FG Okays Creation Of Specialized Court For Child Offenders
The Federal Government has okayed the establishment of a specialized court for child offenders.
The decision, which was announced by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, came barely a month after a nine-year old girl was identified as the culprit behind a fire incident that razed a popular supermarket in Abuja.
Malami, while inaugurating the Justice for Children Coordination Forum, an European Union- UNICEF programme aimed at enhancing access to justice for vulnerable children, yesterday, said there was need for an urgent reform of the juvenile justice system in the country.
The AGF said his office had already engaged respective heads of courts to ensure that the specialized courts would also guarantee the speedy and seamless trial of rape/gender-based violence offences.
According to him, “The project’s overall objective seeks to improve children’s access to child-friendly justice through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children in Nigeria”.
He said the Federal Ministry of Justice has continued to partner with UNICEF and other donor agencies, as well as respective heads of courts, to train judges and magistrates on the implementation and enforcement of the Child Rights Act, especially on the effective use of Family Court Rules and Procedures.
“Every day, millions of children in Africa and around the world have their rights violated. They are denied access to school, health care and social benefits, unduly separated from their families, and affected by exploitation, abuse and violence in their homes and communities.
“Everywhere, groups of children are being left behind as victims of prejudice and discrimination.
“Among the most vulnerable are children born into poverty, children in detention, children on the street and children with disabilities.
“Yet, only a fraction of children whose rights are violated come forward and seek redress, and even fewer obtain an effective remedy.
“Today, a large number of children in Nigeria are survivors of violence, including sexual violence but very few of those cases make it to the courtrooms.
“These are issues to be addressed by the EU-UNICEF Access to Justice Programme and the Justice for Children Coordination Forum.
“It is worthy of mention that just last year, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in partnership with UNICEF launched the 1st phase of the Amnesty and Decongestion Programme for Children deprived of liberty during Covid-19 and beyond.
“The ministry commenced the Second Phase of the programme in May, 2021, with some juveniles from the Ogun State Borstal Institute currently undergoing assessment exercise to determine their psychological needs for release and reintegration.
“The programme is aimed at reformation, reintegration and reunification of minors into the society for the development of our dear nation”, Malami added.
In his goodwill message at the event, the Chief Judge of Kano State, Justice Sagir Umar, commended the Federal Government for creating a platform he said would enhance access to justice for children.
The CJ, who was represented by Justice Maryam Sabo, decried the rising rate of out of school children in the country.
“In Kano alone as per statistics, about two years back, we had 3.2million out of school children wandering about, some hawking, begging, truants, drug addiction etc.
“In 2018, 1,142 cases were reported at Waraka SARC, while in 2019, 741 cases were received and only 194 were disposed of because of the high demand nature of proving the offence and stigma associated with offence.
“Poverty and lack of awareness on parents are other factors. This year, the centre received 57 and 68 cases of gender based violence in April and May, respectively.
“There is need for the government to strategize more on women empowerment and to make it a policy all over the country.
“Our educational sector, especially the basic, should be revamped for all children to have access to education as their fundamental rights”, the Kano CJ added.
While the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented by Mrs Geraldine Okafor, called for stiffer sanctions for those that conscript under-aged children into criminal gangs, the representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, harped on the need for a comprehensive inter-agency assessment of children in conflict with the law.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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