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Wifa Advocates Financial Autonomy For Judiciary

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Rivers State, Barinua Moses Wifa, has advocated financial autonomy for the judiciary in order to guarantee its independence.
Wifa who stated this during a chat with newsmen at an event to mark his 83rd birthday in Port Harcourt, said it did not make any sense for the judicial arm of government to be at the mercy of the executive for its finances.
The legal luminary explained that the judiciary ought to be the strongest arm of government, but regretted that by some contraption, the system had made the judiciary the weaker partner.
“My view about this from time has been that not only do you need it as a first line charge, you need a certain amount. There are three department of states, not arms of government. The executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
“The judiciary ought to always be the strongest, but by some contrivance, constitutional, political contrivance they make the judiciary the weaker partner in this arrangement. Otherwise the judiciary should have about a third of the revenue net distributable income of the economy of the federation to manage its affairs as a first line charge,” he explained.
Wifa also called for stronger institutions to address delay in the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria, pointing out that for this to happen, the judiciary must be well funded and managed by men of integrity.
“We need to build strong institutions. And you need money and people of integrity to build strong institutions. Is Nigeria ready to build strong institutions, provide the money and try and source for men of integrity?
“You know how many persons are in custody awaiting trial? They can’t just walk out there. Cases have to be filed in Court and those cases in court have to be prosecuted. You need men, you need buildings, you need all of these things to move the criminal justice forward,” Wifa stated.
On local government autonomy, the former Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner for Justice stated that it would be a breach of the Constitution if the Federal Government goes ahead to release monthly allocation to local governments accounts by by-passing State Governments.
While saying he supports autonomy of local governments, the legal luminary, however, advised the federal government to amend the constitution before implementing the policy.
“Section 162, sub-section 6 are there. They tied the revenue of local governments to that of states. Unless you cut that umbilical cord so that you free those funds, it would be unconstitutional to now say okay go there, just go there and collect your money.
It is not right.
“Even by what they call executive order, they cannot amend the constitution by executive order. It is very simple. Go and amend the constitution,” he said.

 

Dennis Naku

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Niger Delta

APC Crisis: Abe Tasks Amaechi, Others On Peace

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The immediate past representative of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has pleaded with Transportation Minister and other top officials of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State to end the in-fighting and let peace return to the party.
He said that no member of the APC in Rivers State is indispensable.
Abe’s statement was made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Parry Saroh Benson where he said that for the party to rise above its present predicament, it required all hands to be on deck.
He bemoaned a situation where stakeholders of the party throw tantrums at each other, stating that such behaviour, cannot pull the party out of its political doldrums and urged the leaders to desist from such unruly acts.
The Senator, who was responding to what he described as Senator Andrew Uchendu’s comments in the media posited that in an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance, members should be able to make compromises that can move the party forward.
“I believe that any sensible politician who understands politics and can see where the APC in Rivers State is today after all the sacrifices that members have made over the years, would be very unhappy and I am very, very unhappy.
“We need peace in the party and if we can change our language and stop talking the way we do, do things differently, we can have different results.
“I have been circumspect about my choice of words when talking about Rotimi Amaechi and have said it over and over again that he is the leader of the party. But, a leader must lead in such a manner that your supporters and followers can have confidence in the leadership. Leadership should not be designed to hurt anybody or group.
“As far as the party is concerned, we need to bring everybody together, even Senator Andrew Uchendu, if only he will behave like an elder. We cannot be chasing one another in the public. He was my colleague at the National Assembly.
“We sat together at the Senate and common decency demands that there are certain things we should not say about one another in the public. That decency he cannot respect.
“If we can change our behaviour, rearrange our ways, curtail the excesses of our supporters, the party will unite again as one indivisible group.
In response to Senator Andrew Uchendu’s offer that himself and Senator Abe should renounce their ambitions for the sake of the party, Abe said: “I am ready to do whatever we need to do to bring the party together, but if the foundation of the peace is that Senator Abe should announce that he has no ambition, I will not make that announcement. In the same vein, I will not sit here to say whether I will contest or not, that question is for the future.
“People supported me for governorship because they could see that I was close to the fruit and if given a little push, I can catch it and they thronged behind me, if tomorrow am not in a good position and somebody else is better positioned, I will support that person”.

