Friday, 28 November 2014


"For Forms of Government let fools contest; whatever is best administered is best."
~Alexander Pope

Governor Jonah D Jang of Plateau State

The road to 2015 on the Plateau has been paved with thick hedges of uncertainty and large potholes of ethnic sentiments that are threatening to plunge the state into deeper crisis. While the source of this brewing conflict is clear enough-where the next state Governor will emerge from- the solution is far from apparent.

On one hand, we have advocates of zoning. Those who contend that each of the three senatorial zones on the Plateau must take turns to produce the next state Governor. They hinge their argument on the notion that since the central zone ruled for 8 eight years, 1999 to 2007 and the Northern zone is about to complete her own eight year term, it is only reasonable that the next state Governor should emerge from the Southern zone, to rule for eight years as well. While this argument may seem logical, those against zoning claim that the southern zone has produced the state Governor on two occasions, first Solomon Lar from 1979 to 1983 and then Sir Fidelis Tapgun from 1992 to 1993. This group contends that since each zone has had a taste of the number one seat in the state, the rotation could start from any other zone including the north.
There is also a small minority that believes zoning should be jettisoned and only competent and committed persons should be elected, regardless of zone or tribe. But is there any credence to any of these arguments? Is there really a zoning arrangement in Plateau state?

Plateau as a state had her first stint of democracy in 1979 when the General Olusegun Obasanjo military regime returned the country to civil rule. At the time, there was no emphasis on zones as we know them today. Rather, what we had, was a divide between lower Plateau, which is now Nassarawa state and upper Plateau, that is the Plateau state of today. The arrangement then seemed to be that the Governor would emerge from upper Plateau, which had the larger population, while the deputy governor would be produced from the lower region. Thus the 1979 elections were contested between Chief Solomon D. Lar of the Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) and Chief Michael Audu Buba of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). It is of course common knowledge that the NPP won the keenly contested election. It is however worthy to note that both Solomon Lar (Lantang) and Michael Audu (Shendam) were from what we know today as the southern zone. So does this make a case for zoning? By 1983, when it was time for another round of elections, Solomon Lar of the NPP, being the incumbent, naturally became his party's flag bearer. The NPN on the hand, settled on John Jatau Kadiya, erstwhile federal Minister, from Bassa Local Government Area of what we now call northern zone. Lar won the elections but the democratic process was truncated 3 months later by the Buhari coup.

The third republic saw only two political parties operating in the country, the National Republican Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP). On the Plateau, the gubernatorial elections were contested by Sir Fidelis Tapgun of the SDP, from Shendam in the southern zone and Bagudu Hirse of NRC from Mangu in the central zone. Tapgun won the elections to become the second democratically elected governor of Plateau State but like Lar, the entire process was "dissolved" by the General Abacha junta some months later.

The period between 1998 to 2011 followed pretty much the same pattern.

In 1998, history was made in Plateau State when Joshua Dariye, from a little known mushere minority ethnic group beat other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates (including Jonah D Jang) to clinch the party's nomination to contest for governor in the general elections that year. Dariye subsequently won the election defeating Yohanna Dalyop of the All People Party (APP). Again, it is worth pointing out that Dariye was from the central zone while Dalyop was from the northern zone.

The 2003 elections was a fierce contest between Dariye (PDP) and Jonah D Jang (ANPP). Like Dalyop, Jang was also from the northern zone. Dariye won the election and ultimately a second term by the narrowest of margins.

In the 2007 elections, candidates for the two major parties in the state (PDP and ACN) were both from the northern zone. Interestingly, both of them were also of the berom ethnic group. Jang of course won the elections by a considerable margin.

By 2011 when Jang was going for a second term, he had to slug it with no less a person than his deputy, Dame Pauline Tallen, who had then moved to the Labour Party (LP). Tallen is from Shendam in the Southern zone. As we all know, Jang inflicted a heavy defeat on Tallen at the polls.
I have gone down this historical narrative to illustrate that at no point in Plateau State was zoning the post of governorship ever instituted. As such, it is not a right over which anyone should threaten fire and brimstone. Therefore, rather than beat drums of war or wail like babies over any seeming imposition of an ethnic agenda, our politicians should get to work educating the electorate on how real power is in their hands. Political stakeholders must also go beyond the ethnic/zoning narrative to present dynamic, dedicated and diligent candidates that can match any "anointed one" quality for quality.

