After close to 1 and a half years, Uzoma Okere, the young lady who was infamously dragged out of her car, stripped of her clothing and beaten on a busy Lagos street in November 2008 for not moving her car quickly enough out of the way for some officials of the Nigerian navy, was given the justice she so richly deserved.
Delay tactics from the defendants’ lawyers notwithstanding, on Wednesday, January 27 Justice Opeyemi Oke of the Lagos High Court awarded N100 million damages to Ms. Okere and Mr. Abdullahi Abdulazeez (a passenger in her car who was also physically assaulted by the ratings) and ordered that a public apology be made to them through the media. She found Rare Admiral Harry Arogundade, four naval ratings, and the Nigerian Navy guilty of violating the rights of the applicant to dignity.
When delivering her verdict in the case, Justice Oke noted that there are three issues for determination by the court:
1. The court was to determine whether the applicants succeeded in establishing that their fundamental rights was infringed upon;
2. Whether the 1st and 6th defendants (Mr. Arogundade and the Nigerian Navy) are liable for infringing on the rights of the applicants;
3. If the applicants are entitled to the reliefs being sought by them.
The footage shot of the event by a witness from the nearby PriceWaterHouse office building was invaluable in proving the 1st point, as it was obvious from the recording that Ms. Okere and Mr. Abdulazeez did indeed have their rights violated.
According to the article in NEXT, she stated:
“I saw 4 officers in naval uniform, two were holding guns; the 1st applicant was being dragged on the road by the two officers; the applicant became naked from waist to her chest with only her black brazier on.” She resolved that the applicant’s right was indeed violated.
“She was beaten, pushed, pulled, dragged and made naked with her upper anatomy exposed to all sort of eyes; her private property became the object of a cinema for those who witnessed the unfortunate and disgraceful incident.” she said.
Pertaining to the naval ratings that perpetrated the act, Justice Oke said “the officers can be described as barbaric in uniform, who have no respect for womanhood, they have no fear of God. It has got to a time when such officers may have to undergo psychiatric test before being employed.”
In determining the 2nd issue i.e. if the 1st and 6th respondents are liable, the judge noted that an employee is the agent of his employer, and such is liable for the wrong doing of his employee.
When summing up, Justice Oke had a wish:
“Blessed shall be the day when civilians will see uniformed men, armed or unarmed officers, and feel secured without any anxiety for their lives. Blessed shall be the day when uniformed men will treat civilians on the road with respect and come to the realisation that they are citizens of the country who are to be protected,” declared Justice Oke.
I pray for that day too, because for too long, the uniform has been used by many who wear it to oppress and take advantage of the very citizens these people are meant to protect.
I am happy that justice was served in this case, though it is painful still to know that these ratings and Mr. Arogundade are still serving in the Navy. I Nigeria still has a very lax attitude towards implementing punishment to wrong-doers. This continues to send the message that injustice, corruption, oppression and all manner of violations of the law are permitted by the very institutions that are supposed to be the enforcers of law and order.
Yesterday I saw a police convoy of 2 cars belligerently barge their way through the tedious traffic on Ozumba Mbadiwe. Are they in anymore of a hurry or traffic-averse than the rest of us? Or are they merely abusing the power that their uniform has given them? I think so.
One thing you might not be aware of is the role that technology –particularly new media – has played in providing information on the ever-changing conditions in the country.
As a result of the destruction of the phone lines on the island, it was difficult to know how widespread the damage by the earthquake was. However, the network infrastructure survived making it possible to communicate via the web and Haitians in the Diaspora were able to check on the well-being of their relatives back home.
These tools served to address another important need: the need for information about situation on ground. Using email, Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti. According to this BBC article:
they [people in Haiti] used mobile phones and the web to inform about structural risks, lack of water and food, and missing persons.
