Law Weekly Focuses On NBA Conference, Taraba Crisis

This edition of the programme features highlights from the NBA 2013 Conference and an interview with Jiti Ogunye on the crisis involving Governor Danbaba Suntai, in Taraba state.  

The recently concluded 53rd annual general conference of the Nigerian bar association which held in Calabar, was themed ‘Law, Leadership & Challenges of Nationhood in the 21st Century Nigeria.”

At the end of the week-long event, the president of the NBA, Mr Okey Wali read out the resolutions to the many challenges facing the nation, which were contained in a communique.

On the issue of the Taraba state crisis, a legal practitioner, Jiti Ogunye, speaks on the drama playing out in the state following the return of Governor Danbaba Suntai.

The situation which has been described as similar to that of the late President Yar’adua which led to a constitutional amendment, is now raising calls in some quarters for the Attorney General of the federation to step in and take steps to protect and secure the sanctity of the constitution.

Mr Ogunye said that despite the amendment, the constitution is not free from subtle manipulation or even blatant abuse. He added that the remedy lies in democratic culture, values, morality and ethics.

Taraba Crisis: Lawmakers Insist Garba Continues As Acting Governor

The acting governor of Taraba state Mr. Garba Umar has been given a nod by members of the state house of assembly to continue his role, pending the time Governor Danbaba Suntai is fit to perform his official functions.

Nine out of the 24 members led by the deputy speaker, Tanko Maikarfi, said it had become necessary to adopt the resolution of the executive session of the House which gave recognition to Umar as the acting governor and not as the deputy governor.

In the meantime, the acting governor has called on the people of the state to disregard recent announcement on the purported dissolution of the executive council and the appointment of a new chief of staff and secretary to the state government.

In a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Kefas Sule, Umar explained that the announcement is an attempt by a group to hijack the machinery of governance in the state and not a directive that was given by Governor Danbaba Suntai.

NMA Offers To Help Ascertain Suntai’s Health Status

The Nigerian Medical Association has offered to constitute a board to ascertain the true health status of the Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai.

After its national executive council meeting in Abuja, the NMA president, Mr Osahon Onabulele said the proposed board would make available experts to put an end to the lingering political crisis in the state.

The NMA also urged the National Assembly to urgently establish the office of the surgeon-general of Nigeria, who can independently assess the medical fitness of public and political office holders.

The association gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum with effect from Monday, the 2nd of September 2013, to address the challenges surrounding the nation’s health sector, including the non-payment of wages to doctors and health workers.

Governor Suntai’s aides return to Nigeria from Germany

The Chief Security Officer (CSO) and the Chief Details of Governor, Danbaba Suntai; the Taraba state Governor arrived Nigeria after successfully undergoing medical treatment in Germany sequel to injuries they sustained in the October 25th plane crash.

The plane belonging to the Taraba state government left Jalingo with Governor Danbaba Suntai and three of his aides heading to Yola; the Adamawa state capital when it crashed a few kilometres to the Yola airport.

The Taraba state commissioner of Information, Mr Emmanuel Bello told Channels television from Jalingo that the aides arrived the country via the International wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport; Abuja after a successful treatment in Germany.

The commissioner also said that the Aide de Camp (ADC) will be discharged next week as advised by the doctors.

“I can confirm to you that the Chief security officer of the governor and the chief details have arrived the country as the Aide de camp (ADC) will be arriving next week God willing as he still has little time to be discharge”

On the governor’s condition, Mr Emmanuel Bello says he is recovering speedily and hopes he will also be discharged in no distant time.

He thanked the people for their prayers and support towards the recovery of the governor and his aides.

It would be recalled that two days after the crash, the governor was flown to Germany while the three aides followed few days later for better treatment after a first aid treatment at the Federal Medical Centre Yola.

The Taraba State House of Assembly has recently deliberated and confirmed the state deputy governor in acting capacity following the absence of the governor a decision that was widely applauded as the right steps in the right direction and in line with the tenet of democracy.

How Suntai’s plane crashed – Eyewitness account

The People of Namtari village; a suburb of Yola the capital of Adamawa state, who were the first eye witnesses to arrive the scene of the Plane crash involving the Taraba state governor Danbaba Suntai who has now been flown to Germany for better medical attention from the National hospital Abuja where he was initially receiving care, gave their account of how the crash happened.

Our correspondent who visited the village of Namtari got a firsthand account from eyewitnesses.

The witnesses who initially declined comment on the ground that the incident involved high personalities told Channels Television that four occupants were in the flight and not six as widely reported.

Both Abubakar Bamanga and Umar Hamajoda who spoke to us in Hausa language said the plane was coming normally like any other aircraft, suddenly the sound changed and that was followed by an immediate U-turn giving all signs that the plane was going to crash, as it eventually did in a very familiar farm behind the NNPC depot.

As they heard the sound of the crash, they picked their touch lights as it was already getting dark and they ran to the scene of the crash.

On arrival, one of the occupants was already out of the aircraft and crying for help as he asked them to hasten up the rescue because three others including the Taraba state Governor were still inside the plane for fear of possible fire outbreak.

They however confirm that the governor was the last to be rescued because it took them time to locate his whereabout as he was equally trapped under the now wrecked plane and being held down by the seatbelt.

“The plane was passing and suddenly we heard an unusual sound then we saw it made a u turn and began to crash, and as we got to the scene, I was holding touch light while others were carrying out the rescue. It was a terrible experience. The governor was the last to be rescued” Abubakar Bamanga said.

At the crash site, crops such as beans and Maize plantation of almost 150 metres long were destroyed after the aircraft had crashed on trees within the farm.

The Farmer whose crops were destroyed, Mr. Zirrah Koji who was at the crash site during our visit also prayed for the speedy recovery of the victims while soliciting for assistance towards some compensation.

Efforts to get the version of the airport authority on the rescue carried out or what actually led to the crashed failed as they declined comment.

Similarly, efforts to interview the victims who were said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre Yola proved abortive as we were barred from knowing their conditions.

Hospital source who pleaded anonymity told Channels television that two of the victims were in stable condition while the other is still laying critical at the accident and emergency unit of the clinic as the governor had already been moved to the National Hospital; Abuja may flown out of the country for extended treatment.