Bayelsa State Governor, Douyi Diri has urged legal practitioners in Nigeria to refrain from making condemnatory statements on court judgments in the media, and putting a huge question mark on the integrity of the Nigerian judicial system.
He gave the charge at a ceremonial court session in Yenagoa, on Friday, to mark the commencement of the 2023-2024 Legal Year in the state.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Diri said the practice among lawyers to speak to the press after court judgments, often condemning such rulings, undermines the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary.
The Bayelsa Chief Executive, therefore, called on legal practitioners to stop what he called “the practice of law in the media”, noting that whatever they use to qualify a court judgment, that is what the public would call it.
He stressed that there was no need for lawyers and their clients to make unguarded and disparaging comments about unfavourable court rulings as they have opportunity for appeal up to the Supreme Court.
Senator Diri, however, called on members of the Bench to be above board in their judgments to protect the image of the judiciary as the hope of the common man.
A Statement from the Deputy Governor’s media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, quoted him as saying the act destroys the notion of the Judiciary being the last hope of the common man.
He also noted that as a people and a country, everything necessary should be put in place to improve the dispensation of justice in the Nigerian justice system.
”The first people who give the impression that justice has been miscarried are lawyers. The lawyers are the first to come out of the court to address the press, condemning court judgments.
“Whatever you call the judgment that comes out of the court, that is exactly what the public ends up calling it. I really want us to caution ourselves. Let us stop the media practice of law in our country to safeguard the integrity of the justice system.
“We need, as a people and as a country, to see what we can do to improve on what we dispense out. And to that extent, I am talking to the judges and judicial officers that make up the bench”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Matilda Abrakasa Ayemieye, has said the state Judiciary during the preceding 2022/2023 legal year raked in N33,016,448.00 in revenue, while also disposing 2,575 cases.
“In the course of our operations in the outgone legal year, the total sum of N33,016,448.00 only, was generated as income accruing from filing fees, fines and forfeiture of bonds.
“As with the cases, the revenue for the year was slightly lower than last year due to the reasons already advanced. Without doubt, we expect to record an improvement this year.
“All we’ve achieved were possible because of the vision of the past leadership of the Judiciary and the unwavering support from the State Government, particularly the prosperity administration of our miracle Governor, Distinguished Senator Douye Diri.
“Our Mission in the last one year was to consolidate on the gains we have made and open up new frontiers. Specifically, we’ve commenced the accessibility project across the State. This project is to bring the speedy and effective dispensation of justice closer to the people of Bayelsa State.
“Efforts are currently ongoing to open all Courts outside Yenagoa to increase accessibility and reduce the cost of litigation. We’ve commenced work on the renovation of both the Magistrate and High Courts in Kaiama. Ogbia and Sagbama High Courts will follow in a matter of days.
“It is our hope that by the end of the current year, all Courts sitting outside their designated places of session would be fully relocated”, she said.
According to her, a total of 2,577 cases were pending at the commencement of the past year and were brought forward, while the total number of cases filed within the year under review was 2,834.
The total number of cases disposed of, he continued, were 2,575, noting also that total number of pending cases at the end of the year stood at 2,850, respectively.
The Chief Judge stressed that the figures given were slightly lower than those of the preceding year due to the flood break which spanned about two months in which courts were closed, and filing of cases and other activities were brought to a standstill.
She restated that the state’s judiciary look forward to recording a considerable improvement in the 2023/2024 legal year, expressing hope that floods and other intervening situations would not arise.
The Bayelsa State Chief Judge extolled the virtues of her immediate past predecessor, the late Justice Kate Abiri, nothing that the saddening events in the past weeks have made the state Judiciary under her leadership to settle for a low-key celebration for the legal year.
She also noted that the Judiciary her late predecessor handed over to her had a clearly defined vision and mission towards achieving the goal of building a world class Judiciary.
“The Judiciary that was handed over to me has a clearly defined vision and mission, with emphasis on speedy and effective dispensation of Justice.
