Tag Archives: law

Fuel not finding its way out of the country – DPR.

… consumption dropped in 70% in adamawa.

The quantity of petrol coming to Adamawa State has dropped from 100 trucks per day to about 30, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has disclosed.

The state Operations Controller of the DPR, Alhaji Ibrahim Ciroma, who stated this, attributed it to the closure of Nigerian land borders which has curbed smuggling.

Ciroma said while on inspection tour of the border villages in Bele in Maiha local government area and Gurin in Fufore local government area that the border closure had ended fuel racketeering across the border along the Adamawa borderline.

The DPR coordinator, who was touring filling stations 20 kilometers to the border to ensure compliance with a Federal Government directive, said the border closure had done much good in the fight against fuel smuggling.

“Prior to this closure, the number of trucks we received in Adamawa was up to 100 trucks per day but today it has dropped to between 30 and 40 trucks.

“So, it’s a clear indication that fuel is not finding its way out of the country,” Ciroma said.

Ciroma added that with the drop in supply and without scarcity in the state, “it is a confirmation that 70 trucks of the products lifted by some marketers were smuggled out of the country.”

He said compliance by filling stations in prohibited areas had been effected 100 percent, and that measures were also taken to ensure that other filling stations not within the prohibited zones were selling so that people within the prohibited zone can easily get fuel without travelling long distances.

He assured Adamawa people that they would get fuel constantly during Christmas and New Year as there is enough supply already to last the season.

“I want the people of Adamawa to be rest assured that there will be no scarcity. We have substantial quantity at the Yola depot and all filling stations are selling except those in prohibited zones.”

#Newsworthy…

Alcoholic drivers to be prosecuted by Ogun government

Poised to reduce road crashes in Ogun, the state government has vowed arrest and prosecute alcoholic vendors and consumers of illicit drugs in all motor parks across the state.

The chairmen of the Ogun State Interim Committee on Transportation, Sunday Adeniyi, gave this position on Friday, while speaking during a seminar on “Road Safety Driving During Festive Season” organized by the committee in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Adeniyi said the Dapo Abiodun’s administration was collaborating with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for possible arrest and prosecution of alcoholic dealers and illicit drugs at Ogun motor parks.

He observed that consumption of alcoholic beverages by commercial drivers was responsible for majority of the road crashes witnessed over the years, declaring “the state will do everything possible to eradicate alcoholic consumption by commercial drivers operating in the state”.

In his presentation at the seminar, the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) in the state, Clement Oladele, said no fewer than 338 died from the road crashes recorded in Ogun highway corridors between January and 20th December.

The FRSC boss explained that 50 per cent of the death occurred at diversion points of which trucks and other articulated vehicles were responsible for about 80 per cent of the total road crashes recorded so far in the Ogun corridors.

While attributing causes of the crashes to over-speeding, wrongful overtaken around construction zones as well as break failure among others, Oladele, said FRSC was prepared to prosecute truck owners found culpable of causing road crashes and ensure that compensations are paid to accident victims.

#Newsworthy…

Alaafin of Oyo speaks on Hate speech bill, gives opinion different from FG’s death sentence.

The Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi has criticized the controversial hate speech bill which was re-introduced in the 9th senate by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

Speaking at a book presentation which is part of the activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nigerian Tribune, the Alaafin of Oyo called on lawyers and lawmakers not to allow the bill which seeks to regulate and punish people who make unguarded statements to be passed into law.

The Oyo monarch wondered if an opinion contrary to that of the government is enough for one to be put to death. He added that a government official who doesn’t want to be criticized has no business with governance.

He said;

“If I have not killed anyone; and I give an opinion that is contrary to the government’s, will it be a sufficient reason for me to be charged for death penalty? Where are the lawyers in Nigeria? Constitutional lawyers in Nigeria, where are they? Can’t they speak up?”

NobleReporters culled that the Alaafin of Oyo also went down the memory lane to back up his claim on the need to defend free speech and right to education.

“My friend, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe has a peculiar character and I wish he could continue to learn about the constitutional lesson from Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his reply to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. We have quotation and quotations from this literate man.

“During the Constitutional conferences that held in the 50s at Lancaster House, three giants from the country postulated different approaches to the Nigerian Independence. Sir Ahmadu Bello said North is for Northerners; East for Easterners and West for the Westerners. Azikiwe said, there should be one Constitution, one Country, one destiny.

“Awolowo rose up and said No!. We are not talking about the Constitution that will be suitable for Nigeria. But what is suitable for Nigeria is when you have a multi lingual, multi national and multi religious country with diverse races. That before independence the whole school we had on ground was 123 for the whole of the North while the South had 5,000 schools. There is no way. That illiterate will continue to govern the literate people. It cannot work and it will not work.

“Awolowo projected what will be the question of North-east, North-central. That of you don’t educate the people, the Almanjiri will become bandits. Today, in Zamfara and Yobe, the governments are now subjected to banditry. And they are exchanging these bandits, giving them money. How can government give bandits money? That is a collapse of governance and government.”

He also commented on the insecurity in the northern region of the country. The Alaafin of Oyo said;

“Just three days ago, Governor Ganduje said that Kano has the largest number of out of school children. How can we have stability in the country when half of the country are governed by illiterates? When banditry has taken over the governance? Surely there cannot be peace in the country. And tell me, Editors are here. When you said you have technically defeated Boko Haram, what is the technicality in defeat?

“Either we agree we have not been able to subdue them and admit it. Now, they are quoting United Nations figures for us. And our government is telling them we are not under America or UK but we are going there to loan money from them…”

#Newsworthy…

Senate suspends sitting over DSS court invasion to arrest sowore.

…as femi falana fire on

The Senate committee mandated to investigate the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Services has suspended hearing into the matter following the death of Senator Ben Uwajumogu.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, asked all stakeholders in the matter to submit their memorandum to the secretariat of the committee within 24 hours.

He added that the committee was given one week to submit its report.

Present at the hearing were the Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, and defence team led by Abdul Mahmoud representing Femi Falana.

Bamidele said that the committee had contacted the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, John Tsoho, and the presiding judge on the case of Omoyele Sowore, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, to avail them the details of what transpired on December 6, 2019 at the court.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had last week referred the investigation of the invasion of the court by the DSS in attempt to rearrest Sowore to the committee on judiciary “to find out what happened and report back in one week”.

#Newsworthy…

AGF reacts to rumor of him being sanctioned on sowore’s continued detention.

…says, he was not sanctioned.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said he was never summoned by the Federal High Court over the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore.

According to Malami in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, on Wednesday night, “the issues that surrounded the subject matter borders on the application filed by Sowore’s lawyer on the 15th day of November 2019.

“The Court adjourned the matter to the 23rd day of January, 2020 for the hearing of the substantive matter.

“Surprisingly, on Tuesday the 17th day of December, 2019, the Applicant’s Counsel adopted an ex-parte application filed on the 15th day of November, 2019 before Hon. Justice I E. Ekwo.

