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Rivers Judiciary Inaugurates VMS

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Towards the actualisation of the establishment of the Rivers State Multi-Door Courthouse, the state Judiciary has inaugurated the Volunteer Mediator Scheme (VMS) to enhance access to justice by providing alternative mechanism to supplement litigation in the resolution of disputes in the state.
The Rivers State Multi-Door Courthouse (RSMDC) is a court-connected Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre which offers a range of Alternative Dispute Resolution process.
The mission of the RSMDC is to supplement the available resources for justice by providing enhanced, timely, and cost effective and user friendly access to justice.
The Rivers State Chief Judge, Justice Simeon Amadi while speaking at the inauguration ceremony held at the RSMDC Centre, State Judiciary Complex in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the management of the state Judiciary has designed a 10-year strategic roadmap for the RSMDC in the state.
Justice Amadi said the 10-year roadmap was to ensure that the RSMDC does not witness regression, adding that many workshops and capacity training have been lined up next year to develop the manpower needs of the centre.
He announced that approval has been given for the centre to host its settlement week twice next year, adding that he would personally, with other judges, witness the celebration with a bid to know the level of successes and achievements.
According to him, the state multi-door courthouse has taken off on a fast lane, saying that most of the cases referred from the courts, have been settled, while some were also at the verge of conclusion.
“When I saw the application for the inauguration of the VMS, I immediately directed the acting director of the RSMDC to work out the modalities of how the programme will be. I am happy that the event has taken place”, he stated.
Also speaking, the RSMDC Acting Director, Barrister Victor Emeka Nweke said the advantages of settling disputes at the RSMDC include speedy and accurate dispute resolution, protection of privacy of parties, preservation of relationship of parties, reduction in financial costs of dispute resolution as well as amicable dispute resolution, among others.
Nweke said that Section 3(a)of the RSMDC Law provides that the centre has the powers to refer disputes from High Court of Rivers State, Magistrate Court, court of any other jurisdiction outside Rivers State, Federal High Court, private persons, corporations, public institutions for dispute resolution, adding that its powers were not limited by territorial jurisdiction unlike regular courts.
He used the opportunity to thank the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliation (ICMC) for its support to the state Judiciary, and urged other ADRs to come up with their beneficial schemes for collaboration with RSMDC, for overall interest of increasing access to justice in the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliation (ICMC), Agada John Elachi, said that the ICMC has acquired the reputation for being the foremost professional body of mediation practitioners in Nigeria, with more than two decades in the country.
He said it has trained and certified prospective candidates and encouraged organisations and institutions to adopt mediation and conciliation as primary mechanisms for addressing disputes.
Represented by Dr Ayibaemi Ken Fashola, Elachi, said the scheme has been designed to avail members practice opportunity and offer platforms for the speedy, cost effective and at-no-cost resolution of small claims and disputes for the business community and artisans as well as matters bordering on domestic disputes and interpersonal conflicts.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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