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APC-Led FG Browbeating Judiciary Ahead Of 2023-Gov Wike

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the invasion of the residence of Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justice Mary Odili, is a precursor to Federal Government’s infamous tactic of browbeating the judiciary to a state of fear and conformity as the country enters next political season.

The governor in a statement by his Media Aide Mr Kelvin Ebiri said the Federal Government wants to continue to ride roughshod unchecked over the rule of law and the sanctity of the country’s electoral system, hence, the renewed attack on judicial officers.

The Rivers State governor made this assertion at a special court session to mark the opening of the 2021/2022 Legal Year of the Rivers State judiciary held at the Chief Judge’s ceremonial court, Port Harcourt on Thursday.

“Although it is still early morning in our democratic match towards 2023, the attack on Justice Mary Odili is a prelude to many more and even worse political manoeuvrings we should be prepared to experience from the APC-led Federal Government, which having lost relevance and popular support is becoming more and more desperate over its dwindling political fortunes by the day.

“While cases with political undertones, including the constitutional validity of certain sections of the recent amendments to the 2010 Electoral Act, if assented to by Mr President, would necessarily come before our courts; what is important is the duty and capacity of our judiciary to save our democracy and the country.”

He noted that it is the responsibility of the Government at all levels to protect the judiciary and accord the Courts with such assistance as they may require to enable them to safeguard their independence, advance the rule of law and dispense justice equally and fairly to all citizens.

According to him, unfortunately, while the present Federal Government has been very weak in resourcing and strengthening the judiciary; it has been very strong and readily predisposed to ridiculing the entire institution and subjecting individual judges to both physical and psychological trauma for its own self-interest.

“We all witnessed the infamous midnight raids on judicial residences and the subjection of some judges, to illegal raids, arrests and detentions by agents of the Federal Government purportedly carrying out a baseless sting operation back in 2016.

“Since then the intimidation of judges whose judgments, intellectual or moral disposition they are not comfortable with has continued unrelenting with the latest attack on a peaceful mother, wife of a former Governor and Justice of the Supreme Court, our own highly revered Hon. Justice Mary Odili.

“It is important to emphasize that we allow these intimidations to become acceptable standards of behaviour and even become complicit in their unholy design to undermine the administration of justice when we all opt to keep quite in the face of these assaults.”

Governor Wike , who commended the leaders of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Senior Advocates, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and members of the public for promptly condemning the idiotic siege on judiciary, said they must quickly move beyond the verbal protestations to unveil those behind the raid on Justice Odili’s residence and ensure that they all are held to account for their actions, otherwise this impunity would never cease to rear its ugly head in the country.

He challenged the Federal Government to come clean on this infamy with the names, identities and affiliations of those allegedly arrested for their roles or found to have been involved in the attack on the residence of Justice Odili, if it is not to be perceived as the primary mastermind.

Speaking on the proposed proliferation of Law School campuses, the governor urged the management of the Nigerian Law School, the Council of Legal Education and the Federal Government to see the folly in the plan, and nib the idea from the bud before it causes more damage to a foremost institution that is already severely challenged for lack of adequate funding.

He explained that the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School being built by the State government was consciously demanded for and approval secured from the Council of Legal Education and ultimately from President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and named after late Nabo Graham-Douglas, SAN.

“Here again, some lazy and uninformed characters have criticised our Law School development project with the unfounded and lousy allegation that it lacks budgetary provisions in our 2021 budget, even when they conceded to the propriety of the project and the optimal benefits it would attract to the State and the business community.”

Governor Wike said in the last six years, his administration has continued to improve the welfare and wellbeing of State judicial officers, especially, the provision of new cars, comfortable and well-resourced offices, as well as the provision of life-long residences for all judicial officers, including those serving in Federal courts and other jurisdictions external to the State.

Chief Judge of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi said since assumption of office in May 2021, he has administered the judiciary with commitment in order to raise the bar of performance of judicial officers and staff that should reflect in speedy dispensation of justice.

According to him, training sessions have been organised for manpower capacity development in mediation practices, infrastructure improved, and the magistracy practice laws and rules revisited for purposes of review.

Justice Amadi stated that of the 30227 cases, 11719 cases were disposed off and warned that no application from any lawyer for a transfer of cases will be tolerated if such case has already entertained at least two witnesses in court.

“The grand total of fees and fines generated or realised by the project registry, deputy sheriff office, appeal registry, archives and records, the high court, magistrate court, mobile courts, and sanitation courts, within the period under review is N376,159, 369.74 kobo.

“This is a positive difference of an increase in revenue of N28, 476,200.08 kobo. The total fees and fine generated by Customary Court of Appeal is N55, 130, 750, over and above their last years IGR of N35, 444, 470.”

In his speech, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, said it is imperative for members of the Bench and Bar to reaffirm their unwavering commitment to the effective, efficient and speedy administration of justice in order to continue to enjoy the confidence of Nigerians.

Prof. Adangor opined that it is difficult to imagine a Nigeria’s society without the court system because the whole concept of the rule of law, and cherished constitutional democracy will have no meaning if the needless attack on the judiciary that undermines civilisation is left unchallenged.

