The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus has said that the alleged fear of insecurity and intimidation of judges raised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), vindicates party’s position that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was using devious means to obstruct justice in the nation’s courts.
It would be recalled that the NBA President, Paul Usoro SAN, in a speech, last Thursday, which was unanimously adopted by the National Executive Committee of the association, had alerted the nation that, “the level of insecurity in the country and the attack on the independence of the Judiciary and the legal profession constituted a threat to the rule of law, and by extension, the country’s democracy”.
The NBA boss said that the climate of fear instilled by the Federal Government undermined the independence of the Judiciary and the ability of judges to act confidently without fear or favour in dispensing justice as they were purportedly threatened, intimidated and blackmailed by mostly the Executive and their agencies at the federal and state levels.
Secondus, who made the party’s view clear in a statement signed by his spokesman, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja, yesterday, said the “PDP has continuously raised alarm at the gradual erosion of the doctrines of separation of powers by the APC administration as the nation watch helplessly as the Executive continues to muzzle the other arms of government, including even the press”.
He added that the opposition has remained resolute in crying out loud against harassment of those with opposing views because it clearly envisages the danger of concentration of power in one hand, especially with “a leader who has no history of appreciating and respecting democratic tenets and principles”.
The PDP national chairman, however, expressed the hope that even in the face of harassment and intimidation, the Nigerian Judiciary, knowing their critical position in the sustenance of democracy in the land and being citizens who are resident in the country, know that the Judiciary was the last hope of the ordinary people and that no nation grows on injustice.
Meanwhile, bandits in Zamfara State have given conditions for laying down their arms.
One of the conditions is that extra-judicial killings of Fulani, especially in local markets, should be halted.
The bandits are also demanding that they be allowed to attend local markets without fear or intimidation.
The Zamfara State Police Commissioner, Usman Nagogo, disclosed these demands of the armed bandits terrorising the state during a meeting with vigilantes and volunteers popularly known as Yan Sakai.
Nagogo said authorities had recently reached out to the armed men, explaining that they had assured that they would stop the carnage in the state only on conditions.
“Part of the conditions they gave was that the Yan Sakai should halt the extra-judicial killings of Fulani, especially in local markets. The bandits said they should be allowed to attend local markets without fear or intimidation.
“That is why we are holding this meeting to intimate you about the new peace roadmap being designed by the government. In a situation whereby a local vigilante will kill one of the bandits and the armed men would slay about 30 persons in retaliation, what is the gain here?” Nagogo asked.
The police boss urged leaders of the vigilantes to reach out to their followers and ask them to stop unlawful executions of suspected criminals, adding that “it is part of what is fuelling the crises.”
In his reaction, the Secretary of the Yan Sakai group in Zamfara State, Sani Babbar Doka, said: “In the peace pact that took place about three years ago, we surrendered our arms as demanded by the government, but the armed criminals did not. We are ready for anything that will ensure that peace returns to our communities, but not at the detriment of the opposing group,” he said.
Otedola Donates N5bn To Singer Daughter’s Foundation …Dangote Gives N100m To DJ Cuppy
Business mogul, Femi Otedola, has donated N5billion to the Cuppy Foundation, a philanthropic project of his singer daughter, Florence Otedola, popularly known as DJ Cuppy.
Mr. Otedola, who was represented by another one of his daughters, Tolani, made the announcement during the ‘Gold Gala,’ an event by his daughter, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, yesterday evening, to a standing ovation from guests in attendance.
Tolani said, “My father, Mr. Femi Otedola, has been at the forefront of supporting worthy causes.
“It is in this spirit that he will be donating the sum of N5billion to the children of Borno, Adamawa and Katsina States through the Save the Children.”
Among the guests were Vice President Yemi Osinbjao; CEO, Save the Children, UK, Kevin Watkins; Mr. Femi Otedola; entrepreneur, Hajia Bola Shagaya; Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo.
They also included Senator Gabriel Suswam, Representative of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki; National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole; billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote; and his daughter, Hajia Halima Dangote.
Others were Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; former Governor of Borno State, Gen Buba Marwa; Group CEO, Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun; and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum.
Cuppy’s godfather, Dangote, who is the owner of the Dangote Group, also made a donation of N100m.
The businessman told guests that they should not just allow government to do everything as even government had “a lot of challenges.”
Dangote said, “To whom much is given much is expected. It gives me great pleasure to be here supporting my brother, Femi, making this kind of big donation. I believe we need more Nigerians to have big hearts to give back to the needy.
