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SERAP Sues Health Minister And NCDC Director Over ‘Failure To Account For Coronavirus Money’

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), over “their failure to account for the public funds and other resources so far spent and used to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/616/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Minister of Health and the NCDC to publish details of the funds and resources from federal and state governments, and the private sector, as well as details of how the funds and resources have so far been spent and used to combat COVID-19.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Federal Government to disclose information on the exact number of tests that have been carried out for high-ranking public officials and politicians, the number of any such high-ranking public officials and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, as well as the exact number of tests that have been carried out for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

SERAP is arguing that: “Transparency in the use of COVID-19 money would help to reduce the risk of corruption or opportunism, build trust and engage Nigerians in the fight against coronavirus as well as safe lives. Transparency and accountability are important to implementing an effective response to COVID-19 and slowing the spread of the virus in the country.”

According to SERAP: “Nigerians have the right to know the details of spending of COVID-19 money, as this is essential to the fight against corruption, and will foster the development of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 27 March 2020 to the Minister of Health and the NCDC, expressing “concern that lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources to combat COVID-19 would lead to diversion or mismanagement of funds and resources, unnecessarily cost lives, and result in serious damage to public health in the country.”

According to SERAP: “Millions of Nigerians continue to lack access to an improved water source and to proper sanitation, thereby making them vulnerable to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Yet, the Ministry of Health and the NCDC have failed and/or refused to disclose whether there is any collaborative work with the Ministry of Water Resources to provide vulnerable Nigerians with safe water, sanitation, and hygienic conditions.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Atinuke Adejuyigbe, and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “The information SERAP is seeking to access is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The Federal Government has a legal duty to ensure that information on the spending of COVID-19 money and resources is released to SERAP and widely published. It is not too much to ask for details of measures to protect health workers and procedures put in place to ensure that COVID-19 money is not diverted, mismanaged or stolen.”

“The Federal Government has no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested, and therefore, this court ought to grant SERAP the order directing and compelling the Federal Government to publish details of spending of COVID-19 money.”

“There are reports of lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources being mobilised to combat coronavirus, and that authorities are prioritising home testing of politicians, with some reportedly taking multiple tests. Politicians engaging in multiple tests for coronavirus have in turn slowed the number of tests for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

“The suit is in the public interest, as it bothers on issues of national interest, public welfare and interest, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability. Obedience to the rule of law particularly by those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law.”

“Nigerians are entitled to know how the commonwealth is being utilized, managed and administered in a democratic setting, as this positively influences the feeling of belonging in the society. This right to know will no doubt help in promoting a transparent democracy, good governance and public accountability.”

SERAP is seeking the following reliefs:

AN ORDER granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review and seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondents to provide and disclose the following information to the Applicant:
A. Details of exact funds and other resources allocated by the Nigerian authorities and private sector donations to the Respondents to improve Nigeria’s health facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

B. Details of spending and planned spending of any such funds, other resources and donations to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

C. Details of efforts made by the Second Respondent to make NCDC’s website functional and accessible and to publish weekly spending on initiatives by the NCDC, including on NCDC’s website;

D. Details of processes and procedures put in place to ensure that the funds, other resources and donations allocated to combat COVID-19 are not diverted, mismanaged or stolen;

E. Details of measures to protect health workers and to encourage the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people to come forward for testing and to escalate testing for this group;

F. The exact number of tests that have been carried out for high-ranking public officials and politicians, the number of any such high-ranking public officials and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, as well as the exact number of tests that have been carried out for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people

AND for such further order(s) this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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ICC/Amnesty International: Enemies Of Nigeria Must Be Prepared To Meet The Masses – NDF

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The National Democratic Front (NDF) has warned the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International (AI) and other “enemies of Nigeria” to prepare to meet the masses, whose lives they are jeopardizing with their subversive activities.

The NDF made this known on Tuesday in reaction to the alarm that these international organisations are colluding to undermine Nigeria’s war on terrorism.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Dr Samson Ayo, the group further noted that the ICC, AI and others have allied with the opposition in a devilish pursuit of a possible regime change.

According to Dr Ayo, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is the last obstacle in their quest, hence the constant attacks on the service chiefs.

To achieve this, he added that the ICC conjured up a dubious report alleging war crimes and rights abuses against the military.

The NDF, however, urged the Federal Government to take decisive actions to counter the threats posed to Nigeria’s democracy and security by the ICC and Amnesty International.

