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Buhari, CJN, AGF, Others Hail NgigeAt 60

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) on his 60th birthday.

Ngige was born on July 11, 1961.

In a statement by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, GarbaShehu, yesterday, Buhari said he is “rejoicing with family and friends on the milestone” recorded by Ngige.

The statement reads, “The President notes, with commendation, contributions of the legal luminary to the study and practice of law in Nigeria, donating books and materials to law schools, and serving on National Executive of NBA for more than 25 years, during which he represented the association as a member of the Body of Benchers.

“President Buhari affirms that Chief Ngige played a significant role in ensuring fairness and justice for the state and citizens by accepting to join the team of private legal professionals that prosecuted cases at the Failed Banks’Tribunal, and other significant cases for the Federal Government, largely related to recovery of public funds and property.

“As the lawyer, who holds the chieftaincy title of “IkembaN’Alor” turns 60, the President congratulates him for many achievements that have attracted recognitions and awards for diligence over many years of service.

“President Buhari joins family members of Chief Ngige, his friends and all well-wishers in praying for longer life, good health and strength to continue in good works.”

Others, who have also felicitated with the leading litigator, include Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad; Ondo State Governor, RotimiAkeredolu, SAN; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, AbubakarMalami, SAN; Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), Council of Legal Education and many Nigerian Law School Alumni classes.

In his goodwill message, Justice Muhammad described Ngige as a “legal icon and quintessential philanthropist,” adding that he is a “man of honour and dignity” whose lifestyle “has been a formidable fountain of inspiration to people from all walks of life.”

According to him, “A life of scholarship.A life of commitment to the development of his fatherland.A life of service to humanity.A life of absolute submission to the dictates of the almighty God and his conscience. Those are the exceptional attributes that aptly epitomise the 60-year voyage of this legal icon and quintessential philanthropist at whose instance we are all gathered here today.”

Justice Muhammad added, “My friend and learned colleague, Chief EmekaNgige, SAN, who is currently the chairman of the Council of Legal Education, is a man of honour and dignity. His lifestyle has been a formidable fountain of inspiration to people from all walks of life. He is a man who briskly deploys wisdom and unassailable intellectual strength whenever he is confronted with herculean challenges. Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, he has never faltered in any task assigned to him, especially in the enviable position he currently holds in the Council of Legal Education.

“The legal luminary whose 60th birthday we are celebrating today has accomplished so much in life within the short time he has so far spent. He has become a strong tower and a paragon of intellectual prowess that the younger generation of lawyers from Nigeria and beyond could conveniently draw inspiration and strength.

“His profundity and dexterity are pointedly a vehement salute to industry and excellence which ultimately culminated in the giant strides he has recorded within and outside the shores of Nigeria. To the expansive clan of his admirers, Chief Ngige, SAN is a dogged promoter of equity and fairness; and evidently an outstanding combatant in the campaign against injustice.

“He is a man that is richly endowed with immense savvy and graciously blessed with inimitable creative acumen which he generously engages in his daily social intercourse. His intellectual accomplishments have tremendously crystallized the legal profession by erecting virile pillars of knowledge and confidence in the minds of both legal practitioners and law students.”

On his part, Ondo State Governor, RotimiAkeredolu, said, “My great brother and learned friend in the life of Mortals, commemoration of the day of first contact with the Earthly plane comes once in a yearly calendar.

The governor, who was a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said,“As you celebrate your 60th Birthday today, I heartily wish you a very happy birthday and prayers for scores of healthy, prosperous and peaceful returns of the day. May you have all the joy your heart can hold, all the smiles a day can bring, all the Blessings a life can unfold.

“Congratulations. All honour, glory and adoration belong to the Lord for seeing you to this age. As we say in Yoruba, Asodunmodun, àsosùmòsù, igbaodunodunkan. More grace.”

In his congratulatory letter dated July 2, 2021, the Mr Boss Mustapha said, “This occasion, indeed, requires giving thanks and adoration to the Most High for bestowing His favours and mercies upon you.