“In pursuit of this goal, we have deployed technology, built physical infrastructure and improved on staff welfare in the past years. The Bayelsa State Judiciary is now a reference point in the use of the Court Recording System as well as the E-filing of cases in the entire country”, the CJ said.
Justice Ayemieye, who also spoke on challenges facing the state judiciary, noted that the greatest of all the factors inhibiting her effective operations was that of manpower deficit, calling on the State Governor to authorize the employment of some new staff for the state’s judiciary.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Biriyai Dambo (SAN), promised his willingness towards a continued partnership with the State Judiciary for effective Justice delivery, saying he was sure things can only get better for the state Judiciary.
In the same vein, in a joint address by the Yenagoa and Sagbama branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), delivered by the Chairman of the Yenagoa Branch of the NBA, Barr. Somina Johnbull, the NBA condemned the recent trend in which members of the public tended to deploy the use of opinion poll and protest to intimidate Judges, and pre-empt the outcome of judgement in the nation.
They called on the Judiciary and all well-meaning citizens to uphold the Rule of law at all times through the appropriate institutions of the state to avoid chaos.
On his part, a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Mr Kemesuode Wordu (SAN), while speaking, advised young lawyers to be patient, hardworking and diligent.
He also implored older members of the Bench and Bar to take their healthcare seriously.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
PAP: Kuku Urges Ndiomu To Revive, Complete Vocational Centres
Former Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Kingsley Kuku, has urged the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), to revive and complete all Vocational Training Centers in the Niger Delta region.
Kuku, who also served as Chairman of the PAP under the Jonathan administration, made particular reference to the vandalised Vocational Training Center in Kaiama, Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, carried out by hoodlums in 2019.
Making the appeal at the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Interim Administrator, Kuku regretted that the facility will undoubtedly cost billions of naira to revive.
“Bring back the centre no matter what it will cost you,” he said, adding that the facility when revived, can serve as advanced training centre for universities in the region, even beyond being a facility for training ex-agitators.
Kuku commended late President Umar Yar’Adua, ex-Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as incumbent President Bola Tinubu for the creation and sustenance of the Programme.
On malicious media attacks against Ndiomu, Kuku urged the Interim Administrator to remain steadfast in his “commendable” resolve to impact lives in the Niger Delta.
Administrator. The only thing you will get are abuses. But they will thank you tomorrow,” Kuku added.
Commending the Aviation Resuscitation Programme for Pilots/Aircraft Maintenance Engineers under which some of the beneficiaries are currently undergoing their Type-rating Programme in South Africa, Kuku said, “In today’s Aviation Industry, any Pilot without Type-rating is nothing. You are touching lives. After what you are doing for them now, they will get jobs easily”.
He expressed delight that Ndiomu has brought back hope to the Niger Delta, and assured of his unalloyed support towards sustaining the gains of the Amnesty Programme.
Earlier in his remarks, General Ndiomu told Kuku that his administration is resolutely building on many of his legacies, adding that the enormous number of graduates under the Amnesty Scheme today, can be traced to his (Kuku’s) doggedness to better the lives of ex-agitators.
The Interim Administrator regretted that after such hard work and efforts put in by Kuku, it is “disappointing” and “embarrassing” that his administration came on board and inherited huge debts.
“For me, it was a bit irresponsible and reckless. But I came in here to surmount these challenges,” he said.
While noting that the Amnesty Programme has not fully lived up to its objectives, Ndiomu recommended a possible transition of the scheme into “a Social Investment Agency” to directly impact the lives of youths in the region.
Ndiomu disclosed that the Vocational Training Center in Agadagba-Obon in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, when completed, will be named after Kuku, regretting however, the vandalization of the Kaiama Vocational Training Center in Bayelsa State.
The Amnesty Office also disclosed that 106 out of over 800 beneficiaries have been trained and certified in various digital skills, in its partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). This is as over 600 are currently undergoing various digital courses.
Calabar Wears New Look Ahead Of Carnival
The capital city of Cross River State, Calabar, is wearing a new look ahead of the commencement of the 2023 edition of the Annual Calabar Carnival scheduled to begin today.
