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Bayelsa Unveils Nigeria’s First Electronic Filing Court

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Bayelsa State, on Wednesday, recorded a first in Nigeria with the launch of its electronic court filing system, which will quicken the process of litigation and administration of justice in the state.
The state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, launched the new filing system while inaugurating the remodelled State High Court complex which was named after the pioneer Chief Judge of the state, the late Justice Koripamo David Ungbuku.
Governor Diri congratulated the state’s retiring Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, for the construction and completion of the project in record time.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying that the electronic filing of documents and work-based access to court materials had become common place in many developed jurisdictions around the world.
He also lauded Justice Abiri for her outstanding 13 years of service as head of the state’s judiciary, saying the impressive new structure with its modern design is a mark of how much the state judiciary has progressed under her watch.
The Bayelsa number one citizen also commended the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zana, for assisting the Bayelsa judiciary achieve the feat towards enhancing the speedy administration of justice, noting that it was fitting that the remodelled court complex was named after Justice Ungbuku.
The Governor described the gesture as a mark of honour to the late jurist who served the state meritoriously.
“I like to commend Justice Abiri for working with the executive arm of government to deliver good governance.
“Our Prosperity Administration views the judiciary as an important pillar of our democracy. That is why we have continued to give other arms of government their dues without hindrance. What we see today is the outcome of that cordial working relationship.
“This edifice is named after late Justice Ungbuku. I see this as an act of remembrance and honour to those who have served our state. Justice Ungbuku is actually one of our heroes past in the judiciary of Bayelsa State”, Diri said.
He commended the local contractor, Engr. Iniebi Warikoru, for delivering an impressive job and recommended him to the state Ministries of Works and Housing and Urban Development.
In her remarks, Justice Kate Abiri expressed gratitude to Senator Diri for his administration’s support, particularly the prompt release of funds for capital projects in the judiciary.
The Chief Judge said benefits of the electronic filing process cannot be over-emphasized, noting that members of the Bar and Bench were ready to embrace the technology as training was already ongoing.
Abiri, who also unveiled the practice direction at the event, explained that remodelling of the complex, which originally had two court halls and 24 offices, was concluded within six months, equipped with additional two new court halls and 12 offices.
Also speaking, the Borno State Chief Judge, Justice Kashim Zana, said with the electronic filing technology in place, wherever there is internet connectivity, lawyers can file their cases anywhere in the world to aid quick dispensation of justice.
Justice Zana also announced that the first lawyer to utilize it will win the National Judicial Council prize.
First son of the late Justice Ungbuku, Owendu Ungbuku, expressed appreciation to the Governor and Abiri for the honour done to his father, whom he noted served the state judiciary for six years after being the Rivers State Chief Judge for four years.
Goodwill messages were also delivered by the State Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Okunbiriowei Saiyo, Mr. Larry Selekeowei (SAN) and Thompson Okpoko (SAN).

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Edo Pays N147m Counterpart Fund In FG’s Intervention Project

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Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has paid the counterpart fund of N147 million for the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project for the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND).
The State Project Coordinator, Mr John Omoruyi, disclosed this in a statement issued in Benin on Monday.
The Tide’s source reports that LIFE-ND is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in collaboration with the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The LIFE-ND directly supports Nigeria’s agricultural policy and the strategic framework for youth employment and job creation.
The project is currently being implemented in the Niger Delta states of Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Ondo.
Omoruyi explained that the amount, meant to create wealth, sustainable jobs, and ensure food security in the participating states, covered the years 2022 to 2024.
He added that the payment of the N147 million counterpart fund would enable the state to access funds for the ongoing transformation of the rural economy via agribusiness.
According to him, Obaseki has done well to restate his commitment to the sustainable development of the agricultural sector by promoting modern farming techniques, supporting smallholders, encouraging value addition and fostering agribusiness innovations.
“Furthermore, this feat by the Obaseki administration will not only contribute to economic growth but also enhance food security, reduce poverty and empower rural communities in the state.
“This is in addition to boosting agricultural productivity and value addition across four commodities – rice, cassava, poultry and fishery value chains”, he said.
According to Omoruyi, LIFE-ND in Edo has created jobs for 2,348 women and youth enterprises out of the targeted 4,250.
He said this was across the participating 10 local government areas and 100 communities across the state.
He disclosed the release of the counterpart fund would further create employment for more than 2,500 women and youths targeted for 2024.
The state project coordinator also disclosed that the National Project Coordinator (NPC), LIFE-ND, Mr Sanni Abiodun, had commended the governor for the prompt payment of the fund.
Abiodun acknowledged the Edo Government as the first in the country to pay the counterpart fund up to date, urging other participating states to emulate Edo State.
“This is in line with the consistent desire of the federal and state governments of Nigeria and IFAD to attain sustainable job and wealth creation as well as ensure food security in Nigeria”, he said.