“Your achievements and contributions over the years towards the growth and development of the legal profession is far reaching. You have used your role as the chairman, Council of Legal Education to effectively ensure that legal education receives the desired attention needed in order to take the legal profession to its desired destination. I strongly believe given your wealth of experience, you will do more towards the growth, development and progress of the legal profession and Nigeria at large.

“Additionally, I wish to attest to the fact you have contributed much to humanity both publicly and privately over the years. This is evidenced in the number of high profile cases you have handled and won convincingly while maintaining humanity and integrity. You are indeed a blessing not just to the legal profession but to the nation. For these and much more, we are grateful to God for witnessing this great day in good health.”

On his part, Malami said, “Your birthday calls for the celebration of your life and the remarkable achievements you have recorded over the years. As a thorough-bred legal practitioner with a track record of professional excellence, your invaluable contributions towards the progress of our noble profession over the years have not gone unnoticed hence the various appointments both in the legal profession and other bodies.

“Indeed, you have distinguished yourself as a renowned, selfless, industrious and committed lawyer whose foray into the legal profession has benefitted our dear nation tremendously.

“While wishing you continuous success in all your future endeavours, it is my prayer that Almighty God will preserve you for many more years and in good health so that the legal profession and the nation in general will continue to benefit from your wealth of experience.”

Aside from family members, associates and leading lawyers such as Chief Joe-KyariGadzama, SAN and, birthday messages were also received from Nigerian Law School Class of 1985; Independent National Electoral Commission (Imo State); Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Mr Allen Onyema; University of Nigeria Law Class of 1984; Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society); National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), and Alor People’s Assembly, among others.

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Cleric Wants Review Of Retirement Age For Civil Servants To 70

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Rev. Fr. Godfrey Gopep, Parish Priest of St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Rayfield, Jos, has appealed to the Federal Government to review the retirement age for civil servants from 60 to 70 years.
Gopep made the plea in his sermon yesterday in Jos, adding that such move would address some of the challenges that retirees in the country were currently facing.
The cleric, who decried the rising spate of unemployment in the country, added that the move would also reduce incidences of falsification of age by people in order to be employed.
He added that it would also enable those who would be employed late to enjoy some good years in service before retiring.
“Because of scarcity of jobs and high rate of unemployment in the country, most people get to be employed are in their 40s.
“So, I want to call on the Federal Government to review the retirement age of civil servants from 60 to 70 years.
“If this is done, those who get employed a bit late can also have a enough time to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.
“It will also curtail the act where people have to reduce their ages just so that they can get employed and also spend some good years in service,” he said.
Gopep called on government at all levels to create job opportunities in the country and an enabling environment for private sector to thrive so as to create jobs as well.

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Lalong Seeks End To Divisive Actions Among Nigerians

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Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, yesterday urged Nigerians to shun divisive actions such as hate speeches and fake news for the peace and unity of the country.
The governor made the call at an interdenominational church service in Jos to mark the 61st Independence of Nigeria.
He said such acts were inimical to the nation’s progress, adding: “we must come together and solve our problems because no one can build Nigeria for us.’’
He said the country’s challenges, especially insecurity, would be overcome and urged Nigerians to be grateful for the country’s progress so far in spite of the challenges.
“God has indeed been faithful to Nigeria and we must be grateful,’’ he said.
Governor Lalong said also that Nigeria was blessed with abundant human and natural resources, but required unity, tolerance, sincerity, loyalty and patriotism to maximise such resources for its development.
According to him, commitment from the leadership and followership was critical to achieve the feat.
“There is no nation which is great today that has refused to embrace diversity, tolerance, excellence, good work ethics, and a national philosophy that is based on honesty, reward for hard work and punishment for deviance,’’ he said.
He added that Nigerians were known as a highly religious people which should be demonstrated by showing love to all irrespective of ethnic, religious or political differences.
“We must stop being religious and start being godly,’’ the governor stressed.
He noted that the security challenges were setbacks Plateau’s Progress and assured the people that he was determined to put an end to them while calling for the cooperation of residents especially religious and community leaders to achieve the objective.
“I call on you to play your part in securing your immediate community and giving prompt information to security agencies to be able to act appropriately,’’ he said.
He also called on Nigerians to intensify prayers and vigilance as security agencies and government worked towards defeating perpetrators and sponsors of crises.
Governor Lalong assured Plateau people that the Oct. 9 local council polls in the state would be conducted peacefully.
In his homily, the Deputy Chaplain of Government House Chapel, Rev. Ezekiel Dewan, admonished Nigerians to shun negative narratives as there is power in the tongue.
He called for prayers for God’s intervention and mercy on Plateau and on Nigeria, as God instructs his people to not only pray for their leaders, but also for the cities they live in.
Special prayers were conducted for leaders, governments and the nation at the service.

