The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has hinted that the state will host one of the best Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conferences come August this year.
He gave the hint while playing host to the African Bar Association (ABA) in Government House, yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Aside the NBA conference, the governor said the state is geared to host other national events such as the Peoples Democratic Party Convention billed for May, Federal High Court legal year, and Nigerian Magistrates’ Conference, among others.
He opined that hosting this string of national events is an indication that the state is peaceful as against the media propaganda by the opposition to paint the state in bad light.
Wike submitted that the stability and peace being enjoyed in the state judiciary has been consolidated with the emergence of substantive chief judge and president of Customary Court of Appeal.
Assuring the African Bar Association that the financial autonomy granted the judiciary will be sustained as that is the only way to promote impartial adjudication of cases the governor declared, “We will always support the promotion of the rule of law. This is because the existence of the rule of law promotes peace and development”.
Meanwhile, the African Bar Association has conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike the life membership of its council for reviving and stabilising the state judiciary.
The conferment of the life membership of the African Bar Association Council on the governor was conveyed via a letter presented to him by the President of the African Bar Association, Mr Hannibal Uwaifo during a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Uwaifo said that the African Bar Association considers the development actions of Governor Wike worthy of commendation as he has proved to be a good ambassador of the legal profession.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy will go a long way to check crime within the state if implemented.
He made the assertion during a courtesy visit by the new Controller of Port Harcourt branch of the CBN, Mr Kazeem Adekunle Alaka, yesterday in Government House, Port Harcourt.
He told the Port Harcourt CBN branch controller that, “we will help you sensitize the people on the importance of the cash less policy”.
Wike while lauding the CBN for also introducing the Bank Verification Number (BVN) said the recent staff audit exercise in the state has underscored the need for the bank to stick with good policies and programmes, as it saved the state huge sums of money.
The governor pledged that the state government will help the bank in promoting programmes that will uplift the condition of the citizenry.
Wike said his administration will also exploit the agric development programmes of the apex bank to diversity the state economy through commercial agriculture.
Thanking the bank for the recent loan scheme to small and medium scale businesses, Wike solicited for more of the apex bank loans to develop the state.
The governor noted that investments in agriculture already being consolidated by his administration will further develop the state’s economy and enhance food security.
He commended the CBN governor for being firm and consistent in the application of monetary policies, and stated that policy somersaults in the past negatively affected the economy.
In his remarks, the Port Harcourt Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Kazeem Adekunle Alaka, announced that the CBN will assist farmers in the state to improve on the cultivation of oil palm produce and cassava allocated to the state.
He said the two areas of financial inclusion for farmers in the state are aimed at diversifying the state economy through agriculture.
Alaka, therefore, appealed to the state government to launch sensitization programmes to ensure that more farmers key into the programme.
Similarly, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on the Federal Government to implement policies and programmes that will fight poverty in the country.
He made the call while hosting students of the National Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Study Group Six on study tour of Rivers State, in Government House, Port Harcourt.
Leader of the team and Director of Studies in NIPSS, Prof. Celestine Bassey, had informed the governor that studies carried out by the institute reveal that 67 million Nigerians live in poverty, while 37 per cent of the population live in abject poverty.
Wike, however, noted that it was not enough to conduct studies around the country, saying the Federal Government needs to implement the findings and recommendations of the institute.
“I think government should take your recommendations because it will go a long way in the review and adjustment of policies and programmes,” Wike said.
He declared that the state government will support any policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which will enhance the well-being of Rivers people.
“I will support any policy of the Federal Government that will enhance the living standard of people of Rivers State. It does not matter who initiated such policy, as long as it favours our people”, he explained.
Emphasizing that he will not use his office for unnecessary politicking, Wike, pointed out that good policies should transcend party affiliation.
He said the Rivers State Government will support the NIPPS study team in carrying out their research into poverty alleviation in the state.
Earlier, Leader of delegation, Prof Celestine Bassey, had said that the team was in the state to carry out an assessment of the impact of poverty alleviation programmes in the state.
The team later held an interactive session with top officials of the Rivers State Government.
2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence
The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said that the next President should be a Christian to ensure balance in leadership.
YOWICAN also said rotation of the office of the President will promote equity, unity and peace.
The youths further protested the activities of bandits and kidnappers, threatening to resort to self-defence if nothing is urgently done by the government.
They warned bandits and kidnappers to desist from perpetrating evil and put a stop to the ongoing kidnappings and killings.
The Christian association also pledged collaboration with Muslims and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) towards peace building.
