President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, swore-in the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, charging him to work hard to restore the integrity of judiciary officers and the confidence of Nigerians in the judicial process.
The swearing-in follows the retirement of the incumbent, Justice Muhammad Muhammud.
Present at the occasion which took place at the Presidential Villa were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and many other Justices of the Supreme and Appeal courts.
Buhari urged the judiciary to restore the country’s past glory.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony yesterday in Abuja, Buhari challenged the judicial arm of government to partner with his administration in bringing Nigeria back into line.
According to him, the judiciary can effectively perform their constitutional responsibility by ensuring the success of the ongoing campaign against corruption and making sure that the economy was managed efficiently.
“I congratulate the new acting CJN, who comes at a time that the institution that he is going to head plays the role of one of the constitutional bodies at this trying time of our nation.
“In this room contains the constitutional bodies that are responsible for bringing Nigeria back into line in terms of security and managing it efficiently while making sure that the economy is resuscitated and that security of doing business at all stages in the country is free and fair.
He congratulated the immediate past CJN, and urged the acting one to play his constitutional role diligently.
“I am being honoured today as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to say goodbye to the former Chief Justice and to congratulate him for the time he spent in the highly respected position.
“I sincerely congratulate the outgoing CJN and wish him the best of luck in his retired life, and I wish the incoming CJN a successful tour of this vital constitutional body of our country,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the acting CJN, Justice Onnoghen, reassured that his tenure would witness the fullest cooperation of the third arm of government in the continuation of the war against corruption and misconduct in the judiciary.
According to him, he will continue from where his predecessors stopped.
“I intend to carry on from there, modify certain areas but with the general ultimate gain of having a better judiciary befitting the nation, Nigeria.’’
He thanked the President for the confidence reposed on him, saying “by the grace of God we shall succeed.’’
Justice Walter Onnoghen, was born on 22nd December, 1950 at Okurike Town, Biase Local government Area of Cross River State.
He attended the Presbyterian Primary School, Okurike Town between 1959 and 1966.
Onnoghen later proceeded to Accra, Ghana to attend Odorgorno Secondary School, Adabraka, between 1967 and 1972 for his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Exams.
He was at Accra Academy, Ghana between 1972 and 1974 for his WAEC (A-Levels) before proceeding to the University of Ghana, Legon, between 1974 and 1977 to obtain his Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B (Hons)) and graduated with 2nd Class Upper Division and was among the best graduating students.
The acting CJN attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos between 1977 and 1978 for his B.L certificate.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will inaugurate the National Economic Reconstruction and Growth plan in December, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, has said.
Udoma, who disclosed this at a National Economic Retreat in Abuja, yesterday, stated that the plan is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s efforts to reposition the country towards sustainable growth.
According to the minister, the retreat is intended to provide an opportunity for stakeholders from the various sectors of the economy to consult and exchange views on the medium term economic plan for the country.
He said the economic recovery plan would be a detailed document that would bring together various plans put together by the Economic Management Team.
The various plans include the Strategic Implementation Plan from which the Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper was developed, and the Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS).
Udoma said as soon as the consultations with stakeholders were concluded, the economic team would receive inputs from the National Assembly.
It is also expected that other development partners will be consulted before the inauguration of the final document by the President in December.
Udoma said the ministry had developed sectoral plans in five thematic areas as part of the economic recovery plan.
They are macroeconomic stability, where the focus would be on fiscal and monetary condition, low inflation, stable exchange rate and strong economic growth; economic diversification and building competitiveness in the private sector.
Others are job creation and social inclusion; governance (such as security); and human capital.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of State for Budget and National, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; and the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Sarah Aladdin, were some of the key personalities at the retreat.
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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