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
Monday, 31 December 2012
Saturday, 29 December 2012
PUBLIC STATEMENT BY CHIDI ANSELM ODINKALU, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA, ON THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF MUSA MOHAMMED AWWAL AND ALIYU SALEH, JOURNALISTS WITH AL-MIZAN, KADUNA, BY THE STATE SECURITY SERVICE (SSS)
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 www.almizan.info.
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.