“People find it very difficult in Nigeria to give money away but the more you give, the more God blesses you. Femi, you are no more a rich man. You have joined the league of wealthy men. I have said I will give more of my money when I pass away.
“To Cuppy, I must congratulate you for having a big heart to visit those children in Borno. She spent about four days with them playing with them. In the light of this, I am making a donation of N100million.”
The young philanthropist, who is also an ambassador of the Save the Children UK, a non-governmental organisation, said her foundation, which was launched in August 2018, was inspired by a trip to Maiduguri, Borno State.
According to Miss Otedola, she started the foundation as a way of giving back to the less fortunate.
She said, “Becoming an ambassador for Save the Children has exposed me to so many children around the world.
“I was able to visit Save the Children in Maiduguri with the help of my godfather, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.”
Osinbajo, in his address, told the guests that the event must refocus their minds on caring for the poor and malnourished especially in Nigeria.
According to the Vice President, in 2015, Buhari proposed the “largest social investment programme in Africa” of about N500bn annually.
He added, “Yet we are far from where we ought to be. It is obvious that government cannot do it alone. So, we don’t (all) need to be billionaires (to do our part). It is time for every one of us to decide that we can make a difference to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are given a decent life.”
2019/2020 Legal Year: Wike Berates NBA’s Involvement In Politics
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has berated the Rivers State Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for descending into the political arena by issuing politically motivated ultimatums on security in the state.
Addressing a special court session of the formal opening of the 2019/2020 Legal Year of the Rivers State Judiciary in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Wike regretted that the NBA crossed the redline by playing politics with the security situation in the state.
“We wish to warn that by descending into the arena of politics with irresponsible ultimatums, threats and utterances, the NBA in Rivers State has crossed the red line and become part of the enemy of our people.”
Wike regretted that the NBA in Rivers State had demonstrably failed to defend the state’s courts and the rule of law when they were subjected to undeserved assaults and abuse by the powers that be.
He said: “The NBA kept quiet when they closed down our courts in 2013. It lost its voice and remained indifferent when the homes of judges were brazenly attacked in the dead of night by security agents. Again, it looked the other way and maintained a conspiratorial silence when political thug invaded the High Court premises in a failed politically-motivated bid to stop judges from sitting.
“In the midst of these failures and acts of gross irresponsibility, the chairman of Port Harcourt branch of the NBA could have the temerity to issue ultimatums to the state government and threatening to boycott courts on account of an unfortunate kidnap incident that affected a member of the association.
“Security of lives and property is one issue nobody can accuse us of neglecting. In the last four and half years, no state government has spent as much resources and efforts to support the federally-controlled security agencies to fight crime and criminality than this state, Wike noted.
Wike stated that in view of the political stance of the NBA in Rivers State, the government has withdrawn all pledges and support for the NBA.
He said: “We have withdrawn all our support and patronage for the NBA in Rivers State, including the promise to support the hosting of the 2020 National Conference of the NBA in Port Harcourt.”
The governor said the state government was as concerned as the NBA in Rivers State on the plight of her kidnapped member, adding that security agencies were working to resolve the problem.
He stated that his administration would continue to work towards the improvement of the state Judiciary through critical interventions and funding.
Wike, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the Rivers State Judiciary in terms of dispensing with the cases brought before them, and urged the state Judiciary to reciprocate the investments of the state government by stepping up performance.
The governor also urged lawyers under the Rivers State Ministry of Justice to work hard to improve in line with the investments of the state government.
He added that the Rivers State Government would also construct a Magistrates’ Quarters to encourage the magistrates to work harder to dispense justice.
In her address, Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Inyie Iyaye-Laminkara commended Wike for the interventions of the state government in the development of the Judiciary.
She listed the construction of Judges’ Quarters by the Rivers State governor as one of the outstanding achievements in the state, and described Wike as the Diamond Governor of Rivers State.
Also speaking, the Attorney General of Rivers State, Prof Zacheus Adangor said that the governor has over the years kept his promises to lawyers and the Ministry of Justice.
Spokesman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Onueze Okocha suggested that states should be allowed to appoint judges in line with their needs.
Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch, Mr Sylvester Atama praised the Rivers State governor for his outstanding investments to improve justice delivery in the state.