“We translate it, map it, and structure the data,” said Ushahidi co-founder Erik Hersman. Ushahidi made an agreement with local mobile phone operator Digicel and created a short code to which people could text their message. That message is received by “situation rooms” set up in Boston and Washington. A third one will be set up in Geneva to provide 24-hour cover. About 10,000 Haitians have volunteered to translate messages from Creole to English and ask for more information if needed.
Other volunteers and experts try to verify the information and put it into the map. This is crowdsourcing on a big scale.
Haitian radio and television host Carel Pedre was one of the most prominent figures using Twitter to communicate with the outside world. “DIGICEL IS WORKING! CALL UR FAMILY NOW!!”…
A WordPress-powered blog called Haitifeed is also delivering a steady stream of first-hand accounts as well as mainstream media reports from across the globe.
Reports from citizen journalists are also coming in to CNN’s iReport desk where they are vetted by CNN’s editorial staff.
On Facebook, a group called Earthquake Haiti already has over 14,000 members. The group is largely being used for people to show support and trade news reports; however, there are some users who seem to be posting critical information including pleas for assistance to injured Haitians.
In her foreword to the book, SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa, social justice blogger Sokari Ekine writes that:
“Technology in itself does not lead to social change. For change to take place technology needs to be appropriate and rooted in local knowledge. People decide why and how a particular technology will be used and, depending on the political and socio-economic environment in which they live, adapt it accordingly.”
Social media has played a pivotal role in getting and disseminating information in the last eight days and we probably are only scratching the surface in exploiting its diverse uses.
Last year BlogHer announced scholarships to attend the annual BlogHer annual conference for women using their blogs for activism. Among the winners was Toyin Ajao, former Project Coordinator of W.TEC, for her award-winning blog: The Activist. On The Activist, Toyin discusses issues related to making the world a better and more equitable place for women. At BlogHer ’09, together with the other selected activists, she had the opportunity to share her work and passions.
The program was such a success that BlogHer has decided to make this an annual initiative. You can nominate yourself or a deserving woman who is using her blog to change her community for good for the BlogHer 2010 International Activist Scholarship Program.
Scholarship Winners Will Receive:
* A full 2-day conference pass to BlogHer ’10
* Round trip airfare to and from New York, NY for the BlogHer ’10 annual conference
* 2 nights stay at the New York Hilton during the conference
* The opportunity to present their work during a prominently-scheduled session at BlogHer ’10
Deadline: January 31, 2010
Get more information on the BlogHer site.
W.TEC is happy to announce that we offer the following services:
- Website Management: This includes updating of existing websites. Full website services including building of new sites will be offered in the coming months.
- Email Management: Setting-up email services with domain names and configuring email clients like Outlook, Windows Live and Thunderbird.
- Word Processing: Typing and binding professional and academic documents
Call us at +234.1.850972 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries.
W.TEC has many exciting programmes this year. Review the full programme calendar, share and nominate deserving women and girls.
Most people should know that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, especially when it comes to emails that purport to hold the key to getting rich quickly. When something sounds too good to be real, it usually is. However, online scams have become more sophisticated over the years.
If you get an email from what you think is your bank or any institution that you have an account with asking you to verify some details if not your account will be shut-down, please IGNORE this and call your bank/institution directly to check. And DO NOT use the numbers provided within the email; use the phone numbers that you are already familiar with (check your past correspondences with them).
A sample scam or phishing tactic is as follows:
Dear Guaranty Trust Bank Customer:
We regret to inform you that access to your GTBank Online Account and Atm Cards has been temporarily limited.This might have occurred due to a recent change in your personal information. (eg: change of address,PIN number or billing address) or submission of incorrect information during initial registration .To restore your account please log in correctly here:
Please verify and update your account details by clicking on the link below:
Failure to verify your information might lead to the temporary suspension of your account access for security reasons.
The Call for Participation is now open for the 2010 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing at gracehopper.org/2010/participate/call-for-participation
* The deadline to submit proposals is March 16, 2010.
* Notifications on the submission status will be sent out by May 18, 2010.
