JUSUN Strike: Lawyers Hold Solidarity Protest Over Judiciary Autonomy

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Kaduna State have staged a peaceful protest in solidarity with the ongoing nationwide strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

Lawyers drawn from various branches of the association in the state came together on Wednesday and marched along the major roads in the state capital, holding placards with various inscriptions in support of the call for financial autonomy for the judiciary across all states.

They later took their protest to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the Kaduna State seat of power to meet with the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and plead with him to grant full autonomy to the judiciary.

A mild drama played out earlier at the entrance of the Government House when the lawyers engaged the security operatives guarding the gate in an argument.

Thereafter, the legal practitioners presented their protest letter to a representative of the state government for onward transmission to the Governor.

In separate interviews with Channels Television, the chairmen of NBA in Kaduna and Barnawa branches, Samson Audu and Abdullahi Yahaya, described the judiciary as the bastion of democracy.

They urged Governor El-Rufai to also appeal to his colleagues to grant autonomy to the organ of government in their respective states.

The protest by the lawyers in Kaduna, just as similar demonstrations in other states, is to prevail on the 36 state governors to respect the financial autonomy of the judiciary, as enshrined by the Constitution.

Judiciary workers across the country had commenced an indefinite strike on April 6 to demand the implementation of the constitutional provisions granting financial autonomy to the third arm of government.

The industrial action has grounded court activities for two weeks in all parts of the country.

Financial Autonomy: Lawyers Visit Lagos Govt House In Support Of JUSUN Strike

Members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) hold a solidarity protest at the Lagos House in Ikeja over the JUSUN nationwide strike.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch has held a solidarity protest with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to demand the implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

Led by its Chairman, Bartholomew Aguegbodo, members of the branch on Monday walked from the bar center of the Lagos High Court Ikeja to the Governor’s Office in Alausa.

The gate of the Government House was shut when they arrived but at least three different people came out to meet with the lawyers who insisted on handing over the letter containing their demands to the Governor, his Deputy, or the Head of Service.

The lawyers were later prevailed on to send their representatives to go into the government house to drop the letter.

Four of them including the Chairman went in while other members waited outside.

They were gone for less than 20 minutes and on arrival, the Chairman of the branch said the letter was received by a certain Mr Deji, the officer in charge of mails who would make sure that the Governor receives it. He also said they were fine with the arrangement.

Meanwhile, Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele has learned that four of the NBA Branches in the state, namely Lagos, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry have agreed to pay a “visit” to the Governors’ office on Tuesday in line with the directive from the NBA President, Olumide Akpata.

READ ALSO: Financial Autonomy: Security Agents Lock NASS Gate, Deny Protesting Lawyers Entry

The branch chairmen were said to have met over the weekend via WhatsApp to agree on modalities for the visit and have resolved to deliver a ‘joint letter’ to press home the demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary

Channels Television confirmed that efforts to make the Ikeja branch join the other branches in the visit tomorrow met a brick wall, as the branch insisted that it had resolved at its last monthly meeting to embark on a “protest march,” today, even before the directive from the NBA President.

The NBA had on Friday night directed its branch chairmen nationwide to mobilise their members and visit their respective state governors to demand the implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

In a press statement personally signed by its President, the association said “at the visit, the branches in each state are to present a jointly written demand to the state governors requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the judiciary.”

See Photos Below:

 

Lawyers March To NASS, As Judiciary Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association march in solidarity with the protesting JUSUN workers in Abuja, the nation’s capital. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Monday marched to the National Assembly in solidarity with judiciary workers who are protesting financial autonomy.

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demands has commenced a nationwide strike.

At the nation’s capital, the JUSUN workers converged on the gate of the court of appeal in Abuja chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards.

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association march in solidarity with the protesting JUSUN workers in Abuja, the nation’s capital. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Toping the list of demands is the issue of financial autonomy to the judiciary. They are also asking for the payment of peculiar allowances to their members.

JUSUN had since April 6, 2021, left the courts in Nigeria under lock and key because of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

The union had alleged that the Federal and State governments had over the years, declined to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.

JUSUN workers protest at the gate of the court of appeal in Abuja. PHOTO: Channels Television/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The NBA President had earlier on Friday directed its branch chairmen nationwide to lead “visits” to government houses in their states over the 36 governors’ alleged unwillingness to implement judiciary’s financial autonomy.

