JUST IN: FIFA bans CAF president Ahmad Ahmad


Confederation of Africa Football president, Ahmad Ahmad [PHOTO CREDIT: Goal.com]
Confederation of Africa Football president, Ahmad Ahmad [PHOTO CREDIT: Goal.com]

Ahmad gets a five-year ban for “financial mismanagement”.

by Jide AlakaNovember 23, 2020 / Premium Times

Under-fire Confederation of Africa Football president, Ahmad Ahmad, has been handed a five-year ban from the game, reports the Associated Press from Zurich.

The ethics committee of the world’s football governing body found the CAF leader “had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his positions as the CAF President.”

As the president of CAF, Ahmad is also a FIFA vice president.

Ahmad is campaigning to be re-elected for another four years as CAF chief. He faced allegations of mismanagement in his first term.

ALSO READ: CAF: This is what’s at play as race to run Africa’s football confederation heats up

The election is scheduled for March 2021.

Why You Need To Be Selfish To Become Selfless


Crone Confidence

Have you ever felt like a bitch, maybe even been called one, for speaking up for yourself? Do you get angry when folks just expect you to take care of things, and are you plum tired of not getting ahead? Maybe it’s time to get a little selfish.

“Selfish” is one of those words that needs a better publicist. In our era of mass consumption when we think of the word selfish, images of greed come to mind. We live in a – what’s in it for me – society, so being selfish means looking out for number one first and foremost. While being self centered has the possibility to swing to the extreme and become narcissistic, and we all know certain characters in power who exhibit this trait, a level of selfishness is also needed to become an authentic, confident person.

It’s all about knowing what you want in…

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£2.5M Wasted On Solar Powered Railway


NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

Riding Sunbeams project aims to shuttle power from a community solar plant to the London to Eastbourne railway line

Plans to run a stretch of railway line in southern England on solar power have taken a major step forward, after the social enterprise behind the pioneering project snapped up £2.5m of government funding.

The Riding Sunbeams project, developed by climate charity Possible and Community Energy South, wants to make the London to Eastbourne mainline the world’s first railway directly powered by solar electricity.

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Write to Reward Your Reader


Harvard Business Review Home
Illustration by Asia Pietrzyk

Chances are that every time you sit down to write — whether it’s a report or a speech or a white paper or an op-ed — you hear a little voice. It’s your high-school teacher or college professor reciting the rules of writing: Use the active voice. Choose strong verbs and nouns. Show don’t tell.

But are these the right rules? Do they put the focus on what most matters? Is there another — even better — approach?

Research by scientists today shows there is. Thanks to the work of psychologists and neuroscientists using MRIs, EEGs, PETs and other tools, we can observe in never-before-seen detail what entices readers to read and listeners to listen. We now know how readers respond to simple words (versus complex), to specific language (versus abstract), to aesthetic features (versus literal ones), to metaphor (versus plain language), and more.

All of the research points to a single principle: You can actually write in a way that rewards our primal learning needs, prompting the release of pleasing chemicals in the reader’s “reward circuit,” a cluster of midbrain regions that drive desire and behavior. The first chemical out of the gate is dopamine, released when your neurons sense a cue for a likely reward. If the reward pays off, eventually a half dozen pleasure hotspots may glow.

You can craft a winning communication strategy that specifically taps the reward circuit embedded within our hunter-gatherer brains.  Here are five tactics:

Keep it simple: People may say they love complexity, but they’re usually praising wine, not prose. So favor simple words, simple sentences, and above all, distilling simple concepts from complex ones.

Princeton University scientist Daniel Oppenheimer researched how readers viewed complexity. He asked 71 Stanford University students to assess two written passages. One was composed of simple words, the other, complex. Both said the same thing. The students, quizzed later, consistently said the authors of the complex passage were less intelligent.

