Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu at risk of execution

Nigeria has been in the news recently with disturbances in several cities concerning police violence.  This urgent action concerns a particular individual at risk of execution.  If you have time to write that would be wonderful.

There are serious concerns about the fairness of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu’s trial and the framing of the charges against him. Before and during the trail, he was not permitted legal representation. He was granted access to legal advice to prepare an appeal after human rights lawyers and activists pressured the court to respect his right to legal representation. Sharia law, which is practiced in many states in northern Nigeria, provides for the death penalty for blasphemy. The Hisbah, a Kano State-owned security outfit is the body that enforces the Shariah law in the highly conservative state.

The death penalty remains a legal sanction in Nigeria and continues to be imposed throughout the country. In 2019, over 54 death sentences were recorded. In total, over 2,700 people were under death sentence by the end of the year. In Nigeria, the 2004 National Study Group on Death Penalty and the 2007 Presidential Commission on the Administration of Justice both stressed that the Nigerian criminal justice system cannot guarantee a fair trial and called for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Details are available here.

stop_tortureWe have featured Moses before on this site since news of his release has been received.  Briefly, he was arrested for allegedly stealing some mobile phones.  He was then brutally tortured and the confession extracted from him was used to sentence him to death.  He has been in prison for 10 years but a world wide campaign has resulted in his release.  The Salisbury group was active on his behalf and over 400 signatures were collected and a petition sent to the Nigerian Embassy in London.

Moses has written a description of his release and how he was reunited with his family and this can be read here:

Article by Moses

An item on Moses and the involvement of the Salisbury Group appeared in the Salisbury Journal on 2 July which unfortunately does not appear to be available on line.

Moses’ piece ends thus:

If I have my way, and can stop torture, I will be the happiest man on earth. I don’t want any future generation to go through what I went through in that torture chamber.

On 28 May 2015, Moses was pardoned after nearly 10 years in jailOver 800,000 of you around the world took action demanding justice. 

Nigeria fact sheet prepared at the time of the campaign.

Moses Akatugba

Moses Akatugba

Success for local group

The Salisbury group, along with other groups around the world, has been campaigning on behalf of Moses Akatugba in Nigeria.  He was accused of stealing three mobile phones and then subjected to torture and sentenced to death.  Regrettably, torture has become endemic in Nigeria and police stations even appoint ‘torture officers’ to carry it out.

We have held many signings in Salisbury and a large number of cards were sent off to the Nigerian authorities.  We are pleased to report that this campaigning effort has been a success and he has been granted a total pardon.  Unusually, the Governor of Delta State mentioned the Amnesty campaign in his Facebook page.

Moses himself made a statement:

I am overwhelmed, I thank Amnesty International and their activists for the great support that made me a conqueror in this situation.  Amnesty International and activists are my heroes.

I want to assure them that this great effort they have shown to me will not be in vain by the special grace of God I will live up to their expectation.

I promise to be a human rights activist, to fight for others.  I am thanking the Governor for his kind gesture and for keeping to his words.

Further details of our campaign can be read on the fact sheet below;

Nigeria fact sheet

These are the minutes of the October group meeting – thanks to Karen.

October minutes

Card signing

Card signing

We held a stall in the Library tunnel on Saturday 11 October in aid of the #stoptorture campaign and in particular, to highlight the case of

Moses Akatugba in #Nigeria.  He was arrested for allegedly stealing mobile phones, shot in the hand and tortured by the Nigerian Army.  He has been in prison now for eight years and is on death row awaiting execution.  Torture is routine in Nigeria and it is reported that police stations even have a ‘torture officer’.

We collected 189 signatures in three hours which is a good haul for a difficult subject which has received next to no publicity.  We shall be sending the cards in two batches to the Governor of Delta state in Nigeria where Moses is being held.  We have sent a report of the signing to the Nigerian Embassy in London (see under Update below).

If you would like to know more about this case then you can find it here: Nigeria fact sheet

We are grateful to all those who stopped to sign a card.  The great majority of passers-by did not to sign it has to be noted for

Moses Akatugba

Moses Akatugba

reasons that are never clear or revealed.  155 countries around the world have signed the UN protocol against the use of torture but according to Amnesty International figures, it is still practised in 141 of them. In other words, they sign treaties to end it but continue to use it.

Thanks to all the Salisbury Group’s team for taking part and their help in making this a success: Michael; Jonathan; Andrew; Lesley; Peter; Fiona; Eddie; Cynthia; Tony and Karen.

UPDATE 13 October  Nigerian Embassy letter

Some of the signed cards

Some of the signed cards

Moses Akatugba

Moses Akatugba

On Saturday 11 October we shall be manning a stall in Salisbury market to highlight the human rights situation in #Nigeria.  In particular, the case of Moses Akatugba who was tortured by Nigerian police to secure a conviction.  He was 16 when arrested, shot in the hand, beaten, and hung in an interrogation room for hours.  Pliers were used to extract his finger and toe nails.  His alleged crime was to steal three mobile phones.  Unfortunately, this ill-treatment is now a commonplace in Nigeria and there are reported to be ‘torture officers’ in police stations.

Executions were resumed in June last year when four men were executed in Benin city.  The bodies were not returned to the families for burial nor is the location of the graves known.

Amnesty has serious concerns about the increasing use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in Nigeria.  Recent research by Amnesty indicates that police and military personnel routinely use torture and other ill-treatment to extract confessions and to punish and exhaust detainees.

Nigeria fact sheet (pdf)

You can also read about corruption in Nigeria here: Human Rights Watch: Nigeria

We look forward to seeing you in the market place on 11th.