“However, the Court, being aware of the fact that parties have joined issues, ordered that the Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation) shall inform the 1st & 2nd Respondents of the case and the next adjourned date.”

According to him, court order in question was only to bring to the notice of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and the Director General of the State Security Service to take notice that upon the motion ex-parte filed on November 15th that applicants want an expedited hearing of the matter.

Quoting the order obtained from the court, Malami said: “an order is hereby made that the Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation) of this Court shall bring this case and the next date of hearing to the notice and attention of the 1st and 2nd Defendants”.

Buttressing the fact that the timing for hearing falls during the holiday season the court said “an order is hereby made remitting this file to the Hon. Chief Judge for assignment of this case to Vacation Judge for hearing as the next date of hearing falls within the vacation period”.

The Court also ordered that the case file be remitted to the Hon. Chief Judge for assignment to the vacation Judge for hearing as the next adjourned date of hearing falls within the vacation period.

It is noteworthy that the day or date of the next adjourned date was not indicated in the order of the Court. Therefore, flowing from the above and the Order from the Court dated Tuesday, the 17th day of December 2019 there were no evidence to show that the Director DSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation have been summoned by the Court as some individuals want to allude.

#Newsworthy…

Border closure to improve economy – Former Speaker.

…Alarape, Minority Leader, Oyo Assembly

Former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly and currently the Minority Leader of the same House of Assembly, Asimiyu Alarape believes that the closure of Nigerian borders will have long ter positive effects on the economy.

The lawmaker who represents Atiba state constituency in the parliament after defecting to the APC with former senate leader, Teslim Fiolarin spoke on various issues in this interview.

President Mohammadu Buhari recently ordered the closure of all borders in the country and this has led to increase in the prices of foodstuff, especially rice. What is your take on this?

Honestly speaking, the president does not mean bad for the people of this country by closing Nigerian borders against the importation of some goods because he believes we can produce them locally within our country.

President Buhari to me, is only doing this to encourage local production which will in turn boost our economy. Our economy had gone so bad under the past administration to the extent that it only requires a disciplined leader like President Mohammadu Buhari to revive it. Reviving of economy in our country requires the sacrifice of all of us and part of that sacrifice is the closure of borders. I want to believe that with time, all the prices of foodstuffs that have gone up will come down by the time we have enough of local production in our country.

In fact, to be honest with you, in any good administrative set up, encouragement of local production and materials for enough consumption within the country and exportation of the remaining excess to other countries is one of the best ways to boost any country’s economy and that is exactly what president Buhari is trying to do. We should be a producing nation rather than being a consuming nation. Any nation that is a consumer of foreign products alone and not a producer can never grow economically.

They are usually referred to as a poor nation. So, we should encourage exportation rather than importation if we want to develop economically in Nigeria because there is no consuming nation that can ever rise economically in the world.

How would you assess the APC -led government in the last five years that your party has been in office?

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is a success in all ramifications. One major area where President Buhari deserves kudos is in the area of corruption eradication. You see, before the advent of this administration, corruption, embezzlement and diversion of public funds into private pockets were the order of the day. By then, corruption became a canker worm that was eating deep into the fabric of our society.

In the area of security, despite the prevalent security problem we are having in the country, President Buhari has tried a lot more than the immediate past government in putting an end to security crisis that Nigeria is facing. For example, look at the effort the President made at ensuring that the abducted Chibok school girls were released which later led to the freedom of almost 200 of them from Boko Haram captives.

In the area of job creation, to me, Buhari stands out among all the leaders we’ve been having in this country since we gained independence in 1960.

Let’s for instance, look at a lot of youths he has employed into both the military and para-military forces and the Federal Government’s establishments is not also left behind as thousands of young graduates have been gainfully employed into all the ministries and parastatals. Also, in his efforts to co-opt youths into the governance of this nation and create jobs for them in the political circle, he signed into law the “Not too young to rule” bill which has now started yielding results because many of our youths have now been elected or appointed into various political positions in Nigeria. He introduced N-power programme in which many unemployed youths and adults have benefited greatly.

In the area of education, the president introduced free feeding for pupils of primary and secondary schools across the country so as to encourage them to go to school and learn well while several dilapidated school structures have been rebuilt. He made education compulsory for all the children from primary level to secondary school level while school fees in all schools are reduced drastically.

Also, the president has traveled to several countries of the world to woo foreign investors into Nigeria while economic ties were also cemented with several leaders of many foreign nations of the world. Buhari has also tried in the area of infrastructural provision for the good citizens of this nation; immediately on his assumption of office five years ago, he did not waste time at ensuring that all the bad roads that have become death traps were tarred while drainages were constructed for the free flow of water so as not to damage the roads.

He encouraged agricultural activities by giving money and farm implements to farmers, in order to boost food production. Presently, he has ensured the upward review of workers salary from #18,000 to #30,000 in which any moment from now, he will start to implement it.

As a leading opposition member in the state, how do you cope with the system?

I am not disturbed and I don’t disturb any individual whether at the House of Assembly or outside the House. I engage in my political activities without any intimidation from any quarter. I enjoy a good working relationship with all the members of the House of Assembly.

As a member from the minority party in your state, are you in any way being deprived of your rights and privileges?

My duties are to make laws and in this regard, I cannot be deprived of the roles that the constitution spells out for me as a lawmaker in Oyo

State. I have a duty to make laws and regardless of my political affiliation, no individual can deprive me of the right to carry out my constitutional responsibilities.

What have you been able to achieve since you assumed office as a lawmaker in the state?

Although, my major assignment is to make good laws for the benefit of our constituency and the entire people of Oyo State in general, but notwithstanding, within my few months in office so far, I have been able to do a lot for my people in many areas.

I assisted many of my constituents especially the unemployed youths to secure jobs, moving of reasonable motions on the floor of the house, sponsoring of bills that will have direct bearing on the good people of my constituency and the whole of the state, making several efforts to bring the state government’s presence down to my constituency.

Also in terms of physical projects, I pay constant visit to my constituency to brief my people on our activities in the House of Assembly and to also know their needs. I have assisted market men and women, farmers, artisans, and students financially. I am making efforts to introduce entrepreneurship skill programme where youths can learn one or two things and later establish businesses for themselves so as to further reduce unemployment rate among them.

Are your colleagues in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not making efforts to draw you to the party?

I am a committed member of the APC and I am a leader of the party in the state. I remain a loyal party man to the core and I will not compromise my stand for any reason. I am not someone who can bend to pressure and people know me for my stand and position wherever I belong.

#Newsworthy…

Presidency signs 2020 Budget into law.

…To forward 2020-2023 borrowing plan to NASS

…As Senate considers borrowing plan

…Early passage’ll reduce uncertainty in economy

President Muhammadu Buhari at 3:37pm on Tuesday, signed the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law, thereby restoring Nigeria to the January to December budget circle.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; and the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed as well as other principal officers of the National Assembly and presidential aides.

The President in his remark at the occasion, commended the patriotic zeal of the National Assembly for the quick passage of the budget.