Research has even shown that it literally pays to keep your writing simple:  Researchers Byoung-Hyoun Hwang and Hugh Hoikwang Kim used a computer to rank the readability of shareholder reports from closed-end investment companies. Their findings: Companies that issue reports that are hard to read traded at a 2.5% discount to competitors.

So divide your big sentences in two, omit unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, cut useless transitions, and omit caveats that clutter your message. Make your writing accessible.

Keep it specific: Concrete details light up neurons that process smell, sight, sound, and motion. Your brain, as it turns out, yearns for full-bodied stimuli — and then it runs an internal multimedia show.

Scientists have shown that when people in MRI scanners read words like garlic, cinnamon, and jasmine, their olfactory circuits light up.  The same thing happens with sight, sound, and motion. So write as if you’re scripting lines for readers’ internal cinema.

Keep it stirring: You may think you persuade people with logic, not emotion, but our brains process emotions much faster than thoughts. Each emotion also comes programmed with reflexive reactions and motivations — fear, for example, prompting dry mouth and the urge to run, which served our hunter-gatherer ancestors who needed to outrun fires and snakes.

The lesson is that how your words make people feel shapes what they understand. Emotion and language deliver meaning together. The leaner you are on emotion, the slower readers are on comprehension.

Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman tracked the virality of 7,000 New York Times articles. Stories carrying emotions — anger, awe, anxiety, surprise — got 34% more shares, and those with positive emotions did best of all. So at least pair your logic with some zeal. And favor metaphors as a potent way to do so.

Keep it social: Even hints of connection count.  Experiments with poems, for example, show that a social signal as slight as a quotation mark — to indicate someone speaking — engages people’s reward circuitry. We are driven to seek out social cues as hungrily as any other.

So flavor your writing with your voice, character, and experience. Self-revelation — measured and apt — connects readers to you and turns on rewards.

An overlooked way to keep it more social is to write in the second person, (i.e. “you”). Research on song lyrics and poems found that people preferred those that spoke directly to the audience. No other pronoun, “he,” “she,” or “they,” has the same power to create a sense of social connection.

Keep it story-driven: Evolutionarily, stories are believed to have served as a primary vehicle for sharing lessons. We’re wired to ask, “What did she do next?” And “what happened?” So play to your readers’ thirst with whodunnit or how-did-it narratives.

Telling stories can literally pay off. For example, researchers who looked at two kinds of business crowdfunding campaigns found that those with richer narratives earned higher marks for entrepreneur credibility, legitimacy, and intentions of people to invest and share. The implication: No stories, no funding!

Tastes vary, of course, but we’re all affected by basic evolutionary drives. Ultimately readers don’t listen to what you say because they like your style. They listen because they love how you reward them in the ancient midbrain. That principle ties all the rules of great communication together.

So, the next time you’re struggling for the right words, turn not just to your teachers’ advice. Turn inward as well to your ancient muse and ask, “What would a hunter-gatherer read?”

Internet Changes age-long-held social values overnight


Mary Kenny catholicherald.co.uk

In the internet age, long-held social values can change overnight

Are you baffled by the modern world and its alarming transformation of values? I certainly am, but now I’m reading a book which explains so much of what is going on.

Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity was published to acclaim last year, and this autumn it came out in paperback. It really clarifies so much of the change we have experienced – implying, “a new metaphysics, a new religion”, in his words.

Social values have altered throughout history, but what is striking about the past 20 years or so is the unprecedented speed of change. The impact of the printing machine, says Murray, is but a footnote in comparison to the shattering influence of the internet and social media, which has so dramatically accelerated and transformed all values.

Take the example of gay marriage. The idea of homosexual marriage was first mooted in about 1995. But once it got traction, it became, almost overnight, an orthodoxy, endorsed in every significant quarter.

Politicians like Nicky Morgan who had voted against equalising the age of consent between straight and gay people, suddenly embraced gay rights.

