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PCRC Holds 2-Day Workshop In Port Harcourt

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The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Rivers State Command, last week, organised a two-day workshop for her members and other stakeholders in the State with the theme “Election Violence Prevention And Management” in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day workshop held at the Civic Centre in Port Harcourt, the chairman of PCRC, State Command, Chief Casca Ogosu, said PCRC was committed to ensure that a peaceful environment and communities before, during and after the forthcoming general elections.
Casca said that the theme of the workshop came at the right time that election was at the corner and added that some credible individuals refused to run for political offices because of the fear of instability and insecurity in the state
“Some other good Nigerians also refused to come and cast their votes because of the looming fear and insecurity asking that should this continue?.”
The chairman while welcoming everyone who made out time to attend the conference, saying that after 62 years of nation’s independence, Nigeria was still lagging behind in the areas concerning matters of election into public offices.
“On behalf of the Police Community Relations Committee Rivers State, I welcome everyone who made out time to be part of the workshop.
“I believe that your presence here despite your tight schedules is an indication of your desire for a peaceful and progressive Rivers State particularly now that we are about to go for an election.
“ Let us spread the messages; preach the messages and act the messages, as the saying goes” There is no bad peace and no good war” Be the light of peace.
“Peace is worth more than swollen pockets of dollars”, Chief Ogosu said.
Also speaking on the theme of the workshop, the chairman of the occasion Prof N.E.S Lale, said that in every democracy in the world election has been sustained by three key things, the rule of law, freedom of speech and mass participation to decide who will govern the people.
He averred that with the assurances given by security agencies people would come out and cast their votes without molestation and fear. “It is time we need to do the right thing.”
Earlier the State Commissioner of Police Rivers State CP Okon O. Effiong, assured Rivers State that the police would do their best to ensure that elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
CP Effiong, who was represented by the Area Command Choba, ACP Akuka, said that conducting election was a difficult task; however assured that the police would ensure that all the electioneering processes are carried on without hitches.

By: Akujobi Amadi /Kiadum Edookor

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Crime/Justice

Bayelsa Community Cries For Help Over Devastating Erosion

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The people of Obogoro Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has given the Federal and State Governments a 2-day ultimatum to address the devastating effect of erosion which has claimed many lives and properties or face any action that would be taken by the community.
They made this known during a candlelight procession held in Obogoro for men, women, youths and children who have lost their lives due to the recurring erosion in the community.
The Convener of Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Coach Adah Gwegwe, said the community has written several letters to both the Federal and State Governments to respond to the community’s demand but all to no avail, adding that the community is planning to stage a protest to drive home their demands.
“We have been crying and nobody wants to listen to us. They came and awarded the contract and started the work but the dredger is just packed there, nothing is going on. We have done everything to reach out to the government but to no avail, this is the last option we have, to go on peaceful protest”, he said.
Also speaking, Coordinator of the Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Comrade Sunkeme Gbegbe, sympathized with those affected by the erosion and attributed the state of the community to that of a dead meat.
“Erosion has taken so many lives, we are also sympathising with those that are homeless. We have called on the government and the federal level and other relevant agencies, we’ve written so many letters but all to no avail”, Gbegbe said.
Some residents of the community cried out to the government that so many lives have been lost and many rendered homeless due to houses washed away by the effect of the erosion.
“We gather together with grief in our hearts on what is happening in our community: the houses that are collapsing, the people dying, we are pained, we plead with the government to help us because we are losing our houses and lands”.

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Crime/Justice

Arguments Against ‘Centralised Law School For Nigeria’ Are Diversionary, Mere Distractions, And Non-Sequitur

