11:45 pm - Tuesday June 18, 2019

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘BUHARI’S Govt back to dark days of the military where media is a subject of all sorts of attacks by agents of government’-Fiery Human Rights Activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin …Says: ‘No Value is placed on Human Life today, Nigeria rated Poverty Headquarters of the world’ *Fires back at ex-Governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for picking on her hubby: ‘Nothing to worry about all that. If you can’t stand the heat,don’t venture into the kitchen. It’s all water at the back of the duck’ * ‘Nigeria has a long history of human rights violations and compliance’ * Discusses her recent conference at the Consulate General office of United States of America in Lagos *Demand probe of Nigerian Government for allegation involving soldiers raping under-age girls, women in Military camps of victims of Boko Haram * ‘ The menace of human trafficking in Nigeria has risen to alarming stage in the recent time’ * PLUS views on arrest of Sunday Fase, Nigerian-American publisher of African Examiner in Abuja BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Foreign Bureau Chief


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

‘BUHARI’S Govt back to dark days of the military where media is a subject of all sorts of attacks by agents of government’-Fiery Human Rights Activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin

…Says: ‘No Value is placed on Human Life today, Nigeria rated Poverty Headquarters of the world’

*Fires back at ex-Governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for picking on her hubby: ‘Nothing to worry about all that. If you can’t stand the heat,don’t venture into the kitchen. It’s all water at the back of the duck’

* ‘Nigeria has a long history of human rights violations and compliance’

* Discusses her recent conference at the Consulate General office of United States of America in Lagos

*Demand probe of Nigerian Government for allegation involving soldiers raping under-age girls, women in Military camps of victims of Boko Haram

* ‘ The menace of human trafficking in Nigeria has risen to alarming stage in the recent time’

* PLUS views on arrest of Sunday Fase, Nigerian-American publisher of African Examiner in Abuja

SHE IS ONE OF NIGERIA’S MOST PROMINENT HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST. SHE HAS WON THOUSANDS OF AWARDS ACROSS THE WORLD. SHE WAS RECOGNIZED BY U.S. STATE Department for all her great works in bringing freedom to humanity. With an enviable resume laced in fighting for the girl-child and vulnerable women, DR. JOE OKEI-ODUMAKIN, National President, Women Arise for Change Initiative had an interactive chat with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Foreign Bureau Chief for Naija Standard Newspaper where she discussed: ‘State of the Nigerian Human Rights Situation, Arrest of a Nigerian-American journalist by security agents in Abuja, Human Trafficking and other salient issues.’

NAIJA STANDARD: How will you describe the human rights situation in Nigeria presently?
Dr. Joe Okei: Nigeria has a long history of issues arising from human rights, particularly as it concerns its violations, and compliance, especially when you consider the role of government institutions in ensuring that citizens right are respected at all times. When you consider the expectations of citizens, as provided for in the Nigerian Constitution, as a benchmark, there are several of its provisions that are not still being respected by government institutions, and this has increasingly become an issue of concern to us Nigerians, especially those of us in the rights advocacy community.


NAIJA STANDARD: What is the value of life in Nigeria now

Dr. Joe Okei: One fundamental way of assessing the value of life of citizens in any given society, is the level of human rights violations in such society. Today in Nigeria, little or no value is placed on the life of the ordinary citizens, when you consider how lives are easily lost due to insurgency, militancy and extrajudicial killings going on, it appears as if human life no longer has value in Nigeria. The situation is particularly worrisome because the Government, whose primary obligation is to secure the lives and Properties of Nigerians, appeared to be failing in this responsibility.

NAIJA STANDARD: There are allegations by Amnesty international that some Nigerian soldiers are continually raping vulnerable women and underage girls in Military camps in Northern Nigeria. What is your position on this dangerous trend?
Dr. Joe Okei: This is a barbaric action which we have demanded a probe of, not only by the military authorities, but also the Nigerian government. Remember that these are Nigerians who are victims of bad governance that gave birth to insurgency, which in turn had turned them Internally Displaced Persons in their own country. Without perpetrators being brought to justice, I’m afraid we may continue to experience such ignoble act by these characters who are exploiting these vulnerable citizens.
NAIJA STANDARD: Recently, you were invited to the Consulate General office of United States of America in Lagos where you talked on several issues regarding the girl-child. What was your take away in the conference?
Dr. Joe Okei: One take away is the consensus opinion that we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we advocate for early education and skills acquisition, which will greatly assist in providing future security for the girl-child, and increasingly empower them.

NAIJA STANDARD: Latest index report on Foreign Immigration showed that a higher percentage of Nigerian girls are being deceived into Overseas travel as undocumented aliens, forced to work in brothels as sex slaves in Europe. How can we solve this problem?

Dr. Joe Okei: The menace of human trafficking in Nigeria has risen to alarming stage in the recent time and everyone must therefore be involved in ensuring that we tackle this practice of modern day slavery, with all the energies it requires. Government and stakeholders must earnestly develop strategies that will increase the capacity of our country in order to ensure tighter Border Control, Stricter Laws for offenders, tougher sanctions against Perpetrators and their Businesses locally and internationally. Above all, we must work harder towards reducing Poverty in our country.

NAIJA STANDARD: Why do you think most Nigerians according to United Nations live daily on less than $1(one dollar) per day?

Dr. Joe Okei:Currently rated as the world poverty capital, it is sad that majority of our people live on less than one dollar per day. This strongly indicates how endemic poverty has become and this is a direct product of bad leadership, corruption and poor economy, which has in an absurd manner led to job loss and inability of a larger population of our people, to have viable means of economic survival.


NAIJA STANDARD: Few days ago, Sunday Fase, a Nigerian-American journalist, publisher of African Examiner Newspaper was arrested by fully armed Nigerian police officers in his Abuja house while he was in Nigeria to cover the recent election. Nobody knows his whereabouts and was told it was an order from above. What will you say on that??

Dr. Joe Okei: It is an unfortunate reenactment of the dark days of the military where the media was a subject of all sorts of attacks by agents of government. Denying journalists rights to do their work is an assault on press freedom and this stands condemnable.


NAIJA STANDARD: Finally, there had been a seeming orchestrated media reports alleged to have been coming daily from the camp of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu against your husband, Yinka Odumakin, whereby he replied his accusers. What is your reaction on this deliberate plans to soil the hard earned reputation of your husband on the platform of politics?

Dr. Joe Okei: Nothing to worry about all that. If you can’t stand the heat,don’t venture into the kitchen .He counted the cost before taking his stance. I know him well to understand its all water at the back of the duck .The only thing is that such stuff can bring out in him things he would want to bury in his belly.

Filed in: Nigeria

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