A statement by the president of the association, Olumide Akpata, directed the branch chairmen to lead the “visits”, which are more like peaceful protests, on Monday, and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy is met.

It urged the branch leaders “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.

 

See more photos from the protest below…

 

Judiciary Workers Strike: NBA Directs Members To ‘Visit’ State Governors

NBA president, Olumide Apata. Photo: [email protected] Akpata

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has directed its branch chairmen nationwide to lead “visits” to government houses in their states over the 36 governors’ alleged unwillingness to implement judiciary’s financial autonomy.

NBA President, Olumide Akpata, directed the branch chairmen to lead the “visits”, more like peaceful protests from Monday, April 19, and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy is met.

It urged the branch leaders “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.

The association said, during the visits, the branch leaders should “present a joint written demand to their state governors requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the judiciary.”

It also urged them “to ensure that these visits are embarked upon, every subsequent Monday, until there is full compliance with this demand that is aimed at strengthening our democracy and the dispensation of justice.”

 

SEE THE NBA’S FULL STATEMENT BELOW…

 

DIRECTIVE TO NBA BRANCHES TO VISIT THEIR STATE GOVERNORS AND DEMAND FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION ON FINANCIAL AUTONOMY FOR THEIR STATE JUDICIARY

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, we are now in the second week of the nationwide strike action and total shutdown of the Nigerian courts by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (“JUSUN”) which was embarked upon to press home the long-standing demand for financial autonomy of the Nigerian Judiciary. This demand for financial autonomy is legitimate, constitutional, and is in the best interest of the Judiciary as it is one of the key parameters for enthroning independence of the Judiciary and fostering democracy.

Prior to the commencement of the strike action, the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) while supporting the objective of the industrial action, had taken a position that the timing of the strike action would work a hardship on legal practitioners, and everyone involved in the justice administration process.

As a result, the NBA has since then been in touch with JUSUN and other critical stakeholders to discuss the strike action and various strategies for resolving the same in the interest of everyone concerned. For instance, in a bid to resolve the issue, the National Officers of the NBA had a meeting with the National Officers of JUSUN on Thursday, 8th April 2021 to properly strategize and synergize the age-long partnership of both bodies on the critical issue of achieving financial autonomy for the Nigerian Judiciary.

Furthermore, on 12th April 2021, the NBA leadership was in a larger meeting, comprising the leadership of JUSUN, Federal Government officials including the representatives of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Inspector-General of Police, the Presidential Committee on Financial Autonomy for the Judiciary, the Body of Chief Judges of States, the

National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Hon. Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige. After extensive deliberations, the meeting was further adjourned to Thursday, 15th April 2021.

Unfortunately, the said meeting was called off at the last minute and adjourned sine die.

It is also important to note that an earlier meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 14th April 2021 with the Nigerian Governors Forum did not hold as there was no feedback from the Nigerian Governors Forum, the most critical stakeholder on this issue.

With these developments and the recent actions and utterances of officials of some of the State Governments, it has become apparent that most of the State Governments are not ready or willing to implement the constitutional provisions which grant financial autonomy to the Judiciary.

After due consultations with several stakeholders, we have come to the inevitable conclusion that the NBA must take more decisive steps at this troubling moment. We must, as a body, act in consonance with the aims and objects of our Constitution, by effectively playing our role in the defence of the independence of the Judiciary which this fight for financial autonomy seeks to achieve.

In view of the above, the Chairmen of all the branches of the NBA are hereby requested to effectively mobilize their members and pay visits to their respective State Governors at the Government Houses on Monday, 19th April 2021 to press home the demand for implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary. At the visit, NBA Branches in each State are to present a joint written demand to their State Governor requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary.

The Chairmen of the NBA Branches are further requested to ensure that these visits are embarked upon, every subsequent Monday, until there is full compliance with this demand that is aimed at strengthening our democracy and the dispensation of justice. We trust that our members will give the leadership of their respective branches all the support that they require to achieve this much needed victory for our justice system.

OLUMIDE AKPATA

NBA PRESIDENT

Financial Autonomy: NBA Asks Judiciary Workers To Reconsider Timing Of Strike

A file photo of lawyers at the Supreme Court in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has appealed to the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to reconsider the proposed industrial action by its members scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

NBA President, Olumide Akpata, who made the appeal on behalf of the lawyers on Monday, described the decision of the judiciary workers to go on strike as commendable and laudable.

