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FG’s travel ban on 50 high-profile Nigerians breaches constitutional rights – SERAP

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Human-rights group under the aegis of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), have faulted the Federal Government’s travel ban on 50 high-profile Nigerians describing it as illegal.

The group in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, on Sunday said the order banning the alleged high-profile corrupt Nigerians from travelling abroad is arbitrary, repressive and illegal, saying it breaches constitutional rights and the country’s international obligations, which protect the rights to freedom of movement, to leave one’s country, to privacy, and to due process of law.

“A travel ban by its nature is an interference with the right to leave one’s country. It is neither necessary nor proportionate to prevent dissipation of stolen assets or stop politically exposed persons (PEPs) from tampering with any such assets. The ban should be immediately lifted and the order rescinded,” the statement read in part.

SERAP maintained that the travel ban rather than performing its declared objective of preventing dissipation of stolen assets would undermine the government’s expressed commitment to combat corruption and violate the country’s international human rights obligations.

“The travel ban will play right into the hands of high-profile corrupt officials by feeding into the narrative that the fight against corruption is targeted only at political opponents.

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“The travel ban and mass surveillance will distract the authorities from taking legitimate action to recover stolen assets, effectively punish high-ranking corrupt officials and portray the government as unwilling to embrace the rule of law in its fight against corruption, thereby making it difficult to obtain the necessary support and cooperation of countries keeping stolen assets.”

SERAP in the statement also noted that the travel ban will strain the government’s relationships with partner countries, on whom it will inevitably rely for vital asset recovery cooperation, undermining the effort to bring them closer.

“The travel ban cannot achieve the objective of depriving the 50 Nigerians suspected of corruption of their ill-gotten gains.

“It is absolutely important that the government is guided by the provisions of Article 31 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party, and which authorises states parties to take preliminary measures to seize, freeze or otherwise immobilise property for the purposes of confiscation/pending investigation and litigation,” the human rights group said.

The Federal Government had on Saturday banned 50 high-profile Nigerians from travelling abroad following the implementation of the Executive Order 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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PHOTOS: Again, Customs Intercept N5bn Worth Of Tramadol, Other Drugs In Lagos

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The Nigerian Customs Service on Friday intercepted containers of tramadol and  20 other contraband drugs worth N5 billion in Lagos.

This comes barely three weeks after officials of the service destroyed over 50 containers of tramadol and other drugs worth about N7billion.

Its Spokesman, Assist. comptroller Joseph Attah, made this known  when he conducted newsmen round a warehouse where the trucks of the intercepted items were parked at the Ikeja Training College of the service in Lagos.

Attah, also disclosed that the containers of tramadol and other drugs, were smuggled in during the recent Eid-El-Kabir celebrations, as the perpetrators tried to take advantage of the holidays.

“The smugglers believe that festive period is a time of merriment and less vigilance, but our officers intercepted the illicit drugs as the smugglers attempted to move them from Lagos to other parts of the country.

“The intercepted trailer contains illicit drugs and was immediately brought to the attention of the team leader of the force, Assist. Comptroller of Customs, Usman Yahya who deepened preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Oshodi-Mile 2 Road.

“The warehouse was stocked with tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without the National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control number”, he said.

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Upon Arrival, Security Agents Take El-Zakzaky, Wife Into Custody

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The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat have been taken into custody by security agents upon their arrival in Nigeria today.

Zakzaky and his wife were allegedly whisked away by the security agents at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

This was disclosed by IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa.

El-Zakzaky and wife arrived Nigeria aboard an Ethiopian Airlines by 12noon.

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‘Speak Out’, Police Appeal to Rape Victims

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The Police Public Relation Officer of the FCT Command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, on Thursday appealed to victims of rape to speak out and cooperate with police prosecutors to get justice.

Manzah, who made the called in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  said such would help to weed the society of perpetrators of such crime.

He was speaking on the sideline of the Forum for the Adoption of Framework on Police Media-Relationship and safety of Journalists in Abuja.

He noted that prosecution of alleged rape case becomes a challenge when victims and their families do not come out or present themselves in the investigation and prosecution of the matter

“Some of the family members who are principal witness would not want to come out; sometime they go behind and settled the issue without the knowledge of the police.

“When we want to continue investigation, you discover that they will be giving us excuses like ‘the victim has travelled or the relations are not on ground’ giving us different excuses.

“These excuses are not helping the police in their investigation and diligent prosecution of the case.

“I want to call on victims of rape, their relatives or relations to speak out, give police information and not go back behind the police to settle the matter.

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“We need them to present themselves; it will go a long way to assist us in our investigation and prosecution but when they go behind and settled with the accused, they stall the case.

“You cannot go to court without the victim to tell their part of the story”, Manzah added.

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