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Pyrates tasks Nigerians on strengthening democratic practices

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The National Association of Seadogs, aka Pyrates Confraternity, Ash Montana Deck, has urged Nigerians not to hesitate in testing the nation’s laws to strengthen democratic practices and build strong institutions.

The association, which decried growing impunity, disobedience to rule of law and abuse of fundamental human rights in the country, called on the citizens to take their destiny in their own hands and dictate the tone of governance.

Emmanuel Eromonsele Okoghe and Barrister Habeeb Whyte, the Vice President and Legal Officer of NAS Abeokuta Chapter respectively, made the submission in a radio programme on Roots FM 97.1 Abeokuta, which was part of the association’s activities to commemorate the International Day of Democracy.

The International Day of Democracy, as resolved by the United Nations, is celebrated annually on 15 September with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy.

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The duo described the Pyrates Confraternity as a non-political and non-religious organisation whose aim is to strive for the attainment of a just, humane and egalitarian society.

Okoghe, who noted that democracy is about the will of the people, expressed regret that the form of government had been destroyed by impunity in the country.

He said, “Sovereignty belongs to the people; and from there the constitution derives its power. The people give the law through which they are governed and the legitimacy of the constitution is from the people.

“Unfortunately, the style of democracy practised in the country has been tailored to benefit a select few and their interests as opposed to what the majority needs. This has made it difficult for the will of the people to be paramount in our democratic construct.

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“The result has been impunity, disobedience to the rule of law and abuse of the basic fundamental rights of the people, among others. The Pyrates Confraternity, therefore, uses this period to remind all that democracy is about the people, their will and aspirations.”

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Okoghe asked the people to always stand and speak against undemocratic practices capable of truncating the nation’s democracy.

“The National Association of Seadogs has no political affiliation and it has not endorsed any candidate or political party. Its interest is not aimed at criticizing a particular candidate, administration, political party or government. Its interests include to ensure the right principles of democracy are entrenched, the rule of law is strictly obeyed, good governance, transparency, and accountability are institutionalised,” he added.

On his part, Whyte pointed out that every citizen has a role to play in entrenching strong democratic principles in the country.

The legal practitioner said it was wrong to blame only the leadership or the led for the rot in the nation’s democracy, insisting that both the leaders and followers contributed to current political challenges.

He said, “We have witnessed 23 years of uninterrupted democracy which has left much to be seen and desired. Democracy, which is supposed be about the people, has taken power, peace, fundamental human rights and security from the people.

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“There is monumental corruption with its resultant impunity, lack of transparency, abuse of the rule of law, no freedom of speech and press, insecurity at its highest points, abuse of due process, nepotism and other issues which are clearly anti-democratic and huge threat to our hard-earned democracy, peace, unity and stability of the nation.

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“When the leaders lead by the right principles and examples, the led will definitely fall in line. On the other hand, when the leaders do not set the right examples, the led also do not see any reason to behave different from the examples of their leaders. Such promotes the culture of impunity, violation of the fundamental human rights, violation of the rule of law and other attitudes that are anti-democratic.”

Whyte stressed the imperative of upholding the rule of law and strengthening global best practices of democratic principles in Nigeria.

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Crime

Nigerian Navy investigates civilian worker’s death

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The Nigerian Navy (NN) says it has begun investigation on how one of its civilian staff members, Mr Ifeanyi Onumaegbu, died.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, announced this in Lagos on Thursday.

He explained that Onumaegbu died at the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital (NNRH) Ojo, Lagos, where he worked.

He explained further that the deceased was a civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence attached to the Laboratory Department of the NNRH since 2009.

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”The navy is deeply saddened by the demise of Mr Ifeanyi Onumaegbu and the circumstances surrounding his death.

”On March 31, he was found lifeless in his office at NNRH.

“A preliminary investigation revealed that on March 26, the deceased was involved in an altercation with a civilian lady and some NN personnel in Navy Town Barracks,” he said.

Ogalla said that all suspected personnel and the civilian lady involved in the previous altercation had been identified and “are currently under close custody”.

He also said that NN had facilitated the movement of the deceased’s body to a reputable government hospital in Lagos based on the request of the family for an autopsy.

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“The NN further wishes to assure his family and the public that all necessary measures are being taken to unravel the cause of his death.

“Any person found culpable would be prosecuted according to extant laws,” he said.

Theheute recalls that the Joint Executive Council of Ministry of Defence embarked on a peaceful mourning protest on April 8 against the death of Onumaegbu

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The protest was held across all the civilian personnel units of the Ministry of Defence.

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Hardship: Prophet Fufeyin Donates N30m To Less-privileged Nigerians

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Billionaire prophet and General Overseer of Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministry in Warri, Delta State, Prophet Jeremiah Fufeyin, has given out over N30 million in charity to reduce the current economic crisis faced by the masses.

In a viral video on social media, Fufeyin, known for his philanthropic gestures, was seen giving out wads of cash to church members to ameliorate the rising price of food items in the country.

The humanitarian effort has caught the attention of netizens, capturing the hearts of many amid the current challenging times.

Fufeyin has emerged as a beacon of hope by extending a remarkable gesture of kindness towards struggling church members even as he stressed the need for well-meaning Nigerians to help assuage the challenges of the masses.

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This spontaneous and substantial donation not only alleviated immediate concerns but also underscored Fufeyin’s deep empathy for those affected by economic hardship.