He, however, decried its timing and the devastating consequences it would pose for justice administration in the country.

Akpata decried that the strike was coming on the heels of prolonged lull in judicial activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforced lockdowns.

According to him, courts are trying to play catch-up for lost time and it will be catastrophic for the administration of justice for the courts to be shut down again due to the strike by JUSUN.

The NBA President also noted the adverse economic consequences of the strike for families and lawyers alike, who earn a living by providing various support services to the court system.

He stated that the NBA has reached out to JUSUN on the prospects of reconsidering the industrial action at this time.

Read the full statement by the NBA president below:

PROPOSED STRIKE ACTION BY JUSUN OVER FINANCIAL AUTONOMY FOR JUDICIARY: STATEMENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

The attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) has been drawn to the proposed strike action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (“JUSUN”), as contained in a notice issued by its General Secretary, I.M Adetola, dated 1st April 2021.

By the said notice, members of JUSUN across the Federation have been directed to down tools, effective from Tuesday, 6th April 2021, to press home JUSUN’s demands for enforcement of financial autonomy in the Judiciary.

The NBA is deeply worried that despite the clear provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered) which consecrate the autonomy of the Judiciary, the Executive arm of Government, particularly at the State level, has customarily refused to comply with the provisions of the Constitution, which are targeted at safeguarding the independence of the Judiciary.

The NBA is aware of the judgment of the Federal High Court of 13th January 2014 which unequivocally confirmed the autonomy of the Judiciary in line with the spirit and letters of the Constitution.

While that judgment was followed by a Memorandum of Understanding between JUSUN and relevant stakeholders under which parties agreed to conscientiously give effect to the judgement of the Court, that has not been the case for seven years after the landmark judgment.

This situation does not augur well for our constitutional democracy, as it suggests that members of the Executive arm of Government, who swore to uphold the principles of the Constitution, can flout it, with impunity.

The Judiciary is an equal arm of Government relative to the Executive and the Legislature, and its independence is fundamental to the effective discharge of its mandate under the Constitution.

A situation where the Judiciary literally begs for its resources from the Executive arm, as is currently the case across several States, cannot guarantee its independence and constitutes an affront to the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

The NBA is equally aware that the Executive Order No. 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the 20th of May 2020, which to a large extent, sought to address this constitutional imbroglio by treating the funds due to the State Judiciaries as a first-line charge, and requiring that the funds be paid directly to the Heads of Court concerned.

However, information available to the NBA shows that the State Governors have challenged the Executive Order, citing constitutional infractions.

The NBA is of the considered view that the provisions of Section 121(3) of the Constitution on the financial autonomy of the State Judiciaries are clear and do not really need the instrument of an Executive Order to give effect to them.

To the contrary, it is a simple matter of enforcement by the States as the Federal Government has admirably done in respect of the Judiciary at the Federal level.

However, as commendable and laudable as the proposed strike action may be, the NBA is concerned about its timing and the potentially devastating consequences it would pose for justice administration in the country, particularly coming on the heels of prolonged lull in judicial activities owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the enforced lockdowns.

Across the country, the Courts are trying to play catch-up for lost time, and it would be catastrophic for the administration of justice for the Courts to be shut down again.

This is not to mention the adverse economic consequences for families and lawyers alike, who earn a living in one way or the other, by providing various support services to the Court system.

For the avoidance of doubt, the NBA, as a leading stakeholder in the justice sector, and in keeping with its motto of promoting the Rule of Law is in support of the demands of JUSUN, and has been a constant voice of advocacy towards enthroning judicial autonomy.

But the timing of an action, is as good as the action itself.

Against the backdrop of the above, the NBA has reached out to, and is discussing with JUSUN on the prospects of reconsidering the strike action at this time, and will provide updates as discussions progress.

NBA Asks Obaseki To Review COVID-19 Curfew In Edo

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has asked Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to review the dusk to dawn curfew imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the state.

NBA in a statement issued on Monday by its Chairman, Pius Oiwoh, said the move is necessary because some security operatives have turned it into an extortion ring and a huge money spinner.

“The Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch appeals to the Edo State Government to urgently review the modus operandi of the curfew currently in force in the Edo State,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: Defence Headquarters Holds Summit Over Terrorism, Insurgency

“While lauding Government’s effort so far in reducing the spread of COVID-19 which is the raison d’etre for the curfew, it has however been brought to our attention that some members of the security forces have turned it into an extortion ring and a huge money spinner.