I am a firm believer in equity and fairness but I also do not believe competence should be sacrificed on the alter of equity and fairness. If Governor Jang has anointed a candidate who, most agree, is quite competent and whose only sin is his ethnic group and zone, then those crying foul must also put their best foot forward. That is the only way to show that service, not personal interest, is at the heart of political permutations in the race for who becomes the Governor of Plateau State in 2015.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Still on the COZA controversy, Job Egila writes an open letter to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo; PASTOR BIODUN, REMEMBER SAMSON AND DELILAH   Quote:  “There are 3 sides to every story, your side, their side and the truth”   I have been following with knee interest the stories making the rounds in the social media about the alleged sexual scandal against your person and ministry as well as comments made by quite a number of persons.  The aim of this write up is not to take sides with any party but to offer some unsolicited advice.   I was lucky enough to attend your Sunday service today (25 August 2013) in Abuja and listen to you preach and make a brief remark concerning the scandal and can't help but to write this article.   What better analogy to use than the story of Samson and Delilah.  Most bible students and readers are familiar with the story but for the sake of those are not, let me give a brief summary of the story.   Samson was a Nazirite and a great man used by God in the Old Testament.  He was a judge over Isreal at the time and had been taking out great vengeance against Philistine.  Hoping to “capture” him, the Philistine leaders offered Delilah a sum of money to collaborate with them in order to uncover the secrets of Samson's great strength.   Delilah using the powers of seduction and deceptions, consistently wore down Samson until he finally told her the source of his powers.  When he slept on her lap, Delilah called the Philistine who shaved off his hairs.  Subdued and weak the great and powerful Samson was captured.   Pastor Biodun, there is a no doubt whatsoever that you have achieved a level of greatness and that you enjoy some fellowership as man of God.  You have come a long way from your humble beginnings that it can cause some to envy you.  Ese Walters story might be true or a lie, but the greater a man becomes, the more careful he should become.   No man is infallible, you are a man first before venturing into God's work(becoming a man of God).  You have a moral duty and obligation to live  above board.   There is no smoke without fire as they say, it is not a co-incidence that another woman has come up with another accusation and whether or not it's true only God knows but you must work on your “weaknesses” because there is no denying that everybody has got one or more.  Beware of sexual seduction as it has lead to the end of many great men and leaders.   Finally, whether or not the stories are true or not lets remember that accounts will be give to the Almighty and as they say these days He is watching us in 3D.  If the stories are true which only you, the ladies and God knows at the moment, then seek for true repentance and change your ways after all David in the bible committed so many atrocities but seeked forgiveness and was called a man after God's heart.  If there are mere fabrications to destroy your ministry, then keep doing God's work and run away from temptation, just like Joseph in Portiphar's house.  To the rest of us, nobody  holy pass so we should learn to be careful when passing judgment.  Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.   Job Egila Bauchi State Nigeria. 25th August, 2013.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


Boko Haram leader

Years after the first suicide bomb attack in Nigeria, the odious flames of insecurity that have engulfed the nation still rages. The Boko Haram insurgency which started in the sleepy town of Bauchi in 2008 has grown deadlier and more sophisticated over the years defying various attempts at a crackdown including brute force, trillion Naira budgets and the so called carrot and stick approach. Indeed the sect has shown that it is quite capable of eating the carrot and breaking the stick. Its activities have virtually crippled the three most viable economies of the north- Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and have turned the entire north east region into a relic of some rustic civility.
Perhaps it was these turn of events that informed the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto Sa'ad Abubakar III to call on president Goodluck Jonathan to consider granting amnesty to Boko Haram. Ever since the sultan made that appeal the talk of amnesty has assumed a life of its own culminating in the setting of a 26 member committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North on April 17, 2013.
As expected, the new disposition of the Federal Governementtowards amnesty has generated a lot of debit across the nation with the voices for and against in almost equal measure. But does a sect that has so much blood on its hands deserve amnesty?

The argument against amnesty has been supported with several reasons all of which seem very cogent. The first and most widely circulated is the view earlier held by the presidency about not giving amnesty to ghosts or a group that is not interested. The apparent rejection by the sect's Leader of the proposed amnesty does appear to lend credence to this argument.

