In mid-2012, Nigeria was besieged with floods that resulted in many people losing their lives, livelihoods and homes. Benue State, one of the worst hit during the floods, received N500 million (approx US$3.2 million) in federal aid money. Yet, no money has been paid out to the state’s residents thus far, propelling human rights lawyer Rommy Mom to take the authority in charge of disbursing funds, Benue State Emergency Agency, to court using the Freedom of Information Law.
Mom, who heads an NGO called Lawyers Alert based in the state capital Makurdi, requested information on what happened to the funds. On 28 May 2013, Governor Gabriel Torwua Suswam reacted angrily by attacking Mom with damaging and condemnatory statements in a phone-in programme on state-controlled Radio Benue.
That same day, Mom received phone calls from people close to the Governor advising him to quickly leave Benue or risk his life. He fled Benue that night.
Mom had every reason to take the threats seriously. According to local NGO Media Rights Agenda (MRA),”Benue state has a politically tense environment, so such a statement from a leader is an invitation for an attack on Rommy Mom.”
“Since the threat to my life, I have been forced to carry out my work from outside of Benue. This has not been easy, but it is part of the sacrifices and challenges of making accountability and transparency a currency in governance. The Freedom of Information Act is a critical starting point,” said Mom.
Despite his petition to the Benue State Commissioner of Police and Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, the threats to Mom have gone uninvestigated making it too risky for him to return home.
Stand with Rommy Mom and ask Governor Suswam to publicly assure his safety, so that he can return home and continue his work without fear.
kindly visit to sign the petition https://daytoendimpunity.org/take_action/index.php?day=18
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