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front (NDF) is alarmed by the revelations from the Federal Government that the International Criminal Court of justice (ICC) and international NGO, Amnesty International are colluding to undermine Nigeria’s war on terrorism. There can be no greater travesty than such callous undermining of Nigeria’s right to defend its territorial integrity.

NDF is further concerned that the ICC, Amnesty International and their associates are collaborating with the opposition in this devilish pursuit, which lends credence to assertions in some quarters that these organizations are jostling for an illegal and possibly a forceful regime change to plant elements of the opposition in positions that will enable them to destroy the country from within.

The decision of this syndicate to target the leadership of the military in Nigeria with spurious and unfounded allegations of war crimes and rights abuses is one that should set the alarm bells ringing in the collective consciousness of Nigerians. This is because they recognize the Armed Forces of Nigeria as the last obstacle to their attempt with the opposition to illegally sack the government, especially since the Military Service Chiefs had serially promised to defend Nigeria’s democracy at any permissible cost.

NDF recalls that it had warned in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections that the opposition is desperate to see the removal of the military chiefs so that pliable and pro-coup replacements can be named following which they would massive and coordinate civil unrest that they will then use as a basis to overthrow the government with the backing of foreign partners that have now proven to be the ICC and Amnesty International.

We are therefore not surprised that the opposition’s frantic call for the sack of the service chiefs is now being followed by a dubious report from the ICC aimed at forcing the exit of the gallant commanders in addition to subtly blackmailing their eventual successors into doing the biddings of Nigeria’s enemies as represented by the opposition, Amnesty International and the ICC.

It is most unfortunate that the ICC and Amnesty International, institutions that have the safeguard of human rights as the core of their mandates, are the ones that have now constituted themselves into pro-terrorist organizations simply because of their desperation to implement the evil agenda they have in the country. They have also committed themselves to actively sabotaging Nigeria’s hard-won democracy, which qualified them as the country’s leading enemies.

NDF has no choice but to unequivocally demand that the Federal Government takes decisive actions to counter the threats posed to Nigeria’s democracy and security by the ICC and Amnesty International. Things have gotten to the point where these organizations, irrespective of their now abused international status, must treat in the manner they deserve.

Conscious of the fact that it had in the past expressed concerns about the dangerous activities of these organizations with unheeded warnings to them to desist, NDF is warning the ICC and Amnesty International that they must now be prepared to meet the masses of Nigeria, whose lives they are jeopardizing with their subversive activities.

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ICC, Amnesty International, Others Planning To Release Fraudulent Report Against Nigerian Military Hierarchy – Centre For Justice

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The Centre for Justice in Africa (CJA) says it has uncovered a fresh plot by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International (AI) and Transparency International (TI) to destabilise the Nigerian military through a “fictitious” report.

The centre, which raised this alarm at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, also revealed that the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria are the target.

Speaking on behalf of the centre, Director of Communications, Comrade Dauda Owolabi Abdullalteef, noted that the three foreign groups have formed an evil alliance to undermine the Nigerian military.

Comrade Abdullateef noted that each time Amnesty is unable to hold back the Armed Forces, it outsources the responsibility to Transparency International which then brings corruption allegations against the military.

According to CJA, both organisations and more recently, the ICC, are operated by the same cabals and set of subversive saboteurs.

The centre, however, urged the Federal Government to immediately call Amnesty and Transparency to order, by writing formal complaints with cease-and-desist orders to their international headquarters.

It further demanded that the FG set up a committee to review the country’s continued membership of “monster” ICC.

Read the full statement below

Gentlemen of the press, it is with the utmost sense of national duty and responsibility that we invite you here today. Our invitation is out of our concern for an escalation in the onslaught of subversive activities against the Federal Republic of Nigeria by organizations that ordinarily are expected to promote the corporate integrity of nation-states.

The organizations we are referring to are: (i) The International Criminal Court (ICC) (ii) Amnesty International (iii) and Transparency International. These organizations have turned themselves into tribunals that exist only to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. They are specifically targeting the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a manner that undermines the ability of Nigeria to address the problem of terrorism and extremism besetting it.

It is interesting to note that these organizations have perfected the subversive operation they are running against Nigeria in a manner that makes it appear as if they are running their legitimate day to activities. The ICC, for instance, hounds Nigeria’s military officers and commanders in a way that appears as it is legitimately investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity; Amnesty International keeps up the charade of pretending to monitor adherence to human rights protocols while Transparency International has perfected the strategy for finding corruption in transactions that never took place.