A Second point is that granting amnesty would be like rewarding criminality. The deaths and scale of destruction by Boko Haram is second only to Nigeria's 3 year long civil war. Consequently, compensating the actors of such horrendous crime is not only unthinkable but is also a cruel irony on victims.

The third reason for rejecting amnesty is the fear that it might encourage other groups to take up arms, kill, kidnap, bomb and eventually seek amnesty. This thought is consistent with the long held policy by countries like the United States of America and Isreal 'not to negotiate with terrorists'. The policy makes it clear from the onset that Government cannot be held to ransome for whatever reason and serves as a deterrent to would-be terrorists.
Lastly, there is a cynical belief that most of the proponents of amnesty from the North see it as an opportunity to line their pockets and empower their relations. Those who argue along this line draw comparism from the Niger Delta amnesty programme which has made many people of South South extraction instant billionaires in the name of 'facilitators' of the amnesty programme. Sceptics also argue that most of the so called militants are merely relatives and acquaintances of powerful Niger Delta indigenes that have manipulated a well intentioned programme to train their people as Pilots and Engineers at Government expense. The fear is that such a scenario would be similarly replicated in the north especially as there is no test that can be carried out to show who is a genuine Boko Haram member and who is not.

As earlier stated, all these points appear valid but do elicit a counter.

Boko Haram may operate underground and may well not be interested in amnesty. But an incontrovertible fact is that the sect does appear divided. This disunity is a chink in the amour that can be exploited to great effect. The Boko Haram war might be ideological on the face of it but a little scratch beneath the surface will reveal a far bigger picture of poverty and purposelessness. These are the people that serve as ready foot soldiers for the sect. They are the canon fodder recruited on promises of pecuniary benefits and indoctrinated with a sense of deadly purpose. An offer of amnesty might be able to reach out and sever the supply line of would-be suicide bombers and lieutenants.

As for rewarding crime, no price is too great to pay for peace. As such, all options whether good or bad must be fully considered in the interest of bringing lasting peace to the North, restoring its damaged economy, eliminating the fear of bombs, carnage and ending the brutal occupation by soldiers. It is also heartwarming to see that part of the Terms of Reference for the Amnesty committee is the 'development of a comprehensive victims' support programme.' This should allay the fears of those who claim that the victims have been neglected while the terrorists are being rewarded. Granting amnesty will also ensure there are no more victims.

The notion that amnesty for Boko Haram could encourage the springing up of other terror groups is very genuine. But should the fear of an eventuality hinder the taking of steps to stop an eminent danger? The problem of Boko Haram is one that does not threaten the North alone but the entire country. Nigeria is more interconnected than most regionalists think and a problem in one part affects every other part. Simply look at the manufacturing conglomerates in Lagos whose truck drivers are afraid to take goods to the north and all the tomatos that are now being imported from Ghana because it is not safe to go to the North. The economic effect on the nation cannot be easily quantified. Besides, the recent discovery of a terror cell in Ijora should be enough reason to convince skeptics that once Boko Haram enters Lagos, the whole Country is doomed! So the point is, let the immediate problem be tackled and then ways of preventing a copy cat can be put in place. Again, it is good to see that the Committee was also saddled with the responsibility of developing 'mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insurgencies that would help to prevent future occurrences.'

Examples abound of Countries that have had to go against policy to dialogue with so called terror groups. In October, 2011, Israeli Soldier, Gilad Shalit was released after more than five years in Hamas captivity. Israel had to negotiate and strike a deal with its arch enemy Hamas in which it agreed to exchange 1,000 palestinian prisoners for Shalit. A steep price to pay for just one life was the argument in some quarters.
Also, Nigeria's former colonial masters, Great Britain has on more than one occassion granted amnesty to the Irish Republican Army(IRA) terrorists who had been accused of killing army and police officers as well as carrying out deadly bombings. Indeed, the amnesty granted the IRA by the British Government and Northern Ireland Office (NOI) did not go down well with Irish Unionists but it has to a large extent brought peace to the once troubled Northern Ireland.
These two examples show that there is always a place for dialogue, negotiation and amnesty in the over riding interest of peace.

Finally, there are no guarantees that corrupt opportunists would not seize upon the proposed amnesty to enrich themselves but the true measure of the success or failure of amnesty is not whether people other than terrorists benefitted but rather if peace was achieved in the end. The Niger Delta amnesty for all its lapses brought peace to the region and allowed the country to resume optimum production of oil thus preventing the oil dependent economy from grinding to a halt. If a similar gain is derived from granting amnesty to Boko Haram, in the end, it would have been worth it.