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Delta Bans Commercial Motorcycle, Metal Scavenging In Asaba

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Delta State Government has officially placed a ban on commercial motorcycle, otherwise known as “Okada” as a means of transportation within the state capital.
The State Government, also banned, forthwith, scrap metaI scavenging, otherwise known as “iron condemn”, in the state capital, Asaba, with immediate effect.
The State Government announced the ban through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Kingsley Emu, who briefed newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori at Government House, Asaba.
Dr. Emu said the ban was necessitated by the preponderance of crime being committed with Okada and the frequently reported cases of vandalism of public facilities by the scavengers, adding that strict enforcement would commence June 1, 2024.
The SSG clarified that the ban implied that no “iron condemn” cart pusher would operate in any part of the State Capital Territory after May 31, 2024, adding that commercial motorcycle operations had also been prohibited in some parts of the capital territory not covered by earlier ban.
He said adequate sensitisation campaign would be mounted before the commencement of enforcement, noting that the ban was not targeted at any particular tribe, but in the interest of peace and security.
“The biggest news on traffic regulations is the ban or prohibition of commercial motorcycle, popularly known as Okada. All OKada riders in Delta State capital territory area, all the streets, are banned forthwith.
“If you are caught, we will confiscate and destroy the okada as well as other massive sanctions in terms of fines and a possible jail term.
“This decision has become imperative arising from the huge security challenges that we have. Our people are openly violated, families are raped and the people who commit these crimes easily run away on Okada.
“In Delta Capital Territory Development area, it’s total and outright ban in all the areas. It is important that we do this to protect the lives and property of people.
“We understand that there are some few innocent people but the preponderance of crime being perpetrated with Okada has necessitated this decision. It has been a major issue at the security council meeting severally and, thereafter, Exco concluded today.
“There are also other designated streets in Ethiope East, Ika North East, Oshimili North and South, Sapele, Uwvie and Warri South Local Government Areas affected. These regulations are being enforced since 2012, 2013, 2014, with improvements on them.
“But it has never been operational. All these regulations came at the peak of security challenges. When it was a little bit under control, it was relaxed and there was no strong sanctions to deter people. It has now become imperative that it must be enforced.
“We are going to give up till 31st of May for people to adjust and comply. Effective June 1st, all the security agencies will be engaged to enforce compliance. We will crush all the seized Okadas in the public place.
“Oshimili North and South have also, in their respective By-laws, banned “iron condemn” or scrap metal scavenging. Effective tomorrow, we expect them to wind down their activities and as from the 1st of June, enforcement will start.
“We do know the type of havoc these people have brought to the system, how our transformer cables have been vandalised and even assets in our private homes.
“We can not fold our hands as a state. Laws are always made in the interest of the larger population. We will give enough notice to them. We will publicise all the streets involved”, the SSG said.

Albert Ograka, Asaba

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Navy Offers Free Medical Services To 1,000 Residents

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The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, has given free medical services to 1,000 residents of Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State.
The Commanding Officer, Capt. Uche Aneke, said during the exercise on Monday in Abaka, the essence was to promote cooperation with the host community.
Aneke said that the outreach was part of the navy’s corporate social responsibility to the people.
“It is to reinforce the navy’s commitment to its host community, it is also aimed at promoting cooperation and enhancing the well-being of the residents”, he said.
The commanding officer said the initiative was part of the navy’s 68th anniversary celebrations.
He further said the exercise was in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, to support host communities.
“So, this outreach will foster civil-military relationship between FOB, IBAKA and the host community, it will also impact positively on the health of the people.
Also Speaking, Ibaka Community Head, Chief Dennis Antai, commended the navy for the gesture. describing it as well-intended.
He encouraged resudents of the area to take advantage of the exercise in the interest of their health and well-being.
Antai assured the navy of the continued cooperation of the host community in the discharge of their duties.
A beneficiary, Mr Benjamin Effiong, commended the navy for the initiative, and prayed God to sustain the force in discharging its duty of protecting Nigeria’s territorial waters.
The Tide’s source reports that the rhapsody witnessed health talks, blood pressure tests and malaria treatment.
It also involved deworming of patients, diabetes screening, HIV screening and screenins for Hepatitis B and C.
The source also reports the FOB IBAKA donated mosquito nets, drugs and provided essential treatments to the host community.

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