Month: August 2019

INTERNET FRAUD HAS NO TRIBE.

 

With the release of over 80 Nigerian names by the FBI for internet fraud, with 78 being of the Igbo extraction, social media is awash with comments that seek to isolate the Igbos as the enhancers of international shame and opprobrium to Nigeria.
But crime has no tribe.
Within the country, the Yorubas & Benins have long been held out as the most probable culprits in instances of ‘419′ or Yahoo Yahoo, which explains in part why this new list has taken the Igbos to task.

Internet fraud, which is the use of the internet to deceive and defraud victims to part with money, has long been a negative index with a far reaching implication for Nigeria and Nigerians.

More countries are reluctant to grant travel visas to Nigerians, while those already out of the country deal with constant mistrust and negative labeling. Fewer business are doing business with Nigerian companies from fear of being scammed.

The crackdown of the Nigeria Police Force and the EFCC on cybercrimes is stunted by compromised officers/agents and a constantly evolving internet fraud complexity with these agencies behind in apprehension methods.

The debilitating social conditions and poor money culture means more youths continue to embrace internet fraud as a shortcut from poverty to wealth, believing in being able to keep their ill-gotten wealth by oiling the right fingers.

While it may seem trendy, it is indeed impolitic to hold the Igbos to sole account over an issue for which the world holds Nigeria responsible as a unit. Being a non-Igbo will not exempt a genuine Nigerian businessman from losing a deal over fears of a scam, being denied a visa, being racially and physically attacked or wielding an international passport with diminished potency all over the world.

Rather than play the tribal card, Nigerians and Nigeria would do well to recognize this as a national plight that demands concerted efforts in combatting. The Nigerian government must make cybercrime unattractive through the imposition of severe sanctions and the improvements of methods of apprehending fraudsters.

Also, by improving the economic situation of the country and engendering new social norms that frown at the celebration of ill-gotten wealth, while ridding the national consciousness of its money-culture with no consideration of the means to wealth, gains can be made in the fight against internet fraud and hopefully, redemption will be availed the Nigerian image before the international public.


Shalom Olaseni
Executive Director

EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS & OTHER ULTRA VIRES ILLS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE

Over the years, the phrase ‘trigger-happy cops’ have been used severally as an euphemism for the many deaths of innocent bystanders and apprehended criminals in the hands of men of the Nigeria Police. The coinage points to an anomie that has taken on the conventions of a norm- condoned and covered up along the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force.

A recent video in circulation highlights what has come to be accepted as the modus operandi of the Nigeria Police Force and provides the template to examine this prevalent ill and a possible way forward. 

In the new video, men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are seen toting cocked guns at a band of two robbers who had been tied up and restrained with what looks like ropes.

One of the officers is heard barking to both men to step off the vehicle they had been bundled into before proceeding to shoot both men at point bank- unarmed and posing no threats to the officers or passersby. It is instructive to point out that it is yet unknown who made the recording and how it subsequently made its way to the public, but the video-maker is heard in the background gleefully encouraging the shooting of both disarmed men and saying, “ We no dey waste time”.

That last statement rendered in vernacular is apt in that it captures the general impatience of police officers who solve all debacles with pedestrians and commuters through the barrel of the gun. Kolade Johnson, a young and enterprising man, was hit by a stray bullet while minding his business only because a group of SARS operative who had gone to effect the arrest of a suspected internet fraudster decided that shooting at a fleeing suspect within a congested area was operationally sound.

Regulars commuters and drivers on interstate roads are left with little choice than bribe their way to freedom and safety when engaged by corrupt officers mounting roadblocks. Many lives have been wasted over as little as a disagreement over N50 to N500 by policemen who felt slighted by the inducement given, or a refusal to ‘play ball’. Many are threatened that they would be shot and wasted and nothing would come off it, a miserable truth which only encourages more and more innocent deaths.

But not all who have been summarily executed were innocent people as some have argued. In the first narration above, the two men who were killed were in fact men of the underworld who were tracked down and apprehended. It does beg the question, however, if our policemen are now judge, jury and executioners?

The operational manual of the Nigeria Police and the Police Act directs that the ultimate point of any arrest is to restrain and detain, not restrain and execute. The police have no arbitrary right to choose who lives or dies. If they did, our courts would be needless and the judiciary pointless. In combat situations, however, with policemen taking on fire, brute force is permissible in subduing the threat and gaining control. The video in reference clearly shows that the two men posed no danger to the police officers and had in fact been tied up and bundled into a bus before being executed in public glare with pomp and excitement.