“This ridiculous and opportunistic behaviour by some security personnel has brought embarrassment to both residents and visitors in the state.”

The NBA said it had received many complaints about the activities of the security agents, particularly policemen.

While noting that a matron, who was conveying a diabetic student to St. Philomena Hospital, Benin was detained by the police on Friday night, the legal body said it took the intervention of Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, who had to personally come to the scene at Dawson Akpakpava to facilitate the movement of the matron and the patient to the hospital for medical attention.

It also asked the security operatives to be mindful of the fact many cases of injustice against Nigerians triggered last October’s #EndSARS protests, which led to loss of lives of many innocent persons and destruction of valuable property.

But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Bello Kontongs, denied the extortion allegation.

He explained that since the state government imposed a curfew, it is the duty of the police authorities to ensure it.

“There is an order by the state governor which stipulated that by 10pm, there has to be no movement.

“Being the Number 1 security officer of the state, that is the order her has given. The police have been given a marching order to enforce this order.

Anything that becomes a nature of enforce, people don’t like it because you have to use force not to allow people move within that period of time as the governor has directed,” he stated.

LeBron James Injury Rocks Lakers In Loss To Hawks, Depleted 76ers Cruise Past Kings

 

LeBron James crashed out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Saturday with a right ankle injury that will sideline the NBA superstar indefinitely.

The Lakers superstar collapsed to the Staples Center court in agony after a collision with Atlanta’s Solomon Hill in the second quarter, crying out in pain and clutching his right ankle.

The 36-year-old returned briefly to hit a three-pointer before limping back to the locker room, knocking over a chair in frustration.

ESPN later reported that an MRI scan revealed a high ankle sprain and that James faced an “indefinite” injury layoff.

Depending on the severity, high ankle sprains can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to recover from.

James did not speak to reporters, but tweeted later that he would return as soon as possible.

“Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates!” James wrote. “I’m hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left.”

A lengthy layoff for James would be a devastating blow to the reigning champion Lakers, who are already without star Anthony Davis as he recovers from Achilles tendon trouble.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge any time you’re undermanned,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But if you play team-first basketball and you defend at our level you’ll have a chance to win and that’ll be our mindset.”

Lakers team-mates Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell admitted that the sight of James leaving the arena was unnerving.

“We do forget he’s human sometimes, to see him in pain like that,” said Harrell, who was unhappy with Hill’s dive for the ball that led to James’s injury.

“We don’t feel like it was one of those basketball-type plays,” Harrell said. “He had to go through his leg to get the ball.”

With James missing, the Lakers offense struggled to get in the groove as the Hawks — fueled by 27 points and 16 rebounds from John Collins — notched their eighth straight victory, the longest active streak in the league.

The Lakers fell to 28-14 to remain in second place in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz.

The Hawks improved to 22-20, tied for fourth with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference led by the Philadelphia 76ers — who beat the Sacramento Kings 129-105 despite the absences of three injured starters.

Shortly before tipoff, the Sixers announced that Ben Simmons would be sidelined with a sore left knee.

Joel Embiid missed his fourth straight game with a bone bruise in his left knee and Seth Curry was out with a sprained left ankle.

Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Shake Milton added 28 points and Danny Green chipped in 18.

Despite the lack of star-power, the 76ers set an early tone, scoring 42 points in the first quarter. They led wire-to-wire, pushing their advantage to as many as 36 points.

The Milwaukee Bucks kept the accelerator down, notching their sixth straight victory 120-113 over the San Antonio Spurs.

Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and a season-high 15 assists to go with eight rebounds for Milwaukee.

Khris Middleton scored 23 points and Jrue Holiday added 21.

– Grizzlies bounce back –
In Memphis, the Grizzlies got the better of short-handed Golden State, turning the tables on the Warriors a night after losing to them with a 111-103 victory.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

Dillon Brooks scored 19, Brandon Clarke scored 16, Ja Morant chipped in 14 with eight assists and the Grizzlies clamped down defensively in a tight fourth quarter to get the win.

The Warriors were without Stephen Curry for a second straight game as he recovers from a bruised tailbone. Kevon Looney, James Wiseman, and Eric Paschall were all sidelined by coronavirus contact tracing.

