Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the African Union to suspend the rights of membership of Cameroon from the AU to put pressure on the government to end alleged torture and ill-treatment of 47 political activists forcibly returned to Cameroon by the Nigerian authorities.
In the letter SERAP addressed to AU chairperson and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame it urged him to “urgently call an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) to address the matter with the aim to stop disappearances, politically motivated trials, and gross and systematic violations of citizens’ human rights in the country.”
The organisation also urged the AU to “maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset freezes against the authorities until they meet specific human rights and good governance benchmarks.”
In letter dated 9 March 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organization said: “Despite the massive violations of citizens’ human rights, and the continued absence of accountability in Cameroon, the AU has largely remained on the side-lines.
“Failure to act in the face of the gross and systematic violations by the authorities would seriously undermine the credibility of the AU and the legitimacy of its Constitutive Act, including its commitment to fight impunity as expressed in Articles 4(h) and (o) of the Act.”
The organization said, “The AU Constitutive Act identifies respect for human rights, and the rule of law as universal values and requires all member states to promote and adhere to them.
“By taking punitive action against the government of Cameroon for disregarding the fundamental principles of the AU, African leaders will be helping to achieve a positive resolution of the lingering human rights and humanitarian crisis in that country.”
According to the organization, “The AU now must recognize and openly acknowledge that the situation in Cameroon threatens the entire region. AU leaders cannot continue to ignore the violations of human rights inflicted on the people of Cameroon by their own government, and now must take serious steps to help alleviate their suffering and end continuing abuses.
The letter read in part: “SERAP urges the AU to intervene effectively to end Cameroon’s long-standing human rights and humanitarian crisis. Only strong and concerted pressure on the government can end the country’s human rights and humanitarian emergency.”
“The government’s longstanding assault on political freedoms and human rights lies at the heart of Cameroon’s political crisis. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture of political detainees have continued for many years, as the authorities routinely arrest and harass political activists, and violently break up peaceful protests.”
“According to our information, 47 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly leaders of the people of Southern Cameroon and who were recently forcibly returned to Cameroon have continued to face torture, ill-treatment, politically motivated trial and other human rights abuses by the government.”
“The AU should publicly condemn ongoing torture and ill-treatment of the 47 political activists facing persecution and abuses by authorities and call for their immediate and unconditional release.”
s oil company, Belemaoil Producing Limited, yesterday, donated a block of 30 flats to the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
President and Founder of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Jack-Rich Tein Jr, made the donation, which was for the ranks of Corporal and below, during the ground-breaking ceremony of the 16 Brigade, Camp in Yenagoa.
Tein Jr, also announced a scholarship award of N150,000 each to three hundred children of fallen heroes of the Nigerian Army, who died while keeping the peace both at the Niger Delta and the North Eastern part of Nigeria, amounting to about N45million (forty five million naira) per annum.
He stated that the gesture was in appreciation of the effort of the fallen heroes who laid down their lives for the security, peace and unity of Nigeria.
The Belemaoil boss said, “It’s a great honuor for our humble selves to be here today and this is the second project that Belemaoil is being part of with the 16 Brigade, the last was a one-hundred bed hostel space at Elele.
“My mission here today will not be complete until I become part of those appreciating the efforts of the fallen heroes and fortunately I heard the Commander of 16 Brigade talked about programme for the widows.
“I thought it is important for Belemaoil and the corporate community of this great country to be part of this project that will motivate and encourage the Nigerian Army.
“I, on behalf of my company hereby pronounce the award of 300 hundred scholarships at a one hundred and fifty thousand naira each amounting to N45million per annum, for the service men and women that paid the ultimate price in the north east and in Niger Delta.
“To demonstrate the love that has brought us together within Bayelsa and Rivers State, and also the super-excellent services that have been rendered by the Nigerian Army, especially the JTF in our area of operations, we make sure that before today and Friday, the cash amounting to a Hundred and Sixteen million and Three Hundred and some fraction is paid into the account so this project can start tomorrow.”
Fielding questions from newsmen after partaking in the tree planting of the Camp Buratai project, Tein Jr stated that the Nigerian Army had sacrificed so much in maintaining peace in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole.
He, therefore, implored other corporate bodies to join hands in supporting the Nigerian Army as a way of encouraging them to do better.
Earlier in his speech, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen.Tukur Buratai, thanked Belemaoil for its support, saying, “Let me at this point appreciate Mr. Jack-Rich Tein Jr, President of Belemaoil for identifying with the Brigade and indeed the Nigerian Army by donating a Block of 30 mini-flats for soldiers families. This project will go a long way in addressing part of the immediate accommodation needs for the Brigade.”
On his part, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, thanked Tein Jr for promoting peace in communities of the Niger Delta through Belemaoil Producing Ltd.
Dickson said, “Let me appreciate the President of Belemaoil, saying, “You have done very well for the military, I have heard the good works about the way you are running your company and promoting communal peace and stability. This state also needs your support.”
Tein Jr, was later presented with a plaque by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Buratai as ‘Friend of the Military’ and in recognition of his support to the military in the Niger Delta
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