The Bayelsa State Government has assured both serving and retired judges of the state judiciary of its commitment to their welfare.
Governor Douye Diri gave the assurance at the weekend in a special valedictory court session held in honour of Justice Lucky Boufini at the Chief Judge’s Court, Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor said government had already taken the initiative to build befitting residences for top judicial officers at a more secure and suitable location within the Yenagoa metropolis.
He eulogised Justice Boufini as an erudite and incorruptible judge who meritoriously served the judiciary in old Rivers and Bayelsa states in various capacities.
According to Senator Diri, the retired Judge creditably discharged his responsibilities as a Magistrate, Chief Registrar and bowed out as a High Court Judge in the state.
Governor Diri, however, lamented that the exit of Justice Boufini from service on account of retirement had created a huge vacuum, which he noted, would be difficult to fill in the short term.
Responding to a demand for more judges to be appointed in the state to strengthen the bench, he clarified that the appointment of judges was not the exclusive preserve of the state government because it is subject to approval by the National Judicial Council.
Senator Diri, who assured members of the Bench and the Bar that government would look into issues bordering on office accommodation and welfare package for retired judicial officers, wished Justice Boufini happy retirement, sound health and divine protection.
“As a matter of fact, the place you saw and described as the Judges quarters was initially considered but clearly that place will no longer be used for that purpose. We have agreed on what to do for our respected judges after consultations with My Lord, the Honourable Chief Judge; so we are working on that.
“I can assure you that the prosperity government is conscious of the welfare of Judges while serving and even upon retirement; because there is no need protecting a man while he is serving and then expose him to untold hardship upon retirement. I agree with you on the improvement of the retirement benefits of our Judges,” he said.
We are looking at the issues holistically with regards to the office spaces and we have agreed to work on the office issues and handle them”, he said.
Earlier in her remarks, the state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, said the special court session was organized as part of activities to honour Justice Boufini’s thirty-seven fruitful years of service.
Justice Kate Abiri remarked that Boufini, who served as the first Chief Registrar of Bayelsa, laid the solid foundation upon which the state’s judiciary was built, and called on government to provide better welfare packages for retiring judges.
In his address, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN), described the just-retired Justice Lucky Boufini as a wonderful and industrious judge who distinguished himself on the bench.
Mr. Dambo, who spoke through a director in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the state judiciary, Mr. Alaowei Opokuma, said the retirement was glorious as it coincided with his birthday on June 12.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yenagoa Branch, Mr. Ukumbiriowei Saiyou, said Justice Boufini was an incorruptible judge that laboured tirelessly with others to build the state judiciary to its present status.
While praising the state government for granting financial autonomy to the state judiciary, Mr Saiyou appealed for complete independence to enable the judicial arm of government discharge its duties dispassionately.
On his part, a one-time Commissioner for local government and Senior Lawyer, Chief Fedude Zimuaghan, pointed out that most of the serving judges in the state were aging very fast because of their heavy workload.
Chief Zimuaghan, therefore, called on government to improve on the working conditions of magistrates and judges, as well as take the issue of recruiting more judicial officers seriously to ensure effective and efficient administration of justice in the state.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Rotary Club Donates Security Post To Benin Custodial Centre
Rotary Club, Benin Metropolitan Chapter, has donated a security post to the Benin Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Edo State Command.
This is contained in a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Aminu Suleman, which was made available to The Tide’s source, weekend, in Benin.
Suleman said the donation was in furtherance of the long existing partnership to support the Custodial Centre in the attainment of the mandate of securing inmates in custody.
The PRO noted that the project was initiated by the Officer In Charge of the Centre, DCC Sikiru Balogun.
According to the statement, the outgoing President of the Club, Rotarian Joseph Ogbemi, “Benin Custodial Centre has long been registered as our pet projects Centre.
“The club will continue to support the Custodial Centre, in spite of several signature projects already donated to it”.
While inaugurating the project, the Controller of Corrections, Ogwude Charles, expressed appreciation to the Club for its humanitarian activities and regular support to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).
The Controller, represented by the Officer In Charge of the Custodial Centre, DCC Balogun, assured that the project would be put to good use.
He called on the public to partner with the Service for the good of the society.
Present at the event were the President-elect of the Club’s Chapter, Rotarian Cash Nehizena, and the Vice President, Rotarian Edugie Mabel.