He hinted that he may revert to the National Assembly with a request for a Virement or other relevant amendments following the increase of the budget from N10.33 trillion as proposed by the Executive to N10.6 trillion (10,594,362,364,830).

Buhari further stated that being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.

He added that to optimise the desired impact, he has directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and all Federal MDAs to ensure effective implementation of the budget.

He noted that with today’s global oil market outlook and his administration’s strategic approach to revenue growth, there was optimism that government will be able to finance the 2020 Budget.

He said: “However, being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.”

In view of this, the President directed that the 2021 budget estimates be submitted to the National Assembly by September next year.

He appealed to the National Assembly for cooperation and support in the speedy passage of the borrowing plan.

Buhari described as “pleasant” coincidence his signing the budget on his 77th birthday, thanking the leadership of the National Assembly and members for attending to the 2020 Appropriation Bill expeditiously.

This was as the Senate on Tuesday referred President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan request to its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

The President’s request was forwarded to the Committee for further legislative work following its presentation by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, during plenary.

The Committee has Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central) as Chairman and Senator Bima Mohammed Enagi (APC, Niger South) as Vice Chairman.

President Buhari had in a letter dated November 26, 2019, said the Eighth National Assembly approved only a part of the External Borrowing request forwarded to it in September 2016.

This, according to him, stalled the Federal Government’s implementation of critical projects spanning across the mining, power, health, agricultural, water and educational sectors.

The letter read: “Pursuant to Section 21 and 27 of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act, I hereby request for Resolutions of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan, as well as relevant projects under this plan.

“Furthermore, in the twenty years since the return to civilian democracy, this will be just the fourth time that the Federal Budget was passed before the end of the previous year, and this is the earliest.

“The passage of the Finance Bill, which I am told will be done in the coming days, will also be a landmark achievement worthy of recognition, being the first time, this has been done in the last twenty years.

“We look forward to receiving this Bill, shortly, for Presidential Assent. Once passed into law, the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget. We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.

“I equally thank the Ninth National Assembly for supporting important legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Act and the 2019 Finance Bill. These laws are vital to the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget.

“I am aware of the regular high-level discussions that took place, between senior officials of the Executive and the Legislature during this period. I commend this renewed partnership, the mutual understanding as well as collaboration between these two arms of government.

“Now, we are well positioned to effectively implement the budget and deliver our promises to Nigerians. Businesses will also benefit as they are now in a position to plan more effectively.

“We have to sustain this harmonious working relationship. I expect that, going forward, this will be the norm.

“I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in September 2020. I am confident that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to keep to this timeline.

Meanwhile, the nation’s Organised Private Sector (OPS) yesterday said early passage of the 2020 Budget will reduce the uncertainty that has bedevilled the economy over the years.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) while reacting to the signing of the Budget by President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that the timely signing of the Budget was laudable.

The LCCI Director General, Muda Yusuf, said the budget coming early will equally impact positively on its implementation and the timely delivery of the expected outcomes from the budget.

He said, “Secondly, it will reduce uncertainty experienced by the stakeholders, in the past whio were especially impacted directly by the budget.”

He stressed that there is no doubt that the passage will make planning easier for relevant private sector and public sector stakeholders in their budget process, adding that members of the OPS only hope the return to January-December budget Cycle will be sustained.

The LCCI boss however expressed reservation on the success of the Budget in terms of funding, emphasising that revenue constraints remain a major factor in the implementation.

#Newsworthy…

Olusegun osoba calls for unity against hate speech bill.

…expressed the shock that the Bill had scaled

Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has called on journalists and media houses to be united in resisting the Hate Speech Bill before the Senate.

Osoba, a journalist, stated this, yesterday, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, during the launch of “The Gatekeepers” and “160 Years of Nigerian Journalism” authored by O’ Femi Kolawole.

The author chronicled the lives and works of 20 editors that had contributed immensely in the development of Nigeria’s democracy by speaking truth to power.

The former governor expressed the shock that the Bill had scaled though the first and second reading in the Senate. He, therefore, charged media practitioners to storm the National Assembly when the bill comes up for public hearing to revolt against it. According to him, the bill held inherent dangers to the media if passed into law. Osoba said the bill must be killed before getting to the committee level for consideration.

He, however, regretted how untrained bloggers and other internet users have invaded social media platforms throwing away the basic rudiments of journalism in their work.

Osoba said he was not out to defend the atrocities of some of the social media users as their impunity and blackmail had become worrisome.

He charged trained and professional journalists to take over the online platform by publishing investigative stories, which would serve as the alternative for social media users.

Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, one of the editors chronicled in the book, commended the author for his persistence and professionalism in the course of sourcing materials for the book. He praised Osoba, who was the chairman of the occasion, saying he brought light to journalism and showed his contemporaries and subordinates the way to follow.

“Chief Osoba is a man we are all proud of because from journalism he became a governor. Today, we use him as a reference point. As a governor, he excelled because all the ills he preached against as a journalist, he tried to correct them when he was elected.”

Onuoha said journalists do so much for the country, but were the least appreciated. He reminded those gathered how journalists fought and put their lives on the line during the June 12 political struggle only for the politicians to end up taking the glory.

#Newsworthy…

Seme customs intercept 47 trucks smuggling rice.

… Arrests 47 suspects, convicts 4 for border crimes, impounds hard drugs

The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) said it intercepted 47 trailers load of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country in 2019.

This is even as the Command arrested 47 suspects for various border crimes while four were convicted having pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against them by the Federal High Ikoyi in Lagos State.

However, within the same period under review, hard drugs and narcotics worth N37,874,400.00 were impounded by the officers of the Command.

In a press statement made available to our correspondent by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Husaini Abdulahi, the Customs Area Controller of Seme, Compt. Muhammed Uba said the seizures which are equivalent of 28,180 bags were worth N778m.

According to the statement, the Command made a total seizure of N1.6billion which includes vehicles, used clothing, textiles and vegetable oil.

The statement reads: “Compt. Uba mentioned that, within the period of 11 months reviewed, the Command’s anti-smuggling operations yielded a total of 1,302 seizures with the duty paid value (DPV) of N 1,6billion.”

“These seizures include the following: 28,180x50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to 47 trailers load with DPV plus levy of N778million, Sugar 140x50kg with DPV N588,000, 62 used vehicles and means of conveyance worth N220million.”

Others were 1,100 bales of used clothing and 101 sacks of used clothing worth N70million, 185 sacks of shoes, bags, belt, slippers both new and used worth N28billion, the statement said.

The statement indicated that the command also intercepted smuggled textile materials worth N11million and frozen poultry worth N49million.

About “1,539 bales of six yard, 30 bales of seven yards, 16 bales of 6 yards textile materials and wrappers worth N11million, 5,489 cartons of frozen poultry products worth N49 million, 397 kegs of 25 litres of vegetable oil, nine kegs of 10 litres and 37 kegs of five litres of vegetable oil worth N139 million and 2,109 kegs of 25 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) worth N 8million,” were intercepted.

