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*Nigeria: Intersociety Launches International Campaign For Traffic Wardens
1. The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Australia High Commission, Oakland Center, 48, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
2. Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Norway, 54, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
3. Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, the Embassy of Sweden, Plot 1520, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
4. The Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Denmark, Plot 63, Europe House, Usuma Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
5. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the USA, Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business Area, FCT, Abuja.
6. Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Canadian High Commission, 15, Bobo Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
7. The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Switzerland, Plot 704, Adetokubo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 11, FCT, Abuja.
8. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, British High Commission, Dangote House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Wuse, FCT, Abuja.
9. The Royal Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Plot 622, Gana Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
10. The Head, Association of Foreign Diplomats in Nigeria, No. 12, Kainji Crescent, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
11. The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of France, 32, Udi Hills Street, Off Aso Drive, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
12. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria, Embassy of Germany, No.9, Lake Maracaibo Close, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja.
Justice For “Road Traffic Four”: A Letter Of Law And Facts Requesting Your Excellencies’ Pressures Stopping Nigeria From Becoming A Militarized Democratic Nation
Above subject matter refers.
(18th August, 2011, Onitsha Nigeria)-International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law- Intersociety is a Nigerian incorporated international organization based in Onitsha, Anambra State of Nigeria. We focus on protection and preservation of the citizens’ liberties recognized by the international rights norms. We also advocate for popular democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Our website is www.intersociety-ng.org and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject Matter & Its Background Information:
On 19th day of August 1975, the then Federal Military Government of Nigeria, under Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed (as he then was) promulgated Decree No. 21 of 1975, otherwise called “Traffic Warden Service Decree of 1975”. The Decree was in response to the rising incidence of traffic jams, accidents and related traffic criminality or offences. As a result, the para-military body of 2,800 personnel was created and incorporated into the Nigeria Police Force as a semi-autonomous outfit within the Force. The Nigeria Police Ordinance of 1st April 1930 was amended by the military government of Nigeria in 1990 to accommodate the incorporation.
The Decree enthrusted the management of the Service in the hands of the Inspector General of Police, who is empowered to “recruit, confirm the recruitment, train, promote, demote, reward, dismiss, transfer and post” any traffic warden in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Section 4 of the Decree gives every traffic warden in Nigeria “powers, privileges and immunities of a police officer in Nigeria”, and the term “police officer”, by law, applies to Constable to Inspector General of Police. According to the Decree, every traffic warden is to be regulated by the Nigeria Police Regulations of 1968, incorporated into the Nigeria Police Ordinance Amendment Decree of 1990 (Cap 359). It is very important to mention to Your Excellencies that the above-named laws and regulations surrender their supremacy to the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, in the event of inconsistency. One of the grossly deficient provisions of the said Decree No.21 of 1975 is the creation of restrictive ranking and public service grades. Section 6 of the Decree creates four junior rankings for the personnel of the Service and maximally seals the vertical mobility or hierarchy of the personnel of the Service at Grade Level 06, in the context of public or civil service ranking, as against Grade Level 17, which has a universal application. The four rankings are as follows: 1.Traffic Warden Grade 111 (equivalent to Police Constable). 2. Traffic Warden Grade 11 (equivalent to Police Corporal). 3. Traffic Warden Grade 1 (equivalent to Police Sergeant). 4. Senior Traffic Warden (equivalent to Police Inspector).
There are 21 rankings in the Nigeria Police Force, whereas only 4 are given to the personnel of the Traffic Warden Service. Sadly, those who joined the Service in 1977 to 1981, for instance, through the Police Training Colleges have remained at the Sergeant and Inspectorate ranks, whereas their colleagues in the Nigeria Police Force, with the same year of enlistment, school qualifications, trainings and postings have risen, at least, to the ranks of Chief Superintendent of Police (five-gap ranking) and Assistant Commissioner of Police (six-gap ranking). Presently, for the purposes of administration and operations, the Traffic Warden Service is grouped under “A” and “B” Departments, headed by DIGs Azubukor Udah and Audu Abubakar.
Police Age-long Onslaught & Discriminatory Practices Against The Road Traffic Personnel:
The Nigeria Police Force is noted for managing most of the country’s para-military organizations except the National Youth Service Corps (managed by the Nigerian Army). Some para-military establishments managed or being managed by the Nigeria Police Force are the Nigerian Prisons Service, Immigration Service, State Security Services (formerly National Security Organization), Federal Roads Safety Commission, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Economic & Financial Crimes Commission and Nigeria Customs & Excise. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Prisons Service separated from the Nigeria Police Force in 1920, while the Immigration Service got separated in 1958.
