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Wike Approves N500m Grant, As CJN Unveils Judicial Institute …You’re Shining Light Of Legal Profession, Ariwoola Tells Rivers Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the release of N500million as take off grant for the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute (JMOJI) in Port Harcourt.
Wike announced the grant at the inauguration of Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, performed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, last Friday.
Also inaugurated was the Federal Judicial Service Commission, South-South Liaison Office in Port Harcourt.
Wike pointed out that availability of money was important for the institute to start off its operations immediately after the inauguration.
“I have made my budget presentation and it was not included. I’ve told the commissioner of finance, now that the budget has not be approved, make sure it is included in the 2023 budget.
“But to start off for now until next year budget will be released, we are making a grant to them of N500million so that the institute can start immediately and so that we can have the full benefit”.
Wike observed that the National Judicial Institute (NJI), which was saddled with the responsibility of training judges and magistrates yearly, has the challenge of carrying capacity.
He said this means that not every judge and magistrate billed for the continuous training exercise would be lucky for admission in any current year of such request.
Wike emphasised that it was this gap that the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute has come to fill, so that judges and magistrates can regularly access training and education opportunities in Nigeria.
“Actually, if Nigeria is operating a true federal system, there is nothing wrong for states having their own judicial institute that will train judges who, of course, apply the laws, preside over matters that affect the state and business around here.
“But we thank God today, that the Federal Government through the CJN has approved it. What we are doing is to complement the efforts of NJI.
“We are not taking over the functions of NJI. We are only complementing, so that our own judges will be ahead of other states.”
The governor also explained that the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute would be willing to accommodate other judges and magistrates that would be referred to it by NJI and train them free of charge.
“We can also allow them free of charge to come for training here in order to reduce the financial implication of sending most of the judges in the South-South to go to Abuja”.
Speaking further, Wike hinted on the need to amend the Judicial Institute Law No. 8 of 2021 establishing the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute in order to strengthen its operational and financial independence.
“For us, it is not only a Judicial Institute; in fact, I’ve called the attention of the Attorney General to it. And from what the chief judge read today, I will seek for amendment by Monday because there are so many things I’m not too comfortable with.
“Because I want a body that, of course, you’ll have supervision over but it will not look like the supervision that will hamper the working of the institute.
“I want where the institute will be just like you have the arbitration court; you have the family court; and the rest where budget is being made for them. There will be a different budget for this institute so that we know that it is working.”
Wike explained that the institute was named after Justice Odili, a renowned jurist of Rivers State extraction, who ranked as the first to have rose from the magistracy to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and returned with unblemished record of service.
He explained that the land where the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute was located, beside the State Judiciary Complex, was formerly owned by the default Nigerian Airways.
According to him, the dilapidated and abandoned buildings there became a hideout for criminals, hence the decision of the Rivers State Government to acquire the property, and use it for public good.
Performing the inauguration, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, said that Wike was one lawyer in position of authority who has remained relentless in speaking up for the growth, progress and prosperity of the Nigerian Judiciary.
“You have thus far given a good account of yourself as distinguished life bencher. To say we are proud of you is an understatement. You remain a shining light in the legal profession, and we shall always remember you for your unflinching support in the erection of enduring judicial structure in the country.”
Ariwoola also stated further, “At this level of our national development, we should begin to emulate good things that will usher in a new dawn of progressive growth. This is, no doubt, a bold step worthy of commendation and emulation.
“You are one of the few governors who have pledged to give judges owner-occupier residences so that when they eventually retire, they will get a life time accommodation.
“Today, that pledge has not only been fulfilled but has formed part of our history. Your efforts will tremendously improve the service delivery and comfort of our judicial officers.”
In her speech, Justice Mary Odili said she and her husband had tried, in vain, in finding best way to thank Wike for his benevolence to them, including the naming of the institute after her.