“General merchandise worth14, 955 items with DPV of N 234 million, hard drugs narcotics 1992 parcels DPV N38 billion,” were also seized the statement added.

However, the Comptroller attributed the harvest of seizures recorded during the period under review to the strategic policy measures put in place to tackle the menace of smuggling, irregular migrations and other trans-border crimes.

He further reiterated his commitment to ensuring that smuggling business becomes unattractive through vigorous community and public enlightenment, sensitization on the dangers of smuggling and its impact on economy and national security.

The Comptroller urged economic saboteurs to take the advantage of various Federal Government programmes on agriculture such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme for rice farming, growth enhancement support scheme (GESS), government enterprises and empowerment programme (GEEP) and many others and key into for legitimate earning.

Similarly, the command collected the sum of N4.9 billion from January till date, representing 76 per cent of its annual allotted target of N 6.5billion the amount which is lower compared to N5billion recorded same period of 2018; the shortfalls it was learnt was as a result of border drill exercise that was initiated by Federal Government, which commenced on August 20 this year, placing temporary embargo on movement of goods through the land borders nationwide.

#Newsworthy…

Court scrap Bayelsa of oil field, Rivers grab possession.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, December 16th ordered Bayelsa State to hand-over Soku oil field to Rivers State.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, said it was satisfied that the oil field rightfully belonged to Rivers State. It, therefore, directed the National Boundary Commission, NBC, to rectify an error in its 11th Edition of Administrative Map, wherein San Bartholomew River was in 2002, designated as the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States, instead of River Santa Barbara.

Justice Ekwo ordered the commission to promptly produce the 12th edition of the Administrative Map and restore River Santa Barbara as the inter-state boundary between the two states, as it was in 1996 when Bayelsa State was carved from Rivers State.

According to the Court, NBC, was duty-bound to comply with a 2012 judgement of the Supreme Court that affirmed River Santa Barbara as the boundary between both states, by correcting its self-admitted error of designating River San Bartholomew as the boundary.

The judgement followed a suit Rivers State lodged before the court for an order of mandamus to compel the NBC to correct the error in its 11th Edition of Administrative Map that gave location of the disputed oil fields to Bayelsa State.

The court noted that NBC had in a letter dated July 3, 2002, while responding to protest by Rivers State government, admitted its mistake and promised to rectify it in the 12th edition of the administrative map. However, owing to NBC’s failure to amend the map as it conceded to, Rivers State, in 2009, took the matter before the Supreme Court.

Cited as defendants in the matter including the respondents in the matter included the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and the Attorney-General of the Federation. In a verdict it delivered in 2012, the apex court, granted reliefs Rivers State sought before it and ordered NBC to rectify the boundary mapping error.

In view of delay by the NBC to execute the Supreme Court’s directive, Rivers State, in August this year, lodged the suit Justice Ekwo decided on Monday.

The high court Judge directed that his judgement should be served on relevant statutory bodies, especially, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to enable an immediate recomputation of the amount of oil revenue accruable to Rivers State with the transfer of Soku oil field to it.

#Newsworthy…

Falana (SAN) sends letter to AGF to demand sowore’s release.

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has written to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, seeking the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

In the letter dated December 13, 2019, Falana urged the AGF to use his office to direct the DSS to release Sowore from custody in line with the order of the Federal High court admitting him to bail pending trial.

Falana’s letter was titled, ‘Request For The Release Of Omoyele Sowore From Illegal Custody.’

It follows an earlier announcement by the AGF office that it had taken over the prosecution of Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, from the DSS.

“Following the announcement of your decision to take over the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria v Omoyele Sowore & Another, two members of the legal defence team visited the headquarters of the State Security Service on December 13, 2019 to demand for the immediate release of Sowore from illegal custody.

“Our colleagues were however advised to direct the request to your office in view of the fact that you have taken over the case from the State Security Service.

“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby request you to use your good offices to direct the State Security Service to release Sowore from custody in line with the order of the Federal High court admitting him to bail pending trial.

We are confident that you will not hesitate to grant our request as no court has issued any remand order for his detention,” the letter read in part.

The AGF’s decision to takeover the case follows criticism of the invasion of the Federal High Court in Abuja by the operatives of the DSS to re-arrest Sowore on December 6th.

#Newsworthy…

Hate speech bill will affect future generations if passed – Sani Yagbaji.

Chairman, Action Democratic Party (ADP), Yagbaji Sani, has carpeted the perennial borrowings of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.

He said that if the trend continues, it would affect future generation.

Sani, also looked at the governments of Presidents Jonathan and Buhari, hailing the former for having good economic policy though he allowed corruption to dwarf the progress made.

The former presidential candidate also frowned at the hate speech bill, which is before the National Assembly, saying that the government and the sponsors were ill-advised and warned that if not relaxed, it would plunge the country into authoritarianism, as well as stifle the country’s democracy. Excepts:

You have raised concerns over the country’s debt profile and the $30 million loan request by President Mohammadu Buhari to finance infrastructure. What exactly is your fear?

We have had borrowings in the past in this country to the extent that the Paris Club and other institutions had to let go certain loans. And those loans, you ask yourself; what were they used for? The excuse that the government always give is that we are going to use it for productive purposes, that is infrastructure development. But at the end of the day the reverse is the case. You and me know that once civil servants get hold of this money it is gone. Besides, the contract they are awarding is over-inflated. A contract that would ordinarily cost N1 billion will cost N10 billion. If you are not lucky at the end of the day the contract may not even be completed. So, you will now have to look for another loan to complete the project. You need to first of all look at the system where you are bringing these loan facilities to. Are these people really responsible? Corruption, Mr President knows more that any other person that the civil servants in this country are corrupt, the governors are corrupt. So, when you give this money to them, if you are lucky, one-third of it will be utilised and those projects would not be completed. We have been on this matter before and we have seen what normally happens with regards to loans, which is why we are asking the government to look inwards and block all these leakages where these problems emanate. For instance, in the oil and gas sector, billions of dollars are stolen with the knowledge of the government. So, why can’t we block the leakages and save from what we are able to get from those places and develop infrastructure? If care is not taken, we will find ourselves before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bail out. We do not want President Buhari to push us to the point where we will go and ask the IMF to bail us out. And you know that IMF will hand down draconian conditions that you will not be able to meet. So, you now find yourself in a worse economic, social and political scenario.

Are you in support of the pension reform bill to allocate huge pension to former governors like the one we have in Zamfara State?