Indeed, tabloid newspapers which had railed, rather nastily, against gay men in church life, with words like “pulpit pooftahs”, switched to atttacking anyone as a “homophobe” who wasn’t flying the gay pride flag.

I saw this myself in the Irish same-sex marriage referendum of 2015  (pictured). Anyone who had doubts about changing a matrimonial (and dynastic) arrangement which had existed for millenia, was accused of being a “homophobe”.

As Murray – himself a gay man – says, big social changes need time for reflection, yet everything now is rushed through instantly.

His analysis of gay couples “becoming parents” is serious and thoughtful: there are genetic and ethical complications.

Among the changes we have been asked to accept is that biology doesn’t meaningfully exist. A man can become a woman, or a woman, a man, and anyone who challenges this is “transphobic”.

Many of these new orthodoxies are full of contradictions. But if we try to explore them we’ll be accused of “hate speech”.

Murray shows how these new orthodoxies began with cultural Marxism in the universities (and Foucault’s “post-truth” theories) and then spread immediately through the internet. His book is a brilliant exposé of so many of the falsehoods and fictions on a range of issues, including feminism.

Perhaps in the aftermath of Covid, and of terrible events like the slaying of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty, we will come to see some of the dangers of our instant technology.

***

In his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis urges us to follow more closely in the spirit of his namesake, St Francis of Assisi. There are times, indeed, when I wish I could emulate Francis of Assisi completely, throw off all possessions and go and live in a cave.

The life of St Francis was inspiring, though I think some 13th-century contemporaries saw his devotion to nature as a form of pantheism (worship of nature).

Now his environmentalism is up to the minute. Another example of social change – over some eight centuries!

***

It is distressing for many Irish Catholics that Ireland is the only country in Europe where Mass in church has been unavailable since mid-September. This closure is now likely to last until December.

At least in England there is Sunday Mass, in Covid-restricted circumstances – although I still regret there are no hymns, by command of the bishops. Surely one suitably-distanced cantor could be allowed?

Things are different in Sweden. On a short weekend break to Stockholm in October, I visited the classically designed 18th-century Lutheran church near my hotel, the Adolf Fredriks Kyrkan.

The young woman in charge of services (the Swedish Lutheran Church is largely run by women) told me cheerfully: “Oh, yes, we have at least five hymns for every service. We couldn’t do without them.” Their congregation had come to no harm. (The church maintained sensible social distancing, but as is normal in Sweden, no masks.)

Worshipping false idols


Catholic Herald
Worshipping false idols

Panda La Terriere / November 21, 2020

An influencer, for those who don’t know, is a rich and beautiful (usually) young person who posts photos and videos of themselves on social media platforms in various luxurious settings, with nutritious health-drinks and attractive friends doing something a) self-improving such as being at the gym b) serious such as talking about discrimination or c) goofy and carefree such as dancing in the kitchen. These people are paid to promote brands so you will often see them doing a), b) or c) wearing a hoodie designed by a rapper, for example. Influencers are proliferating and brands worldwide are set to spend $15 billion on influencers by 2022. The latest and strangest development in the influencer market is the emergence of the virtual influencer.  The virtual version of the above does all of the same things and has the same purpose but is not a person that actually exists. He or she is computer generated.

Scrolling through the Instagram account of the most famous computer generated influencer makes you feel confused to the point of seasickness.

Dudley Nevill-Spencer, founder of the London virtual influencer agency brazenly called Live & Breathe says; “So they look like a human. They [their personality and looks] are crafted in a way to appeal to a particular kind of audience to deliver a particular kind of message. We want the computer generated image to have a real relationship with real people. It’s a way for brands to control the content and control the conversation, to communicate the message they want by having an emotional relationship with their audience”.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 27: Influencer Cameron Dallas has over 21.5 million followers on Instagram. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Republic Records)