It must be said however that if the amnesty succeeds in securing peace, the colossal failure of the nations' security forces at containing the insurgency must be reviewed. Trillions have been spent, 'collateral damage' has been heavy and the landscape has been transformed into a war zone, yet the activities of the sect did not appear to slow. The possibility of complicity on the part of security forces must be considered and all necessary steps should be taken the address the many social injustices that give rise to problems such as these.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Let Gay Bishops Be!

"[The House of Bishops] confirmed that the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate."
-Statement by Church of England

The Church of England must feel they have found a clever solution to a knotty challenge. Gay Bishops can now be ordained in the church, but they must be celibate. In a sense this decision of the House of bishops is the culmination of a decade of controversy that has threatened to tear the anglican church Worldwide apart.

From 2003, when Jeffrey John had to stand down his appointment as bishop of reading over his 
relationship with a long time partner, the issue of gay bishops was bound to eat away at the soul of the church. Indeed,  Rowan Williams, the erstwhile arch bishop of Canterbury, had in 2004 predicted that dark days lay ahead.
 So has the church of England finally put this all too contentious matter to bed? Certainly not. The decision that Bishops can be in gay relationships as along as they practice abstinence is ridiculously absurd! Rather than look at the Bible for direction, the Church decided to use human wisdom in tackling a matter that can simply not be treated as a social debate or rights issue. This has given rise to an inherent contradiction of practice. How can one be gay and celibate at the same time? Its like saying its alright to be a thief as long as you don't steal- bizarre to say the least.

The decision to ordain gay bishops, though not entirely surprising, will not sit well with the Anglican Communion in Africa, whose cause is being championed by Nigeria.

No doubt had the Church of England been more mindful of the Bible's warning in Romans 1, such an issue would not even have arisen:
"And the men, instead of normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved."
Romans 1:27(NLT)

 The Bible expressly condemns Homosexuality as sin with attendant consequences. Interestingly, the punishment prescribed for homosexuality is not immediately apparent as God will simply let them suffer within themselves the penalty the so richly deserve. Little wonder the first ever recorded case of AIDS was among homosexuals- and the HIV scourge has been prevalent among that community ever since.

While I do not condemn allowing homosexuals into church, there is a marked difference between coming to God's presence as-you-are and being God's priest while doing something he so clearly abhors. Of course the argument among liberals will be that even the most pious of priest have their own flaws and even sin. The simply answer I have is that we still recognize those failings as sin. Sin which can be forgiven when we go to God in contrition.

By allowing the ordination of Gay bishops in the church, what the Church of England is essentially saying that homosexuality is not a sin, its just being different!

In the coming days there will be rigorous attempts to either affirm or denounce the Church of England's decision. The Anglican church in Africa will probably make good their threat to breakaway. But no matter what happens next, the Church of England will emerge worse of than when this issue first broke about a decade ago. Dark days certainly lie ahead.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Curse of Missed Opportunities

"The most potent weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed" Steve Biko.

Before January 1, 2012, I was a social recluse: I had never participated in any form of protest; had very few friends, my Twitter account had only 5 tweets, I was not on any chat group and visited Facebook sparingly. I devoted my time to work, family and church- I was completely at ease with the world. My reticence stemmed from the feeling that Nigerians were cursed to remain oppressed. A glaring example was the 2011 general elections where a unique opportunity to effect changes was lost to small mindedness and primordial sentiments.

The removal of fuel subsidy on New Year’s Day however became the catalyst needed to ignite my activism. Hence when I learned that some Nigerians had decided to ‘Occupy’ Eagle Square Abuja in protest, I immediately went there as well. The turnout was impressive considering the spontaneity of events. But Government was determined to not shift ground because shortly after we assembled, a detachment of soldiers and police descended on us, dispersed the crowd with tear gas and arrested a few people.