The response to Fufeyin’s act of benevolence has been overwhelmingly positive, with Nigerians taking to social media platforms to commend his compassion and selflessness. Amidst a climate of economic uncertainty and rising living costs, Fufeyin’s initiative has resonated deeply, sparking discussions about the importance of generosity and communal support during trying times.
Fufeyin expressed his motivation for the donation, citing a desire to alleviate the suffering of his church members and fellow Nigerians in tangible ways.

He emphasised the necessity of collective action in addressing societal challenges and urged others, particularly those in positions of influence, to contribute towards uplifting the less fortunate.
The impact of Fufeyin’s philanthropy extends beyond financial assistance, serving as a powerful reminder of the potential for positive change when individuals leverage their resources for the greater good of all.

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Crime

39 lecturers indicted for sexual harassment in five years – Report

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No fewer than 39 lecturers in the nation’s tertiary institutions have been indicted and dismissed over sexual misconduct in the past five years, analysis of media reports by Theheute has revealed.

Sexual harassment has been recurring in Nigerian higher educational institutions with a survey conducted in 2018 by the World Bank Group’s Women revealing that 70 per cent of female graduates from tertiary institutions in the country were sexually harassed in school, with the main perpetrators being classmates and lecturers.

Although the Senate had in 2021 passed a bill stipulating 21 years imprisonment for randy lecturers, Theheute reports that most of the lecturers indicted and found guilty after the bill was passed were simply sacked.

In April 2018, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, announced the indefinite suspension of a professor of Accounting, Richard Oladele, over sexual harassment.

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In 2021, the university also dismissed three lecturers from the Departments of English Language, International Relations and Accounting over sexual harassment.

In February 2020, the institution also announced the suspension of a lecturer at the Centre for Distance Learning, Monday Omo-Etan, for sexually molesting a 19-year-old female student.

In 2019, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, announced the suspension of an associate professor, Monday Igbafen, over allegations bordering on sexual harassment of female students.

Igbafen, who was the chairman of the AAU branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the time, had accused the vice-chancellor of the institution of trying to frame him.

The senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the university, in a letter written to the school by his lawyers, Osahon Irebhude & Co, demanded a written apology from the school.

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In September 2020, the management of the Imo State University announced the suspension of two lecturers, who were alleged to have been involved in sexual misconduct with female students.

In February 2021, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, announced the suspension of a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, Dr Chigozie Odum, over allegations bordering on sexual misconduct.

The Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, similarly suspended a lecturer in the Department of Media and Theatre Arts in June 2021 for sexual misconduct.

In the same month, the management of the University of Lagos announced the dismissal of two lecturers over similar offences.

In August of that year, the University of Port Harcourt announced the dismissal of a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature for sexual misconduct.

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In October 2021, the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, also announced the dismissal of two lecturers from the departments of Nutrition/Dietetics and General Studies over sexual misconduct.

A lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education was dismissed for impregnating a female student.

In December 2021, the Kwara State University, Malete, announced the dismissal of a lecturer for harassing a student in the Department of Pure and Applied Sciences.

In January 2022, the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rivers State, announced the dismissal of a lecturer for harassing a female student.

In April 2022, OAU again launched a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against a professor in the Department of Linguistics and African Studies. So far, two professors have been affected in the institution.

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In June 2022, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof Abdul-Raheed Na’allah, announced the dismissal of two lecturers for sexual misconduct. Both of them are professors.

Earlier in 2023, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission arraigned Dr. Balogun Olaniran of the Tai Solarin University of Education, who was said to have allegedly demanded sexual gratification from a female student to alter her results in 2021.

In March 2023, a lecturer at the Kogi State Polytechnic, Abutu Thompson, was dismissed on account of sexual harassment and victimisation of a female student in the Department of Computer Science.

In May, the management of the Ambrose Alli University in Edo State reportedly dismissed an unnamed lecturer over allegations bordering sexual harassment.

Reports noted that the lecturer was dismissed on the recommendations of the institution’s Staff Disciplinary Committee, which found him guilty of the offence.

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According to AAU’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Asomwan Adagbonyin, the dismissed lecturer had claimed to only make advances, yet he went to the girl’s church to plead for forgiveness.

In July 2023, the VC of UNIABUJA, Na’allah, said two lecturers were dismissed following allegations of sexual harassment.

In August, the management of the University of Calabar suspended the embattled Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, over allegations of sexual harassment. Ndifon is currently being held by security operatives.

On September 7, 2023, the University of Lagos suspended a lecturer, Kadri Babalola, who was accused of raping a 21-year-old student.

Similarly, in October 2023, the Federal College of Forestry, Plateau state announced the suspension of four lecturers over allegations bordering sexual harassment of female students.

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Speaking with our correspondents on the matter, the Director of Programmes, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, urged President Bola Tinubu to sign the sexual harassment bill into law.

Oluwatoyin said, “The President signing the bill will be a game-changer. We need to make schools safe for our students. The most unfortunate part of the issue is that some of these students even when harassed are scared to come out in the open for fear of victimisation and other issues.”

Former Programme Manager, Gender Justice at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Nafisa Atiku-Adejuwon, urged institutions to prevent survivors from being further victimised into silence and provide safe anonymous pathways for them to report such incidents.

Atiku-Adejuwon also called for the building of a system of trust between university management and the student population.

“The response system has to be survivour-centred and holistic; mental and physical health concerns must be taken seriously. The response system shouldn’t be created to make the university look good; it should be to take care of the survivors,” she added.

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