The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has been urged to strengthen the rule of law by encouraging lawyers in the country to interpret the law correctly.
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi gave the charge yesterday while declaring open the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Port Harcourt.
The governor who frowned at the manner in which the Ministry of Justice and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have interpreted matters of the law in recent times, regretted that it was unfortunate that very respected lawyers were at the helm of affairs at these arms of government.
Governor Amaechi noted that since the EFCC was established by an act of parliament it was improper for the organization to act in contravention of the law, describing its decision to act as accuser and judge as unfair.
He noted that instead of challenging a subsisting court judgment which prevents it from prosecuting public officers before going ahead to tarnish the image of such persons, the EFCC now pronounces people guilty before interrogation.
According to him, the best approach permissible by law was to first challenge the judgment in court, so as to gain unhindered access in arresting and prosecuting suspected corrupt officers.
He said his administration was not against the activities of the EFCC but would no longer allow the organisation to keep harassing serving public office-holders in the state when a court judgment preventing the agency from doing so has not been vacated.
The governor also condemned the action of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Kaase Aondoakaa for using his administrative power as Justice Minister to set aside a judgment of the Supreme Court concerning the ownership of oil wells.
While calling on the NBA to rise to the need to save Nigeria and indeed, the Niger Delta from the injustices against them, Governor Amaechi chided the Justice Minister for applying double standard in the issue of oil wells between Cross River State and Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibom and Rivers, respectively.
The State Chief Executive blamed the Justice Minister for setting aside the apex court judgment and the political compromise reached on the issue to cause disaffection among the states of the region, when he should be protecting obedience to the law.
Governor Amaechi who spoke on the topic “Physician Heal Thyself” urged NBA members to show more interest and responsibility in protecting the laws of the land especially when such laws were pronouncements of the Supreme Court.
On the neglect of the Niger Delta States by the Federal Government, Governor Amaechi said the Federal authorities have not carried out any meaningful project in the region to justify the huge resources from the area.
He cited the example of abandoned federal roads in Rivers State on which the state government had spent over N50billion in reconstructing to enable the people move in Port Harcourt and its environs.
Earlier, the president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) said the NEC meeting in Port Harcourt, few years after the National convention in the state, shows that the Port Harcourt branch of the body is active.
Chief Akeredolu, acknowledged the challenges before the Rivers State governor to speak louder for the people and promised to live up to the expectation of Nigerians, while assuring that the Niger Delta issue must be re-examined to give the people fair treatment.
Also speaking, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ken Chikere explained that the state government in partnership with other law enforcement agencies in the state has done well in prison decongestion and quick dispensation of justice.
In his welcome address the Port Harcourt branch chairman Chief O. T. K. D. Amachree said the branch is over due for another branch based on its overwhelming membership strengthen of over 2,000 lawyers.
FG Hails Rivers Top Spot In Literacy Education Dev
The Federal Government has commended the Rivers State Government over its concerted efforts in the development of basic education that has guaranteed the state the highest ranking in literacy education in the country.
The state scored 70per cent ahead other states of the federation in a recent national ranking.
The Coordinator in charge of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), Federal Ministry of Education, MrsAminaHaruna made the commendation, while speaking at a one-day state Technical Workshop on improving BESDA implementation at Bougainvillea Hotels in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Haruna said it was of good note that Rivers State has shifted to where it was before and attained a commendable height in the development of literacy education, adding that such feat was worth celebrating.
The BESDA coordinator, disclosed that Rivers State has also taken the lead to replicate the just concluded performance review meeting held in Abuja, recently, adding that the technical meeting was essentially designed to bring all stakeholders in the BESDA together to brainstorm on way forward.
She said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that the menace of out-of-school children in the country was resolved, adding that it was what informed the Federal Government decision to borrow $11million to tackle the menace headlong.
She called on parents to ensure that they give their children the right to education, adding that the importance of education in the society cannot be over-emphasised.
“Rivers State has done well in literacy education, and they are ahead of other states. So, whoever that has done well; praise him or her”, she stated.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku said one of the cardinal policy trusts of the present administration led by Governor Nyesom Wike was to provide access to quality and qualitative education for children in the state, saying that BESDA programme was one of the links to actualise it.
Ebeku thanked the Federal Government and the World Bank for initiating the BESDA programme, adding that it has given hope to many out-of-school children to have access to education literacy, saying that the cult clashes that ravaged some communities was responsible for the over-crowded nature of schools in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of both teachers and pupils in the BESDA schools in the state, adding that children in the conventional schools were not doing better than the ones in the BESDA schools.
