The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BoSAN) yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to reveal the identities of those who invaded courtroom number 7 of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Department of State Services (DSS) last Friday re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow, a situation that has generated local and international criticisms.
BoSAN warned that unless the truth is unravelled, Nigeria would lose respect and become an object of ridicule among the comity of Nations.
The body gave the warning on Thursday in a speech made at a special valedictory court session to mark the retirement of Justice Kumai Aka’ahs from the Supreme Court.
The event held at the headquarters of the Supreme Court in Abuja.
Chief Onomigbo Okpoko (SAN) who delivered the body’s Speech remarked that the incident with similar ones in the last three years points to the level of disregard to the rule of law and the judiciary.
“The Nigerian Bar Association has come up with a statement from the bar condemning the action. As members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, associates itself with the condemnation of the show of shame.
“It will, however, go one step further to suggest that this matter should not be swept under the expanding carpet of deceit in Nigeria.
“The pertinent question is who was responsible for the action in the courtroom? This is a task that the government must carry out to ascertain the truth”, he said.
While stating that the Nigeria Police being a sister organisation cannot investigate the matter thoroughly, he said even the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Customs and other paramilitary forces in the country cannot also not do a thorough job.
Okpoko (SAN) added that even the National Assembly is not sufficiently equipped to investigate the matter.
“The way out is an Independent Commission of Enquiry under the law. This can be achieved. The Body of Senior Advocates hereby demands that Mr. President considers without delay, the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to hear publicly and determined the perpetrators of the acts, their sponsors and their objectives.
“Unless this is done, Nigerians are unlikely to be convinced by any other explanations that the act was not the work of the DSS.
“It is the result of any such judiciary inquiry that will lead to the re-establishment of discipline in the society. The DSS and its officers are not above the laws of the land and the Constitution.
“In Nigerian law and in the Common Law, the Superior Orders is no defence to a criminal conduct. It has never been and this administration must not allow it to be”, the body said.
Also speaking at the occasion the NBA President, Paul Usoro (SAN) condemned the persistent disobedience and flouting of court orders by the authorities in the country.
“We desecrate the temple of justice when we blatantly flout and disobey the orders of courts. A court that is made to be helpless in the face of flagrant disobedience of its orders is as useless to society as a toothless bulldog is to its owner.
“No one fears a bulldog that is known to be toothless, it has no capacity to keep away a marauding army or a band of invaders”, he said.
In a related development, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has warned that disobedience to any court order is a recipe for lawlessness and chaos.
In a veiled reference to the arrest of the #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services in violation of a court order, Abubakar stated that “everyone must be law-abiding in the interest of national development.”
He gave the warning yesterday in Abuja at the 2019 fourth quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council with the theme: ‘Religion and Civil Authorities in Dialogue for Nation-Building.’
The monarch said, “We must regularly obey and respect the laws of our land. We should never disregard the laws to avoid the consequences. If a court makes a judicial pronouncement on a particular matter, it should be obeyed to the letter.
“If you have any problem or disagree with the pronouncement, the next step is to appeal the pronouncement instead of disregarding or violating court judgments.”
Speaking further, the Muslim leader noted, “If you are served a court order and you deliberately refused to obey it because you are a governor, president or any influential person, then you are setting a dangerous precedent.”
“There’s no society that will prosper through lawlessness; Citizens must be law-abiding so that we can achieve the desired development,” Abubakar said.
The NSCIA President-General also stressed the need for inter-religious dialogue in the country, noting that it would foster a better understanding among the people.
He admonished the citizens to be wary of extremism and prevent extremists from causing trouble in the polity.
Abubakar further emphasised the importance of education and particularly stressed the need to enrol street children in school and to combat the rising menace of drug abuse in the country.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha commended the Co-Chairmen and members of the NIREC for being steadfast in maintaining the peace and harmony in the country.
He said the Federal Government recognised the efforts of NIREC in bringing the two major religions together and providing religious leaders and traditional rulers a veritable forum to promote greater interaction and understanding among the leaders and their followers as well as lay foundations for sustainable peace and religious harmony in the country.
The SGF stated, “The time has now come for governments at all levels to sit down and discuss the issue of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with our religious and traditional rulers because the success or failure of security administration in the country depends largely on both institutions.
“You, therefore, remain in the frontline of stakeholders in the business of peacebuilding in every community.”
The NIREC Executive Secretary, Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua said justice and good governance remained the most effective means for promoting peace, harmony, mutual co-existence and development.
Shell’s Ultra-Modern Medical Centre Donation Excites Ogun Community
The government of Ogun State and leaders of Ogijo Community in Sagamu Local Government Area of the state have described the 20-bed ultra-modern medical centre donated to the community as a model of primary health care facility worthy of replication across the state.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, who took delivery of the facility in a virtual ceremony last Wednesday said the donation was timely, coming at a time that the state was struggling with the dearth of facilities to manage the increasing cases infection of the novel coronavirus in the state, adding that the state government alone could not bear the burden of public healthcare delivery.
The medical centre, with doctors’ quarters, alternative power system, water treatment plant and a medical ambulance was built, equipped and furnished by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) in partnership with SNEPCo’s co-venture partners.
“We’re very appreciative to NNPC and SNEPCo. This medical centre could not have come at a better time as it will go a long way in strengthening the state’s primary healthcare delivery system,” said Coker.
According to Coker, NNPC and SNEPCo had supported Ogun State for more than eight years during which the companies had trained over 200 state health workers.