Several Nigerians, groups and organizations had in the past expressed concerns about the true intents and agenda of these organizations without Nigerians paying heed. The recent declaration by ICC that it has grounds to investigate Nigeria’s military for rights violation in the war against terrorism in the northeast of Nigeria. However, this is merely a facet in the misguided report from the ICC. The other subversive contents in the report included that it placed the Nigerian Armed Forces on the same pedestal with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists. This was no error or accident; it was a calculated attempt to diminish the country’s military and elevate Boko Haram fighters to the level of a national army ahead of when its Amnesty International allies will market a negotiation programme. Nigeria will then be cornered into negotiating with terrorists as if they are a sovereign country.

Worryingly, Boko Haram/ISWAP is merely a card in the evil plot put together by ICC with its Amnesty International and Transparency International collaborators. The ICC report clearly identified other wildcards in the nefarious agenda. It listed the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB) as victims without acknowledging the crimes they have committed against Nigerians and continue to commit. It also failed to properly name them as terrorist groups, which suggests that ICC is prejudiced to the point where it has refused to recognize Nigeria’s competent judiciary that proscribed these groups.

ICC had consequently lived up to its billing as a lynch mob that exists solely to vilify, victimize and humiliate African countries by dragging their leaders before it even when no crimes are committed with the flip side that leaders of some countries can order drone strikes that kill women and children on an industrial scale or invade sovereign nations to ruin them without being held to account. This racist disposition has been repeatedly reinforced by the ICC and it seems it is now on the path to becoming rabid with its latest incursion into Nigeria.

Additional facts about the ICC’s activities is that the so-called evidence it relied on to decide to investigate the Nigerian military was largely produced by Amnesty International. The negligible portion of the evidence that was not produced by the international NGO was sourced from its local affiliates that have sub-contracts to malign the reputation of Nigeria’s security forces.

A lot has been said about how Amnesty International sources its tainted evidence. It coaches respondents on what to say and has even gone as far as using paid actors as interviewees. Its Country Director, Osai Ojigho during recent protests in Nigeria, infamously accused the military of committing genocide but could not provide a single shred of evidence other than to retort that the Armed Forces have a practice of taking away evidence when she was pressed for proof of her claim during a television interview.

This same Amnesty International had been implicated in passing military intelligence obtained in the course of its work to Boko Haram terrorists such the insurgents were then able to evade military operations launched against them and simultaneously able to launch deadly attacks. Whenever the military issues classified advisories about areas that humanitarian and rights groups should avoid, Amnesty International passed the same to terrorists until it was found out, which promoted it to become more antagonistic of the military.

We have not also lost sight of the fact that Nigeria was denied access to buy weapons based on lies that Amnesty International packaged as reports. This denial allowed the terrorists to boldly operate for a while until the military leadership that came with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration found innovative ways to get the needed hardware and logistics to prosecute the anti-terrorism war. This ability to fight the war against Boko Haram, ISWAP and other brands of terrorists is what has riled Amnesty International to a point where it will tell just any lie to undermine the fighting capacity of the Armed Forces.

Gentlemen of the press, we invite you to note that each time Amnesty International discovers that it is not able to hold back the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria it outsources the function to Transparency International, which then brings allegations of corruption against the military. It is instructive to note that the supposed corruption is sometimes around weapons that Amnesty International – induced sanctions have prevented the country from buying. They fail to explain how money what has not been released can be stolen.

It must be further noted that Amnesty International and Transparency International are operated in Nigeria by the same cabal. The same set of subversive saboteurs overlap on the boards of both organizations and they often compare notes on how best to go about their contract to undermine Nigeria. They have the same media contractors that they use to spin whatever damaging fictitious report they want to publish against the country. This media asset was deployed for promoting the ICC report, so, it is apparent that the ICC, Amnesty International and Transparency International are different facets of the same problem.

Today’s world press conference is, therefore, to draw global attention to the evil plot by agents of destabilization led by the ICC, Amnesty International and Transparency International to ruin the peace and stability of Nigeria through fictitious charges that they are now cooking up against the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under a new report that ICC is about releasing.

This is why we salute the courage of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in boldly stating that the subversive activities of the ICC, Amnesty International and Transparency International are undermining the ability to effectively fight Boko Haram/ISWAP and other terrorists’ threats. We want the government to go further in taking actual steps to curtail the excesses of the identified groups.