Sadly, while the bodies above-named had their good conditions of service including statutory rankings and optimum public or civil service Grade Levels, intact, those of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service have continued to be suppressed by the successive and present leaderships of the Nigeria Police Force. The present leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, under IGP Hafiz A. Ringim appears to be the worst. The authorities of the Nigeria Police Force, as presently constituted, have exploited the mischievous and deficient provisions in the infamous Decree No. 21 of 1975 to further worsen the plight of the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service. In 1997, as a result of the refusal of the then authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to pay the statutory entitlements of the four-graded hierarchies of the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service, which accumulated for several months as well as allied discriminatory practices, some courageous personnel of the Service, led by STW (Inspector) Sunday Etim instituted a suit against the then Inspector General of Police & 2 others before a Kaduna State High Court, which was later quashed for want of jurisdiction. The suit was later moved to the Federal High Court, Kaduna Division, which heard and determined same. Unsatisfied, main appeal and cross-appeal were instituted at the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division by the two parties, in suit No. CA/K/112/99 (Inspector Sunday Etim & 4 ors v. Inspector General of Police & 2 ors).
In the Appellate verdict, determined on 18th day of May 2000 by His Lordship Danlami Mohammad, with his two Learned Brothers, Their Lordships Mahmud Mohammed and Oludabe Oladapo Obadina, the Appeal Court among other things, upheld the argument of the Nigeria Police Counsel, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, to the effect that “the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service is not part and parcel of the Nigeria Police Force”, based on the point of argument that “the Service cap, uniform and badges of the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service are different from those of the Nigeria Police Force”. The verdict under discussion contradicted and still contradicts Section 3 of the said Decree, which provides as follows: “The Traffic Warden Service shall be a part of the Nigeria Police Force, and accordingly references in the Police Act to the Police Force established under the Police Act shall, subject to the provisions of this Decree, include references to the Traffic Services”. The main grounds upon which Inspector Sunday Etim & 4 others sued the Police and the then Attorney General of the Federation were predicated on Section 3 of the said Decree, meaning that as part and parcel of the Nigeria Police Force, they ought not to have been discriminated against and denied conditions of service enjoyed by their counterparts in the Nigeria Police Force.
While the litigation led to their statutory entitlements’ arrears being liquidated by the authorities of the then Nigeria Police Force and periodic payment of their entitlements, other discriminatory practices including promotion stagnancy, retention of restrictive ranking and maximum of Grade Level 06 vertical mobility, uncouth labeling and name-calling, non-allotment of Service portfolios, professional accountability of Traffic Superintendents and Inspectors to Police Constables, Corporals and Sergeants, etc, were continued with utter alacrity. Promotion exercises for the personnel of the Service rarely took place and till today, many, if not most of the Traffic Wardens have stayed ten (10) and even twenty (20) years in one rank. They are also over-laboured and over-burdened as most of them work from 6am to 6pm seven days in a week. Presently, only 8,500 personnel people the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service, manning about 40% of the country’s 178,427 localities, which are highly urbanized and motorized especially in the Southern parts of Nigeria.
In 2002, there was an attempted presidential intervention, courtesy of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The then President had directed the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun to create three new ranks of Assistant Superintendent of Traffic (on probation), Assistant Superintendent of Traffic (equivalent to Police Assistant Superintendent) and Deputy Superintendent of Traffic (equivalent to Police Deputy Superintendent), without any efforts towards repealing or modifying the infamous Decree No. 21 of 1975. By law, it may be correct to say that the three service stars worn by the personnel of the Service is courtesy of the presidential pronouncement, not by law.
For instance, while only four-grade ranking exists in the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service, allotment of portfolios and creation of same are non-existent in the Service. Even the position of the Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO), meant for every Police Divisional Command, which ought to be controlled by the Wardens, is manned by Police Sergeants to Police Inspectors. The personnel of the Service also operate horizontally till date. Even after the creation of the one to three-stars ranking for the Traffic personnel in 2002, the payment of the accompanying service entitlements elicited another round of cold war between the Service and the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force. The payment of the said entitlements, delayed for years, was also clothed with discrimination. Discrimination also abounds in recruitment and promotion examination exercises as it affects the personnel of the Traffic Warden Service.