Scrolling through the Instagram account of the most famous computer generated influencer makes you feel confused to the point of seasickness. She’s called Lil Miquela, is very, supremely gorgeous in a robot kind of a way and has 2.8 million people following her account. She’s also the face of a campaign for luxury fashion house Prada. At first, looking at her feed is a boring task; scrolling through picture after picture of a slightly cartoonish-looking girl encouraging purchase of Samsung mobile phones and Dior boots. There is a picture of Miquela and some computer generated friends wearing face masks, which is good news – wouldn’t want them sharing their computer generated germs with one and other. Then if you scroll for long enough … Miquela starts to reveal her “personality”. She writes blogs encouraging us to vote; expresses her support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and discusses her robot mental health. Miquela writes, “I have to go on Instagram because that’s how I put my art and my voice into the world. It’s where I express myself.” Sometimes her computer-feelings get hurt. She writes in another blog: “I have the audacity to be myself online and I get nothing but hate for it. And yeah, I know I wasn’t always super upfront about being a robot. Ever since I told you guys, it’s been nothing but constant questioning and people joking that my cousin’s a toaster. Normally I laugh. But when I’m trying to talk about a woman that inspires me or raise awareness about how marginalised people are treated in this country, I get frustrated.” Looking through all this carefully curated madness, you might assume that the middle-aged nerd man-boy behind Miquela’s online diary is having a good old laugh at the state of the world, at the cult of influencers. Actually, no. No one is joking.

I have the audacity to be myself online and I get nothing but hate for it. And yeah, I know I wasn’t always super upfront about being a robot. Ever since I told you guys, it’s been nothing but constant questioning and people joking that my cousin’s a toaster. – Virtual influencer Lil Miquela

A woman looks at the Instagram page of Saudi influencer Ragda Bakhorji, in Dubai on April 7, 2020. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Quite soon these robots might be as good at inspiring people to buy designer trainers as Beyoncé now is. That is according to tech and marketing magazine The Drum, which has measured virtual influencers’ “engagement rate” and discovered that social media users find virtual influencers three times more engaging than human influencers. In layman’s terms: the counterfeit humans are money-makers and people are fascinated by them.

It is tempting to lay the blame for this new phenomenon at the door of salespeople and the hypnotic, addictive powers of social media. But it is of course a chicken and egg scenario. People don’t log on to social media in order to buy a new car, watch or handbag. They log on to see pictures of Kim Kardashian living her best life. They like the look of her handbag and might subconsciously buy a similar one later. The increasingly common compulsion to stare at pictures of supposedly superior humans has been exploited by salespeople for decades but it was not invented by them.

So few in the developed – and increasingly secular – world believe in an afterlife of any kind, or in anything much larger than their own existence.

So few in the developed – and increasingly secular – world believe in an afterlife of any kind, or in anything much larger than their own existence. Optimising the earthly experience is the only purpose left to much of modern mankind. And that is where the human and humanoid gods come in. They set the example. They make the most of their time on Earth. Or in the words of Miquela: “reality can be magic, so I’m trying to live here as much as I can, you know?”  This new escalation in society’s embracing of idolatry is disconcerting. There is such an appetite for these human gods that there aren’t enough of them to go around and nerds have had to start creating new ones! That or the real-life human gods have competed each other out of the market. None of them can be quite flawless or malleable enough for their financiers. Nor can they ever be quite unworldly enough to satisfy their secular followers.

I Believe in You


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“Man of the worldly mind, do you believe in me or not?” – bellows the ghost of Jacob Marley who comes from beyond the grave to offer Ebenezer Scrooge a chance to avoid the damnation which awaits him at life’s end.

Scrooge wavers between belief and doubt, terror and apathy, as he encounters this spirit from his past now calling him to repentance.  Scrooge uses the self-protective veneer of disbelief to gain the upper hand.  “You may be,” Scrooge taunts the ghost, “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese. . . .There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are.”

