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DESOPADEC MD Calls For Judicial Reforms

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Managing Director of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Bashorun Askia Ogieh, has called for urgent reforms in the country’s judicial sector describing it as a profession whose image is being badly damaged with “accompanying innuendos.”
He also lamented the activities of the law enforcement operatives which according to him led to the “ignoble removal of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria and the beginning of the gradual killing of the judiciary helped by the timid response from the BAR.”
The DESOPADEC boss made his position known while speaking as a guest at the annual law week of the Nigeria Bar Association (BAR), Oleh branch which was held at the Anglican Women Hall, Oleh.
In his paper presentation titled, “An appraisal of the contemporary Nigerian Lawyer: Development or Regression,” he took a swipe on some judges over their frivolous and most times conflicting rulings of courts of coordinate jurisdiction, saying, “You don’t need me to tell you that this has badly tarnished the image of the judiciary.”
Speaking further, he said: “Ex parte motions are buzz words today, so popularised by their abuses. By my understanding, there is nothing wrong with ex-partes. But when you know that a matter is before a court of coordinate jurisdiction, you don’t need to shop around for courts and judges to get favourable rulings and or judgements for your clients.
“For me, that is a cardinal sin against the judiciary and your noble profession. Was it not curious and incredible that your colleagues in Anambra travelled 950 kilometers to Jigawa to obtain an exparte ruling on a matter that was already before a judge in Awka?
“And, I am amazed that the indicted judges are claiming ignorance of the same cases that are before coordinate courts. It means the judges are not reading, it means they are not following contemporary issues; they are alienating themselves from society as if they are not part of it. That is wrong, if it is the hard to believe truth that they were truly not aware, because they are members of the society who should be up to date with happenings around them.
“For me, the actions of the lawyers and judges tantamount to gross judicial misconduct which should be urgently addressed to redeem the image of the judiciary.”
On the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the DESOPADEC boss while taking a swipe at the BAR, said: “You didn’t resist it. You were cowed. It was not good enough, that a low level judicial officer who was even standing trial could remove a Chief Justice of Nigeria, and the BAR kept quiet. It was a sad commentary on the profession. You must defend and protect the profession at all times.
“Is Justice expensive? So it seems since it is now above the reach of the common man. The highest bidder gets justice these days and the common man relies on “God Dey,” a hopeful prayer of the streets which oftentimes leads to resort to self-help by the terribly aggrieved who failed to get justice at the altar of justice.
“There has been a plethora of how some Judges, Senior Advocates, Senior Counsel and other lawyers have engaged in this act of impunity. This without doubt has become a snarl in the wheel of legal profession in the country and there must be a 360 degree turnaround. The question is who do we run to for sane legal advocacy and canopy if those who ought to play that role are falling short of expectation?
”Critics also finger the undue delay in the administration of justice in the Nigerian legal system as a hydra-headed monster that has fastened its lethal proboscis on the fabric of our legal system. The blame here is shared by both the BAR and the Bench”.
“Some Judges sit very late while others sit sporadically. When they do come to court, they are in a hurry to usher off the lawyers from the stage as soon as possible. They adjourn at the slightest prompting and may even take months to write a simple ruling on the admissibility of a document.
“Lawyers too are not left out of this misnomer as they shoulder a portion of the blame, often seeking needless adjournments, frivolous amendments to pleadings, notices of appeals and briefs. Some are even rumored to collude with court officials (without the knowledge of the Judge) and smuggle documents which the Judges rightfully refuse to acknowledge when the matter comes up.”
Proffering the way out for the judiciary, he advocated on the need for innovation and legal dexterity which he said is not one to undermine due to its long-term impact in the entire legal profession.
According to him, “A lawyer that takes innovation and ingenuity for granted in this present time when the world seems to be racing against time itself is likely to be left behind to pine over nothing. Technology and other modern approaches to issues are gradually creeping in and taking over the traditional jobs of legal practitioners. It is therefore only the vigilant, industrious, innovative and diligent lawyers that may stand the test of time.”
Speaking further, he said: “No doubt, this is the age of digital information, communication and technology. By implication, any lawyer worth his salt will not sit on the fence and assume that it is the same route that must be taken to reach Eldorado. Time has indeed changed as it has suddenly proved to be so rare and no respecter of the indolent anymore.
It is also changing fast and will certainly continue to change and move at a pace that responds to the reality of the day. Particularly, the 21st century has proved to be tech-driven, permeating virtually all aspects of life. Law is not an exception to this trend.
“Development, we are told, is an organic concept measured in tangible and intangible. The criteria for determining whether the lawyer is progressing or receding will depend on what is required as his roles and responsibilities toward society.
“For me, I am of the opinion that the contemporary Nigerian lawyer can improve his current performance by taking cognizance of and electing to be guided by the rules of professional conduct. The Nigerian lawyer must therefore be on top of his game, else he may blur off the radar.”