In a policy statement, titled: “Regularization of Status: Traffic Wardens In Nigeria Police Force”, dated 21st day of June 2010, signed by Deputy Inspector General of Police, in-charge of Administration, Uba B. Ringim (as he then was), for Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo (as he then was), which was dispatched to all police formations in Nigeria including Police Training Colleges, the following observations and directives were made and issued: “The Inspector General of Police has observed the need to regularize the status of the Traffic Wardens Personnel as provided by Decree No. 21 of 1975 and Section 59 of Police Act and Regulation from which the Traffic Warden Services was established, solely to complement the functions of Motor Traffic Divisions of the Nigeria Police Force in areas of Traffic Control, Regulation and Enforcement of all Laws relating to Road Traffic under the directive of the Police. It is observed that Traffic Warden Personnel are being promoted to Officers cadre wearing the rank of AST with the first set of the beneficiary of this promotion wearing the rank of DST with the rank insignia similar to that of ASP to DSP in Nigeria Police Force. The situation is found to be a deviation from the rank structure as provided by Section 64 of Police Act and Regulation LFN Cap 359 which provides as follows: “A traffic warden shall have such rank as may be assigned to him by the Inspector General of Police within the following grades:
Warden Grade 111
Traffic Warden Grade 11
Traffic Warden Grade 1
Senior Traffic Warden”
Following the above anomaly, it is considered imperative to issue a policy statement to serve as a guide for future promotion and other related issues as it concerns Traffic Warden Personnel. The Inspector General of Police has therefore directed as follows:
1. Traffic Warden Personnel shall no longer participate in Departmental Selection Board (DSB).
2. Traffic Wardens are exempted from sitting for SPOs confirmation exams and any other Police Regular Courses/Promotion Exams.
3. All issues relating to promotion, confirmation of appointments, retirements and any other issues as may be directed by the Inspector-General of Police relating to Traffic Warden Services shall be handled by ‘A’ Department under special committee to be set up by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (in-charge of the Department).
4. The rank of DST shall be the highest rank to which the traffic wardens personnel shall be promoted.
5. Note Item 4(iv) above should be seen as an act of magnanimity of the Inspector General of Police to boost the morale of the Traffic Warden Personnel, bearing in mind the provision of Section 64 of Police Act and Regulation LFN Cap 359 which limited the highest rank to which the Traffic Warden Personnel can be promoted to that of Senior Traffic Warden.
6. You are all directed to make this a subject of lecture for all personnel, please.”
In another circular issued to all police formations in Nigeria, signed by the DIG “E” (Training, etc) on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, dated 1st February 2011, titled: “Re-2010 Departmental Selection Board- Inspector To ASP 11 Promotion Course 1/2011”, names of the police officers qualified for the course, which included some Senior Traffic Wardens (equivalent to Police Inspectors) were released and published in the police official bulletin. But to the greatest shock and surprise of the participating STWs, they were humiliated out of the exams halls after they had successfully taken the first part of the two examinations. They were stood up and chased out of the halls. When the promotion list of the said exams was reportedly released on 9th August 2011, via Police Wireless Message, to all police formations including the Anambra State Police Command, the STWs, whose names appeared in the list, were reportedly directed not to wear their new AST ranks on the ground that the promotion list was “released in error”, and that a new comprehensive list would be counter-released. The verdict in the suit No.CA/K/112/99 (Inspector Sunday Etim & 4 ors v. Inspector General of Police & 2 ors (2000) and these discriminatory practices have also propelled sustained agitations by the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service for an end to the said discriminatory practices or alternatively, to be made independent from the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force.
The Death of AST Nangor Dangtim And Clampdown On Key Personnel Of The Traffic Warden:
On 16th day of June 2011, bomb blasts, suspected to have been blown by elements of the Boko Haram Islamic Sect, hit the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police, killing about five people including Assistant Superintendent of Traffic Nangor Dangtim. The late AST Dangtim was, before his killing, in-charge of traffic control in the IGP’s parking garage as well as the general parking garage at the Force Headquarters in Abuja. He single-handedly stopped the suspected bombers from parking in the IGP’s parking garage, where the bombs would have been detonated. He was killed while commanding the suicide bombers to park in the general parking garage during which the bombs detonated, killing him and four others instantly.