But Scrooge is wrong, dead wrong, and is brought to his knees by the violence of Jacob’s reaction.  Hell is real, and Scrooge is headed there.  Jacob knows this and has come to offer Scrooge hope to save his soul.  But the path to this redemption must begin with belief.  Scrooge must believe this ghost has come from the grave to recall his friend to a better life before all is lost.

Belief.  An intangible yet irreplaceable disposition of the heart.

Belief is the bedrock upon which our souls find the footing to become our fullest selves.

There is an interesting dichotomy in the declaration of belief.  We can believe that someone exists.  Then, going further, we can believe in the true being of that someone.  Take the Lord, for instance.  I can believe that God exists.  And, in fact, I do.  But this belief is a thousand times removed from the deeper disposition of faith that internalizes the reality that the Lord loves me profoundly and acts always and only, with omnipotence and with unfathomable love toward me, no matter what the circumstances.

If I am in the boat with Simon, and the storm ensues, I cry out, “Save us, Lord, we are sinking!” (Matthew 8:25) We see the waves, know the odds, and feel the fear that rational analysis conjures in our human heart. Simon’s sinking boat is a daily, if not hourly, occurrence in our lives.  The storm upon the waters buffets our boldest acts of faith.

But Christ Himself is in my boat.  He holds my life, in its every detail, in His hands.  Why then awaken Him in the stern to tell Him of the storm?  Surely, He knows.  Surely He knows, for He is there.  And, more difficult for my wavering heart to assert, surely He cares.

To believe, truly believe in the Lord, means that I believe everything that He allows is not only permitted by Him, but known and seen and offered as His very best love for me, always.  And this belief requires absolute confidence, a total trust that He is both all-powerful and all-loving.

When we are told, by even one person, even once in our lives, “I believe in you,” we receive an interior fire, a flame within, urging us to be and become ever more what another has seen in us.  The strength of these four words is life-changing, vocation fulfilling, and self-defining.  When we believe in people, one more time, it may be the decisive moment of their lives.

Winston Churchill’s doctor, Lord Moran, author of The Anatomy of Courage, observed troop morale in the trenches of World War I.  What kept men alive in the most grueling of conditions, he discovered, was the intangible strength they gained when someone believed in them.  And just as with people, when we declare our steadfast, unwavering faith in the Lord, He responds to our belief by fulfilling His promises to us.

Our Lady knows this power of belief.  She hears the message of the Angel, and replies, in her profound confidence in God, “Be it done unto me according to Thy word,” (Luke 1:38)  I believe in You, she tells the Lord, and in all You have foretold, in Your power to bring it about, and in the trustworthiness of Your promise.  “Blessed are you,” Elizabeth soon declares, “because you believed that Our Lord’s promises would be fulfilled in you.” (Luke 1:45)

Because you believed.

The Virgin gazes lovingly at St. Joseph knocking fruitlessly on Bethlehem’s doors, searching for relief.  Her look says, “I believe in you, and I believe in the Lord who loves us profoundly,” and it strengthens him to try again.  Her faithful spousal love provides a secure shelter, and then the Lord provides the Cave of the Nativity, His intended sanctuary for the hidden miracle of His awesome coming into the world.

To believe in another is the highest expression of love that we can offer.  It is love full of trust, and trust empowers souls to act.  The Lord will test us to our limits, as with Abraham upon Mount Moriah, or Simeon at the Temple, or Christ Himself upon the Cross.  With them we cast our nets to the other side, once more, and the haul cannot be contained.

“Faith,” Scripture tells us, “is confidence of what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  Just so, little St. Thérèse in her loving trust assures us that “We can never have too much confidence in our God. . . .As we hope in Him so shall we receive.” (Story of a Soul)

Believe in the Lord.  Allow Him to believe in you.  Walk with Peter on the waves and wait with Mary for the fulfillment of the promise.  God is always and everywhere full of love, and mighty to act.  He commands the wind and the waves; He creates the land, sea, and sky; He can and will always act with love on our behalf.  Offer Him your unbounded confidence, trusting in His work, and tell Him, at every moment, that you believe in Him

The Yes of Perfect Consent


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The Yes of Perfect Consent

Presence of God – Lord, grant that I may give You the free and full consent of my will.

