World Justice Project prize: Nigeria’s TransparencIT wins $20,000 dollars

The Washington-D.C.-based World Justice Project has awarded 20,000 dollars (N8.4 million) World Justice Challenge 2022 prize for Anti-Corruption and Open Government, to Transparency Information Technology Initiative (TransparencIT) of Nigeria.

TransparencIT received the prize for its project: Trial Monitoring of Corruption Cases: Creating Monitoring Systems, an Online Corruption Database and Special Anti-corruption Courts.

The World Justice Chief Communication Officer, Tanya Weinberg said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday.

Weinberg explained that the Trial Monitoring of Corruption Cases project tracked and evaluated corruption cases in 21 states in Nigeria and had dramatically reduced the duration of corruption trials.

“Corruption is Nigeria’s greatest obstacle to economic development and often goes unpunished due to slow dispensation of justice and corruption within the justice system.

“TranparencIT’s Trial Monitoring of Corruption Cases project has helped reduce the average duration of corruption trials from eight years to between three and four years.

“The organisation is equally successfully advocating special anti-corruption courts that are even speedier,” she said.

She said that the prize was announced at the close of the virtual World’s Justice Forum, a global gathering of the justice and rule of law movement held in The Hague, Netherlands on June 2.

She said that the World Justice Challenge was a global competition to identify, recognise and promote good practices and high-impact projects and policies that protect and advance the rule of law.

“It is dedicated to addressing structural inequities and governance weaknesses exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” Weinberg said.

She said that 305 organisations in 118 countries applied, out of which 30 finalists were invited to showcase their groundbreaking work at the World Justice Forum.

Weinberg said that five best in-class local initiatives emerged winners under the five themes: Access to Justice, Anti-Corruption and Open Government, Equal Rights and Non-Discrimination, Data for Justice, and Alumni Vote.

“Finalists were evaluated by a 10-member judging panel, which included former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, General Secretary of International Trade Union, Sharan Burrow, and Indian human rights activist, Hina Jilani.

“Red Dot Foundation, India, won the Equal Rights and Non-Discrimination Prize for its Safecity: A Croudmap for Sexual and Gender-based Violence project.

“Cambodia Bridges to Justice, Cambodia, won the Access to Justice Prize under its Championing Access to Justice: Improving Cambodia’s Courts of Appeals System.

“In Reach, Global won the Data for Justice Prize for its In Reach: Providing Legal Aid Support to LGBTQ+ People Fleeing Persecution.

“While POS Foundation, Ghana, won the Alumni Vote Prize for its Justice for All amid COVID-19: Alleviating Prisons Overcrowding with Mobile, In-prison Special Courts project,” she said.

The chief communication officer said that each of the winners received a 20,000 dollars prize.

Mr Bill Neukom, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, World Justice Project, noted that the rule of law was under attack around the world, adding that people were suffering countless injustices as a result.

“The World Justice Challenge demonstrates how communities are resisting these attacks, and how their innovations can succeed in delivering justice, opportunity, and peace.

“We applaud these rule of law champions and look forward to the additional impact they inspire through their exemplary work,” Neukom said.

In his response, Founder and Director, TransparencIT, Mr Abbas Inuwa, thanked the World Justice Project for the honour.

“This award means a lot to us because it is recognition from the World Justice Forum by world justice leaders.

“It validates our work and gives us a great nudge to continue advancing the rule of law for more just and accountable societies,” Inuwa said

PDP 2023: I made history despite defeat, Bauchi gov speaks on Presidential primary

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has declared that he would give his unflinching support to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to win the presidential election in 2023.

This is despite his refusal to step down for Atiku during the last party primary. Governor Bala Mohammed was among those who contested the presidential primary election of the PDP.

While Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, stepped down for Abubakar a few hours to the primary election and asked his supporters to vote for him, Mohammed on his part, did not step down but went into the contest and came out the fourth with only 20 votes.

Speaking on Monday at the Executives Chamber of the Government House, Bauchi, while inaugurating a Reconciliatory Committee mandated to meet and reconcile aggrieved individuals within the party, the governor said that though he failed to get the ticket of the party, he was, however, victorious having made history as the first person in the state to contest the presidency after the death of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

“I am receiving today, the executives of the party who are here on a congratulatory visit over the dual success that I recorded. Since the demise of the late Prime Minister, nobody from Bauchi State ever came out to contest for the office of the President except me; with that, I have made history and that in itself is a victory for me. We have taken it to be God’s making and we have accepted it in good faith, he gives power and he takes it away. The campaigns we did for the presidential ticket, we did it with God’s permission and to us, we were victorious.

“I really cherish that position in recognition of the support that you gave me over the period. The support has been mixed, many people didn’t want me to go because they wanted me here (in Bauchi as governor) and it was all out of love; others wanted me to go so that I can represent this section of the country and the country at large because of the capacity I have developed over the years. We know that power comes from God, and what he has given us, we really cherish it because we are better informed and they say, participation in politics is the best teacher that anybody can get.

“And I must also thank you for giving me yet another opportunity to be your flag bearer as a gubernatorial candidate. This has shown the kind of synergy, fraternity, and brotherhood that we have. There was no dissenting voice, even the gentleman who stepped down for me, I must thank him most sincerely, that is the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Kassim, for being so magnanimous.