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To be able to follow and appreciate my position and suggestions, I humbly enjoin us to first read at least an article titled:
“Abuja Central Law School for Nigeria Archaic (1)” written by the very respected Chief Afe Babalola SAN and published on many news platforms and blogs in Nigeria. While I agree that there is no central law school in England, unlike in Nigeria, may I respectfully suggest that those who argue against one Law School for Nigeria should have been all encompassing in their comparison, if objectivity was their watchword, which I seriously doubt. Truth is, and I submit, there are really no bases for comparing England’s situation with Nigeria’s. But, if we must engage in such needless comparison, then let me respectfully remind us that licensing private Law Schools in Nigeria (to break the monopoly of Nigerian Law School) is at the bottom of the scale of preferences of the challenges facing the legal profession, that is, of the issues in respect of which we must urgently copy England and the United Kingdom.
Check these out:
Most lawsuits initiated in courts in England about January 2020/2021 are already concluded up to the highest court of the land, while the rest are near conclusion and may not last beyond December 2022. In Nigeria, on the other hand, most of the cases pending before our courts currently, were commenced between the last five years and 15-20 years and there is hardly any hope of their being concluded any time soon. A typical example of the situation in Nigeria is the case of Pillars v Desbordes (a landlord and tenant case) which lasted over 28 years in Nigerian courts (from its commencement at the Lagos High Court to Conclusion at the Supreme Court) before being disposed of. I wrote:”… on 5 February 2021, while delivering the lead judgment in a landlord-and-tenancy appeal case, Pillars (Nig) Ltd v. Desbordes, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, J.S.C., had started with the following introduction: ‘This appeal was commenced on 24/6/2009 when the appellant herein filled a notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal at Lagos delivered on 8/5/2009 in appeal no.CA/L/859/2006 affirming the judgment of the High Court of Lagos delivered on 8/12/2000 in LD/148/93 and dismissing the appeal against it. The notice of appeal contains 5 Grounds of appeal”. The suit number shows that the suit was filed in a Lagos High Court in the year 1993, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in 2006 and later to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2009. The suit lasted 13 years at the High Court, 3 years at the Court of Appeal and 12 years at the Nigerian Supreme Court. A total of 28 years! The cited examples fall among the rule, the norm, and not exceptional or isolated cases” (See “Snail-Paced Justice Dispensation in Nigerian Courts: Factors, Actors and Aftermaths” (yet unpublished). This is one major area that our senior colleagues need to copy something from England about. Those whose preoccupation is on how to decentralise, nay destabilise Nigerian Law School, should tell us whether a Central Law School for Nigeria is the reason why administration of justice in Nigeria is the slowest and among the most ineffective in the whole world. If our learned senior colleagues had channelled their energy and efforts towards pushing for reforms to accelerate justice delivery in Nigeria, perhaps things would have become far better than they are currently.
Appointment of jurists into Courts in England is based on merit, competence and honour. On the other hand, in Nigeria, almost all appointments are based on Quota, Place of Origin, Tribe, Language, Religion or Political Leaning. Is that what Nigeria ought to be doing in 2022 – the 21st century? What are our colleagues doing about this? Is licensing private Law Schools a more pressing challenge than this?
Corruption in the High Court of England is at the lowest ebb. In Nigeria, corruption is the order of the day, and has eaten so deep into our fabrics that even English leaders derisonly describe as “fantastic” the level of corruption in Nigeria.
What are the contributions of these respected senior colleagues of ours towards curbing corruption in the judiciary in Nigeria?
Judges on the Bench in England are free to hand down their judgments and rulings based on facts, law, evidence and the cases before them impartially and without fear of intimidation, harassment or disgraceful treatment from other arms of government. Recently, the Court of England ruled against the Prime Minister of England on the Brexit deal. On the other hand, in our country, the DSS would invade the homes of jurists in the wee hours of the night, bundle them into vans like common criminals. And nothing would happen by way of repercussions. An ex parte order from a court (Code of Conduct Tribunal) which has no jurisdiction to make such an order would remove easily Nigeria’s CJN, the head of Nigeria’s Judiciary, an independent arm of government, against the express provisions of the grund norm while some of our senior lawyers cheer the persecutors in support. Decentralising the Nigerian Law School is their only headache. What a misplacement of priority; chasing after rats when your house is on fire!
As of the year 2022, most Courts in England are fully automated, and their processes and procedures fully digitalised, ICT and internet-propelled. During the COVID-19 lockdown, more than 70,000 cases were heard and disposed of in England, by virtual means, backed up by law. How many were heard in Nigeria during the lockdown? A laughable number, if any! One would ask, these advocates of private law schools in Nigeria, what efforts are they making to have Nigeria key into the new norm, following COVID-19? Oh, they are more preoccupied with lobbying and arguing to have private law schools licensed for them to operate.
Courts in Nigeria are still recording proceedings in long hand. Storage of data is majorly manual. And hardly any prompt and effective mechanisms are put in place for timely, secure transmission of information about court proceedings, to litigants and counsel; one still has to travel from Lagos State to Kano State for a case fixed for trial only, and on getting to Kano, after huge flight fares and hotel bills, one would be informed that Court Is Not Sitting. In England, under such a scenario, lawyers and their clients would have been informed/ communicated in advance vide the Internet so that they would not waste money and time travelling such a long distance for a case that would not go on.
Courts in England operate and function wholly on a public power supply which is available 24/7, without any interruptions whatsoever. On the other hand, Nigerian courts depend on unstable, epileptic power supply, dilapidated generators. Most Nigerian Courtrooms are worse than bakery ovens. Witnesses, parties, court officials, counsel, etc, operate under very non-conducive courtrooms, mostly with archaic chairs and sitting arrangements suitable only for a 17th century courtroom. What efforts have these our respected senior colleagues made to remedy this ugly situation? They could not do anything because there are more concerned with campaigns to license private law schools in Nigeria. That, to them, perhaps is the only challenge facing the law profession
How many times have you heard that Courts in England are embarking on an industrial action to protest against poor condition of service or nonpayment of salaries and allowances, or to press for judicial autonomy? Compare this with Nigeria’s situation. Why are our colleagues more bothered about licensing private law schools in Nigeria, than achieving judicial autonomy or improved working conditions for judiciary members and workers, so as to nip industrial actions in the bud and make the judiciary more stable and effective?
Electronic filing (E-filing) and Electronic Service (E-Service) of court processes and and Virtual Hearing of lawsuits are a smooth practice in English Courts. Think about the position in Nigeria and you would shed tears about how backward we are?
How long does it take to dispose of an appeal in England, on the average? Contrast this with the position in Nigeria!
In the paper referred to above, I wrote, _”A distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Akajiugo Emeka Obegolu, SAN, was reported to have posted the following statement on Facebook on 22 February 2022: “Today, 22/2/22, a 2005 appeal came up for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Counsel informed the court that both the appellant and the respondent are deceased. #Justicedelayed”. From the post, it is obvious that the appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria had lasted 17 years, the appeal having commenced in 2005. Who knows when the case was filed at the High/Magistrates’ Court. Meanwhile, when this author contacted Chief Obegolu, SAN, to confirm his authorship of the Facebook post and to get more facts about the case, Chief Obegolu advised that the case was later adjourned to 2024 to enable the parties file applications for substitution. A two-year adjournment to hear an interlocutory application”!
How long does it take to get a certified copy of a judgment, ruling or order of a court in England? What about Nigeria? Why does this not seem to bother some of our seniors, as much as they are bothered about Nigeria having only one Law School?
Meanwhile, one thing appears common: did anyone notice that majority (if not all) of the campaigners for licencing of private law schools in Nigeria, are themselves either owners, proprietors or top managers of private Universities in Nigeria. Considering the vigour and tenacity with which they push the unnecessary advocacy, one wonders whether they are not engrossed in this campaign for some wholly unaltrustic ends? Else why are they more bothered about Nigeria having only one Law School, than making contributions towards solving the pressing challenges of the Legal Profession in Nigeria? Why?

