A man involved in the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeast Nigeria has been jailed for 15 years, the government confirmed on Tuesday.
Haruna Yahaya, 35, admitted being involved in the abduction when he appeared at a special court trying hundreds of Boko Haram suspects on Monday, a justice ministry spokesman told AFP.
The conviction is the first in relation to the kidnapping, which triggered global outrage and sparked a worldwide campaign for the girls’ release.
Nigeria began prosecuting people arrested during the insurgency last October, starting with 1,669 suspects held at a military detention facility in Kainji, in the central state of Niger.
“It is true that a member of Boko Haram who took part in the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls was given 15 years jail,” justice ministry spokesman Salihu Isah said.
“Haruna Yahaya, who is 35 and handicapped with a paralysed arm and a deformed leg, was arrested in 2015 by the Civilian JTF,” he said referring to the joint task force militia.
“He confessed to having taken part in the abduction.”
Isah said Yahaya’s defence lawyer “pleaded for leniency” on the grounds that he was “forcibly conscripted into the group and he acted under duress”.
Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war in its quest to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, seizing thousands of women, young girls and men of fighting age.
“But the court dismissed his plea on the grounds that he had the option not to take part in Boko Haram activities… His conviction starts from the time of sentence,” said Isah.
Mozambique: Government set to impose license fees for local journalists.
Mozambican government has announced plans to introduce license fees for local and foreign journalists.
Local correspondents will pay $2,500 per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged $8,300 per year.
Mozambican journalists reporting for foreign news outlets will be required to pay $3,500 for an annual accreditation.
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This is 50 times more than the country’s statutory minimum wage, estimated at around $70 per month.
The plan fees have attracted serious criticism as the move has been viewed as an apparent attempt to discourage reporting from the country.
Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.
In a statement, the CNDH, added its voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed fees.
It conceded that the government has the right to update licensing and accreditation fees, but said such a measure should not undermine the right to information.
The CNDH points out that the current legal framework on access to information “takes as its guidelines the greatest divulging of information and free access to information… In other words, access to information is a matter of public interest and this access should be promoted and facilitated”.
It added: “The legal framework meant that the relevant state bodies must take measures to promote the broadest possible access to information”.
CNDS also warns that the enormous fees imposed by the July decree are not in line with the guidelines contained in the legal instruments on the right to information that are in force in the country.
The justification given for the fees is that they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the sector – but none of the money raised by the fees will go to the media.
The decree states that 60 percent of the money from the fees will go to the state budget, and the remaining 40 per cent will go to the government’s press office (Gabinfo).
Meanwhile, the government is showing signs of backing down.
On Tuesday, its spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the decree will be discussed with interested parties before its implementation.
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BREAKING: Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan dies
Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan died in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family.
The Nobel Peace Laureate was the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from January 1997 to December 2006, and became the first black African man to take on the top job as the world’s top diplomat.
He had been a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights, since it was founded in 2007. In 2013, he became its chairman.
He was founder and Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which issued a statement on social media, saying: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness…”