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Ewhrudjakpo Counsels New Couples On Faith In God

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Newly married couples have been advised to build their matrimonial homes on faith in God and trust each other for their marriages to stand the test of time.
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice, weekend during a wedding reception in honour of former Miss Sophia Oguru, daughter of former Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Allison-Oguru, and her heartthrob, Mr. Daniel David.
Speaking as Special Guest of Honour at the event held at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Onopa, Yenagoa, Senator Ewhrudjakpo described matrimony as one of the most important sacraments of the church, noting that it was the first social institution established by God at creation.
While drawing attention to the fact that the first public miracle performed by the Lord Jesus took place at a marriage ceremony, he called on Mr Daniel David and his wife not to lose sight of the fact that the family is the first place of worship of God.
In a statement issued by his media aide, MrDoubaraAtasi, on Sunday, the Deputy Governor further admonished the couple to avoid absolving themselves of blame when wronged, being unnecessarily accusative and abusive, saying that doing so could ruin their relationship.
Ewhrudjakpo also charged them to imbibe politeness, patience, trust for each other, and prayerfulness as a habit for their life-long journey of marriage to be truly successful.

Speaking earlier as Chairman of the occasion, the former Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd.), noted that no couple was perfect, and advised the newly weds to make tolerance their watchword.

Rear Admiral Jonah, who is also the Chairman of Bayelsa Elders Council, congratulated the young couple and prayed God to guide them all through their marital journey.

Also speaking, Father of the Bride and former Secretary to the State Government, Professor Oguru, thanked all the guests for honoring the invitation to the reception.

Professor Oguru, who particularly expressed gratitude to the Deputy Governor, and the Chairman of the occasion, Rear Admiral Jonah, said it gave him joy to witness the wedding of two of his daughters in a space of one year.

The Secretary to the State Government, Professor NimibofaAyawei, and the Commissioner in charge of Media and Publicity at the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission, BYSIEC, Hon. Osomu Elliot, were among other dignitaries who graced the occasion.

By: AriweraIbibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Traditional Rulers Council Honours Two Commissioners