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Why I Shunned APGA Guber Campaign Flag-Off-Bianca Ojukwu

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Mrs Bianca Ojukwu said in Awka yesterday that she shunned Saturday’s flag-off of APGA governorship campaign to protest “post-mortem disrespect’’ to her deceased husband.
She laid the blame of the “post-mortem disrespect’’ to Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu on the doorstep of APGA’s leadership.
Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Dr Ifeanyi Ibezim, APGA’s governorship and deputy governorship candidates, respectively, kick-started their 2021 campaign at on Saturday.
Bianca was conspicuously absent at the event unlike previous mega political activities held by APGA, a party that branded late Ojukwu as the spiritual leader of the party.
Another obvious sign which made some political observers note that there was serious crack in the party was the removal of Ojukwu’s image on the customised uniform of APGA worn by people at the event.
Some party faithful, however, wore the old uniform bearing the image of the Eze Igbo Gburugburu, Dim Ojukwu, to the event.
Bianca described as an affront, the treatments to her late husband by the present leadership of APGA.
“It is an irony that today Governor Willie Obiano has resuscitated Dim Ojukwu’s pictures for use in campaigning for the upcoming elections in Anambra.
“This is the height of opportunism and hypocrisy. Is Ojukwu not the same man Obiano once described as a dead man who was no longer relevant to the party?
“Why should I permit him to keep trampling on the legacy of my late husband who put his heart and soul into this party?
“Ojukwu should not be like a light switch to be turned on for party campaign, and turned off once the election is won,’’ she said.
The former Nigerian ambassador to Spain, expressed displeasure at the decision of APGA’s leadership to expunge her husband’s image from APGA uniform and other insignia of the party.
“It is most unfortunate that Gov. Obiano decided to remove the picture of Ojukwu and replace same with his picture just to drive home his statement that `he would no longer tie the fate and fortunes of APGA to the memory of a dead man’, obviously in reference to my husband,’’ Bianca said.
She listed other ill-treatments meted to her and the deceased husband and maintained that her presence at Saturday’s flag-off would have been an endorsement to the defrauding of scores of aspirants by the party during the party’s primary in the year 2018.
“It is unfortunate that the same APGA election managers that were responsible for the disastrous 2018 party primaries which resulted in severe damage to the party’s brand were also left to handle APGA’s campaign flag-off.
“Any political party that consistently robs its own members will not endure, APGA inclusive,’’ she noted.
She also lamented that the report of the Sen. Victor Umeh-led Peace and Reconciliation Committee that visited her in Enugu few weeks ago which pointed the way forward for APGA, had been discarded by the governor and the party leadership.
Bianca, however, indicated that she remained hopeful that in spite of APGA’s current travails that the party has a fair chance of producing the next governor of the state.
She described the party as presently constituted as a field of ‘sorrow’ for so many walking wounded…from aggrieved aspirants, party members at the grassroots, as well as party stakeholders.
Reacting to Bianca’s charges, Mr C-Don Adinuba, Director Media, Soludo Governorship Campaign Organisation, said that the omission of Ojukwu’s image on APGA uniform was not a ploy to insult late Ojukwu and his family.
“It was a mistake by the person who handled the recent uniform the party printed,’’ he said.
Adinuba who is also Anambra Commissioner for Information said he was confident that Bianca had nothing against Prof. Soludo as APGA’s candidate.
“I am sure that in the next couple of days Bianca will join the campaign tour of Prof. Soludo,’’ he said.

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