The upper chamber in a Committee of the Whole, thereafter, confirmed the nomination of the Eight appointees as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The Senate has confirmed the nominations of eight Justices of the Court of Appeal as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), in his presentation, stated that the appointment of the nominees, satisfied the requirement of Sections 230(2) and 232(1) and (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
According to the lawmaker, upon confirmation of the appointment of the nominees by the Senate, all Geo-political Zones will be represented by three or four Justices, as the case may be, except the North-Central Zone, which will maintain its current two Justices on the Bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Bamidele, however, explained that, the reason why the North-Central zone has two Justices unlike other zones, could be attributed to the fact during the selection process,.
He said that the nomination from the zone was stood down by the selection committee for a further review of the nomination by the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
He added that necessary steps were being taken to meet the full compliment of the maximum number of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He said that the appointment of the Eight Justices of the Supreme Court was a bold step taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen the Judiciary to meet with the challenges of the 21st Century.
Lawmakers, including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC – Delta Central); Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North); and Gabriel Suswam (PDP – Benue North East) in their contributions, expressed satisfaction with the qualification, experience and competence of the nominees.
The confirmed Justices are Justices Lawal Garba, North West; Helen M. Ogunwumiju, South West; Addu Aboki, North West; I. M. M. Saulawa, North West; Adamu Jauro, North East; Samuel C. Oseji, South South; Tijjani Abubakar, North East; and Emmanuel A. Agim, South South.
Nigerian senator who serves as the President of the Senate of Nigeria, Ahmad Lawan has kicked against scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Noble Reporters Media reports.
Speaking on Wednesday October 7 as lawmakers deliberated a motion on the recent extrajudicial killings carried out by a security personnel attached to the controversial Nigerian police unit, Lawan said some good personnel in the police unit might be denied the opportunity to perform better if it is scrapped.
“I think that this is the situation that should be properly investigated. Those involved in recent incident should be arrested and prosecuted. The law should take its due course. This is not acceptable. Nigerians need to know what happened to those who have killed Nigerians.
“There are good people and bad people in SARS. Scrapping of agencies when you have mistakes may not be the best position. Rule of law should be put in place.
“If you scrap SARS, you lose the chance of getting those doing well to continue to do well.’
Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan represents Yobe North Constituency of Yobe State under the All Progressive Congress. His tenure as a senator started since 2007 Nigeria general election,.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, urging them to use their “good offices and leadership positions to urgently publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”
The organization also urged them to “disclose the number and details of public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects. The reports should be sent to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”
In the FoI requests dated 25 July, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Publishing the reports of hearings and probes would bolster public trust and confidence in the oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of these hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve personal interest, rather than the general public interests.”
SERAP said: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts. Doing so would also give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.”
The FoI requests, read in part: “We urge you to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ensure the proper and effective exercise of oversight functions, including investigations of corruption allegations, such as those involving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”
“We also urge you to urgently use the opportunity of the ongoing public hearings and corruption probes to influence Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda, including by immediately amending section 52 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act on independent counsel for corruption.”
“Section 52 requires the Chief Justice of Nigeria to authorise an independent counsel to investigate any allegation of corruption against high level public officials, and to report his/her findings to the National Assembly or appropriate house of assembly.”
“The proposed amendment should include additional requirements beyond merely reporting to lawmakers, that would allow the independent counsel to use the findings of any investigation as a basis to pursue effective prosecution of corruption cases without any authorisation by the executive or the National Assembly.”
“SERAP notes that both the Senate and House of Representatives have over the years conducted several public hearings and corruption probes to expose pervasive problem of corruption in MDAs.”
“SERAP is concerned about the systemic and widespread corruption allegations in MDAs and among high-ranking public officials, and the negative impacts on socio-economic development, as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water and regular electricity supply.”
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the FoI requests. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our requests.”
“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust.”
“The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance transparency and accountability, as well as the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general, including by publishing widely the reports of all corruption-related public hearings since 1999.”
“There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.”
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on reports of all public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999.”
“By Section 4 (a) of the FoI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has given assurance that the Senate will ensure that every part of Nigeria will continue to receive a just and fair deal.
“I want to assure you that the Senate will always stand by National interest,” Lawan told a delegation of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an Igbo social-cultural association from the South East of the country.
“We believe in the unity and the need for every ethnic group, every religious persuasion to have a very fair deal within the country.
“We will work with your representatives from the South East, particularly from Ibo land. We will do everything to support them and they are representing you very well in the Senate,” Lawan said.
The group was led by its Secretary-General, Dim Uche Okwukwu on a courtesy call on the Senate President at the National Assembly in Abuja on Thursday.
The Senate President said notwithstanding their different political platforms, the national interest has remained their guiding principle in the National Assembly.
The Senate President assured his guests that the Federal lawmakers would always support what would give them the kind of inclusion and sense of belonging in the southeast.
