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Mary Odili: Reps Panel Wants More Security For Judicial Officers

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The House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary has called on the executive to provide a more secure environment for judges to carry out their duties.
The Chairman of the Committee, Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa Ibom), made the call on Wednesday during the budget defence by the National Judicial Council.
The lawmaker also said the recent raid on the home of Mary Odili, a justice of the Supreme Court, must not repeat itself.
He called for a “secured environment for our judicial officials to operate without hindrance, without any fear of intimidation or harassment.”
Mrs Odili is the wife of Peter Odili, a former governor of Rivers State, who has been having a running battle with the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
Last week, the Nigeria Police Force paraded 14 persons as imposters who invaded the home of the jurist.
Onofiok also called for the deployment of technology to all the courtrooms across the country.
He said the deployment of technology “would make our courtrooms to be in line with what is obtainable in other climes.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 affected the sitting of the courts in Nigeria.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, had in April 2020 ordered courts to shut down, except in urgent matters.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had promised that technology would be deployed to courts in line with COVID-19 guideline, however, in a special report, PREMIUM TIMES detailed how inadequate technology in courts slow down the administration of justice.
The committee also lauded the increase in the statutory allocation to the judiciary from N110 billion to N120 billion.
Onofiok said the committee was at the forefront of the clamouring for the increment in the budget of the judiciary. He added that the committee will also be pressing for an increase in the salaries of the judicial officers.
In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of NJC, Ahmed Saleh, lamented the impact of depreciating naira on the budget of the council. According to him, the capital component of its budget suffers when naira is weakened.
“The exchange rate of naira to dollar as of December 2020 was N380 to one US dollar. But May this year, the naira has further depreciated to N570 to one USD,” Mr Saleh said.
He stated that “due to this depreciation and inflation, we certainly cannot achieve total completion” of some of the capital projects in the 2021 budget.

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Niger Delta

Oborevwori Charges New LG Chairmen On Prudence In Office

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Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Monday, charged newly-elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 25 Local Government Areas in the state to ensure prudent management of resources, while embarking on viable infrastructural projects.
He enjoined them to shun wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle but ensure modesty, fiscal discipline, prudent management, judicious allocation of resources, and excellent service delivery.
Governor Oborevwori also tasked them to avoid profligacy typified by wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle, but to address the recurring problems of insecurity, poverty, unemployment and environmental decay in the various Local Government Areas.
He gave the charge while swearing-in the newly elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 25 Local Government Areas in Asaba, the state capital.
Oborevwori explained that it was necessary for the chairmen to stay close to the people by operating from their area headquarters and warned that they must shun the unhealthy practice of running the local governments from offshore, especially Asaba and Warri.
“To the elected Local Government Council Chairmen, I urge you to reciprocate the huge mandate that has been given to you by giving preference to the needs and aspirations of your people with a view to delivering good governance.
“You must discharge your duties with sincerity of purpose, impartiality, compassion, fairness, and justice, and I expect you to work assiduously for the actualization of the MORE Agenda.
“As the third tier of government closest to the people, you need to improve the environmental sanitation in your communities. Our urban centres are riddled with filth as a result of improper waste disposal and poor sanitation habits of our people.
“I will like to see you step up in this regard by devising proper waste disposal measures, while embarking on aggressive public enlightenment campaign to educate our people on good sanitation habits”, he said.
Governor Oborevwori, who reiterated that the State Government does not tamper with local government funds, said he welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling on Local Government autonomy, emphasising that statutory allocations to the local governments in the state for the last three months remained intact.
He said as the then Speaker of the State House of Assembly, they voted for autonomy for the Councils during the 5th Constitution alteration session.
“I, therefore, expect you to hit the ground running by embarking on visible infrastructural projects that can be commissioned.  You must shun wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle.
“Let your administrations be characterised by modesty, fiscal discipline, prudent management, judicious allocation of resources, and excellent project delivery.
“As Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, we advocated for financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary.  The House also voted YES to Local Government autonomy during the Fifth Alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, the Supreme Court judgment on financial autonomy for local government councils is a welcome development.
“Actually, Delta State Government has never tampered with local government funds. Rather, the State Government has often had to augment the allocations to the local government councils to enable them meet their financial obligations”, he said.
While charging the Chairmen to improve on their Internally Generated Revenue, Governor Oborevwori cautioned against overtaxing an already burdened populace reeling under the painful effects of the current economic hardship.
He said: “Your success on this job will also depend on your ability to work seamlessly with your Vice Chairmen, the legislative arm and other critical stakeholders in the Local Government Area. Please, avoid running a one-man show.
“You must demonstrate the political sagacity to manage the local politics, and the administrative acumen to be all- inclusive to ensure peace, stability, and cohesion in your domains”.
He expressed appreciation to the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, (DSIEC) for conducting free, fair and credible elections and to the security agencies for ensuring peace and security throughout the exercise across the state.
The newly elected Chairmen are: Emmanuel Bazim Chinye, Aniocha North; Jude Chukwunkwike, Aniocha South; Dagidi Andaye, Bomadi; Julius Takeme, Burutu; Augustine Ogedegbe, Ethiope East; Christian Onogba, Ethiope West; Monday Odigwe, lka North East; Jerry Ehiwarior, lka South; Godwin Ogorugba, Isoko North; Warri Ovoke Friday, Isoko South; Vincent Osilonya, Ndokwa East; Obi Nzete, Ndokwa West; and Isaiah Esiovwa, Okpe.
Others are; Innocent Esewezie, Oshimili North; Obi Kelvin Ezenyili, Oshimili South; Isaac Aguanah, Patani; Bright Abeke, Sapele; Vincent Oyibode, Udu; Jaro Egbo, Ughelli North; Lucky Avweromre, Ughelli South; Possible Ajede, Ukwuani; Anthony Ofoni, Uvwie; Festus Ashima, Warri North; Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, Warri South; and Sylvester Oromoni, Warri South West.
While congratulating the new chairmen and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the resounding victory at the polls on Saturday, Governor Oborevwori said it was a product of weeks of grassroots campaign which they did not take for granted and thanked the good people of Delta State who, in spite of the heavy downpour, came out and voted for the leaders of their choice.
Responding on behalf of the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Chairman of Oshimili North Local Government Council, Hon. Innocent Esewezie, expressed appreciation to the Governor and leaders of the PDP in the state for the opportunity given to them to serve at the grassroots level of governance.
He commended the electorate in the various local government areas for endorsing their candidature through the electoral mandate given to them at the polls, and assured that they have adopted the MORE Agenda of the Governor and would not betray the confidence reposed in them.
Highpoint of the ceremony, which was attended by the wife of the Governor, Deaconess Tobore Oborevwori; the Deputy Governor, Sir Monday Onyeme; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor; State Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Kingsley Esiso; and other top government functionaries, was the administration of oath of office on the chairmen and their deputies by the governor.
Albert Ograka, Asaba
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Niger Delta