A few weeks back, the Nigeria Police were themselves, victims of a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ situation when three of its men were gunned to death by military men who mistook them for kidnappers. The Police, usually the perpetrators, took to their official pages to try to hold the Nigerian Army to account before the same Nigerian public that are a regular victim of police, AND military, brutality. It’s a dog-eat-dog plight, sad yet instructive.

Going forward, the Police Force must truly undertake measures to prevent as much as sanction officers who kill without justification. That men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are regular culprits is indicative of a lack of professionalism breeding within that rank and festering from inept oversight. There must be a total overhaul of the mentality of the average Nigerian Policeman through consistent reformatory training and accountability measures that respect neither rank nor file.

Only by refusing to condone and protect errant officers, and the application of severe sanctions for established cases of extra-judicial killings, bribery, commuter terrorism and abuse of official privileges, can the Nigeria Police Force attain an appreciable level of professionalism and acceptance with the public. As the unfortunate incidence involving its men and soldiers show, violence is not prejudicial to status and must hence be actively discouraged through positive actions

Shalom Olaseni
Executive Director, UNITED GLOBAL RESOLVE FOR PEACE(UGRFP)

PRESS RELEASE ON THE AMBUSH AND DEATH OF THREE SPECIAL DUTY POLICEMEN & A CIVILIAN IN THE HANDS OF MEN OF THE NIGERIA ARMY.

Tragic news filled the Nigeria space when on the 7th of August, 2019 three men of the Nigeria Police Force and a civilian where killed along the Ibi-Jalingo Road by soldiers whose agency have come out to describe the sad incidence as one of mistaken identity and the failure of the officers to properly identify themselves.  

With the Nigeria Police Force tweeting away counter claims to the army’s stating that its men did properly identify themselves, one thing becomes abundantly clear- the lack of operational synergy and exchange of information amongst Nigeria’s security forces, and even more, the underlying bubble of mutual distrust and resentment that may be the wrench in the works of inter-agency cooperation.

The three police officers who died have now been identified as a crack unit under the Inspector-General of Police ‘s Intelligence Response Team ( IRT) – a well-trained unit with an impressive record of apprehending elusive bandits, kidnappers and other militants against the Nigeria state. On this particular day, they were reported to have successfully arrested one Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, identified as a notorious king-pin and kidnap enabler, and were transporting same back to Abuja when they met their gruesome fate.

A curious twist to the whole sordid affair is the failure of the Nigeria Army to produce the suspect who somehow survived the shoot-out. Alhaji Wadume remains untraceable yet wanted and it isbtrult an indictment on the Army that its men, even if unknowingly, secured the release of a suspect of kidnapping and have failed to have him returned to the Police for prosecution now that the facts have been laid out and their mistake called out.

It is truly troubling to note that the Nigeria state have normalized the intervention of soldiers in matters which are legally strictly within the purview of the Nigeria Police Force and sister-agencies saddled with the country’s internal security. Let’s note that the soldiers who took out the police unit where not on a routine patrol but were called by an unidentified individual, following which they gave hot pursuit and engaged the Police Unit in a gun battle that went awry for the latter.

The Nigeria Army ought to be an agency whose strict duty are restricted to protecting Nigeria ‘s territorial integrity and not deployed or called into civil matters. That such a convention is allowed and operated in Nigeria is symptomatic of a malady and as we now see can only lead to costly conflict and confrontations.

We would like to call on the nation’s Chief Security Officer, President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that a neutral investigative panel is set up to unearth and ascertain the entire truth of what transpired between the now deceased officers, the soldiers and the now missing Alhaji Wadume. Only the truth can ease and pave way for true reconciliation between the Nigeria Police and Army. It is imperative that the public are put in the know of the findings of this special committee as it would serve as a reference point in the future.

Nigeria must count its losses in the form of this special duty cops whose lives were cut short while in active duty on behalf of the government. Their death, while needless and regretful, affords the Nigeria Police an opportunity to be reflective in putting its own house in order. There have been several deaths of innocent members of the public in the hands of men of the Nigeria Police Force over mistaken identity. With the police itself now caught in the there, it is hoped that it will actively reposition itself to do better in curbing the indiscriminate killing of people by its trigger-happy cops.

 

The Nigeria Army must likewise be made to take responsibility for the actions of its soldiers as only then can remedy and restitution be gained. It is beginning to earn itself notoriety for regrettable killings and operations made worse by a failure to punish individual perpetrators within its rank. The Nigeria Army is no where above the law and must be subject to disciplinary actions deemed fit and just in circumstances such as this.

As a group, we extend our condolences to the surviving family members and friends of the slain policemen, we express the hope therein that the Nigeria Government will setup a special fund as a palliative or amelioration of the sudden burden incurred by this deaths. We also hope that maximum training will become a key feature of the Police and Army, while a stimulus for inter-agency cooperation and exchange of information will be undertaken with alacrity to forestall any such future occurrences.