MEDITATION

St. John of the Cross very aptly says that the characteristic of union of wills is the yes of the soul’s “free consent” (Living Flame of Love 3,24) by which it gives itself entirely to God, surrendering itself completely to Him by the full and total gift of its will. In other words, the soul is henceforth so determined not to will anything but God and His good pleasure, that in every circumstance it only repeats its yes, by accepting with love all that He wills and does for it. This yes is effective, and not simply a desire; it is a yes by which the soul truly gives itself with all the generosity of which it is capable.

From the beginning of the spiritual life, the fervent soul should desire to give itself to God without reserve, always saying yes to Him. But in practice, being still hampered by the bonds of passions and attachment to creatures, it often happens that the soul’s gift is not a complete one. Frequently, in the concrete instances of life, when faced with the bitterness of renunciation and interior conflict, its ideal yes is changed into a virtual no. In the state of union, however, this is no longer true. Here the soul is so surrendered to the holy will of God that it does not take back anything of its gift; its yes is so definitive and efficacious that it offers and unites the soul to God as a bride to her Bridegroom; that is why the mystics call this state “spiritual espousals.”

It is important to realize, that, on the part of the soul, the intensity of its union with God depends on the perfection of its yes; it should be a consent that is perfect in breadth and in depth: in breadth, because it should extend not only to what God commands, but even to all that He desires, to all that would give Him greater pleasure. Love must keep the soul so vigilant and attentive that it can discern in various circumstances what pleases God most, and this same love should make the soul generous enough to accomplish all without the least hesitation. The yes must be equally perfect in depth, because the soul should adhere to the divine good pleasure, not with negligence, [stinginess], nor even with the slightest bad grace, but with all the ardor of its will, happy to be able to give itself to God, whatever sacrifice this might entail.

Venerable John of Jesus Mary for post on perfect consent

COLLOQUY

“O infinite God, I wish to offer and consecrate myself unceasingly to You on the altar of my heart. First of all, I offer You my soul, Your spouse, ransomed with Your precious Blood. I offer it as a place of repose for Your Majesty, that it may be transformed in You, no longer living of itself, but only with Your life.

“O divine Wisdom, I offer You my intellect avid for knowledge, that You may quench its thirst by enabling it to comprehend Your grandeurs! Enlighten my darkness, and let me taste You in that very sweet knowledge which inflames my heart with love.

“Next, O most beautiful Spouse of my soul, I offer You my will which seeks You above all else, to love You with an eternal ardor, and be united to You forever. Deign, O Lord, that my will may detach itself from all creatures and, soaring aloft, elevate itself to You; then, in the slumber of pure love, let it repose in the cavern of Your Heart. O delightful cavern, when shall I hide within You, and hear the pulsations of that Heart which gives me life and salvation?

“But why, O my God, do I offer You my soul with its faculties, when I am already all Yours by creation and, even more, by Redemption? Is there some advantage for You, O most lovable Life, in this gift and offering which I would make to Your majesty and greatness? No, certainly it is not for Your interest, but for mine, O immortal Life, that I offer and give myself to You, since I know with certainty that my happiness consists in uniting myself to You” (Ven. John of Jesus Mary).

#EndSARS: James Nwafor, the ex-SARS leader who allegedly supervised multiple extrajudicial killings


James Nwafor, the ex-SARS leader accused of multiple extrajudicial killings, extortion.
James Nwafor

by Alfred OlufemiNovember 22, 2020 / PREMIUM TIMES

James Nwafor appeared in 90 per cent of the 18 petitions heard so far in Anambra state, Abdul Mahmud, a human rights lawyer present at the sitting of the judicial panel confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES.

