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OBASANJO'S GOVERNMENT VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

OBASANJO'S GOVERNMENT VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

The present civilian administration under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo is nothing more than military in civilian clothing. It should be remembered that President Obasanjo was a former Nigerian military Head of State from Feb.1976 to Oct.1979. During his regime as Head of State of Nigeria, he was responsible for many human rights abuses, for instance, there were extra judicial killings of many Nigerian University Students during peaceful protest against the then minister of Education for his bad policy on Education. Also the house and properties of the famous musician and human rights crusader Fela Anikulapo Kuti were burnt to ashes. His old and frail mother Mrs.Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti was thrown down from a storey building. The old woman later died as a result of the injuries she sustained. No compensation was ever paid to the musician, instead the government acquired the premises of the burnt building and claimed that unknown soldiers were responsible for the arson. These are just few examples of Obasanjo's brutality during his military regime.
President Obasanjo was imposed on the people of Nigeria in 1999 when the military government under General Abdul-salam Abubakar rigged the elections in favour of his former master.
Nigerians had another chance of electing a dynamic and democratic leader in the 2003 general elections, unfortunately , Obasanjo and co. manipulated and massively rigged the elections to impose him for a second term in office. He has already been making moves to go for a third term, which the present Nigerian Constitution does not allow. However we are watching him.

Gen.Olusegun Obasanjo (RTD). has shown little or no respect for Human Rights since the inception of his government in 1999. His government has shown itself to be worse than those of any of the past military dictators.
The Human Rights Watch and many Nigerian Newspapers reported that several hundreds of people were killed in politically motivated violence during the April 2003 general elections, (HRW reports on Nigeria published in December 2003 vol. 15 No 19 (A).
The victims included high profile political figures as well as party supporters. Most of the attacks were carried out by supporters of the ruling Party (PDP) against supporters of opposition parties such as the All Nigeria People’s party (UNPP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Members of the opposition parties were arrested before, during and after the elections. Many of them were released after the elections without any charge. They were arrested just to prevent them from supervising and participating in the elections. The supporters of PDP who were responsible for the violence were never arrested.
After the elections, some of the defeated parties formed an organisation called Conference of Nigeria Political Party (CNPP). This organisation claimed that the Inspector General of police ordered the arrest of 23 supporters of the presidential candidate of the ANPP including 11 women who were on their way to Abuja on June23, 2003 to witness a court proceeding in a case instituted by the candidate against the outcome of the elections. Many of the opposition members were detained for several months.

The government does not tolerate even peaceful protests.
On July 7, 2003 , the police raided the ANPP office in Abuja and arrested several people. They were later released. The police reportedly accused them of organising a protest at the U.S embassy on July 3, 2003.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called a general strike from June 30, 2003 against a sharp increase of 50 percent in the price of fuel. The police response to the strike and protests was brutal. Large numbers of police were deployed across the country as in the days of the military in Nigeria. The police violently broke up demonstrations and rallies, dispersing protesters with tear gas and live bullet shots. Several protesters and passers-by were short dead. More than 20 people were killed while scores of people were arrested. Also several Journalists covering the demonstrations were beaten and arrested.

Arrests and torture of human rights activists has been the order of the day.
On April 30, 2003, Okechuku Nwanguma, a co-ordinator of the south east zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) was subjected to intense questioning, threats, and intimidation for several hours by the police in Enugu city. This was as a result of a letter documenting arbitrary arrests, corruption and other abuses by the police in Enugu state which the CLO had sent to the
Inspector General of police.
The security forces seized Passports of several members of the Nigeria Human Rights Community thereby preventing them from travelling abroad. The chairman of the centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Secretary General of Pan African Movement Tajudeen Abdul Raheem was not allowed to travel to London in December 3, 2002. The police told him that his name was on their Watch List. Other activists whose passports were seized, included Titi Ogunye Secretary of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and Iheoma Obibi director of Alliances of Africa.

The Police in Kaduna arrested and harassed not less than two people whom they suspected have provided information and photographs to the Human Rights Watch on some killing incidences by the police during the riots in kaduna in 2003, following protests at the Miss world beauty contest which was scheduled to take place in Nigeria.
Sometimes the government and the police specifically instructed Journalists not to report certain events.When President Obasanjo visited Kano on July 29, 2002, police clashed with an angry crowd protesting against President Obasanjo’s visit to the city. Police in the Presidential entourage short at protesters and several people died. Journalists covering the occasion were specifically instructed not to report this incidence.
The police raided the premises of the Argu, the Beacon and the Independent Monitor newspapers in November 2002. Several Journalists were arrested by the police for publishing stories seen as critical of the River state government.

In April 2003, Islamic teacher and scholar Hassaini Umar was arrested in the northern city of kaduna and detained in an undisclosed location. By mid October 2003 his whereabouts remain unknown. His arrest was in connection with allegations of corruption and inactivity to reduce poverty he levelled against the federal government. He was particularly critical of the vice- president, Atiku Abubakar.

In August 2003, Police Officer Sergent Musa Usman was arrested and questioned by the police after speaking out his mind about corruption and poor conditions in the police force. His criticism was during a meeting in Lagos addressed by the Minister for Police Affairs Broderick Bozimo. The Minister invited those present to express their views. As of September 2003 his whereabouts was still unknown.