LeBron Passes Durant For Lead In NBA All-Star Balloting

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  Meg Oliphant/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

LeBron James says playing an NBA All-Star Game this season would be a “slap in the face” for players but a lot of fans want to see him do it.

Los Angeles Lakers playmaker James overtook Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the overall lead in Thursday’s latest voting returns announced by the league for the NBA All-Star Game.

Despite his criticism of the idea, James surged into the lead in worldwide voting totals with 4,369,553 to 4,234,433 for Durant.

In initial voting returns announced last week, Durant set the pace with just over 2.3 million votes to 2.288 million for James.

The league has not yet confirmed there will even be an elite showdown of the Eastern and Western Conference superstars, but multiple reports say the NBA and players union agreed on staging it March 7 in Atlanta during a one-week break in the campaign.

James said last week he didn’t want to lose his mid-season break after leading the Lakers to the NBA crown on October 11 following the longest canmpaign in NBA history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NBA clubs then started pre-season training camps on November 10 and began the 2020-21 season December 22, a much shorter off-season than usual.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

 

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said last week. “I am not happy about it. If I am selected I will be there physically but not mentally.”

James, 36, noted players were told there would not be an All-Star contest when they agreed to start the season so soon after deciding the title in an Orlando Covid-19 quarantine bubble.

“It is pretty much a slap in the face,” he said.

Among other players who criticized the idea of staging an NBA All-Star Game were James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists a game for the Lakers while Durant is averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists a contest.

James set the pace for Western Conference forwards followed by Denver’s Nikola Jokic, a Serbian center, with 3,006,981 votes and Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers on 2,462,621 with Anthony Davis of the Lakers a close fourth on 2,329,371.

Among Eastern Conference forwards, Durant was followed by Greek big man Antetokounmpo on 3,282,478 and Cameroon star Joel Embiid of Philadelphia on 3,022,105.

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

– Curry leads all guards –
Among guards, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal set the pace for Eastern Conference guards on 2,528,719 with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving second on 2,104,130 and his backcourt partner on the Nets, Harden, third on 1,829,504.

In Western Conference backcourt voting, Golden State’s Stephen Curry led with the third-most total votes on 4,033,050 with Slovenian Luka Doncic of Dallas second on 2,484,552. Portland’s Damian Lillard was third on 2,095,157.

All top-three players remained in the same order at their positions as they enjoyed last week.

Worldwide fan voting will conclude on Tuesday. Starting lineup selections will be announced next Thursday and All-Star reserves chosen by NBA coaches will be named on February 23.

Fan balloting will count for 50% of a player’s total with current player voting and a media panel each contributing 25% to decide a final ranking for each individual.

 

NBA Sues Buhari Over Extension Of IGP’s Tenure

File photo of President Muhummadu Buhari decorating IGP Mohammed Adamu.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has filed a suit to challenge the extension of the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Suit with number FHC/L/CS/214/2021 is filed against the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.

READ ALSO: New Service Chiefs: We Are Operating In An Atmosphere Of Impunity – Falana

The NBA in a statement signed on Friday by its President Olumide Akpata said it is seeking a judicial determination of the constitutionality of the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure as the Inspector-General of Police for three months after Mr Adamu had, on 1 February 2021, attained 35 years of service as a member of the Nigeria Police Force.

The NBA said in its view, the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months is unconstitutional.

 

 See the full statement by the NBA below…

 

INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE – EXTENSION OF TENURE OF OFFICE

Distinguished Colleagues,

In fidelity to the motto of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which is Promoting the Rule of Law, on Thursday, 11 February 2021, the NBA-Public Interest Litigation Committee (NBA-PILC), on behalf of the NBA, commenced legal action at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/214/2021 (the “Suit”) against the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.

In the Suit, the NBA seeks judicial determination of the constitutionality of the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure as the Inspector-General of Police for three months after Mr Adamu had, on 1 February 2021, attained thirty-five years of service as a member of the Nigeria Police Force.

The NBA’s decision to take this extraordinary line of action is underpinned by an urgent need, and a sacred duty, to reassert the supremacy of the rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of Law Officers in Government to give proper counsel.

The NBA’s position in the Suit is that Mr Adamu ceased to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force when he attained the milestone of thirty-five years of service. Therefore, the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months, in the NBA’s respectful view, is unconstitutional.