This newspaper had earlier obtained copies of some petitions submitted to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry investigating police brutality in the state. Mr Nwafor was named as a major culprit in the petitions reviewed by this medium.

Mr Nwafor, a retired police officer, headed the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the police in Awkuzu, a town in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra, for more than five years.

According to official records, he was appointed the commander of the Awkuzu SARS in 2012, an office he occupied till January 2016 when he was transferred to Bauchi State.

However, in September 2016, Mr Nwafor was again transferred back to his Awkuzu office, where he was until 2018 when he finally bowed out of the Nigeria Police.

Upon retirement, he was appointed a senior special assistant on security to the incumbent Governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano, in 2018.

Willie Obiano [PHOTO CREDIT: @WillieMObiano]
Willie Obiano [PHOTO CREDIT: @WillieMObiano]

Mr Obiano relieved him of his appointment during the #EndSARS protest when his name was repeatedly mentioned by protesters.

Indictment

While in office, several cases of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings were reported but nothing was done by the police authorities.

In fact, a report by Amnesty International, a global rights organisation, also indicted him.

“Human rights defenders in Nigeria cited the case of James Nwafor who headed the SARS unit in Awkuzu, Anambra state. Despite several petitions from lawyers and HRDs detailing his involvement in torture and extrajudicial executions, he was merely transferred to Bauchi police command in January 2016. However in September 2016 James Nwafor was again transferred back to SARS unit Awkuzu,” the report stated, pointing out the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities to multiple calls for prosecution.

The organisation also kicked against the plan of the Onitsha branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to give Mr Nwafor an award for his alleged contribution to the defense of human rights in 2018.

The recipients of the awards included Mike Okiro, chairperson, police service commission; Fasugba Temitope, divisional police officer, Asaba (former DPO at Central Police Station, Onitsha), among others.

Amnesty International, in its reaction, stated that the award was a disgrace to the Nigerian bar.

“For the purpose of clarity, James Nwafor’s time as the Commander of SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra State was characterised by unspeakable human rights atrocities.

“During his reign at SARS, Amnesty International carried out research on incidences of torture for two different periods (2014 and 2016) and produced damning reports which were widely circulated in Nigeria and abroad.

“The two reports not only indicted James Nwafor, but found that SARS Awkuzu under him was the headquarters of human rights violations, particularly torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and extrajudicial executions.”

#EndSARS

Some of the alleged atrocities of the ex-police officer were not brought to fore until the #EndSARS protest started in October.

The protest against police brutality by Nigerian youth gained traction across the globe.ADVERTISEMENT

Prominent individuals and organisations across the world joined their voices with that of the youths staging demonstrations across major cities in the country.

It was during the heat of the protest that Mr Obiano sacked Mr Nwafor as his security aide, following multiple reports of unlawful actions while in the police service.

FSARS used to illustrate the story
FSARS used to illustrate the story

“James Nwafor, former OC SARS in Anambra State is sacked and will be prosecuted,” Mr Obiano said, while addressing youth in the state.

Endless sorrowful tales

In the petitions received by the Veronica Umeh-led panel of Inquiry in Anambra State, several families presented their cases, demanding the prosecution of Mr Nwafor over the illegal detention and extrajudicial killing of their loved ones.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the family of late Ekene Akabike, a student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka, Anambra state, allegedly murdered by SARS operatives in 2004, approached the panel for justice.

UNIZIK
UNIZIK

The family decried how Mr Nwafor lied to them before he later informed them about the death of their son.

“D’Lawrence (the victim’s elder brother) went back to SARS Awkuzu on Friday 11 June 2004 where CSP Nwafor told him point-blank that he has been wasting his time, that his brother was killed since 3 June, the day of arrest,” the petition read.

Asides the prosecution of Mr Nwafor, the family wants N100 million as compensation for the unlawful acts.