On 2nd July 2011, his remains were interred in his home town, Yashi Community, Langtang in Plateau State, where the following funeral oration was read by some of his colleagues and funeral’s committee of friends: “With deep feelings in our hearts we sincerely sympathized with the family of … our colleague, Late AST Nangor Nangtim. The death comes as a shock to the entire family of Traffic Wardens Nationwide. However, he became the sacrificial lamb to save the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector General of Police in particular. With one voice we cry and plead with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Inspector General of Police to use the death of our colleague to remember the lingering issue of promotion and over-dependence on the Nigeria Police Force precisely ten years and thirty-seven years respectively. We also plead that Mr. President should step into the issue of the Ministerial Committee set up on the instruction of him (Mr. President) which was given just a week to submit their report but since then the report has not been given to him, despite the fact that the committee has finish(ed) their findings. We pray that God will grant the family of Late AST Nangor Nangtim the heart to (bear) this irreparable loss. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Long live the Nigeria Police Force. Long live the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service”.
After the unsigned oration was read, the pressmen that covered the event got interested in its content and became sympathetic as well, and requested for the signing of same so as to make it publishable. As a result, some members of the late AST Nangtim’s funeral committee of friends including STWs Emmanuel Mlanga, Samuel Uwakwe, Adamu Dogara and AST Yahaya Jezhi asked the Executive Director of the Vanguard for the Actualization of the Traffic Warden Welfare (Johnsonapla J.K.), an NGO, who authored the oration, to put their names. The representative of the Inspector General of Police from the Police Provost Office at the Force Headquarters, Superintendent of Police John Mboy Shinkut, collected a copy of the oration and took it to the IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, through the CP Provost, Mrs. Sherifat Disu.
Based on the forgoing, Your Excellencies, the Inspector General of Police ordered a clampdown on key personnel of the Traffic Warden Service including AST Sunday Haruna of the Lagos State Command, STW Adamu Dogara of the Plateau State Command, STW Samuel Uwakwe of the Cross River State Command, STW Emmanuel Mlanga of the Kano State Command and TW Grade 111 (Constable) David Oyishoma of the Bwari-FCT Command. On 8th July 2011 and 11th July 2011, respectively, STWs Emmanuel Mlanga and Adamu Dogara reported to the IGP’s office in Abuja and IGP Ringim ordered their detention through the DIG Administration Department down to the CP Provost. They were detained at Asokoro and Wuse Police cells in Abuja. On 28th July 2011 and 8th August 2011, TW Grade 111 David Oyishoma and STW Samuel Uwakwe were taken into detention in Wuse and Asokoro Police cells. AST Sunday Haruna was arrested in Lagos on July 28, 2011, taken to the IGP’s office and granted bail on July 29, 2011.
Detention Without Trial And Solitary Confinement Of The “Road Traffic Four”:
The detention of STWs Emmanuel Mlanga, Adamu Dogara, Samuel Uwakwe and TW Grade 111 (Constable) David Oyishoma by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz A. Ringim, assisted by DIG Administration, Mr. Azubukor Udah and the CP Provost (Mrs. Sherifat Disu), who is under the DIG Administration, was gravely in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights Domesticated Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004, the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 and the U.N Covenant on Civil & Political Rights of 1976 (ratified by Nigeria in 1993). The detention of “the Road Traffic Four” was also in gross violation of the Nigeria Police Act and its incorporated Regulations as well as the Criminal Procedure Act and the Criminal Code (for Southern Nigeria) and the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code (for Northern Nigeria).
STW Emmanuel Mlanga was arrested and detained on 8th July 2011 and granted bail on Friday August 12, 2011 without proper court trial. He was detained for 36 days or 864 hours, 32 days or 816 hours more than constitutionally allowed. STW Adamu Dogara was arrested and detained on July 11, 2011 and granted bail on Friday, August 12, 2011. He was detained for 33 days or 792 hours, 31 days or 744 hours more than constitutionally allowed. TW Grade 111 (Constable) David Oyishoma was arrested and detained on July 28, 2011 and granted bail on Friday, August 12, 2011. He was detained for 16 days or 384 hours, 14 days or 336 hours more than constitutionally allowed. And STW Samuel Uwakwe was arrested and detained on August 8, 2011 and granted bail on Friday, August 12, 2011. He was detained for five days or 144 hours, three days or 72 hours more than constitutionally allowed. His right to freedom of movement was also threatened for 31 days (since July 8, 2011).
In view of these, Your Excellencies, their rights to freedom of movement, personal liberty, fair hearing, proper court trial, dignity of human person, etc were utterly deprived. Section 35(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, prohibits the detention of any citizen more than maximum period of two days or 48 hours, while Section 35 proper, prohibits the denial of any citizen his or her right to personal liberty. Section 36(8) states: “No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offence was committed”.
