29 March, 2016

The man, Tunji Braithwaite

The man, Tunji Braithwaite

By Cosmas Omegoh and Ndubuisi Orji 
“ALL the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts,…” says Williams Shakespeare in one of his writing.
For social critic, Tunji Braithwaite, it was time to exit the stage, as he passed on after 82 eventful years, yesterday, while Christians worldwide were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
His death effectively drew the curtain on his many years of political and social activism.
A man of many parts – lawyer, activist and politician – he would be remembered as a man who was never afraid to say his mind at any given time and on any issue.
Although, he had a very successful legal career, Braithwaite’s foray into politics did not produce the desired result for him.
Born in 1933, he was educated at the CMS Grammar School between 1946 and 1953, sat for his ‘A’ Levels at the London University at Kennington College in 1955, enrolled as Law student at the Council of Legal Education, London in 1957, graduated as a barrister in 1960 and was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in February 1961. Thereafter, he signed the Rolls of Barristers at the High Court of Justice, Strand, London before returning to Nigeria, where he was enrolled as a Barrister and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in March 1961.
A fearless and controversial lawyer, Braithwaite in 1962 at barely 27, was one of the legal team that defended former premier of Western Region, the late Obafemi Awolowo in the celebrated treasonable felony case brought against him by the Federal Government. He also represented the late Afrobeat icon Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and his brother, Beko Kuti in the famous unknown soldier saga in 1977. In the case to seek redress against the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, who had detained the duo, Braithwaite fought through the High Court to the Supreme Court.
His politics  
Braithwaite joined politics in 1978 with the launch of his party, the Nigeria Advance Party (NAP) on October 7, 1978. In December 1978, three political pressure groups joined the party. However, the party was denied registration by the electoral commission based on insufficient grassroots support, an action he termed “ neo-colonialist nonsense,” because to him, “ you don’t need permission from any government to form association, to canvass for political positions, so that was where our disagreement started from.”
NAP was eventually registered prior to the 1983 general election and was one of the six political parties that participated in the presidential election that year. The campaign slogan of NAP in the 1983 presidential election was a promise to rid Nigeria of rodents, rats, mosquitoes and cockroaches, euphemism for corruption. The party ceased to exist after the military junta of Major General Muhammadu Buhari took over power in 1983, few months after the election.
However, the party came back to life in the present political dispensation, following the mass registration of political parties, after late Gani Fawehinmi floored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in court over the non-registration of his party, the National Conscience Party (NCP).
Braithwaite was a member of the 2014 National Conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan to fashion out solutions to some of the problems confronting the nation. Until his death, he was in the vanguard for the implementation of the report of that conference.

26 March, 2016

Enugu community decries arrest of 76 villagers after feud with Fulani herdsmen

Enugu community decries arrest of 76 villagers after feud with Fulani herdsmen

Calls on govt to save their farms 

By Anayo Okoli 
THERE was tension and fear among the residents of Ugwuneshi autonomous community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, following the alleged arrest of 76 of their people by “men in military uniform” over a clash with Fulani herdsmen. Awgu where the community is situated is a border community with Lokpanta in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State which hosts a cattle market. According to the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Godwin Nwobi, the incident took place on Thursday last week. Igwe Nwobi alleged that Fulani herdsmen who settled in the community without permission had been using their cattle to destroy their crops and farmlands over the years. He said pleas and warnings from the farmers to the herdsmen had always fallen on deaf ears as they continued to graze on the community’s farmlands with impunity. Irked by the continued destruction of their crops which he said were their only means of livelihood, the youths of community protested the impunity of the herdsmen. He disclosed that after the protest, information filtered in the village that two women who went to farm had been abducted by the herdsmen. “When we got such information, the community gathered to discuss modality of dispatching some people on rescue mission and suddenly they were surrounded by men in military uniform who arrested 76 of them and carried them away in trucks”, the monarch said. He therefore appealed for the intervention of the Enugu State Government, to secure the release of the arrested villagers who he said were taken to Umuahia Prison. “It is wrong for our people who fled the North because of Boko Haram to be treated as slaves in their own land. We don’t want to be destroyed by herdsmen like they did in Agatu, Benue State. Government should please come to our rescue. We appeal to our Governor, and other South East Governors to save Igbo land from herdsmen invasion before it is too late”, Igwe Nwobi lamented. But the Public Relations Officer of the 14 Brigade Ohafia, Major Sydney Mbaneme, denied knowledge of the incident, saying the “men in military uniform” were not soldiers. According to him, they might be fake soldiers and civilians who camouflage themselves, saying that “if at all they are solders, they are not our soldiers.” However, the zonal Police Public Relations Officer of Zone 9, Police Command, Emma Jiakponna, DSP, said he was not aware of the incident.” Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Youth Council has condemned the arrest and detention of the villagers, saying it as “an insult to the Igbo nation.”
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/03/enugu-community-decries-arrest-76-villagers-feud-fulani-herdsmen/

03 March, 2016

Kano indigene allegedly abducts, forcefully marries 13-year-old girl from Bayelsa

Kano indigene allegedly 

abducts, forcefully marries

 13-year-old girl from Bayelsa

Bayelsa State Chapter of the Child Protection Network has called on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, to intervene in securing the release of a 13 year-old girl named Ese Rita Oruru, who was allegedly abducted by one Yinusa, an indigene of Kano state.
According to The Sun, Yinusa who resides in Opolo, Yenagoa, had abducted Ese on August 12 2015 and eloped with her to Kano and has refused to allow her return home.
Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Oruru had allegedly made several visits to Kano to secure her release.
Their efforts have been abortive as the said Yinusa’s kinsmen insisted that Ese, who they now refer to as ‘Aisha’, belongs to them as they are ready to pay the necessary bride price.
The matter was reported to the Police and the Department of State Security, DSS and their promise to bring home Ese has remained unfulfilled, forcing the parents to take the issue to youths and civil society groups.
In a press conference addressed by Mr. Kizito Andah of the Child Protection Network, yesterday, he said, “We strongly believe that the said Miss Ese Rita Oruruhas not only has been hypnotized but also recruited as a tool in the hand of an Islamic fanatical group in Kano State.
“Civil society and youth groups in Bayelsa are ready to stage a protest and press home the demand for the release of Ese from the custody of her abductors.”
“She is only 13-years-old and cannot give informed consent to marriage and is still held hostage.”
Andah warned against an ethno-religious crisis which the abduction and forceful conversion into Islam could trigger in Bayelsa state.
“Her parents are petty traders who are putting all efforts to meet the needs of their children.
“Securing her return would not only make history in our strong desire to continually protect our children, but also reemphasize and stamp our indelible position against the acts of these culprits.
“We, therefore, call for all to join our voices to prevail on the Kano State Government, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to urgently release Miss Ese Rita Oruru.
“We demand for the prosecution of her abductors under the appropriate law and jurisdiction as it is of urgent national security and public interest,” Andah stated.