Judges’ Call For Amaechi To Step Down Is Diversionary – Sagay

Judges' Call For Amaechi To Step Down Is Diversionary - Itse SagayThe Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Prof Itse Sagay has described as diversionary, malicious and vindictive, the call for the Minister of Transport, to step down from office.

In an interview with select journalists on Thursday in Lagos, Prof Sagay made it clear that he was speaking in his personal capacity.

He insisted that the outburst of Justice Okoro and Ngwuta (two justices of the Supreme Court) is “surprising considering that it is totally unrelated to the raids of their premises, their arrests and subsequent charges before the courts”.

The Professor also said that “men of that status should not indulge in such diversionary activities in the midst of grave and ominous charges against them. I would have thought that they would use the time at their disposal to prepare their defenses against the serious charges they are facing.

“In any case, given their statuses as Supreme Court Justices even in the middle of the adversity confronting them, they should not have engaged in a distraction totally incompatible with the dignity and respect that their offices attract.

“It is demeaning for them to abandon their legitimate defence in order to smear a high official of the Buhari Government, which latter they probably consider to be the source of their predicaments.

“Mere allegations cannot have enough weight to affect the position of such a high official as Amaechi, otherwise knowing the disposition of Nigerians for putting people down, no office holder will be safe in this country. It is therefore improper and ridiculous to compare the position of the justices in whose houses millions of naira and hundreds of thousands of dollars were recovered, to that of Amaechi against whom there is only the mere ipse dixit of the judges.

“This sudden anti-Amaechi narrative is consistent with the objectives and interests of the chief promoters and funders of judicial corruption during election petitions. These powerful opposition are well known.

“To be more specific, they are from Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. They are the one who financed judicial corruption and brought that great institution, the judiciary to its knees, after the 2015 elections.

“These allegations are intended to undermine and weaken the Buhari Federal Government, by depriving it of the service, input, ideas and productivity of some of its brightest stars.

“This is intended to set the stage for charging the government with ineffectiveness and cluelessness. In other words, it is an attempt to reduce the image and perception of this Federal Government to the low level of their own fate and unlamented government.

“Therefore, the call for Amaechi to step down is malicious and vindictive. It should be ignored with complete ignominy”.

Babajide Explains Why Corruption Has Become Endemic In Nigeria

babajide-ogunsanwoAnalysing the level of corruption in Nigeria, Mr Babajide Ogunsanwo on Friday said that a number of factors have contributed to the extension of the anti-corruption war to the judiciary in Nigeria, identifying their remuneration as one of them.

He told Channels Television that the salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria was poor when compared to that of the United States.

“The Chief Justice of the United States, Justice John Robert, has an annual salary of $255,000. With the salary, he can buy a decent home in Washington, perhaps somewhere in north-east street.

“Even if he wants to save his annual salary to buy this home of about 1.2 million dollars, he needs to save his salary for just five years.

“It is going to be easy because he will likely get a mortgage.

“In Nigeria the annual basic salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is just 3.3 million Naira, plus all allowances, 6.7 million Naira.

“If the Chief Justice of Nigeria chose to go to some decent place in Ikoyi, Lagos, and wanted to buy this similar home, it will cost him 350 million Naira.

“Even if the Chief Justice in the U.S. needs to save for five years to buy a house, the Chief Justice of Nigeria will need to save for 50 years,” he explained.

He says his analysis identifies one of the sources of why there is corruption.

Highlighting that the judges are not supposed to be corrupt, he insisted that “the air they breathe is infected with the bacteria called corruption”.

Mr Ogunsanwo said that Nigeria’s anti-corruption score had been rising slowly at a little about 2.4%, a trend he pointed out was very insignificant.

“If it continues like this, before we get to 5/10 it will be the year 2030,” he stated.

The analyst further identified the inconsistency in the position of the Chief Justice in Nigeria as another factor that had affected the system.

“The continuous change has brought with it, inconsistencies, since the justices have different temperaments.

“Some are more conservative and some are more liberal,” he added.

Corruption Is Not Necessarily A Crime Against Humanity – Giwa Victor

corruption, crime, DSS
Giwa Victor

A National Coordinator, and Advocate for People’s Justice, Giwa Victor, says corruption in general, is not necessarily a crime against humanity.