There are five sets of written criminal laws in Nigeria that create offences, define them, create punishments for the offences and define them and stipulate the procedures for punishing the offenders. They are: Criminal Procedure Act and Criminal Code for Southern Nigeria, Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code for Northern Nigeria and the Criminal Laws & Procedures of the States of the Federation. In view of the foregoing, the IGP, Mr. Hafiz A. Ringim and his sub-commanders acted in gross violation of Section 36(8) of the Nigerian Constitution by holding “the Road Traffic Four” over acts unknown to the Constitution and her subordinate criminal legislations. By this singular despicable act, the IGP also manufactured his own offences and punishments, contrary to the Constitution.
The “Road Traffic Four” were also held in solitary confinement, apart from being detained without proper court trial. Access to their families, doctors, lawyers and conjugal visit right was utterly blocked by the IGP and his sub-commanders. While in detention, they were denied means of open-source communication including Newspapers, Television, Radio and cell phones. All their cell phones were seized. When sick and reported, they were not attended to, and their captors even turned down the medical advice offered by the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters Clinic, when STW Adamu Dogara was diagnosed of pneumonia, fever, stomach pains and high blood pressure from 70/110 to 110/140. He was denied medical treatment and returned to the Police cell. This happened on August 9, 2011. Also, the sanitary conditions around their detention cells were horrible. Apart from their stinking cells, toilets and bathrooms, they slept on bare floors and hardly ate food, except they induce sympathetic police cell guards to fetch dietary food for them.
Spurious Charges And Kangaroo “Orderly-Room Trial”/Recommended Dismissal:
In order to clear the Force of messy situation its leadership got it into, the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force, headed by IGP hafiz A. Ringim, hurriedly arranged for the so-called “Orderly-Room Trial” of “the Road Traffic Four”, in the form of “internal affair of the Nigeria Police Force”, after unlawfully and solitarily detaining them. The IGP and his sub-commanders had alleged that the “Road Traffic Four” defaulted by “engaging in offence against discipline, to wit; betrayal of confidence and discreditable conduct”. According to IGP Hafiz A. Ringim, who is also the sole constituting authority of the “Orderly-Room Trial”, by reading a funeral oration at the funeral of their dead colleague and given it to the press, the “Road Traffic Four” have released information not meant for the public (betrayal of confidence) and engaged in acts unbecoming of a police officer (Traffic Warden), which, according to him, amounted to “discreditable conduct”. The IGP also acted in utter violation of the Appellate Court judgment in suit No.CA/K/112/99(Inspector Sunday Etim & 4 ors v. Inspector General of Police & 2 ors), the verdict, which is yet to be set aside by any superior court, said, “the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service is not part of the Nigeria Police Force”.
Our thorough search into the 420 sections of the Nigeria Police Act and its incorporated Regulations clearly showed that processes adopted by the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz A. Ringim, and his sub-commanders, for the so-called “Orderly-Room Trial” of the “Road Traffic Four”, were in gross breach of the Act and its Regulations. For instance, no provisions in the Act and its Regulations empowered IGP Hafiz A. Ringim to detain the “Road Traffic Four” more than 48 hours, not to talk of over 30 days. The two accusations (breach of confidence and discreditable conduct) in the “Offences Against Discipline”, contained in the Police Regulations are low degree misbehavior. Also, the two accusations and the recommended “punishment”- dismissal from the Service, were wrongly rooted, arrived at and applied.
For instance, Regulation 370 of the Police Act under “Offences Against Discipline”, defines “Breach of Confidence” in Regulation 370(b) (iii) in the following way: “that is to say, if he-without proper authority, communicates to the public press, or to an unauthorized person, any matter connected with the Force”. Regulation 370(e) (iii) defines “Discreditable Conduct”, in the following way: “that is to say, if he-acts in any manner prejudicial to discipline or unbecoming of a member of the Force”. The Regulation, under “Offences Against Discipline”, also contains numerous high degree offences such as offences of “deserter”, “being drunk while on duty with riffles”, “misuse of riffles or accidental discharge”, “leaking security top secrets” (security intelligence and weaponry), “involvement in criminal offences against the State, person and property”, etc.