Of course not! In the first instance, the cost of governance in this country is too high. The current expenditure is more than 70 per cent, which is even the federal budget. When you go to the state it is worst. And even the one you call capital budget like I told you, 30 per cent of it is spend on capital project, while 70 per cent is stolen. Even Mr President had to come out to say that monies sent to states were stolen. In such a porous system, you will have to be very cautious on the visible areas of spending. For us as a party we are asking for lean government so that you will be able to safe money to invest in infrastructure development. I think government should start by looking at other ways of financing infrastructure deficit. They should approach the capital market so that private sector will come in and you will have a much more efficient way of building the country’s infrastructure. We will not mind if you ask us to pay for tolls provided the roads are maintained. If I am to pay N100 to N200, I won’t mind because with bad road, if I ride on it and by the time I come back, I will be talking about N20,000 to N200,000 to fix my vehicle before of the bad road. So, government should discourage the financing of this project directly because it does not have the capacity and system of deliverance. If you give the money to civil servants you know what will happen to it. So, government should give guarantee to private sector. The ADP government will emphasise on capital market, individual financing infrastructure development. Our government will give the guarantee because I know that if you approach financial institutions outside this country, they will deliver.

Please, what do you mean by lean government?

We are advocating lean government because government has no business in business. Nigerian government is too much involved in business activities. If you look at our productive sector, it is about government. We should begin to devise means by which our economy should be private sector driven. By the time we get the private sector deliberately involved in developing the economy you will find efficiency, effectiveness, and the corruption you are talking about will disappear. Besides, I do not know why we have bicameral arm of government. Democracy, to a very large extent is luxury because you need to have the means to sustain it. America that operates bicameral legislature has the means of funding it. The country has enough money, their economy is stronger than ours. We are behaving like emperors or as if it is a monarchical system of government; that people will just take money and do whatever they like. We do not need bicameral legislative arm of government. And, if we must have one, it should be like the British system. Let people who want to come to the Senate be independent; people that can take care of themselves and work for the government. They are everywhere in this country. They do not need allowances. All they want is to give back to the society.

Why are you encouraging people who are self-made to come into politics when you know that they stand the risk of being influenced by the system given the humongous sums of money spent at party levels and electioneering?

They are not contesting under any political party because parties will also like to play politics. They would be people who are concerned about the development of the country. When you take issues to them, they are not looking at it from the political viewpoint. So, each senatorial district should come together and identify an individual whom they believe would serve them. You cannot tell me that in a whole senatorial district you cannot find one person who will command respect and his or her inputs germane to scale up development.

What is your perspective on the impasse between the Department of State Services (DSS) and Publisher, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore. Isn’t the DSS over stretching its bounds?

It tells you a lot about the government of the All Progressive Congress (APC); it has not been able to get itself out of the syndrome of grabbing power without leading, otherwise the matter should not have been blown out of proportion as it is done. Sowore is just one individual. There is freedom of demonstration in this country provided you are not encroaching on anybody’s right. One should be able to demonstrate peacefully. And the court should not be reduced to nothing or bastardise the judiciary. Interestingly, government itself needs the rule of law to survive. If you abuse it you are calling for anarchy. So, government should be custodian of the rule of law because it is the number one beneficiary of the rule of law. Without the rule of law you cannot call yourself president. If you abuse it, you do not have any protection. I do not know what he (Sowore) has done. And whatever it is the rule of law should prevail if not anarchy will take place.

What is your take on the hate speech bill, which has generated wide reactions?

One of the foundations of democracy is freedom of expression without fear or favour. If you come and say people should not express themselves then democracy is being stifled. I think government is misadvised and misinformed; it did not make deep analysis of what it is trying to introduce. Granted that the press, social media are very powerful, government should find a way of regulating it so that we will not wake up and find people killing themselves. I tend to agree that you need some kind of control, but not in any draconian manner of trying to kill anybody.

So, are you tactically supporting the bill?

I am not supporting the bill as it is, but I am supporting anything that can regulate and control the excesses coming from the social media. There are civilised ways it could be done.

Let’s do a comparative analysis between the government of President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari. What would be your assessment?

This government made a lot of mistakes, missed a lot of opportunities that is why it is still grappling with the force of amnesia on how to even begin to solve our economic, social and political problems. And even the insecurity we are talking about. When President Buhari came in 2015 and did not appoint his ministers until after six months, he lost the initiative. Even the handover was not done in a manner that can hit the ground running; it was haphazardly handled. Unfortunately, again, the man became ill and opportunities were missed, that is why it was difficult for them to take advantage of the popularity he came to power with. It could not be converted to dividends of democracy. On the other side, the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) under Jonathan which could be described as a locust years, lost confidence of Nigerians because of the brazen manner corruption was allowed to take place. Otherwise that government had better programmes. It was more focused economically and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by nearly eight per cent or so. Today, it has plummeted to about one per cent. So, every indices has nosedived. Most of these problems could be traced to the opportunities Buhari missed in giving Nigeria the kind of leadership it needs. I am calling on the president to know that what remains is him as a person not so much about APC. He has the chance to rise to the occasion and think beyond his immediate circle of not only appointing his friends, but identifying those who can deliver and bring them to the table. It is not too late yet because he still enjoys the respect of a lot of people. You cannot trace any corruption to him directly.

2023 is a bid far, but there has been plethora of agitations regarding which geopolitical zone is to produce the next president. What is your take?

As a party, we do not believe in zoning. We believe that the best candidate should be allowed to govern this country; the person can come from wherever. We also believe in equity because through that we will have stability, peace and unity in this country.

Your party is relatively young, what should Nigerians expect in 2023?

We will produce the next president in 2023. You can write it down somewhere.

How do you intend to achieve that when you are relatively young and without political bigwigs?

It is not how young you are or the people, it is how disciplined you are, how respected you are, how organised you are. Our party possesses all these qualities. You can see what is happening in all these so-called big parties, how they are crumbling. ADP, by the grace of God, will be the saving grace. Political watchers of development know that there is no way this contraption called APC can survive 2023. There won’t be APC come 2023. You just find shell of what is called APC today.

#Newsworthy…

CAN declined the call to include sharia’s clauses into nation’s constitution.

Kano State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has vehemently rejected the call to include additional Sharia clauses into the nation’s constitution.

Chairman of the association in the state, Revd Samuel Adeyemo disclosed this in a statement at weekend where he said that the Shariah law already in the constitution was enough for a secular state like Nigeria.

According to him, individual states could adopt the Shariah law at their state level but its application must be limited to Muslims alone and should on no account be applicable to non Muslims.

The statement held that “the utterance of the CJN came as a great shock to us considering his lofty position and the nature of the meeting and audience he was speaking at: 20th Annual Judges conferences at ABU in Zaria.

“The CJN should know that Nigeria is a secular nation and so her constitution must not be in any way tilted to side one religion.

One begins to imagine the motive of the CJN. Is he working on the script of a certain artar to plunge Nigeria into religious crisis?

” While the other FAITH and the other parts of the nation are trying as much as possible to go along with the president on the lopsidedness of his various political national appointments, this utterance of the CJN is trying to scratch the heal wounds open to life again,” said the statement.

“We therefore call on the CJN to know that he is the CJN of Nigeria and not of religion and must respect and uphold in utmost esteem the secularity of Nigeria and not to promote any religion at the expense of others and to the detriment of the peace and unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians in all the geopolitical zones.