Navy Assures On Effective Waterways Security 

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The Nigerian Navy has reiterated its commitment towards stamping out economic sabotage and other forms of  criminal activities along the waterways.
Rear Adm. Saheed Akinwande, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, made the statement at the end of the Nigerian Navy second quarterly route march in Calabar on Saturday.
Akinwande said the quarterly exercise was intended to prepare navy personnel physically and psychologically for contemporary security challenges in the country.
“The exercise is to tune us up to meet our maritime security challenges and other internal security concerns”, he said.
The FOC expressed optimism that the exercise would not only enhance the combat readiness of officers and ratings of the command, but also send a strong statement to criminal elements.
He stated that under his watch, the navy would not condone any form of threat around the maritime domain.
The naval officer said the massive participation of personnel in the exercise was an indication of their collective resolve to win the battle against crime and criminality.
“This exercise will tell criminal elements that we are combat-ready, and they we shall not condone any form of threat to our national security interests”, he said.
Akinwande said the navy was fully committed to making the waterways uncomfortable for criminals and economic saboteurs.
The flag officer said the newly launched ‘Operation Delta Sanity’ was a deliberate step to strengthen Nigeria’s waterways security architecture.
He said the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, had approved a 90-day extension for the conduct of the Operation.
The Tide’s source reports that the exercise which kicked off at the NNS Victory parade ground, attracted naval personnel from other formations across the state.
The route march which was led by the FOC, took participants through major routes around the Calabar metropolis.
The source further reports that operatives of the Nigeria police and Federal Road Safety Commission were on ground to reinforce traffic management during the exercise.
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Niger Delta

COAS Inaugurates 70,000-litre Water Project in C’River 

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Monday, inaugurated a 70,000 litre, solar-powered water project in Alesi, Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The Tide’s source reports that the project is a Special Intervention Civil-Military Cooperation scheme, initiated by the COAS and implemented by Maj.-Gen Hilary Nzan, the Commander, Four Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa.
The source also reports that the strategic initiative is aimed at fostering improved relationship between the army and communities through the implementation of people-oriented  projects.
It further reports that the Nigerian Army had earlier provided solar-powered street lights in the community.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, the COAS said the project was designed to complement the existing infrastructure provided by the government and other stakeholders.
He said the water project would provide a sustainable source of clean water for the people of Alesi and its environs..
“This project will help to improve the people’s health, sanitation and overall quality of life”, he said.
Lagbaja said the army had implemented a number of people-oriented projects across the country to support the wellbeing of the communities.
He said some of such projects included construction and rehabilitation of hospitals, schools and laboratories, roads, town halls, and borehole facilities among others.
He pledged the commitment of the army to sustain initiatives capable of promoting the security of the nation and the wellbeing of the people.
Earlier, Nzan, said the army chose to implement a water project after a thorough and rigorous consultation with the community.
He urged members of the community to ensure good maintenance culture while using the project to enable it to serve them better
Speaking on behalf of Alesi Community, Dr Odigha Odigha, a Community Leader, described the project as a good omen to the community.
He commended the army for the initiative and said that the water project would impact positively on the wellbeing of the people.
“This project is a huge relief to the community, it would help in the reduction of waterborne diseases such as cholera. It will also reduce the burden of long treks to the stream.
“We commend the Nigerian Army for its visionary interventions in the community, this has truly enhanced the relationship between the people of the community and the force”, he said
The source reports that the inauguration ceremony was greeted with traditional dances and the conferment of the traditional title: “The Leader of People ” on the COAS.
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