Furthermore, Section 371 of the Police Act provides as follows: “A junior officer (Constable to Inspector) who is guilty of an offence against discipline shall be liable to any of the following punishments, that is to say- (a) Dismissal, (b) Reduction in rank, (c) Withholding or deferment of increment (in salaries), (d) Reprimand, (e) Fine not exceeding N10.00, (f) Confinement to the barracks for any number of days not exceeding fourteen days, (g) Fatigues or other duties or punishment drill not exceeding a total of ten separate hours”. Therefore, apart from grossly faulty processes that were applied, the recommended “dismissal” of the “Road Traffic Four” over lesser accusations of “breach of confidence” and “discreditable conduct” is too harsh and an unwarranted punishment, wrongly situated, which is also a gross breach of Section 36(8) of the Constitution. In the first place, the mere reading of the funeral oration and its content ought not to have been fitted into the two accusations, because the express intendment of the two accusations is known to all and sundry.
Other grossly faulty processes, which the IGP, Mr. Hafiz A. Ringim, applied in the course of the so-called “Orderly-Room Trial” of the “Road Traffic Four”, in utter breach of the Constitution and the Police Act and its Regulations, are as follows: 1. The extra-constitutional detention of the “Road Traffic Four”. 2. Taking them to the “Orderly-Room Trial” from cells. 3. Holding them in solitary confinement. 4. Failure to notify them of the imminence of the so-called “trial”. 5. Failure to give them reasonable time to prepare themselves for the so-called “trial”. 6. Failure to allow them to consult their lawyers, prepare for their defence and call witnesses. 7. Failure to give them copies of the so-called “judgment”. 8. Recommending punishment heavier than the alleged offences. These are in utter violation of the 1999 Constitution, the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights LFN 2004, the Freedom of Information Act of the Federation 2011, as well as the Police Act and its Regulations, which cumulatively made the “trial” and its findings null and void.
It is our further information, Your Excellencies that the so-called “Orderly-Room Trial” was instituted on Friday, August 5, 2011, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja by the IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, through the DIG- Administration, Mr. Azubukor Udah and the CP Provost (under DIG Administration), Mrs. Sherifat Disu. The two-man committee was headed by the acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of the Provost Office, CSP Anthony Ekong and assisted by Assistant Superintendent of Police Joseph Akubo. The “Road Traffic Four” (three of them appeared on 05/08/2011) were taken from their cells and marched into the “Trial Room” where they were told of the two accusations leveled against them. They were taken back to cells at about 7pm same day after they pleaded “not guilty” and the “trial” was adjourned to Monday, August 8, 2011. Then, on Monday, 8th August 2011, STW Samuel Uwakwe was “co-arraigned”, after which the “trial-Delegated Officer”, CSP Anthony Ekong, announced disqualification of his committee on the grounds that the trio of Emmanuel Mlanga, Adamu Dogara and David Oyishoma probated and reprobated, having allegedly admitted the accusation of “breach of confidence” during their first arraignment. This, the trio vehemently denied, resulting in the committee’s disqualification of itself for want of confidence on its committee by the “Road Traffic Four”.
They were taken back to cells pending when a new committee would be reconstituted. On Tuesday, 9th August 2011, they were returned to the Force Headquarters for the continuation of the “trial”, but after about five hours, they were returned to cells without any proceedings. On Wednesday, 10th August 2011, the “Road Traffic Four” were returned to the “Orderly-Room Trial” and the former committee, headed by CSP Anthony Ekong, announced its committee’s continuation of the “trial”.
The committee introduced Superintendent of Police John Mboy Shinkut and Assistant Superintendent of Police Frank as “Police witnesses”, while ASP Murtala Shafi’u was named as “Investigating Police Officer” for the matter. Police witnesses were asked to testify against the “Road Traffic Four”, after which the “Road Traffic Four”, were asked to “address” the committee. The “trial” was adjourned for “judgment” and they were returned to police cells at about 6pm same day (10/08/2011). The ,b>“Road Traffic Four” remained in cells till Friday, 12th August 2011, when they were marched into the Force Headquarters’ “Orderly-Room Trial” for “judgment”. The committee recommended for their “dismissal” from Nigeria Traffic Warden Service and gave them seven days to “appeal” against the “recommended judgment”, subject to the IGP’s final confirmation or otherwise (Section 393(c) of the Police Act). Strangely and sadly, too, they were asked to sign bail bonds and find a Superintendent-surety to stand for them. They were also asked to report to the Force Headquarters on 24th August 2011. SUPOL Yahaya of the FCT Command took them on bail.