“With this state-of-the-art medical centre, I am sure that the people of Ogijo would have the qualitative, affordable and accessible healthcare that the governor promised all the citizens of Ogun State.”
The traditional head of Ogijo, Oba Kazeem Gbadamosi, noted that the facility was not just a pride for Ogijo but for Ogun State.
“This is the best of its kind in Ogun State and we’re so excited to have this delivered to our community by NNPC and SNEPCo.”
Managing Director of SNEPCo, Bayo Ojulari, who handed over the facility to the state government noted that the focus of the social investment policy of the company was on health and education, and that SNEPCo would continue to strengthen its relationship with governments across Nigeria for better healthcare and education systems.
“Our health intervention programmes have been delivered in many states and our secondary school and university scholarships are continuing to grow. With the support of NNPC and our co-venture partners, we will not relent.”
General Manager of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, an NNPC subsidiary, Bala Wunti, who was represented by NNPC’s General Manager, Services, Yahaya Yunusa, charged the state and Ogijo Community to provide effective management of the facility in a manner that will provide the required healthcare services to the people.
“Sustainability should be paramount in the management system to ensure that the facility serves the purpose for which it is meant.”
The facility was the second of its type donated by SNEPCo in recent times.
The company had recently rehabilitated and equipped the Casualty and Trauma sections of the General Hospital Odan, Marina in Lagos State with state-of-the-art medical emergency equipment, and also donated fully equipped custom-made ambulances for easy access different parts of the state.
Shell Employees Launch N82m Free Feeding Programme
Employees of Shell companies in Nigeria have launched free feeding programme in COVID-19 isolation centres in seven states under the Shell Employee Care Programme, the General Manager External Relations of Shell Nigeria, IgoWeli, said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“The programme has kicked off in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Lagos, Ogun and Rivers States and it is a further demonstration of care to the people following the numerous intervention programmes by Shell companies in Nigeria particularly in support of government at all levels in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Weli said.
The feeding programme, according to Weli, was being funded from personal donations by staff and contractors of the Anglo-Dutch integrated energy giant, the total amount of which was matched by the companies to make up the N82.6million for the programme.
The programme delivery strategy involves a collaboration with the state governments, non-government organisations and certified caterers to provide freshly cooked meals daily to patients and healthcare workers at the isolation centres.
Head of Clinical Services at the Bayelsa State Isolation Centre in Yenagoa, Dr James Omietimi, who oversees the distribution of the meals said, “I eat the lunch provided and the nutritional value is good because of the variety. I can tell you it’s tasty and meals have been coming in daily.”
So far, this intervention has provided over 31,000 meals to the isolation centres with plans to scale up to 54,000.
Shell companies in Nigeria had earlier donated ambulances, testing machines and kits, medical consumables and personal protection equipment to Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers states to help in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2012 and 2018, staff and contractors of Shell companies in Nigeria had also made personal cash donation to provide succor to victims impacted by the unprecedented flood and Internally Displaced Persons humanitarian crises in the Niger Delta, Kogi and Anambra States, and North East of Nigeria, as part of the Shell Employees Care scheme.
Shell companies in Nigeria comprise The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC); Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo); and Shell Nigeria Gas.
Social Action Condemns Police Arrest Of Fuel Hike Protesters
Social Action comprising of various non-governmental organisations has called for urgent reversal of hike in fuel price, as it condemned police arrest of fuel price hike protesters.
In a statement signed by the Communications and Advocacy Manager of Social Action, Lilian Aikhigbe, and made available to The Tide, in Port Harcourt, the body averred that the fuel price hike was ill-timed and unwarranted.
It further said, “the organization, therefore, condemns the harassment and brutalisation of several civil society actors, students and journalists who were arrested by the Nigeria Police following a series of demonstrations across the country, against the petrol price and electricity tariff increment.”
The organisation maintained that it was within the rights of Nigerian citizens to publicly express displeasure with the insensitive policies of the government which were glaringly inimical to the wellbeing of the Nigerian masses.
“Most Nigerians are yet to recover from the economic downturn occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many lost their jobs or experienced a drastic drop in personal income, owing to the pandemic”, it said.
The body insisted that the price increment was, therefore, ill-timed and highly insensitive for the government to initiate policies that could bring more suffering upon the people, no matter the reasons proffered by the government as justification for the increment.
“We, therefore, strongly demand for a reversal of this anti-people policy which has already brought untold hardship to many Nigerians. We stand in solidarity with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), students’ union bodies, Civil Society Organisations and the Nigerian masses to call for the immediate reversal of the fuel price increment and electricity tariff hike.
“We also call for an immediate end to the needless harassment of patriotic citizens protesting the hike in fuel and electricity costs, as it is undemocratic for such well-meaning citizens to be arrested on account of their legitimate stance against the suppressive and draconian policies of the government. Such arrests portray the Muhammadu Buhari-led government in bad light and the Nigerian Police ought to know that the people have the right to hold the government accountable by demanding for good governance and better standards of living,” it insisted.
The body urged the Federal Government to expedite action in revamping the moribund oil refineries in the country, and establish modular refineries as well.
“After several decades of importing refined petroleum products, it is high time the oil-rich nation, popularly referred to as the ‘giant’ of Africa, began to refine as much of its crude oil as is needed to meet local demand, rather than exporting it and placing the burden of these exports on the masses who are made to pay exorbitant prices to purchase the imported, refined products”, it added.
By: Kevin Nengia
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