“We are very sure the CJN knows the position of the nation’s constitution in Section 10 of the constitution of the Federall Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended prohibits STATE religion that &NO STATE OR FEDERATION SHALL ADOPT A RELIGION AS IT’S OWN

“Thus calling for more Sharia clauses in the nation’s constitution as suggested by the CJN is like Islamizing NIGERIA which is a secular state with different RELIGIOUS practices, OR IS THIS THE MOTIF OF THE CJN?*

“The call for constitutionalising Sharia is unnecessary and an attempt to heat up the polity. This is a regional affair and should never in any way be made to become additional law in the nations constitution.

Individual states can adopt Sharia law at the state level but that will bind only Muslims and not non Muslims and other necessary inhabitants of that state which include indigenes”

“CAN in KANO is committed to prayers for the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria and our dear state hence we take exception to anyone no matter the status and position to be working inimical to this prayers that God has answered and is answering by keeping Nigeria as one”.

#Newsworthy…

Falana give update on how DSS want to keep sowore in spite AGF’s directive.

Femi Falana has accused the Department of State Services (DSS) of looking for evidence to nail Omoyele Sowore in spite of report of Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami taking over the case.

The human rights activist said Sowore was subjected to a 4-hour interrogation on Thursday December 12, by the DSS which was witnessed by a member of the #RevolutionNow convener’s legal team Mr. Abubakar Marshal.

Falana disclosed that the entire interrogation pertained to Sowore’s alleged links with the proscribed Boko Haram sect, IPOB, and IMN. He also insisted that the AGF is not taking over the case because he (AGF) was the one that filed a case against Sowore before it was transferred to Hassan Liman, the prosecuting counsel.

He said;

“It is not a take over because it was the AGF that filed the Sowore’s case and farmed it out to Dr. Hassan Liman SAN.

“But in view of the violent invasion of the court by armed operatives of the SSS, the AGF has decided to sack the prosecution team and have the case prosecuted by the DPP.

“Having been advised that Sowore cannot be convicted on the basis of the proof of evidence filed in court, the dss has refused to make the statements of the prosecution witnesses available to the defendants as ordered by the trial court.

“Hence, hearing in the case has been adjourned to February 20, 2020 at the instance of the Prosecution.

“Convinced that the pending case would collapse like a pack of cards, the sss is currently fishing for evidence to nail Sowore. In spite of the directive of the AGF to take over the case the sss subjected Sowore to a 4-hour interrogation yesterday (12/12/19).

“The entire interrogation pertained to Sowore’s alleged links with the proscribed Boko Haram sect, IPOB, and IMN which he vehemently denied. At Sowore’s instance a member of the legal defence team, Mr. Abubakar Marshal witnessed the marathon interrogation.

“In view of the foregoing we urge the Agf to file a nolle prosequi motion without any further delay to end the macabre dance which has exposed the country to avoidable embarrassment.”

#Newsworthy…

Seyi Makinde include Anti-corruption bill in oyo state law.

…Says: We won’t no one would be witch-hunt

Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday signed the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Bill 2019 into law, with a reassurance that the anti-graft agency that will be set up will not be used to witch-hunt anybody.

The governor also warned people in strong terms that they should refrain from writing frivolous petitions, because writers of such petitions would be dealt with according to the law.

Makinde, who assented to the bill earlier passed by the State House of Assembly, noted that his assent was a signal that his government was ready to enforce probity and accountability.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that Governor Makinde, immediately after his assent transferred the law to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, for further administrative actions.

The governor had as part of initial declarations upon assumption of office declared that the state under his watch would establish its own anti-corruption agency to ensure probity, accountability and good governance.

While signing the bill into law on Wednesday, Governor Makinde said: “We have just signed the anti-corruption law for Oyo State. There is nothing to be afraid of. Why we have domesticated the anti-corruption law is just as we want the governance to get closer to the grassroots. We also want to guard the resources of the state in the same manner.

“Yes, corruption kills the society. When money meant for projects, salaries and certain developmental initiatives are diverted, we miss the opportunities.”
The governor, who spoke at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office said that the law has no political colourations as according to him, corruption and underdevelopment have no political leanings.

“This is not a law meant to witchhunt anyone. It is not about politics or political interests. It is not about APC or PDP but about Oyo State. We know for a fact that if we tackle corruption, we will have enough resources to take care of our people and that is exactly what this law is meant to achieve for us,” he said.

The Governor reiterated his readiness to waive his immunity and face any corrupt charges against him, if he commits any infractions to the law.

He added: “So, we believe we have to tackle corruption. I said it during my inaugural address as the Executive Governor of Oyo State that I will be ready to waive my immunity to face any corruption charges against my person and I still maintain that position.”

The Governor, therefore, enjoined every citizen of the State to alert the Government of any unscrupulous activities, adding; “if you see something, say something.”
He also warned against writing frivolous petitions, adding that anyone found guilty of such would equally be prosecuted.

“I want to implore everybody, the citizens of Oyo State to say something when they see something. And I can give you the assurance that we will act. We do know that people may want to take certain things for granted.

“They may want to use this law to settle scores, because we have seen situations where people wrote frivolous petitions against somebody they have hatred for and, with that, they think they have the opportunity to square up.

“Well, we won’t condone that. If you write a frivolous petition to us, you will also be sanctioned because that is corruption in itself.”

He warned the civil servants not to petition themselves wrongly as anybody found doing so would face the law.

“And for my constituency, the civil servants, I do know that people jostle for positions, where they malign themselves to get into a higher position. This is not what the law is about. This law is to ensure that due processes are followed in our financial dealings and to ensure our resources are deployed for specific reasons why they were appropriated for, in the first instance.

The governor further said: “So, it’s a new opportunity for us to show the world that we can run a transparent and accountable government. I do hope that nobody here will fall into the trap of corruption.

“I did mention that there is a serious temptation in this job. For instance, I am being paid N550,000 and I have to run a yearly budget of over 200 billion Naira. Of course, we will be tempted but we have to resist the temptation. We have to know that whichever position we occupy is based on the trust of the people and when we leave, we will still go back to the larger society and, if we perpetuate corruption, the effect is waiting for us out there.

“So, I want to assure the people of Oyo State that this law will keep us in check, hold us accountable. And if you have anything about any of us, don’t hesitate to bring the facts out and the law will take its full course.”

#Newsworthy…

Nnamdi Kanu’s Lawyer Sues Nigerian Police For Invading His Client.

…demands N2bn damage

A lawyer to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed of the group – Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – Ifeanyi Ejiofor has sued the Nigerian Police Force before the Federal High Court.

Ejiofor, who has since been declared wanted by the police over his alleged complicity in the murder of some policemen, is accusing the security agency, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, of invading his house and killing of four occupants.

Ejiofor, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/135/19, filed by a lawyer, Maxwell Okpara, is seeking, among others, an order to compelling the defendants to pay him N2 billion as compensation and damages for the burning of his house and shooting of his aged mother by the police at his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State on December 2 this year.