She submitted that since it was difficult to do so, and she can never repay Wike for all that he has done for them; they have presented him and his family to the Almighty God for the adequate reward due him.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, explained that the inauguration of the institute signifies the actualisation of the enabling law that Wike signed in 2021.
Amadi said it was on October 12, 2021 that Wike signed into law the Rivers State Judicial Institute Law No. 8 2021 that has a Board of Governors and an administrator who cater to the day-to-day affairs of the institute.
On his part, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, said the institute would promote efficiency, effective and speedy delivery of justice in the state.
Speaking on behalf of Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Onueze C.J. Okocha, said the institute would improve the efficiency of judges and magistrates in Rivers State.

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Fubara Vows To End Era Of Fiscal Recklessness In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has vowed to ensure prudent management of the state’s resources during his administration.
Fubara made the pledge yesterday while declaring the commencement of construction of N80.3 billion 33.5-kilometre Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road dual carriageway and bridge project in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers.
He assured the people that his government was dedicated to serving their interests and emphasised that no distraction would deter it from serving that objective.
“So I assure you that every Kobo will be accounted for in Rivers State.
“We are people that are transparent; that are ready to serve in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda,” he said.
Fubara expressed displeasure at recent attacks on his supporters by hoodlums allegedly backed by outgoing Local Government Council chairmen in the State.
He warned that those who attack innocent citizens in the name of politics would not be forgiven and would pay for their crimes.
“It is unfortunate that after we inaugurated the Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road project on Tuesday and left, some people went there and attacked our people.
“There is no need for that. Nobody has a monopoly of violence.
“I should even be the one to come out and shout that I will do this and that, but I have not done so because both sides (people) belong to me.
“So, I am advising those people who call themselves local government chairmen and that have few days in office, to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner,” Fubara said.
The governor also highlighted the transient nature of political power and urged politicians to act with caution.
“Politics will come and go, but we will still live our lives. If you deliberately hurt anybody because of expressing your useless support, nobody will forgive you.
“I have been the target of abuse as the Governor who doesn’t know what to do with power, but have I said anything?
“So, I am begging everyone to conduct themselves properly because I do not want anything that will bring problem in this state,” he said.
Regarding the project, Fubara explained that the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road and bridge project would be financed from the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
He said that 50 per cent of the project cost has already been paid and assured that it would be completed within 24 months.
The governor said the contractor, Craneburg Construction Company, had affirmed to completing the project within the specified timeframe outlined in the contract agreement.
“We are constructing this road out of our genuine commitment to serve the people, not because we have any economic interest here,” he said.
A former member, House of Representatives, Sen. John Mbata, who flagged off the road, praised the potential economic impact of the road when completed.
He applauded Fubara’s peaceful approach and leadership style of inclusiveness and consultation with all stakeholders in the state.
“We have moved away from the time when the governor of the state is seen as a god and demanded worship.
“We are now having a governor that has become a symbol and a rallying point for the people,” he said.

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We Inherited Huge Debt -Fubara …As Gov Otti Inaugurates Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road Project

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has revealed that a huge debt burden was left behind for his administration to settle with several contractors who handled different projects for the immediate past administration.
Governor Fubara made the revelation at Ebubu community, venue of the inauguration of the reconstructed 10.89KM Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road in Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State yesterday.
The Governor emphasised how baffling the debt owed the contractors amounted to, given the public impression created of a clean balance sheet maintained with contractors.
He said, “This is to let the world know that if there is one problem this administration has, it is the huge debt burden. Most of the projects that are being commissioned, the contractors are coming for their balance-payment and it is running into billions.
”I have said that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk because I was part of that system. But, when you keep pushing me to talk, I will say it so that the people will know the true situation of things and be properly informed.”
Governor Fubara expressed delight over the commencement of the celebration of his One Year in Office Anniversary with the inauguration of a road project in Eleme where he lived when he started off with his working life.
The Governor stated that the road was awarded on August 14, 2023, to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at the cost of N6.7billion.