This is in response to the conference held by the Presidential Council against corruption at the National assembly on October 18, where the Vice President lamented the state of corruption in Nigeria, describing it generally as “a crime against humanity”.

With the issue of corruption still taking centre stage, and the recent raid on judges, arguments are still ongoing as to the legality or otherwise of the actions of the DSS and ways to tackle the corruption menace.

Mr Giwa while explaining further said corruption for corruption to be described as a crime against humanity, there has to be specifically identified crime.

“In some quarters, because of the effect on the entire system of certain nations, some people tend to elevate corruption as a crime against humanity.

However, when considering poor roads, poor health care systems as well as standards of living, he says those issues have direct effects on the people and in such cases, corruption can be seen as a crime against humanity.

A Former Director of the Kenyan Anti-corruption Commission, Professor P.L.O Lumumba, said many African countries would have realized much economic growth but such growth has been stunted as a result of corruption.

He said this while giving his key note address also at the conference and recommended sanctions to deter corrupt persons.

Looking at the raid on Judges, Mr Giwa said contrary to the idea that the DSS came to protect them, their actions came to him as a shock.

Not only was the arrest a shock to him, but “the manner in which it was done, shows that they contemplated a strong resistance,” he added.

Giving insight on the duties of the DSS he opposed popular opinion that the DSS has superior power to make arrests.

Taking a look at the National Security Agency Act, he says according to section 2, the DSS ought to be performing duties as an intelligence gathering agency rather than violently taking action.

Jimoh Ibrahim Predicts Recession May Linger For The Next 20 Years

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, The Chairman/ CEO of Global Fleet Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, has said that the current economic recession may continue for the next 20 years in Nigeria.

The businessman believes the backdrop would continue if the captains of the economic team fail to re-evaluate Nigeria’s economic policies.

He said this while delivering a lecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), legal week in Ile Ife, Osun state.

The Legal Week which was themed: “The Nigerian Economy: Roles of the Worshipers In The Temple Of Justice”, had in attendance, renowned legal practitioners.

Mr Ibrahim, who was a guest lecturer at the event, said the recession presents a veritable opportunity for the country to leave oil and develop other real sectors of the economy.

He suggested that the Federal Government needs to partner with its business community to get out of the recession as the economic policies of the current government are too harsh to encourage investment.

The barrister asserted that the government must work hard in translating the country’s GDP growth into individual growth.

He also stressed that the recent revelations by the raid on some judges across the country further strengthens the reasons for economic trauma in the country.

Chairman of the Lecture and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), Mallam Yusuf Alli,also opined that “Nigerians must make their leaders accountable to them by first raising their individual consciousness to being patriots in their own rights”.

Prof. Sagay Restates Need For Special Courts On Corruption

Corruption, Itse Sagay, CourtThe Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, has re-emphasised the need to set up a special court whose jurisdiction is limited to a set of crimes.

Professor Sagay made the call at the 2016 lecture of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

He blamed legal practitioners and the judicial system for long delays in the prosecution of a number of corruption cases in the country.

“There is justifiable frustration in this country about the (apparently) ineffectiveness of the prosecution of corruption cases.

“People will cite the fact that cases that started since 2007 have not been concluded (while) some are in suspense (and) we’ve even forgotten about others.

“It’s not a very encouraging picture,” he said.

New Manual For Prosecution

Professor Sagay said that his committee has been advocating special courts for the prosecution of financial crimes, as well as devised a new guide for prosecution.

“We have established a new manual for prosecution. The manual that gives the prosecutor and the investigator a step-by-step process towards an efficient and effective prosecution.

“We will establish a special court with special judges, whose jurisdiction is limited to a set of crimes,” he said.

Governor Ortom Seeks Lawyers’ Support In Loot Recovery

BEnue-OrtomThe Benue State Government has appealed to legal practitioners in the state to support its effort to recover looted funds and the fight against corruption, instead of constituting judicial stumbling blocks.

Governor Samuel Ortom made the appeal while declaring open the 2015 Law Week organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Makurdi branch, for continued legal interaction among lawyers.

