The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that his administration would not be distracted from contributing its quota to guaranteeing a seamless administration of justice both at the state and national levels.
Wike re-enacted the commitment of the state government while performing the formal opening of a legal firm, L. A. Mitee and Company (Inata Chambers), in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
The governor stated that the legal profession was part of the problem stalling the process of justice administration in the country because of the activities of some misinformed lawyers.
He said these misinformed lawyers politicise issues of justice administration, and sometimes, resort to legal battles without a clear understanding of the position of the law on such matters.
Wike disclosed that an ill-informed lawyer who does not have a grasp of how budgets function and what the role of government was in creating conducive environment for administration of justice, had dragged the state government to court over its support to the Judiciary.
“Just this morning, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice came to me that one lawyer in Port Harcourt went to court against the state government. He said we have no business in building houses for judges; we have no business providing cars for judges.
“He said we have no business in building courts for federal institutions, and that I have no right to even contribute to the structures in Nigerian Law School.
“What will be our contribution to the administration of justice, when the structures are dilapidated? That lawyer is saying that what we are doing is not budgeted for. Everybody parades as if they know the law even when they don’t know the law.
“People who are ignorant about budget will just wake up in the morning and tell you the governor has no right to donate money somewhere. They make all kinds of allegations without having the true facts”, he argued.
Wike explained that his administration was compelled to renovate the Court of Appeal and Federal High Courts in Port Harcourt because their dilapidated structures were hampering the seamless administration of justice in the state.
“As lawyers, you saw how the Court of Appeal of Nigeria was. Tell me how any Justice of the Court of Appeal will seat comfortably to preside over cases when it will be raining, and then, the rain will fall on them.
“When the government comes up to say this administration of justice that you are giving, to whose interest? Is it to the people of Rivers State and those who do business here?
“And if we are interested in moving things forward, and offer support to make such places comfortable, a lawyer will come out and tell people that all those things we are doing are illegal.”
The governor also acknowledged the enormous contributions Mr. Ledum Mitee, who was the former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), has made to the legal profession, and his defense of the interest of Ogoni people for which he was threatened and compelled to go on exile.
Wike, who said Mr. Ledum Mitee deserves to be accorded the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria based on his past immense contribution to the legal profession, also commended him for re-establishing his legal chambers not only for legal advocacy but to mentor junior lawyers.
“All of us in this state know the problem that Mr. Ledum Mitee passed through, things that would have taken his life. As far as electoral matters are concerned, I respect my former boss in those days; Mr E. C. Ukala (SAN) and Mr. L. A. Mitee.
“But for the problem in Ogoni land, Mitee would have been a Senior Advocate of Nigeria for years now.
But because he believes in his people, because he believes that things must be done right, he has to pay for it. That’s why up until today, he is not a senior advocate.
“Some senior lawyers don’t care about mentorship. But you have the satisfaction that you can’t be a complete lawyer without mentoring others.”
The Principle Partner of L. A. Mitee and Co. (Inata Chambers), Mr. Ledum Mitee, said what they have established in Port Harcourt was a highly competitive legal chambers that would serve as a mentoring hub for junior lawyers and for legal advocacy.
Also speaking, the President of Port Harcourt branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Prince Nyekwere, urged Wike not to be weary in his support to the Judiciary, which has enhanced the process of administration of justice in the country.
He also commended Ledum Mitee for giving back to society.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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