The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed dismay over the spate of attacks on lawyers in Rivers State from kidnappers and assassins.
The Chairman of NBA, Port Harcourt Branch, Barrister Sylvester Adaka, after an emergency meeting with executives of all the NBA branches in Rivers State, yesterday, told newsmen that the security situation is taking a toll on the legal profession despite efforts by the state government.
Adaka, while recalling the assassination of some lawyers like: Ken Atswethe, Frank Igwe, Anthony Wakamma, and others, appealed to security operatives to utilise the equipment provided for them to step up their search for the kidnapped lawyers.
The NBA chief threatened that lawyers have resolved to withdraw their services from all kidnap cases in all the courts in Rivers State if their abducted members are not released.
According to him, “The NBA has observed with dismay the kidnapping of Lawyers and their family members in Rivers state. Particularly, the recent kidnap of Iyke Emelogu on the 4th of August, 2019 at Unity Estate, Eneka, Obio Akpor Local Government Area and also recently the kidnap of Sunday Wonmo and Monima Peters, all members of the NBA Rivers State and a couple of others that we have not listed here.
“We condemn the increasing rate of assassination of lawyers. We remember recently the assassination of Frank Igwe, Anthony Wakama and that of Ken Atswuete some time ago.
“What bothers us mostly is that of all those lawyers who were assassinated nobody has been held liable for their assassination; nobody has been arrested and prosecuted.
“We also condemn the increasing rate of cultism, armed robbery, gangsterism and other criminal activities in the state.
“We commend the Rivers state government for rising up to the occasion and setting up the ‘Operation Sting’ recently with the donation of gunboats, vehicles and other security gadgets and equipment to help security agencies in the state combat the increasing rate of crime.
“Consequently we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Lawyers, all their family members in the custody of the kidnappers. We call on all security agencies in the state to utilize the good gesture of the Rivers State Government in stepping up the search and immediate release of our colleagues and other victims of kidnap in the state.
“In the failure to accede to the our demands and release our colleagues in detention within the nearest future, the members of NBA in Rivers State will call off their members to withdraw their professional services from all cases involving kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and the likes pending before all the courts in the state.
“We have come to this because we fill that our members are under threat,” Adaka said.
Senate Resumes Work On MTEF/FSP, Next Week
The Senate Committee on Finance, yesterday, said it would begin legislative work on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) on Wednesday, August 19.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), disclosed in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, adding that invitations have been sent to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government with presentations to make on the document.
Adeola, in the statement signed by his media aide, Kayode Odunaro, said the MDAs were to appear before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, and National Planning.
He noted that there was need to examine the rationale for pegging the price of crude oil at $40 per barrel and a projected crude oil production of 1.86 million barrels per day (mbpd), in the MTEF/FSP document.
He said, ”We are kick-starting the process on Wednesday with Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) like NNPC, NCC, NPA, Customs Service, NIMASA, DPR and others, followed by the Ministry of Finance and its agencies, and subsequently, all revenue generating agencies”.
The lawmaker called on heads of MDAs to be prepared to defend their projections “as the Joint Committee intends to present the report to the Senate in plenary immediately on resumption from its ongoing vacation in tandem with the desire of the upper chamber to pass the 2021 budget in December.”
Adeola insisted that there was need for thorough scrutiny of the MTEF/FSP document in view of the fluid nature of the world economy following the disruptive impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the vagaries of the international market for crude oil and its attendant effects on the nation’s sources of revenue.
According to him, “There is a need for all stakeholders to come together to critically study the fundamentals of the ‘new normal’ forced on the global economy by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the instability witnessed in the price of crude oil at the international market and the sluggish world economy with some nations falling into recession, there is a need to assess our situation critically and be realistic about our revenues sources for budgets going forward”.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Take Off Of National Senior Citizens’ Centre Underway, FG Assures
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said plans are on the way to build a centre for the old people.
Farouq, according to a statement by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Halima Oyelade, said this at a meeting with the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of the Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) in Abuja, yesterday.
“She assured members of the coalition that the ministry is working toward the successful take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” the statement said.
It read further: “According to the Minister, a law establishing the centre is already in place. When operational this centre will among other things identify needs, opportunities, and training of senior citizens and provide recreational, sports, educational, health and social programmes and facilities designed for the full enjoyment and benefit of senior citizens.
“Responding, the President of the COSROPIN, Senator Eze Ajoku, thanked the Honourable Minister for the Covid-19 Palliatives, the group had received to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
“He then briefed the minister on activities of the coalition which include following up on the National Policy on Aging, pursuing non-contributory health insurance for older persons, enumeration of older citizens as well as the Older Persons Rights and Privilege Bill which according to him had passed second reading at the Senate.
“He asked for the minister’s support in the actualization of these initiatives.
“The Honourable Minister assured the coalition of the ministry’s support adding that older citizens are one of the key vulnerable groups that are of concern to the ministry.
“She further noted that most of them have been of service to the nation in their prime and still have a lot to offer due to their wealth of experience.
“The ministry will, therefore, ensure it gives due attention to issues concerning their well-being while ensuring it carries them along in the structuring and take-off of the National Senior Citizens Centre.”
World Powers Deny Us Weapons To Fight Insurgency, FG Cries Out
The Federal Government has appealed to the world powers not to be weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal, yesterday, when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now.
“To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism,’ he said.
The minister buttresses the claim, saying “certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons.”
“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.
“I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”
The minister said for Nigerians to fairly assess the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity, they should compare where the country was pre-2015 and today.
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