Edo Begins Bush Clearing In Public Places
Edo State Government has embarked on massive clearing of bushes in public places across Benin, the capital city of the State.
The State Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Jonathan Lawani, told The Tide’s source yesterday that the exercise was aimed at achieving a clean and healthy environment.
According to him, government wishes to take a lead in ensuring bushes in both public and private places in the state are cleared as the rains get intensified.
“As they say, leadership is by example. What we are doing today is to pass a message that cleanliness is next to Godliness, and for this rainy season, we must ensure we clear our environment.
“We know rain comes with grasses growing everywhere with its effect of flood, erosion and bushes in our surroundings.
“We take the initiative to show to the people of Edo that we can do it by maintaining cleaning and healthy environment by clearing the grasses in our environment to ensure Edo State becomes a clean state for all.
“This is a continuous exercise all through the season of rain. For private places, our health and safety officers are going round to serve abatement notice to those who are not clearing the front of their premises.
“We are clearing public places that are government facilities and the roads across the city. I believe you went to Uselu road all through, to University of Benin and the surroundings in the GRA,” he said.
Lawani, an engineer, noted the ministry had directed a similar exercise in all local government areas in the state through the appropriate ministry and organs of government.
“As part of the initiative, we are going to be championing the cleanest city or cleanest local government in Edo state.
“We want to start it during this rainy season, so it becomes a culture and part of our activities on a yearly basis,” the commissioner said.
He also urged the public to ensure proper waste disposal, planting of grasses, flowers and trees during the season to mitigate the effect of climate change in the state.
Varsity Seeks Endowment Fund For Research
The University of Africa, Toru-Orua, (UAT) has said it is seeking the establishment of an endowment fund for research purposes.
The Tide’s source reports that the institution said on Friday that its focus would be on solving developmental challenges and the advancement of the society.
The university made this known at the 2nd Annual Public Lecture of the Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences in a lecture titled, “Utilising Untapped Research Funding Opportunities: An Imperative for Innovative Research in the University System”, which was intended to enlighten stakeholders on the need for financial support for the institution.
The Dean, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, Prof. Francis Sikoki, in his address of welcome, said the university’s catchment was bedevilled by many challenges, which could be addressed through research.
He listed such challenges to include flood and erosion, the menace of waterborne diseases, resource depletion occasioned by pollution and environmental degradation.
“Unfortunately, despite the large pool of experts in various disciplines in the university system, the paucity of funds to carry out problem-solving researches has been a major constraint.
“Fortunately, there is a large number of research funding sources which are not being adequately explored.
“One of such areas is the establishment of an endowment fund dedicated to research funding. This is precisely the reason for this public lecture being held today, first to create awareness and secondly to mobilise resources for research”, Sikoki said.
The guest lecturer, who s the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Dr Godknows Igali, stressed the need for universities to seek alternative funding.
He said public sector funding of the country’s university system was on the decline.
He suggested that apart from endowments, research funding could also be sourced from alumni bodies, partnership with industry, accessing development funding, university linkages, through putting-on the entrepreneurial cap and adoption of blending approach to funding research, among other sundry sources.
Igali, while advising the university’s management to be innovative, said: “The question ahead of us is where does the University of Africa want to belong?
“My submission would be we should be on the right side of history, of being a national problem solver and a much sought after institution around the world.
“It is our disposition towards today that would determine where the University of Africa will be in terms of its relevance in the global education market. But then as the saying goes, it is impossible to make an omelette without breaking eggs, “ he said.
Igali said this would require innovation and creativity from the university’s management.
“For this, as stated earlier, the university must be able to recruit and have the right calibre of staff who can handle this highly specialised duties of raising funds from multiple sources.
“This is because it would be difficult for a researcher to be the one who has the responsibility of carrying out investigation and studies and at the same time be saddled with the hunt for resources,” he said.
In his remarks, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, called on federal agencies such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to support the State in the funding of research projects by its tertiary institutions.
The Governor, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, also implored the state-owned tertiary institutions to redouble their efforts to tap research funds lying idle at the NCDMB and other public-spirited corporate bodies.
He emphasised the importance of research in tertiary education and the overall development of society, noting that what makes an educational institution to stand out is the quality of its research works.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of UAT, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, said the public lecture was a clarion call on all stakeholders, especially government, to invest more resources in research and development to meet the manpower needs of the university system and society at large.
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