“We can see the commitment of the Federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring that every part of Nigeria gets some infrastructure development,” Lawan said.
The Senate President drew the attention of his guests to the progress on the second Niger Bridge and compared it with the unfulfilled promises of the past on the project.
“This administration may not talk too much but it is doing a lot across the country with very little resources. Not like the plentiful resources the previous administration had.
“And of course, you have mentioned the appointments that you have as well and indeed there should be many more. As soon as the opportunities become available for more people of Ndigbo extraction to be appointed, I’m sure the President will do that and the administration will do that.
“It is in the public interest and it is in the interest of the administration and the party because it is when you are fair to people that they can give you support as an administration or vote you in, if you are a political party. And these are things that should be taken as given.
“So we will ensure that you continue to receive justice and fairness even in appointments.
“I believe there is a need for peaceful co-existance in all parts of the country. Where we have misunderstood, the best way to go is to dialogue and find solutions to our disagreement.
“If someone feels he has a just cause or reason to seek redress in court, this is a democracy but the best way to resolve issues often is not going to court especially in a country like ours where we can do better if we dialogue more.
“I don’t know the essence of this court action but what is important is for me to assure you again that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, will always ensure that you are given and every part of the country is given a sense of belonging.
“What is due to every part of this country should go there and that is why there is representation in the first place.
“If you have any concern, you have your representatives or you can simply write to the National Assembly, the two chambers if you like, to say that these are the issues we feel concerned about and you want the National Assembly to address them or if you feel it is better handled by the Executive side of government, you are free to do so to air your concerns.
“I am sure that this administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to work hard to provide for every part of this country within the limited resources that we have,” Lawan said.
Earlier, Dim Uche Okwukwu who spoke for the delegation said the mission to Abuja was to congratulate Lawan as Senate President on behalf of the Igbo nation.
“Ndigbo are proud of you and the leadership of the National Assembly. We are aware that without your total support for President Muhammadu Buhari, the ongoing infrastructural projects across the length and breadth of Igbo land would be impossible.
“Mr. President, we are not unaware that presently, a misguided person, without the mandate and authority of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo joined some others to sue the government. Therefore, we wholly dissociate Ohanaeze Ndigbo and indeed Ndigbo from that stillbirth suit. It will certainly fail,” Okwukwu said.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has charged the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to engage relevant stakeholders with a view to reforming Nigeria’s Electoral Process.
Lawan gave the charge in his remark after referring the confirmation of the nomination of Dr. Chukwuemeka Chukwu for an appointment as a Resident Electoral Commissioner to the INEC Committee.
According to Lawan, the reform of the country’s electoral process by the National Assembly must be carried out with a view to meeting the expectations of Nigerians.
“We must ensure that we work so hard and assiduously on the electoral reforms.
“This is one way of ensuring that we collect all the different submissions from different stakeholders.
“Our Committee on INEC together with major stakeholders should start working on this as quickly as possible, to ensure that we are able to meet the expectations of Nigerians regarding electoral reforms,” Lawan said.
The Senate President also gave the Committee four weeks to submit its report on the appointment of Dr. Chukwuemeka Chukwu as a Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a similar vein, Senator Lawan, on Tuesday, urged the Executive arm of Government to work on the estimates for the 2021 budget to ensure its timely presentation to the National Assembly by the end of September this year.
Lawan stated this in his remarks after referring President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper request to the Senate Committees on Finance; and National Planning for further legislative work.
The Senate President while charging both Committees to engage the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning on the MTEF/FSP request, stressed the need for the panel to lend its support where necessary to Revenue Generating Agencies towards meeting expected revenue targets.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has eulogised the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, on the occasion of his 61st birthday celebration.
Gbajabiamila, in a congratulatory message, yesterday, said that Lawan, who has been in the National Assembly since 1999 serving first in the House and later in the Senate, is one Nigerian that has actively contributed to the development of the country’s legislature.
The Speaker recalled the valuable contributions of the Senate President while he served as a member of the House and later as a non-presiding officer in the Senate.
He described Lawan as a worthy ally in the onerous task of “building the Nigeria of our dream,” particularly since his emergence as the President of the 9th Senate.
“President of the Senate, distinguished Senator (Dr) Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, is a man of honour. I have known him for close to two decades now, and in all the years we have been together, he has exhibited a high level of patriotism.
“Senator Lawan has a passion for good governance, and at every opportunity, he has proven himself to be one of the best legislators around. No wonder he was unequivocally chosen by his colleagues to be the President of the 9th Senate.
“I know together, we will provide good leadership for the 9th National Assembly, which will take Nigeria to enviable heights in the near future.
“On this day of his 61st birthday, I wish him Allah’s continuous protection and blessings. I also wish him many more years in good health,” Gbajabiamila said.