In the days that followed that incident, I attended meetings of Civil Society Groups planning street protests, engaged in public debate about my opposition to subsidy removal and became active on all forms of social media. I realised there were a number of Nigerians that did not know what or why we were against subsidy removal and I made it a sacred duty to inform them in every way possible.
 By the time the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called for a nationwide strike, Occupy had been on the streets for a week and though I did not participate in the Abuja sit-ins at Eagle Square and eventually Ascon Petroleum, I supported the frontline troops through provision of drinking water, tea items and toiletries. For the period the strike lasted, I went out every single day, marching through the streets, united with other Nigerians. We had transcended religious, ethnic and regional fault lines and replaced them with a searing lava of anger against an arrogant, clueless and insensitive Government-the volcano was about to erupt! My excitement was palpable.

The unique thing about the Occupy movement was that unlike the NLC, which was merely responding to the fuel subsidy increase, we were simply taking advantage of subsidy removal to push home an agenda for reform and good governance. Thus we raised issues such as tackling the cabal, reducing the size of government, cutting needless spending etc. I was convinced that if the strike lasted for a month, Government would not only revert to N65 per litre but would also be more circumspect when taking decisions in the future. The signs were already beginning to appear: Hardly a day went by without one Government official or the other coming on air to address Nigerians. Indeed the President who only a few days earlier did not deem it necessary to personally announce the removal of subsidy, broadcast to the nation at least 3 times during the strike. He also had to cancel an overseas trip!

Consequently, when the NLC called off the strike on the basis that Government had reduced pump price to N97 per litre, I was gutted! What happened to ‘no retreat, no surrender?’ When did labour start speaking for all Nigerians? But at the end of the day, it was clear that all our effort was going to amount to nothing. It felt like I had been raped-Violently.

There are three things which I believe were responsible for the inability of OccupyNaija to carry on with our protest when the strike was called off. First, we did not have a critical mass. OccupyNaija was elitist; it consisted largely of educated, enlightened and intellectual Nigerians who, quite frankly, are an insignificant number when compared with a population of over 150 million. Thus the larger populations of Nigerians-the ones worse hit by the fuel subsidy removal- were nowhere near the protest grounds. Most of them, like traders and bus drivers, just stayed at home praying for the strike to end so they could come out and glean their daily peanuts! Had these set of Nigerians been on board, the role of NLC during the strike would have been insignificant.

Secondly, we were inexperienced. Most of the people that joined OccupyNaija were openly engaging Government for the first time, as such there was very little knowledge of how to coordinate, organise, mobilise and keep the overzealous in check.

Finally, the movement lacked leadership. OccupyNaija was a spontaneous response to a national problem. Nigerians were united in purpose but needed some kind of leadership that would have helped articulate the peoples grievances and engage the authorities if need be. It was this lack of leadership that led to opportunistic politicians attempting to steal the limelight and malicious insinuations by Government that the protests were sponsored by the opposition. These problems notwithstanding, the Occupy Movement has clearly demonstrated that all power derives from the people and the moment the people realise this fact, they can determine their future. Subsidy presented us with a better great opportunity for change but we were not prepared and as a result, our collective resolve was betrayed by Labour. It is my firm belief that the Occupy movement should establish a structure- a rallying point that would easily summon the troops. The Government needs to know we are still alive, we are watching them and most importantly, we are legion. Through OccupyNaija, I have made great friends and met some amazing people, we must not allow this network become yet another missed opportunity.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Full Text of the President Jonathan's New Year's message

Fellow Nigerians,

1. I greet and rejoice with you all as we celebrate the advent of a new year.

2. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for bringing us and our beloved nation safely through the past year to the beginning of 2013 which, by His Grace, will be a much better year for us and our country.

3. In keeping with tradition, it is usual for individuals, institutions and organizations to make resolutions and set agenda as a new year begins, to guide their actions in the coming months.

4. I have already given a clear indication of the Federal Government’s agenda for 2013 in recent pronouncements. Our objective for the year is to ensure by all possible means that more of the programmes and projects envisioned by this administration, and which are already being embarked upon are further brought on stream within the next 12 months to meet the yearnings of our people, and raise the quality of life.

5. We have in the last year achieved a lot in terms of the positive transformation of vital sectors of our national life such as public infrastructure, power supply, oil and gas, transportation, education, health and agricultural development. We will continue to work diligently in 2013 to ensure that our efforts in these areas are carried forward to full fruition in fulfillment of our promise of better public services and improved living conditions for all Nigerians.

6. We will give priority attention in the coming year to flood and erosion control, the rehabilitation and expansion of existing federal roads, improved power supply, as well as the continued rehabilitation, upgrading and reactivation of the national rail network.

