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‘Don’t Let Him Die In Detention’, Ozekhome Writes Buhari, Solicits For Kanu’s Release

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Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of his client.

Kanu has been in DSS custody since his arrest and extradition from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021.

He is on trial for a treasonable felony.

In July, the United Nation Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in a 16-page report, reportedly indicted both Nigeria and Kenya governments for the arrest, torture, and continued detention of the IPOB leader.

The group also urged the federal government to ensure the “immediate release of Kanu unconditionally” and pay him adequate compensation for the arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights.

In a letter on Monday, Ozekhome asked Buhari to order Kanu’s immediate release through a more productive “political solution”.

Ozekhome said Buhari can order Kanu’s release in line with section 174, which gives the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) powers to “discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person”.

“You can do this by instructing the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to wield his powers under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution to enter a “nolle prosequi”. This will immediately halt the present restlessness and sits-at-home mantra currently ravaging the South East and paralysing business and normal life,” Ozekhome said.

While noting that Kanu’s extradition was carried out “illegally” and “arbitrarily without due process”, the senior lawyer said a “dispassionate consideration of the Report of the UN body will bear eloquent testimony to a litany of grave errors which Kanu’s abduction, and his continued detention and shabby treatment since then by officers and men of the Nigerian SSS, constitute”.

“All these cumulatively constitute, not only gross violation of our client’s fundamental rights under international and Nigerian laws but, even more worrisome, cast an altogether avoidable pall on Nigeria’s image in the international community,” the letter reads.

“To refuse releasing Kanu unconditionally and immediately is to court international displeasure and multi-faceted backlash. It will hurt Nigeria badly as it will also insinuate that your Excellency does not subscribe to the Rule of law and respect for citizens’ fundamental rights, and your postulations of the just ended United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which took place between the 20th and 23rd September 2022.

“Your Excellency must avoid these unhealthy reactions by ensuring that Kanu is released immediately and unconditionally now.

“The moral burden of insisting on keeping Kanu in detention is too expensive and too offensive to embrace, especially with his fragile and deteriorating health condition which his custodians (the SSS) have not been able to manage properly. Do not let Kanu die in detention sir.”

Ozekhome also said Buhari would be writing his name in gold by ensuring the release of the detained IPOB leader.

“Your Excellency, the whole world has spoken through the UN Human Rights Committee. The message is quite clear: Nnamdi Kanu must be released forthwith – unconditionally. To insist on detaining him in defiance of the world would be at a great price which is better avoided,” the letter reads.

“Suffice it to say, your Excellency that, just like in the earlier case of Umaru Dikko, your government risks turning Nigeria, once again, into a Pariah State, simply on account of this avoidable conundrum.

“Your Excellency, if the case of Mr. Dikko was understandable because it was carried out by a military regime, that of Nnamdi Kanu is inexplicable and unjustifiable under a democratic government headed by your good self and which operates under a written Constitution that guarantees fundamental rights, the rule of law and the enforcement of duly-ratified international treaties.

“The foregoing narrative clearly shows that this is the case with the relevant treaties under which the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued its binding directive for the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu.

“Your Excellency, I am not aware of any State which has defied or disobeyed such a directive without paying a national heavy price. Nigeria should not be the first member of that “Hall of Infamy” reserved only for pariah nations. That would be another blot on Nigeria’s image.

“The situation is however not irredeemable, as your Excellency can yet redeem it; and write your name in gold by ordering the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu from his present excruciating detention as ordered by the United Nations, through its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.”

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President Tinubu Appoints Shehu Mohammed As FRSC Corps Marshal

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has appointed Shehu Mohammed as the corps marshal and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Segun Imohiosen, director of information in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (AGF), announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday.

Imohiosen said the appointment is for an initial period of four years with effect from May 20.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Assistant Corps Marshal Mohammed Shehu as the Corps Marshal/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),” the statement reads.

“President Tinubu tasks the appointee to bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment.”

Mohammed will succeed Dauda Biu as the FRSC corps marshal.

In December 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Biu as the substantive corps marshal of the FRSC.

Before the appointment, Biu was the acting corps marshal of the commission.

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JUST IN: Verydarkman Remanded In Police Custody For Cyberbullying, Hearing To Hold Next Wednesday

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The controversial social media critic Martin Otse, also known as VeryDarkMan, has been placed under arrest till his next hearing, which is scheduled for this Wednesday of next week.

Otse reportedly entered a not guilty plea to five counts of cyberstalking involving the Nigerian police, Nollywood actresses Iyabo Ojo and Tonto Dike, when he was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

The police prosecuting team told Judge Mobolaji Olajuwon that they needed more time to react to his lawyer Deji Adeyanju’s bail plea, thus the court postponed the bail hearing to May 29.

The prosecution sought to have the blogger remanded in prison custody, but his lawyers successfully argued for his remand in police custody instead.

