Benue Flood Relief Case Draws International Attention: Bar. Rommy Mom to be Profiled in International Day to End Impunity Campaign

When I first started talking about the Flood Relief Funds palaver in Benue state, I had no idea the whole thing would grow to such exponential proportions. Apparently it has.

You might remember that one Bar. Rommy Mom had made enquiries of the state regarding the status of funds meant for victims of the flood. When he could get no satisfaction from the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, the organization which was meant to have managed the disbursement of the funds appropriately, he took the matter to court but lost the case. Thereafter I understand, the threats began.

Well, apparently the dude has been a human rights activist for a while and the whole episode did not go unnoticed. Indeed it has made Nigeria one of the countries the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) is concerned about as it commences its 2013 anti impunity campaign.

You might need to read the article below to get the full story.

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Rommy Mom, esq.
 The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) today launched the start of its 2013 anti-impunity campaign ahead of the third annual “International Day to End Impunity” (IDEI) during which it will profile the case of Nigerian human rights lawyer, Mr. Rommy Mom, who had to flee his home State of Benue following threats to his life.
Mr. Mom, who is President of the Makurdi-based non-governmental organization, Lawyers Alert, is being threatened because he is asking questions, using the Freedom of Information Act,  about how much Benue State received from the Federal Government and other sources as support to flood victims in 2012 and how a N500 million Federal assistance was spent since no victim of the floods in the State had been paid.
For the first time ever, Nigeria entered the “Impunity Index” of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ), released on May 3, this year, in commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day.  The Impunity Index is an annual ranking of countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free.
Nigeria is one of five countries around the world to be highlighted in this year’s global campaign to end impunity. The other countries are Cambodia, Egypt, Turkey and Ecuador.
In launching the IDEI campaign, IFEX is asking its members around the globe, as well as other individuals and organizations, to participate in its “23 Actions in 23 Days” by taking actions hosted on the website; www.daytoendimpunity.org, which will serve as the campaign hub from November 1 to 23.
Observing that something new will be featured on the website every day between November 1 and 23, IFEX said:  “We’ve created multimedia resources to help people understand the problem and find ways to add their voices to a global network of activists working together. Through infographics, videos, online interactive experiences, articles, country profiles and interviews, we hope to engage more people than ever in this campaign that strikes at the very roots of the injustice and insecurity that silence expression.”
IFEX explained that it especially hopes the campaign will help draw attention to and encourage action in support of five individuals who will be profiled on specific days during the campaign, and then again on 23 November, the International Day to End Impunity.
Those to be profiled ahead of the IDEI are: Yorm Bopha, a Cambodian human rights activist and protester, on November 4; Eren Keskin, a Women’s rights activist and lawyer in Turkey, on November 7; Doaa Eladl, an Egyptian cartoonist on November 12; Martin Pallares,  an Ecuadorian journalist on November 14; and Rommy Mom, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, on November 18.
IFEX is working with its Nigerian member, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), to draw national and international attention to the plight of Mr. Mom. MRA will be coordinating activities in Nigeria in the lead up to the IDEI, particularly on November 18 and 23, including providing details of Mr. Mom’s case and calling for public support on his behalf to ensure his safety and enable him return to his home state to continue his work.
The IFEX impunity campaign website also features an interactive map that will plot all campaign events and actions planned or undertaken by IFEX members.   The hashtags for tweets are: #IDEI, #endimpunity and #23Nov.

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