“Of course, he had the option of saying no, it is his own right, but it was within his own volition, I didn’t even ask him, he decided on his own despite the doubting Thomases and treacherous and mischievous people saying a lot of things and even playing the kite in the social media that he was not stepping down. It was all lies and you can see what happened, I thank him most sincerely, I will never take his love and appreciation for granted. I must also thank the delegates for standing by me all the way,” he said.

The governor added, “You can see that losing is part of democracy. I have lost but I have taken it in good faith. I am calling on others who lost like me as I lost in the presidential primary to take it with humility, to take it with a strong faith in God. There was a lot of horse-trading, a lot of permutations, and even insults unleashed on each other, but we have to forget all these because we have to forge ahead.

“I am firmly behind our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and I will do everything possible to win the presidential election. In the same token, all those who contested in all the elections from the senatorial to the state assembly must embrace that family approach, must embrace that approach.”

Mohammed, while stating the term of reference for the committee, one of which is to reach out to all those who contested, those who won and those who lost declared that there is no victory, and no vanquish, urged them, “You must appeal to appeal to their political sensibilities and their other side, that is, their fate, to appreciate whatever our people have decided. The delegates decided and they are the representatives of the people, we must appreciate and take it in good faith.

“And they will form a sub-committee to reach out to the other side who wish to come into the party because it is a darling today, they are welcome. You must make sure that nobody leaves the party even a single person. We want to go together as a state and as a government, we want to make sure we put aside all disparaging issues, issues that are based on lies, issues that are just based on political gimmicks.”

The Committee which has four weeks to carry out its assignment has Senator Adamu Kariya as Chairman while other members are Abdulkadir Doguwa, Umar Ningi, Mohammed Danbaba, Bappa Disina, Abubakar Faggo (Secretary of the Committee), Abdullahi Yari, Abdon Gin, Simon Balewa, Sanusi Sarkin-Aska, and Abdullahi Musa.

Others are Yerima Misau, Imamu Itas, Amina Gabu, Tukur Adamu, Zainab Rufa’i, Danbaba Rimin-Zayam, Esther Ahmed, Audu Hassan, Inuwa Malamin Kasuwa, Sani Chinade and Salisu Garba (Assistant Secretary).


Survivors, victims’ families groan as CAN, NGF protest over Owo massacre

Owo community in Ondo State wore a mourning look on Monday, 24 hours after some gunmen attacked Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owa-Luwa Street in the town which is the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area.

The Sunday attack on the church in Owo, the hometown of the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, left many parishioners dead and several others injured.

As of Monday, survivors of the attack were groaning at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, where they are currently receiving treatment.

This is just as some victim’s families have been hospitalised due to the trauma from the attack.

Speaking to one of our correspondents, a survivor, Nbara Arinze, while recounting the attack, said he escaped death by a whisker, adding that despite hiding underneath a bench, the gunmen shot him in the leg.

He said, “After the father (priest) had given final blessing and everybody was about to leave the church, we started hearing gunshots and everybody began to run helter-skelter for safety.

“So, I hid under the bench and the bullets hit my leg, l almost died.”

A relative of a victim, Andrew Jacob, described how his uncle lost his child and sister to the incident, adding that the grieving father had since been hospitalised.

He said, “I was not in the church when the incident occurred. I had come earlier and left home. But later somebody rushed to my house to inform me that some criminals were shooting at the church.

“When I rushed there, I found many people dead and many were rolling in pain on the ground. So, they brought my uncle here (FMC).

“Since yesterday I have been going and coming because my uncle lost his child and sister and I am the one taking care of him. It is very sad.”

Narrating his ordeal to the BBC Yoruba, another victim, who gave his name only as Francis, said during the shooting, people in the church thought gangsters were rampaging, adding that they were initially unaware that the church was under attack.

He said, “It was a terrible incident; as we finished mass, and people were coming out, we heard gunshots and we thought that gangsters were in town but unknown to us, the shooting was just coming to the church. The shot, bombed and even the alter was destroyed. When they came in, they were just shooting at everybody.

“I had to hide somewhere with my children but my leg was outside and they shot me. Even the guy beside me was killed. A lot of people were killed, it was a terrible experience that only God understands.”

Earlier on Monday, members of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria took to the streets of the ancient town to protest against the killing.

The association led by its state chairman, Rev. Fr. Anslem Ologunowa, took the protest to the palace of Olowo of Owo, Ajibade Ogunoye III.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum represented by its chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also protested the attack.

Fayemi, who paid a condolence visit to the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Jude Arogundade, disclosed that the attack was sponsored.

The Bishop, who described the attack as evil, decried the spate of insecurity in the country, saying those people at the position of authority must do everything to tackle the menace.

“I am calling on you the leaders of the country. I think we need to talk and we need to be frank with ourselves. This cannot happen without the backing of some powerful people. Those behind this, no matter how powerful they are, must be brought to book,” he said.

Shortly after, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also paid a condolence visit to the state, as he visited the palace and the victims at the hospitals.

Osinbajo said, “I’m here on behalf of the President as well as the government to express our sincere condolence first to the church and then to the people of Owo and to the people of Ondo State.

“This is a horrible tragedy. I do not think that anyone will wish even their worst adversaries. It is also a time to reflect deeply on the questions of our relationship to each other, I think that is one of the things that have happened here. Everybody has condemned it.”

Similarly, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu visited the town and donated N 75 million to the victims.

Reacting, the European Union expressed shock over the killings.

The union, in a statement, said, “The EU stands in solidarity with the people of Ondo state, and in particular the families who have lost their loved ones. Those responsible for the despicable act should be speedily brought to justice.”