The United States Country reports on Nigeria 2001, sighted many instances of political persecutions of Ethnic Militia. *Ganiyu Adams, a leader of the OPC, was arrested and charged in Lagos state with murder and robbery. Adams had been wanted by the police since the 1999 riots sparked by the OPC. In October Adams was arrested again and charged with murder, stealing. Robbery, and illegal possession of firearms; on October 30, he was released on bail.

In 2000 the committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) reported that 302 OPC members were arrested following clashes with the police in Lagos. Out of those detained , 95 were released in 2000. The remaining detainees were not able to obtain legal representations and either could not make bail or were not eligible for bail due to the charges brought against them.

In september2002, mobile police reportedly raided MASSOB’s headquarters and made arrests following allegations that MASSOB and Bakassi Boys were responsible for the murder of two local residents. The Constitutional Rights Project (CRP), the Pan -Yoruba group Afenifere, and the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos publicly criticised the tactics used by the police to deal with MASSOB. The leader of MASSOB Ralp Uwazurike claimed that 1,000 MASSOB members remained in detention without charge in Umuahia, Abia state (2002 U.S Country Reports on Nigeria).

The most common human rights violations in Nigeria in recent times has been politically motivated assassinations. Many people have been assassinated for having contrary political convictions to those of the government of the day.
A Statistical analysis of some Nigerian Newspapers show that politically motivated assassinations of more than 25 prominent Politicians occurred within the first 3 months of 2004.
This is shown below.

SOME OF THE RECENTLY ASSASSINATED PEOPLE IN NIGERIA.

DATE AND PLACE OF ASSASINATION, & REFERENCE NEWSPAPERS.

1.---------January 12, 2004.
Dr. George Bosah Okide, Acting Dean,Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
….(Nigeriaworld.com March 8,2004).
2.---------January 8, 2004.
Mr. Bernard Egbekun, Microbiology graduate teacher at Gbaram Secondary School Bayelsa state. Assassinated at River settlement of Marise Base.
….(nigeriaworld.com March 8,2004).
3.---------January, 2004.
Dr. Anthony Iloegbulem, the acting Head of Department of Geology and Mining, State University of Science and Technology, Enugu. Assassinated in his office.
4.---------February 6, 2004.
Chief Dikkibo National Vice Chairman south-south PDP. Assassinated at Isheagu Delta State….( Punch newspaper Tue. March 23, 2004).
5.---------March 2, 2004.
Andrew Agom, PDP, Board of Trustee. Assassinated Makurdi-Abuja
Road.
........Punch March 14, 2004.
6.--------- Mr. Joseph Ngam Police Sergeant, assassinated along Makurdi-Abuja road .
........Punch March 14, 2004.
7.---------
Mr. Joseph Ngam, Police Sergeant. Along Lafia Akwangs Abuja Road.
........Punch Tuesday, March 23, 2004.
8.---------March 3,2004.
Luke Shigaba Chairmanship aspirant for Bussa, Local government Area. Bussa. Kogi state.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.
9.---------March 3,2004.
Mr. Daniel Asekhame chairmanship candidate Owan Local.Gov. Ekpoma. Edo state. Assassinated in Ekpoma.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.
10.---------March 3, 2004.
Mr. Olufemi Fatope, security aids of Lagos state Governor. Shot dead
during an assasination attempt on the Governor.
11.---------March 4, 2004.
Chief Uche Lecturer at Alvan Ikoku College of education, Owerri.
Assassinated at Alvan lkoku college of Education Owerri.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.
12.---------March 5, 2004.
MR: Philip Oluwanipa, State Independent Electoral Commission
Kabba.
13.---------March 7, 2004.
Chief Chekwas Okorie Chairman APGA assassinated in Abuja.
14.----------
Mr.Peter Obi Governorship candidate APGA assassinated in Abuja
15.---------March 20, 2004.
Senator Bala Tafida Yauri Vic-Chairman North -West assassinated
along Kontagora Road.
........Punch 23, 2004.
16.---------March 28, 2004.
Pastor Dele Enodeh Christ Missionary Patani, Patani L. G Delta state.
Assassinated in Patani.
........Punch 23, 2004.
17.---------Victor Nwankwo
18.---------Prof. Chimere Ikoku
19.---------Barnabas Igwe
20.---------Amaka Igwe
21.---------Dele Arojo
22.---------Hon. Monday Ndor
Numbers 17-22 were all assassinated as reported by Guardian newspapers on March 10, 2004 at different locations.

THOSE THAT ESCAPED ASSASSINATION.

23.---------March 6,2004.
Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos state, escaped assassination in Ugwu
Oba Anambra state.
........Daily Champion March 8, 2004.
24.---------March 2, 2004.
George Akume, Governor Benue state, escaped assassination.
........Daily Champion 8, 2004.
25.---------March 3, 2004.
Mrs. Comfort Shigaba escaped assassination in Kongi state.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.
26.---------March 2004.
Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Nobel Laureate cried out
about threat to his life.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.
27.---------
Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State raised alarm over an alleged plot to kill him.
........Nigeriaworld.com March 8, 2004.

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