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ECOWAS Court Orders Immediate Release of 14 Inmates Detained Since 2018 by Togolese Government

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ECOWAS Court Orders Immediate Release of 14 Inmates Detained Since 2018 by Togolese Government

… Payment of 30 million CFA to each applicant

By: Michael Mike

The ECOWAS Court has ordered the Togolese Republic to release without delay M. Adam Latif and 13 other inmates who were arrested in December 2018 amid planned demonstrations and have been detained since then.

The Applicants accused the Togolese Republic of violation of their fundamental rights.

In the judgment delivered on November 30 by Justice Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves, judge rapporteur, the Court ordered the payment of 30 million francs CFA to each of the Applicants in compensation for the moral damage suffered due to the violation of their rights.

It held that the Respondent State violated the Applicants’ human right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as their right not to be arbitrarily detained.

However, the West African Court declared the Respondent not responsible for the infringement to the presumption of innocence, as the Applicants’ allegations did not contain any argument consistent with the meaning of the right to the presumption of innocence.

In suit ECW/CCJ/APP/09/22, Adam Latif, along with 13 others, had lodged an application against the Togolese Republic, alleging violations of their rights to physical and mental integrity following their arrests by state security forces.

They asserted infringements of their rights against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and their rights to the presumption of innocence.

The Applicants had alleged that their arrests occurred amid planned demonstrations in December 2018, spurred by the Togolese authorities’ failure to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) – a reformative accord among the ruling party, the opposition, and civil society – and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR).

Despite the non-occurrence of the demonstrations, they were apprehended, charged, and subsequently inflicted with the alleged acts for confessions. They argued that these incidents, coupled with the extensive pre-trial detention, compromised their presumption of innocence and depicted the judicial system’s utilization for political gains.

The Applicants informed the investigating judge of the alleged violations and stressed that an impartial investigation should have been conducted immediately, as per the United Nations Convention against Torture.

However, he dismissed their reports and their request for provisional release were systematically rejected, even after interventions of the Court of Appeal.

They told the Court that they sought the intervention of the Minister of Justice and the Head of State to no avail, and that they were held in detention for political reasons.

The 14 detainees prayed ECOWAS Court to order their immediate release and to mandate the Togolese Republic to carry out effective investigations to enable them initiate prosecutions against the alleged perpetrators of the violations. They also asked for 250 million FCFA each in compensation for the endured sufferings resulting from the alleged torture, arbitrary detention, and infringement of their rights to the presumption of innocence.

At its 25 September 2023 session, the Court had dismissed the Togolese Republic’s defense submitted after a year in disregard of article 35 of the Rule of Procedure of the Court which requires that defenses must be lodged within one month after the service of the application.

In its analysis, on the alleged violation of the right to physical and mental integrity and the right not to be subjected to acts of torture or to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the Court considered that the Respondent failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 1 of the African Charter and Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to protect the Applicants against abuses resulting from the actions of its agents, since ‘it has not demonstrated that it adopted adequate measures to guarantee an independent and effective investigation into the complaint filed by the Applicants.

Also, in the absence of any evidence presented by the Respondent to justify that the Applicants’ arrests were in accordance with national or international law, the Court held that the Respondent violated the applicants’ right not to be arbitrarily detained.

Also in the three-member panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante, Presiding, and Gbéri-bè Ouattara, Member.

ECOWAS Court Orders Immediate Release of 14 Inmates Detained Since 2018 by Togolese Government

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Military

Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

By: Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the British Government for offering to undertake the provision of headquarters house and personnel accommodation for the Marine Unit of the anti-narcotics body at the Eko Atlantic city beach.

Marwa, who gave the commendation while performing the groundbreaking ceremony to signify the commencement of the project facilitated by the UK Home Office International Operations (HOIO), assured that the agency will continue to live up to the expectations of Nigerians and its international partners.

He said the confidence reposed in the agency by President Bola Tinubu and the UK government as well as their all-round support will always be a morale booster for the officers and men who daily take huge risks to dismantle drug cartels with the sole aim of curbing the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, while significantly contributing to the global effort to address the drug problem.

He noted that the office and accommodation facilities being provided by the UK government for personnel of the marine unit of the agency will in no small measure enhance their safety, efficiency and confidence. “You have provided us a place here, you’ve given us the trainings, you’ve supported with the boats and the repairs and now the accommodation. We can only say thank you. We wish to give the assurances on what you already know that the NDLEA is a serious Agency, we do what we have to do without fear or favour, we will get the job done, that I can give you the assurance as we continue to partner. Thank you very much”, the NDLEA boss said while addressing the British government officials and their contractors at the site of the project.

He also commended personnel of the Navy, Customs, Immigration and other services in the area for their collaboration with NDLEA. “We all must stand up together, though the NDLEA is the lead agency in this enterprise, the work is collaborative. We must partner to get the job done. I’ve been briefed that there’s lot of collaboration going on the same way I was at MMIA this morning and spoke to your senior colleagues there and they are all working together as you are here. I urge you to keep it up in this spirit and I wish you more success.”

Addressing officers of the Unit, Marwa said the leadership of the agency is restructuring the Marine Unit so that it “can become a lean and mean force under an able commander”, adding “you should brace up, stand up on your two feet and work very hard to make sure that drugs do not pass by water.”

In his brief remarks at the ceremony, Kris Hawksfield of the UK Home Office International Operations assured that the project will be completed latest by July 2024.