 

Thank you.

Olaseni Shalom,

Executive Director,

United Global Resolve For Peace

(UGRFP).

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON THE DETENTION OF THE FAMILIES OF FLEEING MEN OF THE NIGERIA ARMY

The United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP) can authoritatively report the arrest and detention of the wife and children of one of a group of five soldiers who are reported to have absconded with over N400 million naira while on escort duty from Kaduna to Sokoto last July.

Mrs. Ayo Oluwaniyi, wife to one of the fleeing men, was arrested alongside her children and detainee at the 32 Artillery Brigade, Owena Barrack, Akure-Ondo state. She has since been denied access to her family members and held in lieu of her fleeing husband.

We condemn such an ignoble arrest in its entirety as it is bullish, reactive and illegal. No vicarious liability lies to the wife of a Nigeria army personnel or any other for that matter in such an instance of strict culpability except complicity can be established. Merely being the wife of one of the fleeing officers is not sufficient grounds to be detained nor is there operational logic or justice in holding an innocent family to ransom for the offence of another.

The integrity of the Nigeria Army is being called into question here on two fronts. One, is it truly an inhumane agency to consider the arrest and detention of a woman and her children as an act in good faith? Secondly, the calibre of men who join the Nigeria Army and ridicule it through bad action is an indictment on their recruiting process and calls for a revision of same.

The Nigeria Army are advised to formulate and pursue a more thorough plan to recover the stolen monies and apprehend the perpetrators, not seek an excuse to inflict pain on the families of these men who are clearly victims of their principals bad action.

 

Thank you.

Olaseni Shalom,

Executive Director,

United Global Resolve For Peace

(UGRFP).

 

PRESS REACTION OF THE UNITED GLOBAL RESOLVE FOR PEACE OVER THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF MR. OMOYELE SOWORE.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND LAWFUL GATHERING ARE IMMUTABLE HUMAN RIGHTS.

Today, being the 3rd of August, 2019 began with news of the arrest and detention of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, SaharaReporters Group founder and convener of the #RevolutuonIsNow movement which had a public protest slated for 5th August, 2019 against the Nigeria Government for having allegedly failed the Nigerian people.

We state, categorically, that we as a Group do not hold a brief for any political movement, nor let political colorations taint our positions on issues in the Nigerian society. We are, however, enjoined by good faith and our stated respect for the rule of law to condemn outright the Gestapo arrest and subsequent detention of Mr. Sowore. His late-night apprehension, in form and manner, is needless, ill-advised and a restraint against criticism.

No society is truly free if thoughts are regulated by its conformity or variance with government position. Mr. Sowere and his group are protected by the Nigerian Constitution to publicly decry government leadership provided same is done is done within the ambit of the law and natural civility. To attempt to label a protest which has yet been staged as an act of treason is to give it a bad name just to hang it. Such militant approach to free speech and gathering are not features of a democratic leadership and exposes Nigeria to international opprobrium as a dystopian society at odds with its own law.

In this instance, the Federal Government may want to heed the permissions that are built into Nigerians extant laws. No Nigerian citizens ought to live in fear of being raided and whisked away for daring to have an independent mind and differing perception of state policies.

We are properly appraised of insinuations that the #RevolutionIsNow movement is unconstitutional and perhaps, treasonable. Let it be stated that such a claim is a tall one that cannot be addressed without tact. The #RevolutionIsNow movement ought to be properly monitored until it becomes clear and unimpeachable acts show an attempt to create an alternative government or lead a coup against the existing one. Such, indeed, are the elements of a treason.

We would like to extend a word of caution to all conveners and participants such as #RevolutionIsNow. It is paramount that neither by words nor actions may such gatherings take on a militant posturing that draws security concerns or stoke civil unrest. All rights are only as absolute as they exist within the parameters of the law.

It is our hope that this matter will be resolved as amicably as the circumstance permits. The overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians must take center place and be the pivotal theme from which to draw resolutions for a better country. Constructive criticism is good criticism, de facto exercise of de jure powers are ultra vires ab intio.

All drums of war being beaten by aggrieved sympathizers or members of Mr. Sowore ‘s #RevolutionIsNow movement must be tempered in common sense and the exercise of disciplined action. Dialogue, not violent action, is the modern world’s tool for reconciliation and the achievement of set goals.

The United Global Resolve For Peace will continue to follow unfolding events with a mind to run interventions in the interest of peace and order where necessary and possible. Our commitment to peace, which translates to growth and development for Nigeria, is affirmed by our positive action and set objectives.

Thank you.

Shalom Olaseni
Executive Director, UGRFP

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