Also, Okwuchukwu Onyemelue, a graduate of Architecture, was arrested by SARS operatives on June 24, 2014, a time Mr Nwafor headed the unit.

According to the relatives, in a petition obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Onyemulue was in the company of his sister when officers of SARS Awkuzu stormed their father’s residence in Onitsha, Anambra state.

After severe beating, Mr Onyemulue was detained by the police and denied access to any of his relatives or an attorney, as stipulated by the law.

“While Okwuchukwu was in detention, members of his family kept visiting SARS Awkuzu with the hope of seeing him. They were prevented by CSP James Nwafor from seeing him,” the petitioners said.

They claimed that after several visits, spanning years, Mr Nwafor told Mr Onyemulue’s father that he killed his son.

Another case of extra-judicial killing presented to the panel is that of Chijioke Iloanya, who was arrested on November 29, 2012, by Mr Nwafor’s team.

“Chijioke insisted he would go for his friend’s child dedication in Ajali even when their mum asked him not to. It was at this child dedication that officers from Ajali police station rounded up everyone who was at the celebration including Chijioke, from where they were transferred to the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) Awkwuzu,” Mr Chijioke’s sister said.

Ms Iloanya said “the last time any member of the family saw Chijioke was the day her parents went to SARS office in Awkuzu. Our mum saw her son in their premises, (but) the officer in charge, James Nwafor, denied he was there. Some officers said he was bluffing and told my parents he wanted them to bring money.”

Ms Iloanya said her parents could not afford to make any offers because they had no money.

“I was only 17 when Mr Nwafor told my parents that he had killed my brother; he looked my dad in the face and told my dad, he could not do anything.”

Eight years later, the Iloanyas are yet to get closure on the whereabouts of their son and brother.

Another petition indicting Mr Nwafor came in from Uzoamaka Ugwuebuchi whose brother disappeared in SARS custody in 2004.

Also, a school proprietor, Emma Adimachukwu, narrated how the disbanded SARS under Mr Nwafor charged him N400,000 to feed his son in their custody.

Mr Adimachukwu, said his son, Obinna Sandy, a businessman, was killed in 2014.

He said, “My son graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University; because he read business administration, I opened a shop for him at Mount Olive shopping plaza, Onitsha.

“He travelled to India to buy clothes. On March 14, 2014, he went to Nnewi and collected $10,000 owed him by a friend and proceeded to Onitsha to take delivery of his goods that just arrived.

It was while waiting for the goods that some SARS men arrived and started shooting. They arrested him and his friend. They searched him and saw $10,000 on him and concluded he was an armed robber.

“My son refused to let them take the money, he fought them. So, when they got to Awkuzu SARS, they killed him.

“When I went to see him after his friend who was smuggled out told me of it, James Nwafor (SARS boss) told his men to lock me up that I was a father to an armed robber. Some prominent people intervened and they released me. They later told me to drop money so they can be feeding my son, and they collected N400,000 from me, knowing full well that they had killed my son,” Mr Adimachukwu told the panel.

Unreachable

While Mr Nwafor is yet to appear before the panel to respond to any of the allegations levelled against him, calls put across to a telephone number known to be his did not go through as the line was switched off throughout Friday.

Meanwhile, speaking with our reporter, the national spokesperson of the Nigerian Police Force, Frank Mba, refused to comment on Mr Nwafor’s case, urging aggrieved parties to take advantage of the panels instituted across the state.

Police Spokesperson, Frank Mba (Photo Credit: The Guardian Newspaper)
Police Spokesperson, Frank Mba

“Anyone who has anything against the defunct SARS or SARS Awkuzu, should take the advantage of judicial panel across the country.”

He, however, declined comments on whether or not the force received multiple complaints on the conduct of Mr Nwafor before now.

In his response, Mr Mba restated that he does not want to comment on any matter before the panel or a potential one.

“This will amount to sub-judice and I don’t want to be sued for contempt,” he said on Friday evening.