Recommendations to anyone who wants to participate:
1. Your subject should not be something specific to your organization.
2. If you have a panel – it needs to span across organizations – not 5 people from the same company discussing an issue in their company. Combining academics and industry or interdisciplinary discussions are great.
3. We are encouraging submissions that promote diversity and International participation.
4. A submission in line with the theme of the conference “Collaborating Across Boundaries” would be ideal.
Proposals are being accepted for:
* Birds of a Feather (BOFs) Call for Participation
* New Investigators Technical Papers Call for Participation
* Panels, Workshops and Presentations Call for Participation
* PhD Forum Call for Participation
* Technical Posters Call for Participation
* Technical Research Papers Call for Participation
Full details are at gracehopper.org/2010/participate/call-for-participation/
Take a look at our programmes for this year. Contact W.TEC by email, email@example.com or by phone +234.1.850.9782 for more information.
In addition to these programmes, W.TEC runs its annual W.TEC Young Women’s Programme, W.TEC Women’s Programme and W.TEC Girls Technology Camp to educate, connect and empower disenfranchised women and girls. Please nominate the deserving women you know for these programmes.
W.TEC’s Young’s Women Programme
- For women aged 18 to 30 years
- Teaches young women to use ICT to develop and advance themselves as professionals, leaders and change-makers in their communities
- Includes Blogs, Websites, Word Processing, Managing Data, Networking, Career Guidance
W.TEC Women’s Programme
- For women aged 30 years +
- Supports women’s professional and entrepreneurial aspirations with training in the computer, the Internet and related applications
- Includes Word Processing, Managing Financial Data, Creating Presentations, Internet Research, Business Promotion Strategies
W.TEC Technology Camp for Girls
- For Secondary School girls in JSS 2 to SS2
- Classes and workshops on computers and other technologies, and technology careers
Visit the W.TEC website for more information.
This is the type of wonderful news that we love to share!
The Ajesola Solarin Majekodunmi Foundation (ASMAF) is offering scholarship opportunities for Nigerian female students who will be starting university for the first time and cannot afford to pay the fees.
- Student must have gained admission for a professional course like Medicine, Engineering, Law, Architecture, Accountancy, Actuary, etc in a public Nigerian university
- Must demonstrate academic and professional excellence and leadership
Deadline for Application: 29 January 2010
To apply, submit a copy of your resume. For more information, visit the ASMAF website or the organisation secretariat at 47 Tejuosho Road, Surulere, Lagos.
It’s a new year and W.TEC has many exciting plans for this year. We look forward to your involvement in our work as volunteers, partners and of course donors.
I came across this wonderful post on the TED Fellows blog about how to support non-governmental and nonprofit organisations.
The author (Peter Haas) has been a volunteer, donor and nonprofit executive director and speaks from his unique position about how best to provide financial assistance to nonprofits.
He writes about how he has been able to volunteer his time for an NGO and raise more money than he could have donated himself. He also acknowledges the difficult job that executive directors have trying to raise funds for their organisations by cultivating relationships with donors and potential donors, but without knowing who has the capacity to give big sums of money and who would be more valuable volunteering their time or expertise.
You can read the entire post on the blog, but I’ll highlight some key points, which he makes:
1. Give to the small and mid-sized organisations. They probably need your assistance a lot more than the big organisations since smaller organisations tend to attract less funding than the bigger and well-known names. In addition, they tend to work closer with and to the communities they serve and so your donations are more likely to go directly to these groups.
2. If you give truly just give, no strings, no demands. This is very important, as very many organisations would appreciate the power to use the money in the most appropriate and needed way.
3. Don’t just give in December. Nonprofits need money all year around, so make regular donations through the year, e.g. every quarter.
4. Be an evangelist and help the organization raise money. If you get to know the organisation and their work really well and are impressed by how judiciously they use funding to achieve their objectives, you’re in a good position to speak to others about their work and help raise funds for the organisation’s work.
So, give to and support the issues that you are passionate about.