The TIde’s source reports that in a bid to ensure seamless movement, the State Government has put finishing touches to the rehabilitation of major streets and roads in the city.
While drainage system across Calabar Municipality are being desilted, waste managers also worked round the clock to rid the streets and roads of wastes.
The lawn on major roads and streets, especially in the carnival routes, have received the attention of the landscapers.
The aesthetics of Calabar have been further enhanced with the reactivation of street lights on major roads and streets across the municipality.
The government is also matching word with action to organise the best carnival since its inception in 2004 by carrying out rehabilitation of junctions in the city.
While the junctions have been adorned with lighting and Christmas decorations, the foremost Millennium Park has been transformed to signpost the commencement of the carnival.
The decorated junctions include Eleven Eleven, Mary Slessor, Calabar Calabar, Effiete and Etta Agbor.
Executive Secretary of the state’s Carnival Commission, Mr Austine Cobham, had recently disclosed plans to make the 2023 edition of the festival the best organised in history.
Cobham had disclosed that four countries, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt would participate in the carnival.
He further said 26 states of the federation had also indicated interest to be part of the annual carnival.
He assured that adequate arrangements had been put in place to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the festival.
stopped. For instance, the children carnival is coming back after 10 years.
“Again, concentration will not just be in Calabar alone, central and northern parts of the state will also be made to feel the carnival.
“Just like we are lighting up major roads and streets in Calabar for the festival, same will be done in central and northern parts of the state”, he stated.
The source also reports that as part of the plans to ensure seamless movement in and out Calabar, the State Government had on Tuesday inaugurated additional aircrafts to boost the fleet of the state-owned airline, Cally Air.
The Governor, Sen. Bassey Otu, had said the Boeing 737, with the previous plane, yesterday, started and will be flying from Abuja and Lagos to Calabar during the 32-day carnival.
The annual carnival, which started in 2004, has taken place every year, except in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 lock down.
2023 NCDMB’s PNC: Petroleum Ministers, Others To Meet In Yenagoa
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has said all is now set for the 2023 annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) forum.
A statement made available to newsmen, midweek, in Yenagoa, by the management of the board says the 2023 PNC is billed to kick-off at the NCDMB’s content tower, its headquarters in Swali, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 4th through 7th December, 2023.
The board’s management also stated that this year’s PNC is the 12th edition of the annual event in which stakeholders and operators of the oil and gas industry are expected to converge to brainstorm on prospects and challenges in the sector.
According to the NCDMB, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and his Gas counterpart, Hon. Ekperikpo Ekpo, would lead other big wigs of the oil and gas industry to Yenagoa, describing the PNC as one of the biggest events in the calendar of the oil and gas industry.
The board’s management stated that the Ministers were expected to deliver ministerial addresses and to show the direction of the Federal Government’s thinking concerning Nigerian Content and investment strategies.
The Tide learnt that the 2023 PNC is to be hosted by the NCDMB in partnership with DMG Events and the Bayelsa State Government.
“Some of the presentations that will be received at the PNC include the opening keynote address by the host of the event and Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, while the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, and Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Authority (NMDPA), Engr. Farouk Ahmed, alongside other key industry figures would feature prominently in the 4-day event.
“The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, is also expected to grace the PNC as he had always done in previous years.
“Major international oil companies (IOCs), members of the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), and service companies, would be actively participating in the four-day conference, with their chief executive officers functioning in one capacity or the other, principally as moderators of panel discussions or panellists or delivering papers on critical subjects relating to local content practice in the oil and gas industry.
“For the 2023 edition, key subjects for the panel sessions centre around ‘Providing an Enabling Environment for Investment in the Energy Sector’, Opportunities in Decarbonisation and Domestic Gas Utilization’, ‘Deepening Nigerian Content in the Manufacturing Sector’, and ‘Financing a Thriving Midstream Sector for Socio-economic Development’, and ‘Sustainable Framework for Human Capacity Development.
“Presentations on R&D Success Stories are also expected”, the NCDMB added.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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