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THE STATES

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Minna

The Niger State government has set aside N7.5 million to provide steady water supply for people living in Minna and its environs.
The commissioner for water resources, Dr Isah Votsa said this to newsmen in Minna shortly after inspection of facilities. Dr Vatsa said that N225 million was spent on the dredging of Tagwa Dam while an additional N190 million is being spent on dredging the Changaya Channel of the dam.
He said that an additional N300 million was spent to reinvigorate the state water board, adding that work has passed 50 per cent completion stage, in cleaning reservoirs at the place as four of the eight reservoirs are already cleaned and are in full operational state.
Vatsa said that before the end of this year more than 60 per cent of people living in Minna and its environs will have frequent water supply, saying that it will be rationed to pave way for all to get water at least 12 hours a day.

Zamfara

The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been commended for the frequent repairs on federal roads across the country.
The special adviser to the Zamfara State Governor on Local Government Projects, Alhaji Musa Garba said the repairs had not only improved qualities of transportation on the affected roads, but will go a long way to save lives.
He said the repairs, especially in the pot holes filled Gusau-Zaria road will improve socio-economic activities among people of Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states, which the road passes through.
According to him, motorists and other road users will now feel more comfortable riding the roads considering the fact that dangerous portions of the road, hitherto left unattend to, have been fixed.

Ibadan

Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Professor Taoheed Adedaja has expressed decline in the gradual decline in the standard of education in the state.
In his address at the inauguration of Volunteer Supervisors Scheme in the state, Adedoja commented that only 30 per cent of the SSS3 students in public schools passed NECO examinations last year, while above 17 per cent passed the WAEC examination in the same year.
He said that the conduct of the students did not commensurate with the huge expenses of the government on education which included the payment of N250 million for WAEC examinations for the public schools’ students.
He stated that the idea of volunteer supervisors scheme came up in order to boost quality of education in the state and bring back the days of schools inspection which he noted had faded away.
The commissioner told the supervisors who are mainly retired school principals that the need for enduring quality of assurance stemmed from the contemporary reforms in education occasioned by the provisions of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the goals for Education For All (EFA).

Kaduna

The Chartered Instituted of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria has lost its bid to remain the sole regulatory body for the practice of purchasing and supply management in the country.
A federal high court sitting in Kaduna, Friday, dismissed a suit brought by the institute and contended that Act No 21 of 2007 which created the institute did not state that it was the only body that has the power to regulate the practice of purchasing and supply management in the country.
Delivering judgement in the matter, Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu, who described the case as “mere waste of time”, said that the law does not also stipulate that one must be a member of the institute before one can be appointed to head the Bureau of Public Procurement.
“The application by the institute was a mere waste of time and an academic exercise since its existence cannot deny other bodies from existing or coming into existence,” Shuaibu said, adding that “it will be out of place to accept the application.”
The institute had gone to court seeking a declaration that no person is qualified to practice without being registered or enrolled with it in accordance with the Act.
It equally asked the court to make a declaration that it was the only body with the jurisdiction and empowered to train, educate and examine all persons in Nigeria desiring to become professional procurers and another declaration that only qualified members registered with the institute are qualified to be appointed to head the Bureau of Public Procurement.

Akure

Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) has appointed some state commanders. They include Capt S. G. Jiyah (rtd), Niger State, Capt. B. Y. Golen (rtd), Plateau State and Mr Sayikanmi Titus Daisi, Ondo State. Also appointed are O. A. Yakubu, deputy commander, operations and Hassan Isa Adejo, deputy commander, admin/finance. A statement by Alhaji Abubakar Sule, public relations officer, VGN, said the appointments take immediate effect, adding “VGN group has always been part of the social, cultural and political security systems all over the world. It was formed to help the Nigerian police and other security operatives to create a better society.”

Katsina

Amalumfashi Sharia Court in Katsina has sentenced two women Aisha Abdullahi and Rashidi Musa to two months imprisonment for stealing an international passport.
The convicts were however given an option of N3000 fine each. Abdullahi, 52 and Musa 28 of Bakin-Kasuwa and Hayin Majidadi in Malam Fashi town respectively, were convicted for stealing an e-passport belonging to one Lami Abubakar in her house in the community.
The police prosecutor Capt. Garba Magaji had earlier told the court that the Abubakar kept her handbag containing to the passport.
Magaji said that Abubakar went out among the two women in the room adding that when she returned, she discovered that her passport has been stolen.
The prosecutor said that she alerted the police who arrested the women and charged them to court for criminal conspiracy and theft.
He said the alleged offences contravened sections 120 and 135 of Shariah laws of Katsina State.