Speaking on the theme “The Role Of Lawyers In Sustaining Democracy In Nigeria”, Governor Ortom pointed out that Lawyers would be truly defending democracy if they desist from the “uncharitable act of unprofessional practices and frivolous applications”, which he said was frustrating government’s effort in fighting corruption.

Most Nigerian states are seeking more ways of generating revenue to ensure they meet their financial responsibility to workers. Some states are owing workers and pensioners several month’s salaries.

Recently, Governor Ortom assured local government retirees in the state of the efforts between his administration and the Federal Government, to secure additional funds for the payment of their outstanding pension arrears.

Kaduna Residents Decry Poor PVC Distribution

pvcKaduna State Residents have decried their inability to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) despite the extension for the distribution exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to March 8.

Residents in the state had called on INEC to consider the option of using the Temporary Voter Cards in the state to enable them cast their votes during the general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, if they are unable to meet up with the PVC distribution before the deadline.

While expressing their willingness to participate fully in next month’s election, the residents expressed fears that denying them the right to vote as a result of not having PVCs, could trigger election violence as witnessed in 2011.

They therefore, called on the INEC to live up to its responsibility by ensuring that all registered voters are given their PVCs before the elections, in order to discharge their civic responsibilities.

Reacting to the development, the Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Kaduna State, Abdullahi Gujungu, told Channels Television, that the commission had so far distributed over 2.8 million permanent voter cards out of the 3.1 million registered voters.

This figure, according to the him, represents about 95 per cent of the total registered voters.

Going by this success, the commission says it is fully prepared for the forthcoming election.

PVC Distribution In Ogun State.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State chapter of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights passed a vote of no confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its leadership against the backdrop of the various challenges facing the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards in the state.

At a peaceful match held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to the state headquarters of the electoral body, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Folarin Olayinka, seized the occasion to demand PVC be distributed to residents without further delay.

Meanwhile, the electoral body in the state has denounced the presence of alien PVCs in Ogun State as alleged by the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, during his visit to the commission’s office in Abeokuta, last week.

While passing a vote of no confidence on the leadership of the electoral body, the CDHR however, demanded explanation on the alleged fabrication of figures for some state in the north-east under Boko Haram insurgency.

In his response to most of the issues raised, the administrative Secretary of the Commission in the state said 795,962 PVC had been distributed so far, representing 56.7% of registered voters in the state but denied any alien voter card in the state as alleged.

He however, assured residents of the state that the commission is doing the needful to ensure residents have access to the cards before the general elections.

Egypt Court Frees Al Jazeera Journalists

Al jazeera JournalistsAn Egyptian court on Thursday, released two detained Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed on bail.

The judge ordered the release of all defendants at the retrial’s opening Thursday.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed who appeared in a court in Cairo for a retrial due to lack of evidence over alleged links to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, according to a source, had been unjustly jailed since December 29, 2013.

Their retrial was ordered by the Court of Cessation January 2015, overturning a lower court’s verdict which found them guilty of aiding the outlawed group.

A third Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after spending 400 days in jail. He had since returned to his home in Australia.

“Fahmy and Mohamed have now spent 411 days in prison,” a source said.

Obasanjo Endorses Buhari For President

Obasanjo-and-Buhari
Obasanjo Endorses Buhari

A former President of Nigeria,  Olusegun Obasanjo, appears to have finally taken a stand on his choice of a presidential candidate by endorsing the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.).

Chief Obasanjo, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made the declaration during an interview with the Financial Times at the launch of his autobiography titled, ‘My Watch’, in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The circumstances he (Buhari) would be working under if he wins the election is different from the ones he worked under before, where he was both the Executive and the Legislature, He knows that.

“He is smart enough, he is educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?” the former President said.

Chief Obasanjo believed that Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between December 1983 and August 1985 as a military Head of State, is aware of Nigeria’s challenges today, and has the qualification to guide the nation out of them.

It was the first time the former president would publicly speak of his support for Muhammadu Buhari. He recently said that he would only speak out after the election had been conducted.

Obasanjo, also condemned the postponement of the election while criticising the continuous decline of the country’s resources.