He said that completed project now serves as a proof that his administration is still focused on delivering development to the people despite the many troubles thrown at it.
”I am happy to be here and to join the good people of Rivers State to start this wonderful celebration of our first anniversary in the face of all the troubles. It shows that we are still focused, not minding the level of distractions.
”This road was awarded to CCECC as a contractor. It was awarded on the 14th of August, 2023. I believe that 14th of August was within my tenure. I am not saying ‘I’, but it was this administration that awarded it.
”This project was awarded at the cost of N6.7billion, and I can say boldly that no kobo is remaining. We’ve paid the contractor its complete sum. Our gathering here is to tell our people that their problem is our problem.”
Emphasising the significance of the road, Governor Fubara said it is a bypass to be used by motorists to avoid the deplorable sections of the East-West Road now under reconstruction, and by extension, a support to the Federal Government’s efforts to give hope to Nigerians and make life better for the people.
Governor Fubara said: “What we are doing today, is it not help to the Federal Government? Is it not a show that this Government has the interest of the people at heart and it is supporting and doing everything to make the Federal Government succeed?
”So, when people come out and say some funny things, I laugh. Why are we doing this? When this administration came on board, Mr President christened his mantra ‘Renewed Hope’ to give Nigerians hope.
”What we are doing today in this State is giving our people that hope to complement what Mr President is doing at the national level.
”It is not about social media. We are talking about action. Genuine actions that make positive impact in the lives of our people,” he said.
Governor Fubara explained the rationale behind the invitation extended to Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, to inaugurate the project, saying he is not an artificial integrity man but a pragmatic man.
Sir Fubara stated: “I invited him because he is not an artificial integrity man. He is an action integrity man. He is not like the one who would gather to talk because they just want to talk.
”He is a man who came into office, in the face of difficulties and challenges, just like we are here, but he is making impact in the lives of Abians.
”So, I will continue to identify with good governance. I will continue to identify with people who want to make impact in the lives of the people. Our Government, as we promised you on day one: the people first.”
Governor Fubara alluded to an unnamed person who insinuated that on assumption of office, he started a fight against the Federal Government, and wondered the veracity of such allegation.
”We are talking about Federal Government that is giving us support, and we appreciate their support. But there is a rat in the house that is eating the bags of garri. So, you can imagine such situation.”
Explaining further, the Governor noted that somebody in the house was stoking crisis to distract both the State and Federal Government from delivering their promises to give the people hope and leave lasting legacies impactful policies and programmes for posterity, and promised the people that the black legs in the family will soon be exposed for what they are.
Governor Fubara thanked the good people of Eleme for their support during the period of the execution of the project, as according to him, the contractor never complained of any challenges from the communities, adding that rather the people gave all the cooperation required.
The Governor noted that with what has been experienced, his administration is now encouraged to come back and undertake more projects as he believed that they will be protected.
Performing the inauguration of the project, the Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, congratulated Governor Fubara for what he has done in remembering to execute a road project in Eleme community where he had once lived.
Governor Otti said, “I have always said it that leadership is about service. Anytime leadership departs from service, then, you are getting it wrong. Service should be service to the people, not service to self or very few interests. Anytime you are serving few people rather than the majority, you need to go and look at yourself again.
”So, for me, it’s all about good governance. Clearly, Governor Fubara came prepared, and I don’t believe that any distraction is enough to take his focus away from improving the welfare and interest of the people.
”So, I can assure you, Rivers people, that the dividends of democracy that you are seeing now is still a dress rehearsal. It is early in the morning, and I am sure that in no distance future, you will be seeing more.”
Governor Otti charged Eleme and the good people of Rivers State to continue to support the Governor of the State to do even more to make life easy for the majority.
He embossed that no matter how the dice is flipped: “Power belongs to God, no human can arrogate to himself the capacity to give power, except you have the capacity to give life. Of course, you can take life, but you cannot give it.”