Abuja

Following the kidnapping of the 78 year old father of the gubernatorial candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Fourteen governorship aspirants on the platform of the party have denied that the abduction was politically motivated.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on behalf of the fourteen aspirants, Chief Chuma Nwafor said that rather than point accusing fingers at their leader, Chief Chris Uba, Soludo should be called by the police for questioning on the whereabouts of his father.
According to him, there was no proof before Uba was accused. Other aspirants at the news briefing are Emeka Eze, Amachukwu Ezeike, Nkoli Imoh, Volt Ozigbo, Ebe Lovina and Kete Egwa.
The rest are Victoria Nwankwo, Chinyere Agagbo, Ossy Ezenwa, Mike Nkwocha, Oyigba Okoli, Bertrand Dim and Basil Iwuoba.
According to Nwafor, the aspirants find it difficult to accept the authenticity of the story, as some people have tried to politicise the incident by accusing Chief Chris Uba as being involved in the act.

Makurdi

Benue State government has released N2 billion to the 23 local government councils in the state. The money accrues to the councils, from the excess crude accounts.
Special adviser to the state governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mr Sam Ode, made the disclosure in a meeting with local government council chairmen in Makudrdi.
Ode noted that government’s decision to inject the money into the councils was premised on its decision to ensure meaningful development at the tier of government.
He implored the local government council chairmen to key into the state government’s policy of fiscal discipline, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption which, according to him, has remained the guiding principle of the Government Gabriel Suswam-led administration.

Lagos

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris has said that, more than four million people die every year from pneumonia.
Dr Idris who said that at a press briefing in Lagos also said that half of the deaths are children.
The commissioner said that to effectively combat the acclaimed childhood killer disease, the policies guiding the management of pneumonia must be revitalised.
According to him, the death rate is high in Lagos, “statistics shows that pneumonia kills more than four million people every year and half of these deaths are children under five years, that is, every 15 seconds, a child is lost to pneumonia, 5,500 everyday and an unbelievable two million every year.
“An estimated 98 per cent of children die in developed countries while more than 2000 children die in developing countries.
He also said that the disease causes needless sufferings through illness and hospitalisation, while contributing significantly to the vicious cycle of poverty.

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NBA Chieftain Tasks Lawyers On Fairness, Social Justice

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As the world celebrated the World Day of Social Justice yesterday, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Remuneration Committee, Mr Afam Osigwe (SAN), has urged lawyers to ensure justice at all times.
Osigwe added that Nigerian lawyers must reflect on their call as ministers of justice, and protect the same at a cost.
The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually on February 20.
Its observance aims to do justice and to remind us each year of the need to build fairer and more equitable societies.
In a statement yesterday, Osigwe harped on the need for lawyers to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within their society.
“Social justice is not just a concept; it is a call to action that requires our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of all individuals, irrespective of their background or circumstances.
“As aspiring leaders and contributors to the legal landscape, we have a unique opportunity to effect positive change.
“Let us strive to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and create an inclusive legal environment that resonates with the principles of social justice.
“Our actions, both individually and collectively, have the power to shape a more equitable future for all.
“As we mark the World Day of Social Justice, we must, therefore, reflect on our collective responsibility as legal professionals to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within our society,” he said
Osigwe noted that the legal profession plays a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape, adoing that as the bar embarks on this journey, it must stand united in our commitment to promoting fairness, equity, and the rule of law.
“Through continued education, advocacy, and engagement with our communities, we can contribute meaningfully to the advancement of social justice principles in Nigeria,” he said

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Abia Govt Flays Butchers’ Protest Over Alleged Eviction Rumour

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The Abia State Government has formally reacted to the street protest by the Umuahia Butchers Association over an unfounded speculation that it plans to relocate the abattoir to another area.
The government described the protest as ill-conceived, saying that there was no truth in the speculation.
The butchers took to the streets of the state capital last Thursday over an alleged plot by the government “to forcefully evict them” from the abattoir located at Mgbarakuma Community, near Umuahia.
They alleged that the plot was being hatched by the community and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Navy Capt. Macdonald Uba.
The protesters, who marched through the major streets of Umuahia, ended up at the Government House in Umuahia, displaying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Save us, our governor”, “Ministry of Lands, Garki land is not for sale, please leave us”, “Abia people, slaughter Garki is not for sale”, amongst others.
In an interview with newsmen, the President of the association, Chief Ngozi Williams, said that the abattoir had existed at Mgbarakuma since 1994.
According to Williams, the host community had, in the last two years, made several attempts to force them out of the abattoir.
He said: “The community had gone as far as selling some parcels of land that make up the abbatoir to different individuals.
“We were relocated from the old Garki in Umuahia Town to this place in 1994 during the military administration of Col. Ike Nwosu (rtd.) and the abattoir was inaugurated by the then Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Adamu Chiroma.
“But the Mgbarakuma indigenes came up about two years ago and asked us to leave the place.
“They claimed that government had revoked the land.
“Ever before that time, about six hectares of the land were sold to unknown individuals by the community,” Williams said.
He also said that about a month ago, the governor’s aide started fencing the abattoir, claiming that the place had been sold to him by the government.
“About two to three weeks ago, he brought armed operatives of the Operation Crush to manhandle and chase us out.
“Most of our property were damaged.
“We have written to several agencies of the government to register our complaints,” Williams further said.
He said that the development had affected their businesses and appealed to the government to come to their aid.
“If the government doesn’t want us to continue doing our business in the present location, it should relocate us to another place within Umuahia.