Why We Write Your Excellencies:
On 2nd May 2011, we alerted Your Excellencies through our letter, dated May 2nd, 2011, over plans by the Nigeria’s ruling party and its rigging machineries to subvert the electoral wish of the People of Imo State, Southeast Nigeria. Undoubtedly, Your Excellencies’ pressures and interventions substantially made the May 6, 2011 governorship election extra-ordinarily popular and credible. In the instant matter, we had before this noble letter, caused similar letters to be addressed to the Inspector General of Police, July 26, 2011; the President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, August 2nd 2011; and the Chairman, Police Service Commission, August 3rd 2011. We also issued a press statement on August 6, 2011, rejecting the so-called “Orderly-Room Trial”, because of the constitutionally abhorrent processes adopted in the instant case by the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz A. Ringim. The letters were also copied to other relevant authorities including the Police Affairs Minister and Nigeria’s Senate and House of Reps Committees on Police Affairs. The letters were confirmed “duly signed and received” by the authorities they were meant for. They were also widely publicized in the print and online media within and outside Nigeria. The said letters and the press release are available on www.intersociety-ng.org.
Yet, little or no efforts were made by the relevant authorities to address their contents, possibly, because they are co-travellers in such official brigandage. The awkward mentality of the Nigerian public officials (conspiracy and silence of the graveyard) towards crucial matters of extremely public importance such as this is clearly understood by all and sundry. Our writing Your Excellencies is frontally situated on several grounds. Apart from age-long socio-economic relationships between Your Excellencies’ home governments and the Government and the Good People of Nigeria, Your Excellencies’ supports are direly needed by the present government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to actualize Nigeria’s ambition of becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Nigeria is also in dire need of robust foreign investments to actualize her intractable match to socio-economic greatness.
The country has benefited, pricelessly, from Your Excellencies’ multi-billion dollar economic, humanitarian and military supports in the past years. In 2006, for instance, through Your Excellencies’ robust help, Nigeria’s 18Billion US Dollars foreign debts were written off, thanks to the Paris Club of Creditors, which many; if not most of Your Excellencies’ home governments belong. Nigeria’s health, educational, electoral, technological, security and justice reforms had attracted hundreds of millions, if not billions of US Dollars supports from Your Excellencies’ home governments since 1999.
Therefore, to whom much is given, much is also expected in return. Funding oppressive political regimes has become a social taboo in the world over. From the look of things, it is clear that while Ghana, Mauritius, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, etc, are busy, finding and consolidating their ways to the democratic paradise, Nigeria is busy, racing back to the Hobbesian jungle, where life was nasty, brutish, short, with survival of the fittest as the grand-norm. The major condition to be attached by Your Excellencies to future material and technical supports to the Government and the Good People of Nigeria, is the unconditional improvement on the country’s bad human rights records and weeding out of antihuman rights elements within her security establishments.
Section 22 of the Nigeria’s Constitution states: “The Press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the Fundamental Objectives contained in this Chapter (two) and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”. The new (2011) Freedom of Information Act of the Federation is solely predicated on this important Section. Also, as the main contributor towards the realization of Nigeria’s five cardinal objectives, namely: Political Objectives (Section 15), Economic Objectives (Section 16), Social Objectives (Section 17), Educational Objectives (Section 18), and Foreign Policy Objectives (Section 19), Your Excellencies are called upon to insist that Nigeria must become a human rights conscious and respecter nation. By adopting Fundamental Objectives, which are an indication of the ultimate objectives of the country, and by enshrining the Directive Principles of State Policy, which are the paths that lead to the full realization of the Objectives, Nigeria must not be allowed by Your Excellencies to decay and degenerate to militarized democratic country or to the jungle of “Animal Farm”
Consequently, we call upon Your Excellencies to: 1. Intervene in the current plight of ,b>the “Road Traffic Four” by prevailing on President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to ensure that they are discharged and acquitted of the spurious accusations by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force, headed by IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, aided by the Nigeria Police Council, headed by President Goodluck Jonathan; and the Nigeria Police Service Commission, headed by retired AIG Parry Osayande. 2. Intervene so as to ensure that Nigeria’s obnoxious and draconian body of civil and criminal laws including the infamous Decree No.21 of 1975 are overhauled. 3. Call upon President Goodluck Jonathan and the leaderships of the Nigerian Senate and House of Reps to specifically repeal or amend the infamous Decree No. 21 of 1975. 4. Urge the President & Commander-in-Chief (Jonathan) to direct the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to end all discriminatory practices against the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service and address other anomalies thereto. 5. Urge President Goodluck Jonathan to direct IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, not to confirm the recommended dismissal of the “Road Traffic Four”, but to discharge and acquit them of the spurious accusations, in accordance with powers vested on him by Section 393(c) of the Police Act LFN 2004.