The former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onueze C.J Okocha, SAN and the NBA Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere respectively condemned the attack on the residence of Justice Mary Odili. And demanded that the perpetrators be apprehended and prosecuted

Earlier, a rededication church service was held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Port Harcourt where Governor Wike took the first lesson, while Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi, took the second lesson.

In his sermon, Archbishop of the Province of Niger Delta, Most Rev. Blessing Enyindah charged the judiciary to remain committed to upholding the law and do justice to everyone equally despite the status.

He pointed out that Nigeria cannot be a great country if its laws that are reasonable and designed for the well-being of the people is skewed and violated by the judiciary because it is unable to administer unbiased justice.

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Adamawa Poly Matriculates 2,818 New Students For 2023/2024 Academic Session

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By Atanga Philip

A total of 2,818 student have been matriculated into various discipline of studies at the Adamawa State Polytechnic Yola for the 2023/2024 academic session.

Rector of the Polytechnic, Prof Mohammed Dahiru Toungos gave the revelation at the weekend in his welcome address at the school’s matriculation ceremony Polytechnic.

Breaking down the admission category, the Rector explained that Yola and Jambutu campus have two thousand four hundred and twelve, two hundred and fourteen at Numan campus while it’s National Skill Qualification, NSQF has one hundred and two.

Professor Toungos pointed out that though the institution recorded low enrollment it however poised to delivering quality service to the students.

He enjoined the matriculants to commit to their studies with tenacity and focus.

The Rector urged the learners to be regular and consistent in attendance at lecture and eschew all forms of deviant behaviours.

While assuring them of maximum security and safety, Dahiru Toungos congratulated and them successful and prosperous studies.

Earlier in a remark, the students representative of the Polytechnic, Mr. Kingsley Johanna appreciated the school’s management for the privilege to study.

He counselled the matriculating students to widen their horizon and positively impact the society during and after their stay at the Polytechnic.

Yohanna who expressed their readiness to be law abiding charged his colleagues to seek and embrace wisdom, honesty and integrity among other noble virtues.

It is now left for the students to delve into studies in earnest and all tenacity to justify the oath they took and get their parents to pride in them.

SAHEL REPORTERS

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Bauchi Lawmaker Pledges To Expedite Passage Of Bill On Reduction Of Out-Of-School Children

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Honourable Nasiru Ala, the Chairman, House Committee on Education in the Bauchi State House of Assembly has pledged to expedite the passage of the state framework Bill to reduce Out-Of-School in the state.

He made the pledge during a two-day regional stakeholders meeting on out-of-school children and retention, transition as well as completion models in Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa states.

According to him, any moment the bill is sent to the state House of Assembly from the Executive, the lawmakers would expedite actions to ensure that the bill is passed within three to four weeks.

He said “based on the law making, we are going to enact this particular law on the domestication of the Bauchi state framework to reduce Out-of-School children bill within three to four weeks from the day of reception from the Executive Arm.

“Our governor has been very cooperative and supportive on this particular issue of out of school children because it is a serious menace.

“As an academic, I’m not always happy anytime I hear the word Out-of-School children.

“That is why it’s not going to be a big deal in the Bauchi state House of Assembly to enact the state framework to reduce Out-of-School children in the state.

“In three weeks time In-Sha-Allah, we are going to pass into Bill this State Framework to reduce Out-of-School children in the state”.

Also speaking, Mr Raphael Aiyedipe, Education Officer, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, said that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) had developed a National Framework of Action to Reduce Out-of-School Children and drive access to education in the country.

According to him, the framework commits to substantially and systematically decrease the number of Out-of-School children in Nigeria by 2030.

He highlighted some of the objectives of the framework to include; improve access and quality of education for all Nigerian children, drive improvement in learning and relevant skills development.

Others, he said, were to accelerate the social and economic development of communities and the country at large.

“The Framework has 5 thematic areas that includes; political actors and this means gaining the political will and government commitment.

“Best practices and alternative pathways and this translates to defeating learning poverty, Community accountability, that is engaging stakeholders to build ownership.

“Technology and ICT which means improving access through innovative solutions and Financing mechanisms, that is, reaching the most vulnerable,” he explained.

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Child Dedication: Adamawa Dep Gov, Others Pray For Maduwa Family’s Newborn

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Adamawa State Deputy Governor Professor Kaletapwa Farauta has prayed God to bless the new baby born to the family of Stephen Maduwa, describing it as source of succour and blessings.

Speaking at St Augustine Catholic Church Bekaji Sunday, Farauta appreciated the family for being close and supportive to the seat of power.

“That is why Governor Fintiri deems it fit to celebrate the new born baby and the entire faith community. Our prayer is that the baby would be a source of succour and will be pillar in the house of the Lord, she said.

The deputy governor among others prayed to God bless the new baby.

The Catholic Bishop of Yola, Most Reverend Stephen Dami Mamza in his address, enjoined Christians to stand against any divisive tendencies, and work towards achieving Christ’s desire for unity among His followers.

In his vote of thanks, Maduwa prayed God to bless families seeking the fruit of the womb.

He thanked officials from the state government for gracing the dedication of his child.

SAHEL REPORTERS

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