I’m Ready To Fight Any Battle For You, Wike Tells Rivers People …Says Good Governance Must Be Enthroned For Good Of Nigeria …Insists On Citizens’ Right To Education For Nation’s Dev
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has assured the Ejamah Community and other host communities of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 that the Rivers State Government will defend their right in any ensuing legal battle over the oil facility acquired by the Rivers State Government.
Wike spoke during an appreciation visit by the leaders of Ejamah Community of Eleme Local Government Area at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.
The Governor commended the community for standing firm and fighting through established due process.
“While I remain Governor, one thing I will never do is sell the interest of our people.
“The property of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) were auctioned and the Rivers State Government bidded and acquired them.
“There will be legal battles. The Rivers State Government will stand for Rivers people,” he said.
He reiterated that with the acquisition of the 45 percent stakes of SPDC at OML 11, the Rivers State Government will extend some percentage to the host communities to give them a sense of belonging.
He praised Ejamah community for engaging in the legal battle for 29 years and refusing to be swayed by financial proposals by SPDC.
He said: “I am ready for the legal battle. The interest of Rivers State must be protected at all times. But for your fight, who will be talking of Rivers State Government acquiring OML 11. OML 11 is not only for Ogoni, it extends to Okrika, Andoni, Oyigbo and Ikwerre.
“Any community linked to OML 11 should be eternally grateful to you. I know some communities that only N300million will change them. You refusal to collect N7billion led to the auctioning of Shell Interest.
“If the Federal Government wants to talk, it is the Rivers State Government it should talk with, because we have acquired Shell’s interest. I am with you. God knows I have no personal interest.”
The Governor recommended the style of Ejamah Community, which is based on legal struggles to other communities. He said without violence, Ejamah community defeated SPDC in the courts.
He said no matter the schemes by SPDC, the judgment of the Supreme Court must be implemented.
The Governor commended the lawyer to the community, Lucius Nwosu (SAN) for his trustworthiness.
Governor Wike formally recognised the Traditional Ruler of Ejamah community as a second class chief. He also directed the reconstruction of Ebubu Community Secondary School.
Earlier, the Leader of the Ejamah Community, Chief George Osaro said that the people of Ejamah community are happy with the governor’s intervention in OML 11.
He said: “The people of Ejamah community do hereby express our profound gratitude to you for wading into the matter and ensuring that the Rivers State Government purchased the 45percent interest of SPDC in OML 11.”
He said that the intervention of the governor should not be misconstrued, as it in the overrall interest of the host communities. He said that the action has liberated the people.
Chief Osaro said that Ejamah Ebubu suffered one of the worst oil spill, which negatively affected their environment.
“We must understand that the Governor’s Plan is to boost the state economy, create employment and alleviate the suffering of the people, the State and the Niger Delta entirely as well as the nation”, he said.
He described Governor Wike as a pace setter, a visionary leader and emancipator of the people.
The Ejamah community conferred on Governor Wike a chieftaincy title: “Oneh Owese Oboru Ejamah.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the time has come for unnecessary politics to be relegated and governance enthroned for the good of Nigerians.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Ministers of Education and Women Affairs at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, Wike said that Nigerians require good governance for development.
He said: “Leadership is not party affair. Leadership is about the people. It is about development. For now, governance is what our people require.
“We should relegate politics to the background. Political parties as vehicles take us to a certain point for us to disembark and face governance.”
He said rather than politicise the development process, focus should be on how to move Nigeria forward.
Wike said that Rivers people are not happy with the high level of marginalisation against the state.
He said with the conclusion of elections, Rivers State should benefit like other states.
“Honourable Minister, when you go back, inform Mr President that the people of Rivers State are not happy with the high level of marginalisation. Rivers State should benefit from projects like other states of the federation”, he said.
He warned against any attempt to run a one-party state.
“We cannot run a one-party state. If we do that, the country will collapse. You cannot take every state. It is not possible”, he said.
Wike said that even though he wished that President Muhammadu Buhari lost the last General Election, immediately the court pronounced him winner, he was left with no option but to congratulate him.
The governor advocated the promotion of girl-child education.
He said that during his days as a minister of state for education, he advanced the ideals of girl-child education.
In his remarks, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu commended the Rivers State governor for his dedication to the development of education.
He also praised the governor for supporting the hosting of the National Council on Education (NCE).
Adamu thanked the Rivers State governor for his total support for the sustenance of Federal Government agencies operating in Rivers State.