6. Urge President Goodluck Jonathan to query and sanction IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, for gross misconduct or grave violation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, to wit; detention without court trial of the “Road Traffic Four” for over one month, on the ground of unconstitutional accusations, as well as to weed the Nigeria’s security establishments of Abacha-like beasts worsening the Nigeria’s horrible human rights records. 7. Urge the Police Service Commission to query and sanction DIG Azubukor Udah and CP Provost, Mrs. Sherifat Disu, over their involvement. 8. Urge President Goodluck Jonathan to call for the Ministerial Committee’s report, set up since September 2010, so as to find a final solution to the plight of the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service. 9. Any other mode of intervention or pressure considered relevant and vital that would facilitate a clear departure from the present despicable adamancy of the relevant Nigerian authorities, within the context of the subject under discussion.
To make it easier for Your Excellencies and other interested bodies for the above requested interventions and pressures, the following relevant public officials can be reached through the following open-source communication medium:
1. President Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman, Nigeria Police Council, State House, Abuja, Nigeria 2. Mr. Hafiz A. Ringim, Inspector General of Police, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria- +234(0) 8033225349 3. Retired AIG Parry Osayande, Chairman, Nigeria Police Service Commission, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja, Nigeria +234(0) 8074208602 4. DIG Azubukor Udah, DIG Administration Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria- +234(0) 8035986738 5. DCP Olushola Amore, the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria-+234(0) 8037391280 6. DIG Audu Abubakar, DIG Operations Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria-+234(0) 8034433148 7. CP (Mrs.) Sherifat Disu, Commissioner of Police, Provost Office, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria. 8. CSP Anthony Ekong, Acting ACP Provost Office & “Delegated Officer” (Chairman), “Orderly-Room Trial” of the “Road Traffic Four”, the Force Provost Office, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria- +234(0) 8034308313
If Your Excellencies wish to clarify one or two things from the family of the late Nangor Nangtim (killed in the Force Headquarters bomb blasts) or any of the “Road Traffic Four”, they can be reached through the following cell phone numbers:
1. Mrs. Nangor Nangtim -+234(0) 8164274395 2. SUPOL Yahaya (the officer who took the “Road Traffic Four” on bail on 12/08/2011) - +234(0) 8036785939 3. STW Emmanuel Mlanga- +234(0) 7038133443 4. STW Adamu Dogara - +234(0) 8036380898 5. STW Samuel Uwakwe- +234(0) 8062559189 6. TW Grade 111 David Oyishoma - +234(0) 7064999692
Finally, we wish to seize this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Press, especially the Print and the Online News Media for robust publicity given to the struggle under discussion. Our immense thanks and appreciations particularly go to the Nation, Compass, Punch, Champion, Next, Vanguard, Sun, National Mirror, Nigerian Pilot, Daily Independent and the Leadership Newspapers, Insider Magazine, and the Nigerian Masterweb and its publisher, Chief Charles Okereke (USA), Elomba.Com and its publisher, Mr. Daniel Elomba (USA), Nigeria News 24 (USA), the Nigerian Police Watch (Nigeria), Odera.Com (China), the Willnigeria.Com (Nigeria), to mention but few. We urge them not to relent until the battle is won.
We look forward to this letter being considered expeditiously and humanely by Your Excellencies.
For: Intersociety, Nigeria
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Phone: +234(0) 8037114869
Amaka Biachi Nwosu
Head, Research & Strategy
Phone: +234 (0) 8035532707
1. The President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
2. The Senate President, FCT, Abuja
3. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, FCT, Abuja
4. Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja
5. The Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs, FCT, Abuja
6. Chairman, Nigeria Police Service Commission, FCT, Abuja
7. The Inspector General of Police, FCT, Abuja
8. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
9. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, London, UK
10. Chairperson, African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia
11. Secretary General of Amnesty International, London, UK
12. The Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
Photo Above: STW Emmanuel
Photo Above: Nango Dantim
Photo Above: Samuel Uwakwe
Photo Above: TW Grade 111(Constable) David Oyishoma
Photo Above: STW Adamu Dogara
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Launches, International, Campaign, Traffic, Wardens, Africa, Masterweb
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