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah

Publisher of SATELLITE TIMES newspaper and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah

Mayah used the medium to also encourage journalists not to fret or be discouraged by the attack on their colleague. Though he recognized the fact that the work of journalists in Africa is becoming increasingly difficult, he charged them to keep shinning light on the truth as they remain the defenders of the social contract, ridding the continent of corruption, bad governance and inequality.

In an earlier statement condemning the murder, Mayah said “We at SATELLITE TIMES newsroom join our colleagues in the global investigative journalism community in condemning the cowardly killing of this young journalist in Ghana. To Anas: we stand by you and share in your grief in this dark moment. To Ahmed’s family: the pain never goes away. To the government of Ghana we say: Journalists are not public enemy, rather they are protectors of the public interest; the defenders of the social contract between the citizens and the state.”

Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom took turns to sign a condolence register in memory and honour of Hussein-Suale.

Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom signing condolence register

Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom signing condolence register

Tony Icheku, a member of the NUJ in his condolence message said, “A threat to one is a threat to all. Ahmed Hussein-Suale’s death must not be in vain. RIP brother man!”

In his remark, the Executive Director of Safer Media Initiative, Peter Iorter said “it is unfortunate and worrisome that this has happened in Ghana, a country regarded as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and also ranking better than any other African country on the World Press Freedom index.”

Hussein-Suale was a member of the undercover team that exposed football corruption in Ghana and his last work, an investigation into ritual killings in Malawi published by the BBC.

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