The court granted this request, and Verydarkman was subsequently taken to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The charges against him read, “1. Posting a video on October 29, 2023, on his Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’ that contained offensive, pornographic, or menacing information, falsely alleging that Iyabo Ojo had an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter, violating Section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

“That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 29th October 2023, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’, which video contained information that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character wherein you stated that one Iyabo Ojo is having an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter knowing or having reasons to believe that the information in the video you posted on your Instagram handle is false and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

2. Posting a video on January 19, 2024, on Instagram, falsely accusing King Tonto Dikeh of criminal conversion of crowdfunding proceeds and being behind the Gistlover blog, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 3 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th January 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing the information you know or had reasons believe to be false, wherein in the video you falsely published that King Tonto Dikeh is accused of criminal conversion of the proceeds of crowdfunding for Justice for Mohbad Movement, and being the person behind the gistlover blog, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the person of the said King Tonto Dike and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015

3. Posting a video on March 19, 2024, alleging that senior police officers and lawmakers were involved in sexual activities with Bobrisky, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 4 That you, Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja, on or about 19th March 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’, containing information which you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated the following, ‘I put it to you say the DIGs of the Police dem dey knack Bobrisky. The senators for senate house dey knack Bobrisky…I dare the Nigeria Police, I said what I said, the DIGs are knacking him, the Lawmakers, the Senate are knacking him in the National Assembly’ which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the persons of the DIGs of the Nigeria Police Force and members of the National Assembly and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

4. Posting another video on March 19, 2024, claiming that Bobrisky was pimping young boys to senators and senior police officers, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 5 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th March, 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing information you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated that Bobrisky is pimping young boys for Senators and Senior Police Officers to sleep with, which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury.”

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JUST IN: Nigerian Students At Teesside University Forced To Discontinue Studies, Ordered To Leave UK

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The drastic devaluation of Nigeria’s currency has affected the ability of Nigerian students at Teesside University in the United Kingdom to pay their tuition fees on time.

They have now been forced to discontinue their studies and leave the UK.

Some of these students, devastated by the situation, told the BBC that they felt driven to despair by what they saw as the university’s insensitive handling of their payment difficulties.

According to a university spokesperson, non-payment breached the conditions of their visa sponsorship, leaving the university with “no choice” but to inform the Home Office.

The Home Office however clarified that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution.

  • High Inflation In Nigeria

The economic downturn in Nigeria, described as the worst in decades, has hit hard, affecting Nigerian students abroad, particularly at some UK universities.

With inflation nearing 30%, and recent government attempts to introduce a new currency exacerbating the situation, the students’ pre-verified funds to cover tuition and living expenses dwindled significantly.

Additionally, changes at the university from a seven-installment tuition fee payment plan to three installments compounded the students’ financial troubles.

This group of 60 students shared their plight after some had their university accounts frozen and were involuntarily withdrawn from their courses due to non-payment, with some also facing actions from debt collection agencies employed by the university.

  • Affected Students Devastated

One of the affected students, Adenike Ibrahim, was nearing the completion of her dissertation after two years of study when she missed a payment.

Despite settling her outstanding fees later, she was not allowed to re-enroll and was instructed to leave the UK with her young son.

“I did default [on payments], but I’d already paid 90% of my tuition fees and I went to all of my classes.

“I called them and asked to reach an agreement, but they do not care what happens to their students”, she said.

She said the experience was “horrendous” and she did not know what was happening with her qualification.

“It has been heartbreaking for my son especially, he has been in so much distress since I told him,” Ms Ibrahim added.

One master’s degree student, who chose to remain anonymous, admitted to the BBC that he had considered suicide and had stopped eating and drinking since receiving his letter. Despite these dire circumstances, the university claimed it had done “every effort” to assist affected students by offering individual meetings with specialist staff and creating customized payment plans upon request.

Esther Obigwe reported that she had repeatedly attempted to discuss her financial difficulties with the university but received no response until she was also blocked from her studies and ordered to leave the country.

“I attended all of my classes and seminars, I’m a hell of an active student,” she said.

“It is disheartening, I am now on antidepressants and being here alone, I have nobody to talk to.

“For over two months, I’ve barely eaten or slept and I don’t understand why this is being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jude Salubi, a student training to be a social worker, was in the middle of a placement when his university access was suspended and he received a directive to leave the UK.

Before this, he had been commuting from Teesside to Liverpool every weekend to work 18 hours in an effort to clear his outstanding fees.

“As of now I have paid £14,000 and have a balance of £14,000,” he explained.

Salubi expressed his willingness to negotiate a payment plan, stating, “I am willing to come to an agreement as to how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re-enrolled into school and my visa restored.”

Several students have managed to settle their outstanding fees; however, Teesside University has been unable to influence the Home Office’s process regarding their visa status.

  • No Right Of Appeal – Homeland Office

The Home Office informed students, including Ms. Ibrahim, that their permission to stay in the UK was revoked because they were no longer enrolled at the university.

According to letters reviewed by the BBC, these students were given a specific departure date and were told that they had no “right of appeal or administrative review against the decision.”

  • What The University Is Saying

A university spokesman stated that while Teesside University values its diverse international student body, it must adhere to strict visa issuance and compliance regulations that support the UK’s immigration system and are beyond the university’s control.

The university acknowledged the financial difficulties some students are facing and has offered tailored payment plans, which many international students have accepted. Nonetheless, according to them, some have still failed to meet the requirements of these revised plans.

The Home Office has maintained that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution and advises individuals whose visas have been shortened or cancelled to either regularize their stay or arrange to leave the UK.

 

Credit: Nairametrics

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