In the grand scheme of things, the NBA is wary that the more government officials casually violate the law, the harder it would become to expect citizens to be compliant. Citizens take their cues from their leaders and public office holders who flout the laws of the country that they are meant to uphold will discover sooner or later that their examples will be followed by those that they purport to govern.

The ubiquity of acts of impunity, especially by those in high public offices, portends an existential threat to the survival of this country and her hard-won democracy. The NBA, now more than ever, is firmly committed to changing this narrative.

As the outcome of the Suit is awaited, the NBA will continue to condemn and confront lawlessness in any form and from all quarters.

OLUMIDE AKPATA

President NBA

Lebron Passes Durant For Lead In NBA All-Star Balloting

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 10, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP Adam Pantozzi / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP

 

LeBron James says playing an NBA All-Star Game this season would be a “slap in the face” for players but a lot of fans want to see him do it.

Los Angeles Lakers playmaker James overtook Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the overall lead in Thursday’s latest voting returns announced by the league for the NBA All-Star Game.

Despite his criticism of the idea, James surged into the lead in worldwide voting totals with 4,369,553 to 4,234,433 for Durant.

In initial voting returns announced last week, Durant set the pace with just over 2.3 million votes to 2.288 million for James.

The league has not yet confirmed there will even be an elite showdown of the Eastern and Western Conference superstars, but multiple reports say the NBA and players union agreed on staging it March 7 in Atlanta during a one-week break in the campaign.

James said last week he didn’t want to lose his mid-season break after leading the Lakers to the NBA crown on October 11 following the longest campaign in NBA history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NBA clubs then started pre-season training camps on November 10 and began the 2020-21 season December 22, a much shorter off-season than usual.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said last week. “I am not happy about it. If I am selected I will be there physically but not mentally.”

James, 36, noted players were told there would not be an All-Star contest when they agreed to start the season so soon after deciding the title in an Orlando Covid-19 quarantine bubble.

“It is pretty much a slap in the face,” he said.

Among other players who criticized the idea of staging an NBA All-Star Game were James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists a game for the Lakers while Durant is averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists a contest.

James set the pace for Western Conference forwards followed by Denver’s Nikola Jokic, a Serbian center, with 3,006,981 votes and Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers on 2,462,621 with Anthony Davis of the Lakers a close fourth on 2,329,371.

Among Eastern Conference forwards, Durant was followed by Greek big man Antetokounmpo on 3,282,478 and Cameroon star Joel Embiid of Philadelphia on 3,022,105.

Curry Leads All Guards

Among guards, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal set the pace for Eastern Conference guards on 2,528,719 with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving second on 2,104,130 and his backcourt partner on the Nets, Harden, third on 1,829,504.

In Western Conference backcourt voting, Golden State’s Stephen Curry led with the third-most total votes on 4,033,050 with Slovenian Luka Doncic of Dallas second on 2,484,552. Portland’s Damian Lillard was third on 2,095,157.

All top-three players remained in the same order at their positions as they enjoyed last week.

Worldwide fan voting will conclude on Tuesday. Starting lineup selections will be announced next Thursday and All-Star reserves chosen by NBA coaches will be named on February 23.

Fan balloting will count for 50% of a player’s total with current player voting and a media panel each contributing 25% to decide a final ranking for each individual.

Pele’s Tribute To Late Maradona, Diop’s Death And The Biggest Sports Stories Last Week

Diop scored the country’s winning goal against France at the 2002 World Cup. Photo: [email protected] Online.

 

Barely a week after the death of Argentine legend, Diego Maradona, the football world was once again, thrown into mourning with the demise of Senegalese World Cup hero, Bouba Diop, aged 42. 

He netted three goals for the Teranga Lions as they cruised to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup in their maiden appearance in the competition, kicking off a week that saw Brazilian legend, Pele penning an emotional farewell to Maradona, a winner of the 1986 World Cup.

Even though activities are picking up in most parts of the world following the halting of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports personalities are still testing positive for the disease with Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton and 48 NBA players the latest in the long-list to have contracted the virus.

On First Eleven, a recap of the biggest eleven stories this week, the EPL and EFL are also mulling measures to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are saying there is a financial adjustment to the games billed for next year in the Asian nation.