These were contained in a communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of YOWICAN and read by its National President, Belusochukwu Enwere.
Enwere said, “The next President should come 2023 should be a Christian because the present administration, the president is a Muslim and so the President should rotate amongst the Christians and Muslims so that there will be balance in the leadership of Nigeria.
“We have competent Christian leaders who can represent and manage the affairs of this country. We urge our leaders to fully participate in politics so that we can produce a good president for Nigeria.
“As such the emergence of a Christian and youthful President come 2023 will be a true expression of equity, fairness and justice for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“That YOWICAN shall continue to collaborate and work in concert with brothers from the Muslim faith to pursue the desired peace, unity and progress of the nation; and more particularly under the auspices of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC),” the group said.
“YOWICAN decries the increasing rate of insecurity in Nigeria, yet commends the efforts of government and security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of bandits, killer herdsmen, insurgents etc.
“YOWICAN in the performance of Christian tenets and faith believes strongly in peaceful coexistence, but this piety should not be construed as cowardice, therefore kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, terrorists and unknown gun men should not push Christian youths to the extreme, such as to make them consider deploying self defence strategies as the last option,” Enwere said.
According to him, despite the efforts so far made in combating crime, YOWICAN observes the urgent need to curb the rising wave of attacks, killings, destruction of lives, properties, farmlands and livelihood of innocent citizens within the Northern states, and specifically within Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.
The CAN youths demanded the immediate release of all abductees and particularly the students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who have been in captivity.
The NEC meeting held at the National Christian Centre on Saturday was attended by National Executive Members, Zonal Leaders, State Leaders (drawn from the 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT) and representatives from the Blocs/denominations under CAN.
Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC
The Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) has advised the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, warning that such could lead to a national crisis.
OPC said this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, weeks after the raid on the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), during which two persons were killed.
The statement also followed Igboho’s arrest in the Republic of Benin after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
In the statement, the group “flayed Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group described the “treatment meted out to Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government ought to know that the citizens have rights and that such rights must be protected under the law.”
Oguntimehin said, “Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the Federal Government handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the Federal Government must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The publicity secretary urged the Republic of Benin to be fair with Igboho as he revealed that the rights activist will be facing immigration-related offences in the country, adding that he can also seek asylum to ensure his safety.
He warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
He said, “The Federal Government has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy.”
The statement said Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have no extradition agreement, adding that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Oguntimehin said, “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence and the Government of Benin Republic had considered all that to be untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26 to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
He pointed out that the rights activist had been peaceful with his agitation, as he urged traditional leaders not to ignore him at his trying time.
Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death
The Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers has commiserated with former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili over the death of his elder brother, Chief Fidelis Obi Odili.
The Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1 (rtd), said monarchs and people of his state were saddened by the bereavement of the Odili family.
The Emir, who was accompanied by the Andoma of Domia, Alhaji Ahmaou Aliyu; and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rivers State, Engineer Emeka Woke, stated this during a condolence visit to Odili in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He described Odili as a very generous, hospitable personality and one of the best leaders that Nigeria has produced.
To this end, he declared that whatever affects him (Odili), affects people all over the country.
“We have come here to commiserate with you, to pass our condolences to you on behalf of all of our people, the people of Nasarawa State and our respective kingdoms.
“As one of the elders of this nation, very respectful elder of this nation, anything that affects you, will touch us, will affect us. We ask you to take heart.”
He further added, “You’re one of the best we have in this country. You’re very generous, hospitable. Your Excellency, not because you’re here, this is a statement of fact. You’re one of the best that this country has produced.”
The Emir of Lafia, prayed God to grant the Odili’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved one.
He also urged God to continue to keep Odili in good health so that he’ll continue all the good works that he has been doing and will continue to do for the nation.
“On behalf of all the chiefs that are not here, we commiserate with you”, he said.
Responding, the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, said he felt honoured by the condolence visit and words of encouragement by the Emir of Lafia.
“I can’t find words appropriate to thank you for this consoling honour.”
Odili said he felt elated by the kind gesture of the Emir of Lafia.
According to him, the visit has further demonstrated the importance the Emir attaches to his relationship with the people of Rivers State.
“You’ve come with your colleague to pay this condolence visit, which was totally unplanned and unscheduled. But, like they say, people make out time for what they consider important.
“We feel honoured by your gesture, and so, we want to thank you and your colleague for this rare honour and for your kind words. Your friendship with our state goes back in history.
“Your new position in Nasarawa State has not altered it, rather it has strengthened it”, Odili added.
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