By: Udemezue
Udemezue is a practising lawyer in Port Harcourt.

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Crime/Justice

Police Seek Community Collaboration In Crime Fighting

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Elimgbu Police Division in Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area says it needs the collaboration and cooperation of its host communities in the fight against crime.
This was the speech of the new Divisional Police Officer ( DPO) ,CSP Mark Doyo as he toured communities under his jurisdiction.
Some communities under his jurisdiction which he and his entourage visited are: Atali, Rumuahara, Rumuokwurushi, Elimgbu with sole aim of seeking synergy on ways to reduce crime.
CSP Doyo sounded it loud and clear that it won’t be business as usual.
He said the ability to fight crime, drug and other vices posing as a threat to the peace of any community must be fought with total collaboration with the community leaders
He said achieving this also requires the useful information from their host communities, assuring that the source of the information will be concealed
He however warmed drug dealers, criminals operating in his territory to surrender and turn a new leaf or face dare consequences if caught
The new DPO said already he had swung into action to flush drug dealers and other unwanted elements in the neighbourhood to enable the citizenry have peace.
According to him” this can be achieved if the affected community leaders avail them of necessary information and support.
Doyo noted in line with this objective the IG of Police introduced community policing aimed at involving communities in the protection of lives and property.
Earlier, Eze Atali Community, Eze Ejekwu Theophilous commended the step taken by the new DPO for finding time to pay visit to various communities under him.
Eze Ejekwu assured the new DOP of the community’s readiness to work with him in curbing crime, especially drug.
Eze Risioha Atali decried the activities of drug dealers in his domain and urged the police to fight the activities of drug traffickers to a standstill.
Eze Atali said the unwholesome activities of the drug dealers had been a source of concern to his people.
Also at the palace of Eze Oriogwe, Eze Chris Atata ,the DPO sought their cooperation in the war against crime.
CSP Doyo said the police were not magicians to be everywhere, hence the cooperation of the community to reduce crime to a barest minimum.
He said the essence of peaceful environment was to enable citizen’s sleep well and go about their normal businesses.
Eze Atata assured total support of the community in fighting crime.

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