Listed as defendants in the suit are the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Area Commander, Divisional Police (DPO) in Anambra State, the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Ejiofor claimed to have been called to bar over 17 years ago and wants the court to restrain the respondents, their agents and privies from further harassing, intimidating, threatening his life and destroying his house and other properties.

He is also seeking an order of the court stopping the respondents from threatening him with arrest and torture and to compel them to retract the public notice made on December 3, which declared him wanted and to also tender apology to him in five major newspapers and any other form of reparation.

Ejiofor, in a supporting affidavit, claimed that he was in his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State between November 25 and December 1, for the burial of his late brother, Reverend Louis Ejiofor.

He stated that on December 2, his house was still filled with relatives, friends and well-wishers, helping him to evacuate tents, chairs and other materials used for the burial ceremony, when a group of 16 policemen allegedly invaded his house.

His senior brother, who described himself as Evangelist Emeka Ejiofor, further stated, in the affidavit, that the police claimed to be looking for suspects involved in an alleged communal clash and that he spoke on phone with the Area Commander promising that he would make himself available on same day by 11am.

He stated that by 10.15am, the same police squad led by the Area Commander, came ahead of the appointed time and violently invaded his ancestral home with sporadic shooting at every living object.

“In the confusion that ensued, the plaintiff said that four young men were instantly shot dead while his aged mother sustained gunshot injury from the trigger happy officers .

“The dead bodies were evacuated from his house to a market place and burnt there,” he said and referred photographs and video clips, which he claimed showed “the wanton destruction of” the plaintiff’s house by the police .

Ejiofor, who promised to tender the photographs and video clips during trial, added that on December 3 this year, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State caused a public notice through television stations and other news media that he had been declared wanted without been given adequate time and opportunity to respond to any allegation against him if any.

He, therefore, wants the court to declare the alleged invasion of his house and subsequent shootings and killing of unarmed civilians as barbaric, wicked, illegal, oppressive and a gross violation of his rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and right to private and family life as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

Ejiofor is equally praying the court to declare that the setting ablaze of all buildings and properties in his Oraifite ancestral home in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State by the police is illegal, barbaric, oppressive, unlawful and amounted to a gross violation of his rights to property as guaranteed by the constitution.

He also wants the court to declare that the December 3, 2019 public notice by the police, declaring him wanted, without giving him opportunity to respond to any allegation against him, if any, is illegal, unconstitutional, unreasonable, null and void as the action violates his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by law.

The case is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.

#Newsworthy…

Update – Nigerian Government Freezes Sahara Reporters Bank Account owned by sowore.

…due to allegations of copyright infringement

The Nigerian government has been accused of allegedly freezing the bank accounts of Sahara Reporters, a news website owned by rearrested #RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore.

Asides allegedly freezing the bank account without an advance notice in October and significantly hindering their operations, it was further alleged that the website was separately disabled twice due to allegations of copyright infringement, and its staff reported cyber attacks and increased surveillance outside their Lagos office.

In a statement released by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday December 11, the group confirmed that Sahara Reporters’ Nigeria-based account with Guaranty Trust Bank was frozen without warning in October.

La Keisha Landrum Pierre, Sahara Reporters’ chief operating officer told CPJ that the news platform struggled to pay operating costs and salaries and was unable to publish for a day on November 10.

Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator said;

“Sahara Reporters must be permitted to keep the Nigerian public informed without intimidation.

“Surveillance, cyberattacks, and copyright notices against Sahara Reporters mark a concerning pattern of interference and harassment of an investigative news outlet.”

It was further gathered that when Ijeoma Nwachukwu, a relationship manager with Guaranty Trust Bank was contacted, she declined to reveal details about specific accounts because of “duty of confidentiality.”

The CPJ who insisted that they are yet to find a connection between the reason for Sowore’s arrest and his journalism, added that some Nigerian journalists are worried that President Buhari would feel less restrained in curbing press freedom following his reelection.

#Newsworthy…

Kanu’s Arrest By Government Is Lawful – ECOWAS.

The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Wednesday held that the arrest and detention of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by the Nigerian government was not unlawful and arbitrary.

In its judgment, the court consequently dismissed the suit by Kanu alleging torture, assault, inhuman treatment and the violation of his property rights by the Federal Republic of Nigeria for lacking in merit.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Hon Justice Dupe Atoki who read the judgment of the court also held that Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest and detention were not unlawful and arbitrary as claimed by the plaintiff.

The three member panel of the court equally dismissed the request of Kanu for monetary compensation to the tune of $800 million US Dollars.

While the court acknowledged that the plaintiff had the locus standi (legal capacity) to approach the court for the alleged violation of his human rights, it adjudged that without a mandate, he lacked the legal personality to represent the IPOB before the court.

On the issue of proper parties before the court, the names of the second and third defendants (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Director-General, State Security Service) who are not signatories to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, were struck out of the suit as improper parties, leaving the 1st defendant, the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the sole defendant in the case.

In the suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/06/16 filed before the court on March 3, 2016 by his counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the plaintiff claimed that his rights to life, personal integrity, privacy, fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, personal liberty, freedom of association, private property, right to existence and right to self-determination were violated following his arrest and detention by agents of the defendant state.

The plaintiff also alleged that he was a victim of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention and that his personal belongings were confiscated by the defendant through its agent.

Mr. Kanu, who is also the Director of Radio Biafra, registered under the regulatory laws of the United Kingdom and the United Nations, demanded monetary compensation in the sum of $800 million US dollars.

But counsel to the government of Nigeria, Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, averred in his defence that the country was obliged to enforce the rule of law as stipulated in its Constitution, Treaties and Protocol which included defending the sovereignty of an undivided Nigeria.

The counsel added that the activities of IPOB were secessionist in nature as it instigated a separationist agenda among the people of the country’s South-East and South-South using its Biafra Radio.

Mr. Abubakar further averred that the acts of the plaintiff were intended to garner support for war against the defendant and carve out a geo-political area to be declared “Republic of Biafra.” Consequently, he said the defendant initiated an investigation into the allegations against the plaintiff which led to his arrest and discovery of illegal firearms and radio transmitters in his possession, items that posed security risk to the country.

The defendant also submitted that the plaintiff was investigated while in detention for offences of criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an illegal society and that though granted bail whose conditions he could not meet, he was detained on fresh charges of treasonable felony instituted at the Federal High Court against the plaintiff.

Counsel to the defendant avowed that although the plaintiff and some members of IPOB had severally threatened the peace of the nation with their demands, the defendant gave no orders to its agencies to kill members of IPOB nor did any such killings occur but that the defendant had remained committed to upholding the rule of law while recognizing and protecting the fundamental rights of its citizens and all groups including the IPOB.

The defendant, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the case.

Also on the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Keikura Bangura.

#Newsworthy..

Breaking – NBC urges FG to promote professional journalism. #HateSpeech

…Criminalisation of Rights to Freedom of Speech

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at promoting news literacy and strong professional journalism in the country.

