The 2014 Annual Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) will open today in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The conference, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 participants from across the 36 states of the federation, will witness to hand over by the Okey Wali-led excutive to a new team elected in Benin City, the Edo State capital early this month.
The delegates, who began trooping into Owerri yesterday for check-in and other formalities, are expected to appraise the performance of the NBA in the last couple of years, review achievements and challenges, address certain issues affecting the profession within the context of the national political environment, and the place of Nigerian lawyers in global legal practice.
Earlier, the Federal Ministry of Health has given the NBA the green light to proceed with the conference, amid concerns that the meeting may provide the grounds for the spread of Ebola.
The NBA President, Okey Wali, said that after a “fruitful” meeting with Health Ministry officials, the NBA was given the go-ahead for the conference.
Wali said the ministry was now working with the association to curtail the spread of the deadly virus that has killed five people in Nigeria.
“We put our thoughts across to them about what we were doing. The preventive and safety methods put in place – sanitiser and temperature pens, and they were very impressed, and also gave a couple of suggestions to us about one or two things we should look at, and we agreed to work together even beyond the conference,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Dan Nwomeh, confirmed that the government was satisfied with measures put in place by the NBA for the conference.
“The NBA has made provisions for spraying the hall with family sanitizer, they have provided additional mobile toilets and have made arrangement for spacing of the sitting arrangement,” Nwomeh said.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, had urged the NBA to suspend the conference until the Federal Government has been able to curtail the spread of the virus.
Odinkalu, who is billed to give a speech at the conference, said he was staying away after being placed on observation of possible Ebola infection having been treated as an outpatient by one of the doctors who had contact with the Ebola index case, Patrick Sawyer.
“It will be ill-judged to continue with the conference in the circumstances of the present public health emergency prevailing in the country,” the NHRC boss said in a statement.
The NBA conference attracts large number of lawyers from across the country. Odinkalu said it could pose public health risk as the country is battling to contain the spread of the virus.
But Wali, said the Ministry of Health has agreed to send its officials to the NBA conference to help sensitise members of the association.
“Because the NBA has a very good reach with members all across the nation, they are disbursing some materials to us like leaflets and posters on how to check Ebola in the conference. In fact, officials of the Federal Ministry of Health would be attending the conference on Monday to give five to ten minutes talk on Ebola. It was very fruitful. In fact, we are all very happy with the way things turned out.
“But the most important thing is that we have put a lot of measures in place and the Federal Ministry of Health officials were very impressed with the steps that we have taken. In fact, they have said they wished that other organisations or people organising such thing would take a cue from what the NBA has done,” Wali said.
He added that the NBA is also working with the Imo State Ministry of Health, which has also set up an arrangement to sensitise the lawyers on preventive measures against Ebola.
He praised Odinkalu for the advice but said it was an isolated case.
“We are thankful to him that he was honourable enough to disclose the fact that he was under observation and will stay away from the conference but that is one case,” Wali said.
It would be recalled that Nigeria has recorded five deaths so far since the outbreak of the disease in July.
Eight people who have tested positive for the disease are still receiving treatment at the isolation centre in Lagos.
Over 200 people are being monitored. Last week, 61 persons were released from the observation centre after being certified by health officials.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference holding in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, from August 25 to 29, the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr Chukwuma Umeh, has said that the participants will undergo screening on Ebola virus.
Over 10,000 legal practitioners are attending the conference.
The Attorney General told reporters in Owerri that various points from the airport to the venue of the conference, which is the Imo International Convention Centre, had been earmarked as screening points before gaining access into the hall.
He also said that the state government was well prepared for the programme and had put adequate measures in place to ensure the security of all participants and the smooth success of the programme.
Umeh further debunked allegations that there was a court order restraining the government from using the venue of the programme.
FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.
By: Akujobi Amadi
JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”
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