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Invasion Of Judiciary: RVHA Petitions UN, World Leaders

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In response to the brazen invasion of the Rivers State High Court Complex by armed thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and backed by operatives of the Nigeria Police, last Friday, the Rivers State House of Assembly has resolved to formally petition the United Nations to save the people of the state from the clutches of APC-led Federal Government.
The Rivers State House of Assembly also resolved to petition the European Union and the Commonwealth of Nations to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of Rivers people in the face of premeditated assault by the APC-led Federal Government and her agents.
At an emergency session, last Monday, the Rivers State House of Assembly also resolved to petition the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to eliciting his immediate action on the evils being perpetrated against Rivers people by agents of his administration.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, who presided over the sitting, placed the motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Martin Amaehwule before members for voting.
Sixteen members voted in favour of the motion, while three voted against, and another three abstained from voting.
The resolution followed a motion moved by the Leader of the House and member representing Obio/Akpor State Constituency 1, Martin Amaewhule under matter of urgent importance, condemning the attack and closure of the Rivers State High Court Complex on May 11, 2018.
The motion was seconded by the member representing Bonny State Constituency, Abiye Pepple.
Moving the motion, Amaewhule drew attention of members of the House to the incident of May 11, 2018, where both uniformed and non-uniformed armed men attacked the State High Court Complex in a commando-style.
He noted that the hoodlums shot sporadically before shutting down the complex by locking the entrances, destroyed government and private property, and molested judicial officers, lawyers and litigants.
The leader of the House, who stated that the cause of the crisis was an impending ruling on a matter between two factions of the APC, noted with sadness that no arrest has been made even when the hoodlums were clearly seen attacking people and destroying vehicles and infrastructure at the High Court Complex in the presence of the APC-controlled Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
He observed that the safety of the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike can no longer be guaranteed as the Federal Government, whose responsibility it was to control the police, has now delegated the power of control of the Rivers State Police Command, and particularly FSARS, to the leader of Rivers APC.
In his contribution, Minority Leader, Hon Benibo Anabraba regretted that, with the action, members of his political party desecrated the temple of justice.
Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Marshall Uwom said it was expedient to defend the rule of law and democracy in the state.
Member representing Ahoada East Constituency 2, Hon Ehie Edison while condemning the invasion, said that acts of this nature must be met with sanctions.
Member representing Asari-Toru State Constituency 2, Emeni George, who described as sacrilegious the desecration of the temple of justice, urged the President to sack the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for incompetence.
Majority Whip, Hon Evans Bipi said the attack on the state High Court Complex was a signal to what the APC plans to do in 2019 elections, and urged the House to also petition all embassies in Nigeria.
Ruling on the matter, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said the position of the House was to save the state from the illegal acts of the APC-led Federal Government.
He said the attack on the Judiciary, which was the last hope of the common man, was a sad narrative for the state and her corporate existence.
The House of Assembly later stood down plenary for about an hour during which they moved to the state High Court Complex where members inspected the level of damage done by the APC and the Nigeria Police on the Judiciary premises.
They were conducted round the complex by the state Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra.
The chief judge said that last Friday’s incident was an assault on democracy and sensibility of Rivers people, adding that “there was no reason for the attack whatsoever, because the law provides avenue of appeal, if they wish to do so.”
Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra further stated that, “the whole saga that happened, we are still in shock.”
She recalled that on the fateful day, she had received an alert about 6:30am on the planned invasion by APC members, who were against a court proceeding over their LG congress, adding that she had quickly put a call across to the Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, who failed to respond by sending his men to the scene.
The chief judge urged the legislators to ensure they enlighten the public, especially their constituents on why they should respect the sanctity of the courts, praying that such incident should not be allowed to repeat in the state.

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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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.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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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.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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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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