“This is because it is only the government that has the right toa relocate us and not individuals,” Williams said.
But reacting to the protest and allegations by the association, the Traditional Ruler of the community, Eze Ebere Ubani, said that the butchers were not asked to leave the abattoir.
Ubani also said that the association was seeking for ways to divert people’s attention from the actual issue on ground.
“We have never asked them to leave, all we are saying is perform your corporate social responsibility to us as the host community,” he said.
Also, the security adviser to the governor described the allegations made by the butchers as “spurious”.
Uba said that the construction works taking place in the market were meant to improve the state of the abattoir and not to evict the butchers.
He said: “We have commenced the fencing of the cattle market in Lokpanta and extended the same to the Abattoir in Mgbarakuma.
“We at no time told them to relocate or to leave the place or plan for the place to be used for any other purpose than what it is currently being used for.
“The thing is that whatever be their reasons for resisting any further improvements in the market is a figment of their imagination.
“And I think I should say their resistance is based on their selfish interest.”
The Chief Security Officer to the Governor, Mr Ken Nwosu, who received the protesters at the Government House, appealed to them to be peaceful and law-abiding.
Nwosu said that protecting the interest of the people remains paramount in the government’s agenda.
He said: “The letter you have brought to us will definitely be delivered to the governor.
“I know that issues concerning abattoir and cemetery are under the Local Government’s jurisdiction.
“So, your letter will also be delivered to the Transition Committee Chairman of Umuahia South Local Government Area, where the abattoir is situated.”

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CJN Calls For Justice, Equity From West African Leaders In Building Region

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has called on West African leaders to use justice and equity to build a prosperous region for the coming generations.
Ariwoola made the call in Abuja on Tuesday while declaring open the Statutory ECOWAS Judicial Council meeting holding in Abuja.
The CJN presided over the meeting being attended by Chief Justices of West African Countries.
He said that the call has become necessary in view of the economic, political and leadership challenges engulfing the region at the moment.
He challenged West African leaders to reaffirm commitment to the ideals of justice, equity and solidarity and work together to build a just region for the people.
“The ECOWAS Judicial Council (EJC), though not widely known like other bodies, has been playing crucial roles in maintaining the rules of law and justice within the region.
“The Council which comprised eminent jurists from West African States has also been serving as the guardian of the rule of law and the protector of human rights within the region.
“In addition, the ECOWAS Judicial Council plays a crucial role in the resolution of disputes among member states, ensuring that conflicts are resolved peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law”.
He added that, the Western Region characterised by diverse legal systems and traditions, the harmonization of laws and legal practices is essential for promoting regional integration and cooperation.
“While the ECOWAS Judicial Council has made significant strides in promoting justice and rule of law in West Africa, the Council is faced with the challenges of inadequate funding, capacity constraints and the need to bolster cooperation among others.
“However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation and collaboration, as we work together to overcome shared obstacles and build a brighter future for our region.
“The council stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the quest for justice and regional integration within West Africa”.
He assured that, the council, under his leadership will continue to pay attention to addressing situations that threaten the judiciary system in West Africa and organisation of the Community Court of Justice.
“By so doing, the court contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
“The various national judicial systems in member States are also expected to play these critical roles of nation and regional building”, he said.
He, therefore, called for support to the council to be able to play the role of ensuring an integrated West Africa.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also charged the ECOWAS Court of Justice to pay attention to the peculiarities of member States and refrain from issuing orders and judgments that are practically incapable of enforcement.
“There is a dire need to promote and deepen alternative dispute resolution measures within West African region.
“The ECOWAS Court must adopt strategies that would strengthen its jurisdiction, whilst appreciating the jurisdictional boundaries of the court and limiting unnecessary conflict with domestic laws of member States.

“The extensive jurisdiction conferred on the ECOWAS Court calls for recruitment of jurists with extensive experience, expertise, high moral character and discipline”.
He stressed the need for the Community Court of Justice to undergo necessary reforms to bring it in tandem with the current emergencies and manage the challenges associated with justice delivery in the region.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, in his speech said, the Judiciary remains crucial in the efforts to curb instability, insecurity in West African Sub-region.
“In this era where instability and insecurity are overwhelming our
community, the role of the justice sector is crucial in conflict prevention, through the promotion and defence of the rule of law and human rights.
“Over the years, the community court has been a reference point for ECOWAS Institutions, as well as individuals, entities, and governments in search of advice, arbitration, and adjudication.
“The regular session of the Statutory Meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council is important to address issues affecting the effective operation of the Community Court and to ensure excellence, high standards of conduct.
“The enforcement of the judgments of the Community Court has remained a major issue in the effective delivery of the mandate and responsibility of the judicial institution to the community citizens”, he said.

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