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Human Rights Watch to Buhari: Court Ruling Against Shia Threatens Basic Human Rights

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• Decision Tramples on Basic Rights of Religious Movement

A Nigerian court ruled on July 26, 2019 that activities of the Shia Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) amount to “acts of terrorism and illegality” and ordered the government to ban the religious group, Human Rights Watch said today. Nigeria’s presidency then announced the ban on July 28.

“The sweeping court ruling against the Shia movement threatens the basic human rights of all Nigerians,” said Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should seek to reverse the ban, which prohibits the religious group’s members from exercising their right to meet and carry out peaceful activities.”

The IMN is a Shia minority sect with close ties to Iran, operating mostly in northern Nigeria. It began in the 1980s and is led by Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky, who was inspired by Iran’s revolutionary movement during his travels there. The sect has an estimated four million followers. It is separate from Boko Haram, an Islamist armed group also operating in northern Nigeria.

The move to ban the group came less than a week after police violently cracked down on members of the Shia movement in Abuja, the capital, as they protested the Zakzaky’s detention since 2015 and called for the authorities to allow him proper medical care. At least 11 protesters, a journalist, and a police officer were killed, while dozens of other protesters were wounded or arrested.

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In its July 26 ruling, the court directed the government to publish the proscription order in the official Gazette and two national dailies. Nigeria’s solicitor general had brought a motion – called an ex parte application – before the court, seeking to have the group declared a terrorist organization and banned. The group’s representatives were not given an opportunity to participate in the hearing, as such an application is intended for emergency proceedings that do not require the opposing party to respond or be present.

In announcing the ban on the movement, the presidency stated that the government had “outlawed the criminality of the group,” which has engaged in terrorist activities, “including attacking soldiers, killing policemen and a youth corps member, destroying public property, consistently defying State authority.” The statement further specified that the ban was not against peaceful and law-abiding Shia Muslims in the country who are practicing their religion.

The Nigerian constitution and international human rights law guarantee the rights to freedom of religion, association and expression. Under international law, no restrictions may be placed on these rights unless provided by law, serve a legitimate government purpose in a democratic society, and are necessary for attaining that purpose.

“Allegations of criminality do not present legitimate grounds to ban the activities of a religious group, including protests for justice and the release of their leader,” Ewang said. “The ban on the Shia movement may portend an even worse security force crackdown on the group, which could have dire human rights implications throughout Nigeria.”

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Makinde presents cash donation to Yemi Likedat’s widow

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Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has presented a cash donation to the family of the late Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, Comrade Yemi Adeniran (Likedat).

This came two months after the government gave an automatic employment to the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Yetunde Adeniran, at The Polytechnic Ibadan.

 

The Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde, Moses Alao, in a statement signed on Tuesday revealed.

 

Yemi Likedat, as he was popularly known, died in a motor accident in December 2019 on his way from Abuja, shortly after witnessing the Supreme Court judgment on the 2019 governorship election in Oyo State won by Engineer Makinde.

 

The statement added that Governor Makinde who was represented by his Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters, Honourable Babatunde Oduyoye at  the event which  took place at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan naintained that the administration will continue to identify with the family though nothing could replace the deceased party loyalist.

 

The governor said: “On behalf of the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, I want to welcome you to the Secretariat. About eight months ago, we lost a friend, a comrade, someone who believed in the vision of this administration.

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“We were there together for the service of songs and the burial and we promised to stay with the family. We identified about four steps. This is the second step.

 

“The governor intends to give succour to the family. There is nothing that the government can do to replace Yemi but, at least, we will continue to do what we should do to identify with the family and ensure that the children, most especially, get the best of education he would have loved to give them.

 

“We want to show how important he is to this administration and that is why we have few people around to welcome you here.

 

“So, this government will continue to stand by you. We have taken care of the first step and this is the second one. Insha Allah, the two others will come to pass by the grace of God. So, on this note, I thank you for coming and urge you to continue to stand for the children. We also thank you for honouring us by coming.”

 

While speaking on behalf of the family, the wife of the deceased Mrs. Yetunde appreciated Governor Makinde for supporting and fulfilling promises he made to the family.

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“We appreciate what the Governor did today in supporting and assisting the family; God will continue to provide for the family,” she said.

 

Government officials at the event include the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr.Taiwo Adisa and the Special Assistant to the governor on Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Kazeem Bolarinwa among others.

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Ex-president Obasanjo tests negative for COVID-19

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Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has tested negative to Covid-19.

The ex- President took the test last Friday, August 7, 2020, at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Pent House residence, Okemosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

His special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, who disclosed this on Sunday explained that the samples of the test, conducted by one Dr. Olukunle Oluwasemowo of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory 54gene, Lagos, Nigeria, was returned negative on Saturday.

The laboratory, as gathered  is one of the accredited laboratories approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct the crucial Covid-19 test on both asymptomatic and symptomatic.

 

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Oyo: Makinde fires Works commissioner, swaps two others 

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has fired his Commissioner for Works, Infrastructure and Transport, Professor Raphael Afonja of his appointment.

 

Governor Makinde, in a letter dated August 10, 2020 and signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, said the termination takes immediate effect.

 

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the letter titled “Termination of appointment” as saying: “I wish to convey the approval of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, on the termination of your appointment as Honourable Commissioner, with immediate effect.

 

“Consequent upon the above development, you are hereby directed to hand over all the government items in your possession to the Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Transport).

 

“I am to add that, your contribution within the time of your sojourn is appreciated and commendable, and therefore, wish you successes in your future endeavours. I thank you.”

 

In another development, the governor has also approved the redeployment of two Commissioners, who were asked to swap portfolios.

 

An internal memo signed by the SSG with the subject: “Redeployment of EXCO members” indicated that the Commissioner for Special Duties, Chief Bayo Lawal, has been moved to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, while his counterpart who was manning that Ministry, Hon. Funmilayo Orisadeyi, is to move to the Ministry of Special Duties.

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The memo indicated that the redeployment takes immediate effect.

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