 

Owerri: Journalist Injured In Widows’ Protest

Protesting Widows
Protesting Widows In Owerri

The existing peace enjoyed in Imo State, since the commencement of campaigns by different political parties was truncated when party supporters from the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, clashed at the Government House gate in Owerri, the Imo State capital, south east Nigeria.

Eyewitness said that the clash occurred at about 8:00am on Tuesday, when some aggrieved widows, all dressed in black attires from different Local Government Areas of the state, alleged to be supporters of PDP stalwart and the Minister of State for Education, Professor Viola Onwuliri, marched towards the government house with coffin, to protest against the purported and incessant media attack on the minister by the State Government.

However supporters of Governor Rochas Okorocha, who were not pleased with the whole scenario attempted to prevent the widows’ entrance into the government house, which eventually led into a free for all fight.

In the course of the whole pandemonium, an innocent journalist, Eric Etuk, who was on assignment, sustained several injuries during the protest.

Meanwhile, on arrival from Abuja, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, while suing for peace, condemned the act by Professor Onwuliri, for instigating such action against the State Government.

He called on President President Goodluck Jonathan to call his ministers and PDP leaders in the state to order, so as to prevent any further chaos and political violence in the state.

However, while speaking to Channels Television, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations in Imo State, Mohammad Kura, expressed disappointment over the incident which he said is capable of destabilizing the existing peace in the state.

He said hence, any protest or rally by any political party or group should get the permission of the police. he warned all politicians to play by the rules in this delicate period.

With the present acrimony existing among the two major political parties following the postponement of the elections, it is hoped that politicians and their supporters in the state conduct themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner, to avoid any further breakdown of law and order in the state.

Nigeria, US Judges Exchange Ideas On Quick Resolution of Election Cases

inec-2 Nigeria and United States Judges have been exchanging ideas on how to ensure prompt resolution of cases arising from the general elections.

The forum attracted Judges and prominent lawyers from Nigeria and the United States.

Members of the Nigerian Bar and the Bench who attended the event promised that frivolous applications that delayed proceedings at the election tribunals would no longer be entertained.

Coming at a time when there were frayed nerves in the run up to the elections, as a result of the recent postponement of the process, the meeting served as a reminder and preparation for the Judges on how best to deal with post-election petitions in a timely, transparent and credible manner.

One of the criticisms of these Judges was the attacks by members of the judiciary. They said public confidence was consistently being eroded because legal practitioners disparage judgement and decisions made by the Bench.

Police Nabs Men with Illegal Ammunition

Kwara-police-3The Kwara State Police Command has paraded two suspects in possession of over one hundred thousand rounds of ammunition en-route Oyo State State.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on the arms-laden truck, the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Salihu Garba, disclosed that two suspects, Abdulazeez Isiaka, a Nigerian and Amusail Amodu, a Ghanaian were arrested with the truck, adding that the ammunition was hidden in a compartment inside the truck.

Garba said a Mercedes Benz truck laden with 108,260 rounds of live cartridges was arrested at Kosubosu in Baruten Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner added that another middle-aged graduate of Industrial Engineering, from Samuel Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Oyo State, was arrested for possessing some highly sophisticated arms and ammunition.

The suspect, identified as Momoh Ogirimah, who said that the cache of arms and ammunition belonged to his late father, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Mr. Mohammed Momoh, who died while leading an operation with police team, as they were ambushed by Ombatse cults in Nassarawa State about two years ago.

The ammunition includes 133 pieces of 7.62mm ammunition, 28 pieces of 0.9mm ammunition, 22 pieces of 7.6mm ammunition, three bullet proof vests, one respirator, one complete set of body protector, three blasts, one hand grenade.

Others include 11 smoke cartridges, 86 life cartridges, 42 pieces of 5.56mm ammunition, two pieces of .36mm ammunition, 27 live rubber cartridges, 9 0.9mm rubber bullet and one anti-riot helmet.

The Commissioner  warned the youths and other residents in the state against illegal possession and use of firearms, adding that the police would strictly enforce ‘stop and search’ operations for motorcyclists, as he stated that several ferocious crimes in the state were perpetuated with the help of motorcycles.