The Director-General of NBC, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu, made the call at the 2019 Annual World Human Rights Day organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Lagos Branch.

Modibbo-Kawu, who was represented Dr Chibuike Vincent, Zonal Director of NBC, Lagos, delivered a lecture on “The Role of the Media in Promoting Human Rights and Curbing Fake News in a Democratic Setting”.

The event was themed: “Criminalisation of Rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression as Enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution”.

The director-general noted that fake news and sophisticated disinformation campaigns were especially problematic in a democratic system.

According to him, there is a growing debate on how to address the issue without undermining the benefits of digital media.

Modibbo-Kawu said: “It is therefore important that all stakeholders – government, business and consumers of news, work together to solve these problems.

“Government should promote news literacy and strong professional journalism in society. The news industry must provide high-quality journalism in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation without legitimising them.

“Technology companies should invest in tools that identify fake news, reduce financial incentives for those who profit from disinformation and improve online accountability.

“Educational institutions should make informing people about new literacy a high priority. Individuals should follow a diversity of news sources and be sceptical of what they read and watch.”

He said that the NBC was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring broadcasters desist from promoting fake news via upholding the dissemination of quality content and materials for broadcast.

The director-general said:” Section 3.1.1. of the National Broadcasting Code says no broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate.”

He explained how to differentiate hate speech from free speech, measures to be taken to counter hate speech while protecting free speech as well as the type of speech to be excluded from the media.

According to him, freedom of speech is key to development, dignity and fulfilment of every person and nation and it is necessary for good governance, economic and social progress and accountability.

He, however, said that the right to freedom of expression was not an absolute right and that the Federal Government might, under exceptional circumstances, restrict the rights under international human rights law.

“Media houses, however, appear to be using mediums like the internet, adverts and varying programmes to give rise to anti-public space, voicing hatred and essentialist discourse which has blurred the lines between hate speech and free speech.

“Simply put, hate speech is any expression of discriminatory hate towards people. The media has the responsibility of accurately labelling certain expression as ‘hate speech’.

“The media should condemn all propaganda and all organisations which proffer ideas or theories of superiority of one tribe or group of persons or one colour or ethnic origins,” he added.

He said that all forms of mass media should recognise that they had a moral and social responsibility to promote equality and non-discrimination for individuals with the broadest possible range of protected characteristics.

In his remark, Mr Alex Omotehinse, the Chairman of the CDHR, Lagos Branch, said that the group attached so much importance to the commemoration because of the gross violation of inalienable rights.

Omotehinse urged the National Assembly to promote rights of the citizens while the executive should enforce those rights.

According to him, the media and media practitioners should not be clampdown in the country with any law or policies.

Omotehinse, who urged the Lagos State Government to review the new order on traffic offences and penalties, called on the government to de-congest the Nigerian Correctional Centres.

The event had so many rights activists in attendance calling for the protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

#Newsworthy…

Femi Falana – Journalists don’t peddle Fake News, Rumour.

.. we’ll fight injustice until it is over

Mr. Femi Falana, the counsel of the #RevolutioNow covener has warned journalists not to peddle rumours in their quest to fight injustice in the country.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria gave the advice on Monday night at the 14th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting at Ikeja, Lagos.

The award was organised by Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) to celebrate journalists who take the risk of protecting democracy.

“We must ensure we fight injustice until it is over in our country. I will also urge us all, particularly journalists, not to peddle rumours in their quest to fight injustice,” he said

The human rights activist while congratulating the awardees also urged them to keep up the good work.

#Newsworthy…

Social Media Causing Death, Lawlessness, Violence – Garba Shehu.

…calls for regulation

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu has called for the regulation of social media which according to him has led to lawlessness, violence and deaths.

The Presidential spokesperson who spoke at a media award event organised by Kawararafa Reporters, said the Nigerian government was not against free speech but against use of social media to wreck havoc.

Mr Shehu said;

“For instance, the entire Kasuwan Magani saga that resulted in the death of more than 50 people was because someone posted misleading information on WhatsApp that went viral.

“All countries in the world are trying to make laws to check the excesses. Many countries are trying to control the situation. The Europeans have placed a new law that holds the companies responsible.

“In United Kingdom, the parliament has received a report on social media. There is a youth addiction to it, just like cigarettes. Without any form of control, it has done harm to women, ethnic minorities, individuals, institutions and countries.

He also pointed out that journalists around the world undergo training, accreditation and licensing before practicing while social media users with a phone, a tablet or laptop anyone can reach millions, sometimes for good and other times with ulterior motives.

Garba Shehu further argued that the Nigerian constitution never anticipated social media, thus the need to tackle hate speech so Nigeria can be a sane place to live in.

He added;

“The federal government is saying that stakeholders should come together and agree on regulation. We know that no matter how bad the situation it favours someone.

“Some have argued that our constitution already has laws in libel, but the laws of the ‘60s never anticipated social media.

“No government has the right to muzzle freedom of speech. We don’t support the taking of lives as punishment. People insult others and share false information on social media. I hope that hate speech will be tackled so that Nigeria will be a sane place to live in.”

#Newsworthy…

Using of Mobile Phones In Checkpoints Is Wrong – Army Chief.

The Chief of Civil Affairs in the Nigerian Army, Major-General Usman Mohammed, has said that the use of phones when approaching a military checkpoint is wrong. According to him, it is security loop for anyone to approach a checkpoint and at the same time, make use of his or her phone.

“It is a security measure for when you are approaching a checkpoint, you don’t make phone calls because the tendency is that if you are making a phone call, you might be communicating with some bad guys or you may use that particular device to set up some certain devices. It is a general convention; it is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is everywhere. People who have travelled abroad know that you don’t make phone calls when approaching a checkpoint” he said.

#Newsworthy..

Lagos house of assembly will not repeal the law allowing ex governors to receive pensions.

Lagos House of Assembly said it would not repeal the state’s pension law permitting former governors and other public office holders to receive juicy pensions from state coffers.

Mr Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, told the media yesterday, that the Assembly would not go the way of Zamfara Assembly, which recently repealed pension law for its former governors.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

The court also directed the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to receive such pensions.

Braimoh, however, faulted the court ruling that ordered Malami to take immediate legal action toward the abolishment of state laws that permit “former governors to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.”

He said as long as the law did not contravene the constitution, state assemblies had the right to make laws for the benefit of the society in which they operate.

He atgued that separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution empowers the legislature to make laws, the executive to implement and the judiciary to interpret the laws.

“The Supreme Court had made it clear several times that no arm of government can repeal the constitutional provisions of another arm of government.

“Therefore, legislators make laws that are in tune with the yearnings and dynamics of their society.

“Until another legislature comes to alter, review or amend the law, the law is meant to be obeyed.

“The judiciary cannot pronounce that a law by the state is unconstitutional unless such state law is contradictory to the constitution.”

Braimoh said he was not aware of any law that restricted state assemblies from making laws for the provision of welfare package of former governors and public office holders.

#Newsworthy…