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Niger Delta

Cleric Warns Against Collection Of Marching Ground By Communities

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The Bishop, Diocese of Niger Delta, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Ralph Ebirien, has called on communities in the state to warn their youths against demanding for “Marching Ground”, from contractors sent to execute development projects in their areas.
Bishop Ebirien who said this at the 2020 annual Diocesan General Rededication Service in Port Harcourt said time had come for communities to support contractors sent to their areas to execute development projects.
Meanwhile, the cleric has called on Christians to pray for the peace and stability of the state and the country.
The Bishop who said in a sermon with the theme “The Lord as my Helper” at the service also called on Christian faithful to exhibit the virtue of contentment this year.
He stressed the need for them to see God as their ultimate helper and expressed the hope that the year 2020 would bring abundant blessings to people across the world.
According to him through the help of God the diocese was able to overcome its challenges since its inception years ago.
Ebirien also stressed the need for them to exhibit the virtue of love, truth and commitment to the work of God saying that God has the power to solve all their problems.
He called on the various archdeaconries and parishes in the diocese to work towards the planting of more churches in their vicinities this year.
Meanwhile, some parishioners have called for more prayers against insecurity in any part of the diocese this year.
A parishioner who gave his name as Sir James Gemini of St. James Parish Ataba said the diocese must commit itself to prayers to curb insecurity in the creeks.
Also speaking Godwin Chesime of St Peters Parish Port Harcourt said apart from praying for security, more churches must be planted to bring more souls to Christ.
Faafaa Ken of St Cyprian Church Port Harcourt said the service had rekindled the hope of parishioners for a prosperous future.
Cecillia Benneth of St James Parish Ataba expressed the hope that God will do a wonderful thing in the parish this year.

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Niger Delta

Green Money Initiative: CRSG Seeks Partnership With Nigerian Legion

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The Cross River State Government yesterday charged the Nigerian Legion operating in Cross River State to partner with the state government in the area of Green Money initiative initiated by the administration of Prof. Ben Ayade to boost revenue drive to boost agricultural produce in Cross River State.
The Cross River State Commissioner for Information and Orientation,Comrade Asu Okang, gave the charge while speaking at the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day which took place at the Millennium Park (Cenotaph) Calabar.
The commissioner stressed that the G-Money initiative is not just for indigenes of the state alone but for all residents of the state and the government has recently incorporated an agricultural company, the Cross River State Agricultural Development Company to drive the project in the state.
Okang urged the Legion and widows of lost heroes to avail themselves of opportunity of taking advantage of the ongoing recruitment into the company so as to maximise the vast agricultural potentials which Cross River State is endowed with.
In his words Okang said, “Today we are we are talking about G-Money and Ayade’s G money is not just for indigent Cross Riverians but it’s for everybody.
“His Excellency the governor has approved the immediate employment of staff of the Cross River State Agricultural Development Company, that does not preclude non-indigenes but it includes everybody, for men and women of the Nigerian Legion, for widows of the lost heroes, we expect that they will take advantage of the agricultural programs of the state government and maximize the opportunities available in the agricultural sector .
“We are going to have the largest feed mill in the whole of Africa, the technology is second to none and you can’t find it elsewhere in Africa. We have a wide expanse of land over 33, 000 square meters which means its not just available for indigenes alone but also to none-indigenes.
“So we are calling on members of the Nigerian Legion to partner with the Cross River State Agricultural Development Company which has just been incorporated to take advantage of the Green money that the governor is bringing to bear in the area of agriculture”.
The information commissioner calls for sober reflection from Nigerians across board and solicited for more attention which according to him is necessary to the families of the lost heroes who paid the supreme prize for the peace of the nation.
He said ,”Colourful and beautiful as the event looks, it calls for sober reflection. Today you find Nigerians from all over gathered together to remember our brothers and sisters who paid the supreme price and died for the peace of this nation.
“So if you look at the background, you will find the colour and the beautiful parade but for us, this should tell us something that for us as a nation we must be very sensitive to the plight and the yearnings, aspirations and sufferings of those these gallant soldiers left behind.
“We call on all Nigerians to give maximum support to the families of these soldiers and also having at the back of our minds the sacrifices they made for the country”.

 

Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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