He, therefore, solicited for cooperation among all stakeholders in driving the programme, and assured that the state Ministry of Education would drive the supervision and monitoring to ensure it achieves set objectives.
In his speech, the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ven. Fyneface Akah said the workshop was organised to replicate the Federal Government’s model on peer review performance by getting all stakeholders involved in achieving gaining more grounds in the BESDA programme in the state.
Akah said the board under his leadership was determined to ensure both children of fishermen and those who are out-of-school have access to quality education, which he said, was essential.
“It is not about the reward but the effort and impact. We are organising literacy content to ensure that those children in the programme read, write and understand numerical skills, and whoever that acquires literary skills has acquired the knowledge for further education”, he stated.
In her remarks, the RSUBEB Director in charge of Physical Planning, Mrs Joy Ojirika, who doubles as the state BESDA focal person, gave a scorecard on the progress of the programme in the state.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Wike, Okonjo-Iweala, Others For 4th DAAR Awards, Dec 6
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; are among those to be honoured at the fourth edition of the DAAR Awards.
The DAAR Awards, scheduled to take place on December 6, 2021 in Lagos, is organised by DAAR Communication Plc, which owns RayPower broadcasting station and African Independent Television.
At the ceremony, Wike would be honoured with the DAAR’s Man of the Year Award, while Okonjo-Iweala would be honoured with DAAR’s Woman of the Year Award, just as Okowa would receive award for outstanding leadership in public service.
In a letter to the recipients by the Group Managing Director of DAAR Communications Plc, Tony Akiotu, said the awardees were selected for their exemplary qualities and immeasurable contributions to the sustainable development and progress of humanity in various sectors.
On the criteria for selecting Rivers State governor,Akiotu said, “The Editorial Board and DAAR Communications panel of assessors for the 4th DAAR Awards had unanimously voted to confer the award of Man of the Year 2021 on Wike for his giant strides in infrastructural development of Rivers State and deepening of Nigeria’s democracy”.
Akiotu said that Deputy Senate President, OvieOmo-Agege would also receive award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service along with Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum; Oyo State Governor, Engr. OluseyiMakinde; and Osun State Governor, Prof. Adegboyega Oyetola.
Also to be honoured are the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who would receive award for Outstanding Performance in the Academia, and Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who would receive Outstanding Performance on COVID-19 Pandemicaward.
According to DAAR CommunicationsPlc, it would honour Ogundipe for extensive work on molecular systematics, plant anatomy, food security, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.
Senate Blasts Saipem Over Breach Of Local Content Act On NLNG Train-7
The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed displeasure at Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, a company handling the Train-7 gas project, for what it termed “deliberate breach” of Nigeria’s Local Content Act.
The company’s management has been evading appearances before the committee until last Wednesday after the panel threatened to compel their appearance with sanction.
However, the panel, chaired by Senator Teslim Folarin, after inference from evidence made available to the panel, demanded an explanation from Saipem Contracting Company why the gas project company awards contracts to foreign companies for supply of steel, rods, among other materials for execution of the project contrary to local firms in clear breach of LCA.
According to the committee, they have been flooded with petitions from the public over the sharp practices of the company in connivance with some Nigerians.
The committee said it was based on that the Train -7 gas project was invited while pointing out the breach of the local content act on the award of contract for the purchase of items for the gas project.
The committee, however, regretted the non-appearance of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Saipem and Daewoo, which they said their appearances would have deepened investigation on why foreign firms habitually shortchange the nation.
It rescheduled the meeting and asked the committee clerk to issue fresh letter of invitation to the absentee organisations.
Senators Folarin and Sabi Abdullahi in reference to a petition pointed out that Saipem management is aware of contracts to foreign firms than Nigerian companies for supply of materials running into millions of euros in breach of the provision of the local content act.
Teslim said: “Can you explain, how you came about awarding the contract for the supply of steel for €4million, to TK Corporation, a Korean company, and €4.27million, contract to another Korean company for pipes, €3.86million to an Italian company and another €5.5million.
“All these are not Nigerian companies.”
He said the local content act provided for 50percent Nigerian content in the execution of the project.
In his response, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr Walter Peviani said execution of the project by the company was based on a contractual agreement, and documents presented to the company by the NLNG and the NCDMB.
“Within the contractual documents, which we received, entailed, a project Nigerian content plan and entry procedures for Nigerian companies compliance certificate,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Executive Secretary of the National Content Development Management Board was absent despite invitations, a development, the committee said was deliberate and suspicious.
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