7. Employment generation and wealth creation will also remain a primary objective of our socio-economic agenda for 2013. Creating more employment opportunities for our youth and graduates of our universities is an imperative that will continue to underpin our drive for massive economic growth, the rapid expansion of our manufacturing and industrial base, and the productive diversification of our national economy. In this regard, we will continue to provide the necessary enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

8. As peace and security remain pre-requisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2013 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria.

9. I also want to assure Nigerians that we will refuse to be discouraged by those who have taken it upon themselves to pick on every initiative and effort of this administration. We remain resolutely committed to the rule of law, due process and fair play in all circumstances. Our democracy continues to grow, and the scope for human freedom continues to expand. It is an achievement that we will continue to build upon.

10. I say it again, we are determined to continue to push forward. We will do more, not less. We will remain focused.

11.For your part, dear compatriots, I urge that you all include in your new year resolutions a commitment to do more this year to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation in every possible way. That is all I ask for.

12. The task of making our dear nation a much better place for present and future generations cannot be left to government alone. Leaders and followers alike have critical roles to play in our march towards the fulfillment of our great national potentials.

13. Let us all therefore resolve as we celebrate the new year to place the higher interests of national unity, peace, stability and progress above all other considerations and work harder in our particular fields of human endeavour to contribute more significantly to the attainment of our collective aspirations

14. I wish you all a happy and rewarding 2013.

15. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Continued Detention Of Al-Mizan Journalists Does Not Pass Constitutional Muster


The State Security Service (SSS) and other security agencies in Nigeria are obligated to comply with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in carrying out their important duties. As a result, they should ensure the arraignment of the Al-Mizan journalists presently in their custody, if investigations have disclosed their complicity in any crimes or release them promptly. In the interim the SSS should allow the detained journalists access to their families, medical attention or other legal representatives.

This statement also transmits a request and an offer to the SSS to allow the National Human Rights Commission access to the detained journalists to independently verify their state of health and conditions of detention.

On Friday, 21 December, Al-Mizan, a Hausa language newspaper published in Kaduna, Nigeria, ran a story alleging that operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) had rounded up 86 youths in Potiskum, Yobe State. The story was also posted up on Al-Mizan’s website

Around 04:00 hours on Monday, 24 December, two Al-Mizan workers, Musa Mohamed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh, were respectively picked up and taken away by heavily armed security operatives from their residences in Kaduna to undisclosed destinations. During the operation to take them away, both men allegedly assaulted by the security operatives.

At the residence of Musa Mohamed Awwal, his wife was also allegedly assaulted as she sought to find out the identities and authority of those who came to take away her husband. An adult son, who suffers from Sickle Cell and was also in the house at the time, was allegedly also assaulted before Musa Mohammed Awwal was taken away.

From the residence of Musa Mohammed Awwal, the security operatives allegedly took with them a lap-top computer and eight cellular telephone hand-sets belonging to different members of his family. From the residence of Aliyu Saleh, they also allegedly took away cellular hand-sets.

The security operatives reportedly did not identify themselves and did not directly accuse the two workers of any crimes during the course of this operation to take them away.

On the same day, also in Kaduna, another set of security operatives visited the residence of the Editor of Al-Mizan, Ibrahim Musa, which was subsequently ransacked. Following the visit by the security operatives, a lap-top computer and modem were allegedly found missing, presumed to have been taken away by the security operatives.There was no search warrant shown to anyone on the premises before or during this visit. Ibrahim Musa remains in hiding.

Following these security operations, the workers at Al-Mizan went around the various Police stations in Kaduna to look for their colleagues. The Police denied holding them and sent around signals seeking confirmation as to their whereabouts. The SSS in Kaduna State subsequently confirmed that the operation had been undertaken by the SSS and that the two workers had been transferred to the SSS headquarters in Abuja. They have, however, not been granted access to anyone – family or other representatives.

Sections 35(4)-(5) of the 1999 Constitution require all persons arrested by the security agencies to be arraigned not later than 48 hours or within “such longer period as in the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.” Under the Constitution, any detention beyond 48 hours must be authorized by a court. The constitution also requires humane treatment of detainees and suspects.

The continued detention of these two journalists without information as to their whereabouts, crimes for which they are suspected (if any), or conditions of their detention, does not pass constitutional muster.