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The Usomini Council of Traditional Rulers in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, has bestowed prestigious traditional titles on two Commissioners currently serving in the State Executive Council in the State for their contributions to the development of the State and their local government as well as the Usomini community. They are Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Hon Isaac Umejuru; and the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh.
While Hon Umejuru was  honoured with the chieftaincy title of Eze Chi na Chi 1 of Ogbaland, Dr Oreh was conferred with the title of Ugo Nwanyibueze.
The epoch-making ceremony was held recently in Obirikom Community, all attracted people from all walks of life.The event coincided with the grand reception organised by the Usomini community in honour of the two Commissioners, who all hail from State Constituency 1 in ONELGA.
Speaking at the event, EzeUsomini, Eze Allen Osoh said the Usomini traditional rulers council was elated over the appointment of its illustrious son and daughter into the State cabinet by Governor SiminalayiFubara, describing them as good and worthy ambassadors of the area.
He expressed gratitude to the Governor for the award of the contract for the construction of Igiri-Ubomini-Egbeda-Elele road project, which he noted would bring the much-desired development to the area.
The traditional ruler, however, pleaded with Governor Fubara to consider the award of contract for the construction of Usomini internal roads in order to alleviate the suffering of the people, particularly in transporting their agricultural produce to the urban area.
The Eze Ali Usominill of Ogbaland also made a passionate appeal to the Governor for the upgrading of the Usomini traditional stool to first class status.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Hon Isaac Umejuru had expressed delight over the honour done him by his people, stressing that Governor Fubara would carry ONELGA along in the development agenda of his administration.
Umejuru, who is a former caretaker committee chairman of the local government council said peace, brotherhood and good tidings would come to his people for choosing the right path, contending that the governor would successfully rule for eight years like his predecessors so that the dividends of democracy would get to the people.
According to him, God would not allow anybody’s evil imagination to thwart the eight years tenure of the Governor.
“We have chosen the right path.The path to peace. Governor Fubara, our dear son will rule Rivers State for eight years and the dividends of democracy will come to us.God will not any evil to thwart it.Dr Peter Odili who owns the original political structures in the State did not fight anybody.Nobody fought the other governors after him.Would you want our son to leave office barely after five months? It is not possible.I will take this message to the governor and will tell him that my people said that anybody against him is an enemy of Rivers State “, he said.
On her part, the Commissioner for Health, DrAdaezeOreh thanked the Usomini traditional rulers council for finding her worthy of the honour.
DrOreh, who was represented at the occasion, said she does everything within her reach to promote peace and progress in Usomini community, and noted her willingness to always take Usomini as part of her home, and regretted her inability to physically grace the event due to official engagements.

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A’Ibom Targets 600,000 Households For Intervention Programmes

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The Akwa Ibom State Government says about 600,000 households have been captured in the social register for its various intervention programmes aimed at ameliorating economic hardship.
The Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr Emem Bob, said this during the ministerial briefing in Uyo on Monday.
The Tide’s source reports that the ministerial briefing is tagged; “ARISE Score Card’’, with the theme “Food Sufficiency and Security: The Intervention and Sustainability Strategy of Governor Umo Eno”.
Bob said though the state Social Register had increased to 2.3 million people, government was reaching out to the vulnerable poor through 600,000 households captured in the social register.
“The social register is well-structured. It’s structured in such a way that we have broken the villages, wards and Local  Government Areas.
“These make up the state social register and the total number of people we have in the social register is 2.3 million.
“When you talk about households, we have about 600,000 households in the social register and that is what we have been using for various interventions in the state”, Bob said.
The Commissioner said the process for selection into the social register was very clear and transparent.
He said the social register had been there for the past eight years, saying that the Governor only ordered that it should be expanded to accommodate those who had fallen under the poverty line.
“How people are selected for the social register is very clear. It is a very transparent process in the sense that there is what we call ‘Community Based Targeting’.
“Don’t forget that anything that involves the World Bank is very transparent; they are thorough.
“Community Based Targeting is what was used for social register and we have State Organising Coordinating Units which work with the National Social Safety Nets Coordinator Unit in Abuja.
“They work together and they have staff across the local governments. They go to villages, meet with village heads to pick these people”, he said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, DrOffiongOfor, said the State Government had put in place a lot of intervention programmes to boost food production and reduce the prices of foodstuffs in the state.
Offor urged the people to heed to the governor’s call and return to farming, saying that farmers should form themselves into cooperative groups for easy accessibility.
“Food sustainability remains the priority of Gov. Eno’s administration. The first thing is that the Ministry of Agriculture merged with the Ministry of Rural Development which also has a component of cooperatives.
“This was deliberate because the cooperative system is the system that is driving food productivity anywhere in the world”, Offor said.

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