He said that the Rivers State governor left indelible marks at the Federal Ministry of Education, which the current management has struggled unsuccessfully to surpass.
The minister praised Wike’s brand of politics, which is devoid of bitterness.
He specifically lauded the governor for congratulating the President on his victory and also being on ground to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari when he returned from a medical leave.
“You play politics with fairness and without bitterness “, he said.
Also, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the nation can only attain development when the citizens are empowered with the right knowledge and appropriate skills to contribute to national growth.
Declaring open the 64th Meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said that educational empowerment would equip the citizens to sustain themselves.
He said: “The reality is that no country can be politically stable, economically robust and socially secure and cohesive if the citizens are not empowered with knowledge, appropriate skills and the right values to sustain themselves and contribute meaningfully to the progress of the country.”
Wike called for the promotion of inclusive and equitable quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
He said: “Agenda 2030 is therefore a call to action on our collective commitments to transformative education by addressing all forms of exclusion, disparities and inequities and ensuring that every child, irrespective of social background, cultural affiliation, location and family or income status is not left behind but have equal and equitable access to quality and transformative public education.
“This requires providing the enabling legal framework, adopting the right policies and programme of action, deploying adequate resources and manpower, including qualified teachers in addition to a strong political will from the government at all levels.”
He said the lack of political will by government, inadequate allocation of resources; lack of commitment and by parents, teachers and school leaders, lack of or ineffective monitoring policy implementation are some of the serious factors responsible for the deteriorated status of education across the country.
He said: ”As a former minister of state education, I am quite familiar with the NCE and what it stands for as the highest national policy organ on education. During our time and under my watch as minister, we initiated and implement several policies and programmes, such as the girl-child education programme, the Almajiri education policy and programme, and the Special Vocational/Basic Education programme for boys as well as the national policy on Albinism. We also strengthened the quality of learning with the provision of modern e-libraries for the Federal Government Colleges.
“While I am not very sure of the present status of these laudable programmes, I do believe that they are fundamental to resolving some of the age-long underlying problems with our education system that borders on lack of universal access, equity and gender inequality. And if you reflect for a moment on the state of our country – the chaos, the misery, stagnation and hopelessness among the majority of our people, you will appreciate the cost of inadequate investments in education.”
The governor stated in Rivers State, his administration has invested in the development of education for the rapid growth of the state.
He said: “Here in Rivers State, our commitment is to provide equal opportunity to all our children to attend great schools, be taught by committed and well-motivated teachers at all levels and enable them to acquire the training and skills they need to realize their full potential and be successful citizens. We have successfully renovated, expanded and equipped over 400 basic education schools while 68 new schools are under renovation with this year’s grant.
“We have rebuilt, expanded and fully equipped a number of our secondary schools across the State while many more are undergoing similar reconstruction and expansion. We have also expanded the carrying capacity of all our tertiary institutions with additional faculties and infrastructure to enable more of our youths to access tertiary education.
Besides effectively banning the collection of all forms of levies from parents in the public-school system, we have released adequate funds through the Ministry of Education to school heads for the sustainable administration of all our public schools.”
In a keynote address, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said that the Federal Government was working towards developing a functional educational system that would make citizens self reliant.
He said: “There is no doubt that Technical and Vocational Education and Training holds the key to the development of our country’s industrial sector, thus the challenges of youth unemployment can best be addressed through quality education that guarantees self reliance.
’Entrepreneurship education and training is globally acknowledged as an important strategy for tackling youth unemployment. In our drive to reposition education for self reliance, particular attention has been given to the development of technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills in learners as the present administration has trained over 500 science, vocational and mathematics teachers on the use of modern equipment and new approaches in schools.”
He said that the Federal Government has granted approval for the establishment of new Federal Science and Technical Colleges in 16 states.
Adamu added that the Federal Government was improving access to quality education in different parts of the country.
Also speaking, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen praised Wike for being a promoter of girl-child education.
Tallen said educating the girl-child would empower the family and the nation, and called on all stakeholders to work towards educating the girl-child.
Tallen stated that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs would partner with the Federal Ministry of Education to promote girl-child education.
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Dagogo Adonye Hart said the National Council on Education was relevant to the development of vital policies and programmes to improve the quality of education.
The theme of the 64th National Council on Education is: “Education for Self Reliance: A Tool for Achievement of 20:30 Agenda.”
The meeting attracted education commissioners, permanent secretaries and FCT secretary of education from across the federation.
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