Speaking earlier at a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy meeting with the leadership of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Marwa said there is need for the organization to partner with the Agency in the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He urged the PMAN President, Prettywise Okafor and other executives to mobilise their members to use their God-given talents for the good of the society rather than using their music to promote drug abuse especially among the youths.

Okafor in his response expressed the preparedness of PMAN to partner with the Agency. He also gave details of their effort to organise advocacy campaign against drug abuse across the country and their plan to build rehabilitation centres as part of their ongoing projects in Abuja and Lagos.

Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

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Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

By: Michael Mike

President Bola Tinubu has been advised not to merge the Nigerian Army University with the Nigerian Defence Academy as part of the implementation of Steve Oronsaye report.

The advice was given by the Olowu of Kuta, HRM Oba Hameed Adekunle Makama, Tegbosun III, in a statement on Tuesday.

The monarch in a statement issued by his media office, said Nigerian Army University, Biu, unlike the Nigerian Defence Academy, Is a full fledged federal university like other federal universities in the country, and offers various courses, and not specialised university which the NDA is.

He added that the Nigerian Army University was established by the Act of Parliament and cannot be reversed without going back to the National Assembly to repeal the act that set it up, noting that merging NAUB with NDA means the federal government is ready to merge every federal university created by the act of parliament.

Oba Makama also reminded President Tinubu that Nigerian Army University Biu was set up to cater for the multitude of students in search of university education in the north east axis, adding that merging it with the NDA will reduce it to an institution where military personnel are trained.

Oba Makama, however, commended President Tinubu for the political will to implement a far-reaching civil service reform that was initiated twelve years ago so as to cut the over bloated costs of governance

He said: “I believe the mixed up should not have arisen if proper wide consultation is made before advising Mr. President on inclusion of NUAB because Army University is not even in existence during the Orosanye panel.”

Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

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CALLING ON THE FGN TO RETHINK THE DOWNGRADING OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY UNIVERSITY BIU

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CALLING ON THE FGN TO RETHINK THE DOWNGRADING OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY UNIVERSITY BIU

“.The Nigerian Army University Biu, (NAUB) in Borno State was established as a means to explore a non-kenetic approach in the service operations against insurgency”…Lagbaja, Lt-Gen.

By: A. G. Abubakar,*

The philosophy that guided the establishment of the NAUB was aptly captured by the above statement made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Ge T. Lagbaja during the maiden graduation of about 417 students of the University in 2023. The assertion by the COAS underscores the difference between a formal military academy like the NDA and a conventional University with a military bend.

It recognises the fact that a “military” exists in a larger society that calls for a “strategic” relationship as a bulwark towards sustainable peace and stability. Thus, while the Academy produces combatants along with requisite hardware, the associate University deals with critical non-kenetic matters of “interdisciplinary academic field, centered on the study of peace and conflict strategies and often devoting special attention to the relationship between military history, international politics, geostrategy, international diplomacy, international economics and military power”, among others. That’s why in the USA all the major arms of military have both specialised academies and Universities in tow.

The famous ones being the US Military Academy at West Point and The US Army University (online), West Virginia. China has more than half a dozen of them under a “policy of leveraging the civilian sector to maximise Military power (known as ‘Military-civilian fusion’)”. India established one in Haryana in 2013. Pakistan and indeed many nations concerned with sustainable national security, operate the two systems concurrently. It’s therefore strange the the current Administration would consider diminishing this global best practice.
The strategic location of NAUB, provides government the ample opportunities to even undertake studies as regards the often prenial frosty relationship between Nigeria as an English speaking country with its three French speaking neighbours of Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republics.

The trio share boarders with Borno State, the host state of NAUB. Cross border crimes and illicit weapons have largely fuelled the insurgency in the North East, compounded by dearth of empirical and/or actionable intelligence information from communities in the region.

An Army University could play a decisive role in such cases. The swash of land from Biu, Southern Borno to Cameroon via Garkida, Gombi and Mubi to the East and also through Askira/Uba, Chibok, Gwoza into far north Cameroon enroute Chad had no specialised security-biased tertiary institution like the NAUB. Furthermore, at the time the institution was established, it filled a geopolitical void in Borno State.

Despite the existence of many tertiary institutions in the state such as the Unimaid, the Teaching Hospital, a Polytechnic, College of Agriculture, College of Health Technology, for political reasons the state government didn’t deem it fit to site the Borno State University in the South, where citizens have been yearning for more educational opportunities.
The people’s frustration with this inequitable development was addressed by the arrival of the NAUB. The University has thus, since been seen as a balancing act. The NAUB which is now underway threat has a fundamental role to play in terms of stability in the state, the region and even internationally as a Central Africa security study center.

While calling on Government to consider the NAUB strategic context and save the institution on its own merit, the Borno State Governor Zulum, his Deputy Kadafur, Senator Ndume, Hon. Betara, Haske, Jaha, Balami should impress upon the Federal Government to let NAUB be. They should deem it Honourable to lay the bare facts once more before the government.

The nation stands to gain more in the long run more than the short term resources they want to save. There is no bad education but there could be bad decisions. Let the latter be avoided.
By A. G. Abubakar,
agbarewa@gmail.com

CALLING ON THE FGN TO RETHINK THE DOWNGRADING OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY UNIVERSITY BIU

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