In his project description, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works, Engr. Atemia Briggs, said the project was awarded on 14th August, 2023 to CCECC.
Engr Briggs explained that the road is 10.89 KM long, has a width of 10.5 meters, with a drain length of 10.1 KM, adding that it will, in the overall, serve human and economic needs of the people.
In his remark, the Executive Director, South-South Region of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Engr. Eric Shen, expressed gratitude for the confidence reposed in the company to handle the project, which has been completed with support from the Government, and cooperation from the host communities.
He said they were committed to delivering quality road that will serve the people for a long time, which was why they contended with the challenges of heavy vehicular traffic, daily business activities by traders on the road, and the rains to ensure timely delivery of the project within eight months.
In his welcome remark, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Hon Orji Ngofa, acknowledged that the project, popularly known as the Old Bori Road, had collapsed as a result of the heavy vehicular traffic taken off the East-West Road that became deplorable, and is now being reconstructed.
Ngofa thanked Governor Fubara for reconstructing the entire stretch of the road, which now better improves the wellbeing of the people while also serving the transportation and economic needs of all users of the road.
While presenting the traditional kolanuts to the visitors, the Oneh-Eh Eleme, Chief Philip Osaro Obele, had conferred on Governor Fubara, the traditional title of Emere Ajuri Oneh of Eleme (meaning King of Peace of Eleme Kingdom).

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2026 World Cup, My Immediate Task -Finidi

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Head coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, has said that his immediate task and priority is to qualify the nation for the 2026 World Cup slated for Canada, Mexico and U.S.
The Board of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on April 19, appointed George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.
George stated this at his unveiling as the new head coach of the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), at the Moshood Abiola National stadium on Monday in Abuja.
The former Ajax Amsterdam winger, who was assistant to former Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro, was jointly unveiled by the NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau and Sports Minister, Sen. John Owan Enoh.
“For me, my first target is to make sure we are in line to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, the AFCON qualifiers will also be coming up soon.
“But the major target for me is the two games we have, we will do everything to win against South Africa and Benin Republic.
“Once we do that we will have set the tone and we will take it from there,” he said.
The coach warned that going forward; players will be invited to the Super Eagles based on regular playing time in their clubs and commitment to the national team.
He dismissed insinuations about having rift with some players in the Super Eagles, stressing that his relationship with the players was ‘perfect’ and professional.
“My relationship with the players is very perfect. I will try to improve on my relationship as this will be different. You will not hear any controversy on my relationship,” he said.
Earlier, NFF President Ibrahim Gusau said the coach will be given all the support he needs to succeed in the task ahead.
“We have given our coach the opportunity to choose his assistants. We will not impose anybody on him.
“We are going to engage the assistants on game basis but will pay the head coach monthly salary. We want to avoid salary issues,” he said .
The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh stressed the importance of having and supporting indigenous coaches to succeed.
“We have an opportunity to have a local coach to lead the Super Eagles. Back then in my University days, I would go to UJ Eseune stadium to watch Calabar Rovers and see Finidi George play.
“I am honoured to be here to witness his unveiling, if you love Nigerian football, you must love and support Finidi George. His success will bring joy to Nigerians.
“Any country I find an indigenous coach sitting on the bench, I always feel very proud and I am glad that we have an opportunity that has a Nigerian coach, Finidi George, as football men national team coach, “ he said.
The details of the contract was not revealed.
The coach has picked ex-international, Daniel Amokachi as assistant coach, Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeeper trainer, Mehmet Ozturk, match analyst, Benjamin James and Chima Onyeike, fitness trainers.
The immediate task of the coach is to get the Super Eagles back on track in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria currently sit third in Group C, with two points from two matches.
Nigeria drew with Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the first two matches in the qualifying series in November.
The Super Eagles will face South Africa and Benin Republic in June, in what has been described as a make or mar clash.

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