Thursday, 14 June 2012

News Report: “Seek Remedy Beyond The Court Room” Port Harcourt Based Human Rights Lawyer Tells Nigerians

Barrister Courage Nsirimovu

A Port Harcourt based human rights lawyer, Barrister Courage Nsirimovu has advised the masses of Nigeria to "seek remedy beyond the court room”, which he said entails “being informed about incidents in the polity and knowing your electoral candidates in order to exercise the rights to vote reasonably.”

Barrister Nsirimovu said this during an online interaction with chidi opara reports. He quoted Fidel Castro’s advice that “in a state of lawlessness, it is unlawful to be law abiding” and also quoted from Karl Marx’s “Theory Of Law” to buttress his position.

The young activist who collaborates with his uncle, Barrister Anyakwee Nsirimovu, the facilitator of Institute Of Human Rights And Humanitarian Laws in Port Harcourt reiterated the fact that the Institute is in court seeking judicial review of the Rivers State Contributory Levy Law, which he said “amounts to double taxation”.

Barrister Courage Nsirimovu then zeroed in on the Rivers State Governor And Deputy Governor Pensions And Fringe Benefits bill which was recently passed and signed into law. The human rights lawyer revealed that the bill was sent to the House Of Assembly from the Office Of The Governor, which went further to ensure that the bill was speedily passed without adequate prior information about the constitutionally required public hearing.

Nsirimovu said that the Rivers State Governor And Deputy Governor Pensions And Fringe Benefits Law Provides among other things, For:
(1) 100% basic salaries
(2) Two houses in any area of choice in Rivers state and Abuja.
(3) Three cars replaceable every three years
(4) 20% funding for utility, 10% for entertainment and 10% of same for houses of choice.
(5) Medical expenses for beneficiaries and immediate families.
(6) Security details which will include two operatives from the State Security Service(SSS), one female operative of same department and eight police officers for personal and domestic security.
(7) Domestic staff; including cooks, stewards, gardeners and others. All domestic staff shall be pensionable.

“The Legislature only has right to make for the order, peace and good governance of the state and not for self aggrandizement as the pension law shows,” he proffers.

The legal activist who recently featured in a programme on Rivers state television titled “Actionable Acts Of Parliament” with the Nigerian Bar Association Port Harcourt branch Chairman, Barrister Oko-Jaja recalled an incident when another illegitimate agency in Port Harcourt named “PHALGA Enforcement” forced him to part with the sum of twelve thousand naira near the premises of the Central Bank Of Nigeria  for “illegal parking” as he stopped to pick some colleagues.

Barrister Nsirimovu finally said that “the pension law is thus unconstitutional as it less represents the will of the people”.

“We will go to court and if need be, we will protest and we must go all out to disobey such evil law that targets tax payers’ money,” he concluded.

News Report: ICC Prosecutor Seeks 30-Year-Term For Congolese Warlord

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo: Photo Credit: AP
Credit Reuters

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, convicted by the International Criminal Court in its first ever ruling, should be sentenced to 30 years in prison for using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Lubanga was found guilty of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in a five-year jungle war that killed some 60,000 people in the east of the country around the turn of the century.

"Children were trained by terror. They were trained to kill and to rape. The children were launched into battle zones where they were instructed to kill everyone regardless of whether they were men, women, or children," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said in a statement, demanding the court's maximum sentence of 30 years.

The International Criminal Court convicted the 51-year-old militia leader in March but did not decide on a sentence at the time.

It was not clear when it would issue a sentence.

The prosecutor told the court he would recommend a reduced sentence of 20 years if Lubanga showed genuine remorse by helping to prevent future crimes.

"He has to use his leadership and position of respect to promote peace, advocate for measures to unify and heal and improve injured communities, promote reconciliation and the reintegration of the child soldiers back into the communities, in particular the girls raped," the prosecutor said, as well as by promoting education.

Last month, former Liberian President Charles Taylor was jailed for 50 years by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), another war crimes court in The Hague, for aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone.

Taylor, 64, was the first head of state convicted by an international court since the trials of Nazis after World War Two, and the sentence set a precedent for the emerging system of international justice.