We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government immediately calls Amnesty International and Transparency International to order, which includes writing formal complaints with cease-and-desist orders to the international headquarters of these organizations. These should be backed with formal protest letters to the embassies or high commissions of the countries where these organizations have their headquarters. They cannot continue to jeopardize the safety of Nigerians for whatever reason.

As for the ICC, we demand that the Federal Government immediately set up a committee to review Nigeria’s continued membership of this monster. The committee’s terms of reference should include an interrogation of the proprietary of Nigeria remaining a signatory to the Rome Statute when it is now apparent that its creation is being wielded as a weapon of mass destruction against Nigeria. The Federal Government must ensure that this is done in the shortest time possible.

As for ICC, Amnesty International and Transparency International, we want to put them on notice that the day of reckoning will eventually come and they shall answer for their crimes against Nigeria because ultimately, the will of a people becomes the highest court.

Thank you.

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MARTE: Anti-Terrorism Coalition Applauds Nigerian Army, Troops For Victory Over Boko Haram Insurgents

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The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has hailed the Nigerian Army for another successful onslaught on Boko Haram terrorists in Marte Local Government Area of Borno State.

The centre, in a statement on Sunday, said the insurgents suffered decisive damage but urged the troops not to allow them to regroup.

Recall that troops of Operation Tura Takaibango in conjunction with Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole, on Friday night, eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed seven of their gun trucks in the outskirts of Marte.

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Gabriel Onoja, CATE said the recent outing is a reminder that the terrorists are not superior to the Nigerian state and will forever remain criminals.

According to Onoja, the war against insurgency is approaching the final stages and all Nigerians have their roles.

The centre, however, advised that fleeing terrorists should be pursued into whatever warren they run into and be visited with what they have invited on themselves.

The CATE, therefore, called on the inhabitants in adjourning areas to be exceptionally vigilant to new persons arriving in their domains, some of whom are fleeing terrorists with a penchant for seeking cover and treatment in nearby towns and villages.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) is pleased to note the success of the Nigerian troops under Operation Tura Takaibango which collaborated with the Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole to  on Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)/Boko Haram fighters in

We commend the Nigerian Army and the entire Armed Forces for the success recorded in reminding the insurgent terrorists that they are not superior to the Nigerian state and will forever remain criminals who should be hunted down and neutralized for the safety and wellbeing of the people. We are confident that with the necessary support, the Nigerian military can continue to deliver this kind of cheery news to the country regularly.

CATE further notes that “reliable information” supplied to the troops made the military operation successful, which goes to the heart of what we have always advocated, which is for the general populace to constantly volunteer information to the military and law enforcement. The war against insurgency is certainly at a stage where the Nigerians have greater roles to play in defeating terrorism.

It is reassuring that the troops did not get carried away by the achievement of destroying 7 terrorists’ gun trucks and decimating numerous terrorists but have pressed on in pursuit of those that were escaping from the ISWAP/Boko Haram misadventure. Our position remains that such fleeing terrorists should be pursued into whatever warren they flee into and be visited with what they have invited on themselves.

Since some of these fleeing terrorists have a penchant for seeking cover and treatment in towns and villages, we particularly call on the people living in adjourning areas to be exceptionally vigilant to new persons arriving in their domains, especially if such persons are carrying war injuries. They should be given up to the authorities while communities in the northeast should also be more circumspect in providing accommodation or shelter to persons whose identities they cannot vet.

The prospect of defeating terrorism in the northeast and any other part of the country is anchored on preventing terrorists from recovering or regrouping after taking the kind of beating unleashed on them by troops in Marte. Members of the public are strategic to achieving this and it is best attained by supplying credible information to the military and starving the terrorists of the humanitarian support that they have used to recover from war injuries and regrouping.

Meanwhile, CATE is disappointed by reportage of some media outlets, social media influencers and bloggers who had rushed to credit ISWAP/Boko Haram with victory in the Marte encounter without recourse to the fact on the ground. The haste with which these group of people attributed the victory to the terrorists suggests that they had foreknowledge of the terrorists’ attack and had anticipated that they would inflict damages on the community as was the case in the distant past without realizing that the fundamentals have changed.

It is most unfortunate that certain individuals and organizations continue to act as if they are not citizens of Nigeria in the way they collide with terrorists by amplifying their murderous activities or even in some cases attributing phantom victories to the terrorists. We counsel such persons and organizations to stop their subversive propaganda activities and rally behind the Nigeria state to defeat terrorism.

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