A New Zealand river revered by Maori has been recognized by parliament as a “legal person”, in a move believed to be a world first.
Under legislation passed on Wednesday that combines Western legal precedent with Maori mysticism, the Whanganui river has been formally declared a living entity.
“(It) will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person,” Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said.
“The approach of granting legal personality to a river is unique.”
The river, known by Maori as Te Awa Tupua, is the third longest in New Zealand.
Finlayson said the local Maori iwi, or tribe, had been fighting to assert their rights over the river since the 1870s, in New Zealand’s longest-running legal dispute.
“This legislation recognizes the deep spiritual connection between the Whanganui iwi and its ancestral river,” he said.
It deems the river a single living being “from the mountains to the sea, incorporating its tributaries and all its physical and metaphysical elements”.
In practical terms, it means the river can be represented at legal proceedings with two lawyers protecting its interests, one from the iwi the other from the government.
The iwi also received an NZ$80 million ($56 million) settlement from the government after their marathon legal battle, as well as $30 million to improve the river’s health.
Nigeria: Woman arrested over Outrageous Viral video of her abusing a child
Police in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos have arrested a woman filmed abusing a child and then locking him in a caged kennel with dogs.
It is not clear when the footage was shot, but it went viral on Twitter earlier this month.
In the video clip, a woman is seen beating a boy, stripped to his waist, with a belt. She then drags him into an empty kennel and locks it before walking away. Two dogs can be seen in other neighbouring kennels.
The video caused outrage on social media, where shocked users offered rewards to anyone that could track down the woman.
On Thursday, a police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, tweeted that the woman in the video had been arrested.
“The suspect is in custody and will be charged to court… The boy, who happens to be an orphan, has been rescued and kept in a shelter provided by Lagos state government,” she said.
Her tweet links to a video filmed by police showing the dog kennels where the boy was locked up:
Nigeria: Imo recovery team storms Okorocha’s premises, recover alleged looted state property
Okorocha Faults Action
Imo State Recovery of Moveable Assets Committee, yesterday, stormed a premises belonging to the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, where it discovered properties suspected to be that of the State Government, but allegedly parked in the premises known as All In Warehouse, located on Aba Road, Owerri.
But the Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, who arrived the scene laced with crowd, directed that the property should be put in custody of the police. Some of the items included furniture, clothing materials and others.
The chairman of the committee, Ndubuaku, said the committee received credible intelligence information that led to them to storm the premises. He pronounced sealing of the place, directing that nobody, including the Okorochas, should enter the premises till further notice. Ndubuaku said the committee would ensure that all the State Government property illegally stolen were recovered.
But Okorocha, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Sam Onwueneodo, described the action of the State Government as unjustifiable.
“This is to inform all men and women of goodwill, that barely two days after the agents of the Economic & Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, had marked the ALL – IN SHOP owned by the wife of the former governor, Dr. Mrs. Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, located at Naze near Owerri, for investigation also following flood of petitions written to the Commission by PDP government in the State, the leader and members of the government’s Committee on the Recovery of Government Property invaded the shop today (yesterday) July 26, 2019, and looted the goods there, including the ones inside the containers inside the premises.
“We had told all those, who cared to hear us, that the PDP government in the State is out for witch-hunting just to intimidate Opponents, otherwise why invading and looting a Shop with furniture and baby goods, already marked for investigation by the EFCC.
“And the Containers they looted have been in the premises of the shop before the EFCC agents came and marked the Shop for investigation last Tuesday; they are still there before the Jasper Ndubuaku-led gang invaded the place. The question now is, what if at the end of the day, the EFCC’s investigation establishes that this shop has no relationship with the last administration?
“Obviously, Jasper Ndubuka and his gang are not recovering any property but are on looting spree. They were the ones, who petitioned to EFCC and they came and marked the investments they had mentioned in their petitions for investigation. Then, why going to loot the same establishments marked by EFCC for investigation? If Governor Ihedioha had asked question and if he meant well, he would not have entrusted such sensitive task into the hands of a man like Jasper Ndubuaku.
“Nigerians should watch closely the brigandage going on in Imo. Leaders and members of the so-called Government’s Property Recovery Committee are just having the licence to loot with the protection of the State Government. Otherwise, why won’t they allow the EFCC to conclude their investigation?”
“We have been shouting for the world to hear our voice. Aside their inviting the EFCC, we have asked them to publish whatever they have against Rochas Okorocha and the family or anybody that served in the Rescue Mission government, but they have not been forthcoming. The implication of all these is that, where restraint is not applied and the governor cannot control the recklessness, self-help may be the last resort; nobody should be blamed.”