 

1. Senegal World Cup Hero Diop Dies At 42

Barely a week after the demise of legendary soccer star, Diego Maradona, the football world was thrown into another bout of mourning. Bouba Diop, the former Portsmouth star who scored Senegal’s lone goal in the famous defeat of the then-world champions, France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup died on Sunday from a long illness.

“FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop,” the world football governing body said in a statement confirming the death of the 42-year-old player who was popularly called ‘The Wardrobe.’ “Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”

Diop also played for French club Lens, Fulham, West Ham United and Birmingham City and was part of the Senegal side that lost to Cameroon on penalties in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations final.

2. Pele Pens Message To ‘Great Friend’ Maradona

 

In this file photo taken on June 09, 2016 former Argentinian football international Diego Maradona (L) and former Brazilian footballer Pele pose after a football match organised by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot at the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, on the eve of the Euro 2016 European football championships. PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

 

A week after the death of Maradona, Brazillian legend, Pele wrote an emotional farewell message to his “great friend” and “genius who enchanted the world”.

 

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A post shared by Pelé (@pele)


“The world would be much better if we could compare each other less and start admiring each other more,” Pele posted on Instagram alongside a series of photos with him and the Argentine maestro. “So, I want to say that you are beyond comparison,” said the three-time World Cup winner.”

Both did not play at the same time but they have always drawn comparisons from football fans. At the turn of the millennium when Pele was crowned “Player of the (20th) Century” by FIFA while Maradona won a public vote.

3. Tokyo Olympics To Cost $2.4b More

 

The Olympic Rings are pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020, as doubts increase over whether Tokyo can safely host the summer Games amid the spread of the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP.

 

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have said the postponed games will cost an extra $2.4bn, ballooning an already controversial budget.

They said the Tokyo 2020 Games will need an additional $1.5 billion for operational costs, with another $900 million to be spent on countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cost may equally move up with the organisers on Friday noting that more $250 million in “contingency” funds will be released to help cover the expenses.

4. Lewis Hamilton Tests Positive For COVID-19

Formula One World Drivers Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on November 03, 2019, in Austin, Texas. Dan Istitene/Getty Images/AFP

 

Multiple Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton has joined the long list of sports personalities to have contracted  COVID-19, meaning he missed this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“He woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive,” a statement from Hamilton’s Mercedes team said, explaining that the British man is isolating in line with COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines in the Asian nation.

The team noted that Hamilton who had been tested thrice the past week had returned negative.

5. 48 NBA Players Contract COVID-19

 

In this file photo taken on March 12, 2020, an NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP).

 

From Hamilton to the US, more sportsmen and women have continued to test positive to COVID-19. The NBA on Wednesday said after its latest round of testing, 48 players had contracted the virus, a dramatic increase over the zero positive tests reported during last season’s quarantine bubble in Florida.

The league said the positive tests are the result of 546 tests carried out between November 24-30 as the NBA gets set to begin preseason games in nine days. The zero positive tests were from the beginning of last season’s quarantine bubble to the end of the season in mid-October.

Under the league’s new COVID-19 protocols, a player who tests positive has to refrain from workouts for at least 10 days and more if he is showing symptoms. The NBA’s first preseason games are December 11 with the regular season scheduled to begin less than two weeks later.

6. EPL, EFL Roll Out COVID-19 Package

 

premier-league-fixtures-today
The Premier League was put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

The Premier League and the English Football League agreed a £250-million rescue package on Thursday, ending months of uncertainty for lower-league clubs struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL said clubs in Leagues One and Two — the third and fourth-tiers — would receive grants worth £50 million ($67 million). The Premier League will provide a further financial commitment to help the EFL secure a £200-million loan facility for clubs in the second-tier Championship.

It follows months of negotiations between the two governing bodies, who had been criticised for their failure to reach an agreement.

7. IOC Presidency: Bach To Go Unopposed

 

In this file photo taken on January 10, 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a press conference in Lausanne.  Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Thomas Bach will stand unopposed to serve a second term as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president.

Bach, a 66-year-old German lawyer, is set to be confirmed for a second and final four-year term at an IOC session in March in Athens. He was initially elected for an eight-year term as Olympic chief in September 2013, taking over from Belgian Jacques Rogge. If re-elected, Bach’s term will end in 2025, a year after the Paris Olympics.

The next term for the IOC presidency will start after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will now take place from July 23-Aug 8, 2021, having been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

8. LA Lakers: LeBron James Extends Contract

 

In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Reigning NBA finals MVP LeBron James, who will turn 36 this month, has agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent Rich Paul confirmed on Wednesday.

The extension means James will make $39.2 million next season and will be a Laker through the 2022-23 season, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported Paul as saying.

James will also make $41.1 million in 2021-22 and $44.5 million in 2022-23. By the time his contract ends, he will have played two decades in the NBA. Last season, James averaged 25.3 points and led the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game.

9. Champions League: Woman Makes Refereeing History

French referee Stephanie Frappart gives a yellow card to Dynamo Kiev’s Ukrainian midfielder Nicholas Shaparenko (C) during the UEFA Champions League Group G football match Juventus vs Dynamo Kiev on December 2, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal in a 3-0 win for Juventus over Dynamo Kiev.

The 36-year-old Frappart has already made history as the first woman to referee in Ligue 1, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.

Meanwhile, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain suffered mixed fortunes as the group stage of Europe’s elite competition enters its latter phase.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after he scores his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on December 2, 2020.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Dortmund was held 1-1 by Lazio while Brazillian star, Neymar bagged a brace to hand PSG a 3-1 win over English giants, Manchester United. A depleted Liverpool side beat Ajax 1-0 to move to the next stage of the competition.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid have their hopes of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League hanging in the balance after going down 2-0 away to the Ukrainian side, Dynamo Kiev.

 

10. UEFA Mulls 10-Game Model For Champions League 

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA is to hold talks over proposals that would see the Champions League group stage transformed to guarantee 10 matches for each side in the competition, according to a report on Tuesday.

Champions League reform is expected from 2024 onwards as European football’s governing body aims to ward off the threat of a breakaway super league from the continent’s biggest clubs.

British newspaper The Times reported that a “Swiss system” that would see all sides in the competition compete in one league and play 10 different opponents, selected by a draw, is now UEFA’s favoured model for reform.

11. Women’s Rugby W/Cup Teams Increased

 

A file photo of World Rugby logo.

 

World Rugby has announced an increase in the number of teams in the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup, expanding the number of sides to 16 teams from 2025 onwards.

The decision, taken by the Rugby World Cup Board in 2020, is a confirmation of World Rugby’s resolve to speed up the women’s game globally via its transformational women’s strategic plan of 2017-25. Women’s rugby has experienced record growth in recent years, with women and girls now accounting for 28% of the global playing population.

Your Biggest Sporting Story? 

In a week that saw action from the Champions League, the Europa League, the death of Senegalese World Cup hero, Diop, and other thrilling events, sports enthusiasts undoubtedly had an exciting week.

From football, and tennis, to basketball and athletics, what could you describe as your biggest sports story this week?

 

 

 

 

Police Act 2020 Full Of Prescriptions, Lacks Accountability Framework, Says NBA President

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata, has called for better ways to hold erring police personnel accountable for their actions in the country.

He made the call on Thursday during his appearance on a Police Reform Townhall organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), in collaboration with Channels Television.

Akpata believes while the efforts to pass and sign the Police Act 2020 into law are commendable, the Act lacks some vital components.

“In this new Act, there does not appear to be a clearly laid out accountability framework, and that for me is a major concern.

“The Act is full of prescriptions; it is loaded with prescriptions as to what standard operating procedures should be regarding policing,” he said.

The NBA president added, “There are no consequences for bad behaviours and rules that govern how a policeman will be held accountable for their actions.”

He stressed the need for grassroots policing, saying it was important for the police to gain the trust of the citizen who they protect.

NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, speaks during a townhall on police reform on Channels Television on December 3, 2020.

 

Akpata advised the police authorities to lead the enlightenment campaign aimed at educating the people as to what their rights were, as contained in the Act.

He stated that this was important in gaining the people’s trust, as the implementation strategies for the Police Act 2020 would determine its success.

The legal practitioner said, “The ever-widening trust deficit between the police and the citizens that they are meant to be protecting; speaking as a lawyer, I also know that this cynicism is a function of even just the relationship between the police and lawyer, you will be shocked to find out how abysmal that relationship is at the moment.”

“The trust between the police and even the lawyers has broken down, not to talk about police and the citizen.

“I am hoping that if we get those implementation strategies right, we should be able to arrive at our promise land,” he added.

NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, answering questions from Channels Television political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, during a townhall on police reform on December 3, 2020.