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

PHOTOS: Buhari In Closed-Door Meeting With 36 State Governors

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with state governors

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently holding a closed-door meeting with all the 36 state governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting is coming after members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) last week agreed to meet with the President as soon as possible to address the security challenges in the country.

See Photos Below:

 

Buhari In Closed-Door Meeting With State Governors

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in a closed-door meeting with governors at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Although details of the meeting have not been disclosed yet, the discussions may not be unconnected with the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The meeting comes a day after the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) held a meeting at their secretariat in Abuja. The meeting ended with the Chairman of the NGF, Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara, declining comment on the agenda.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Presides Over Extended National Economic Council Meeting

A presidential committee set up by the government under the leadership of a former head of service of the federation, Ama Pepple had earlier recommended that the new minimum wage should be increased from N18,000 to N30,000.

However, governors said they would not be able to pay that amount, and warned that they may have to cut jobs.

State Governors Storm Kano As Ajimobi’s Son Marries Ganduje’s Daughter

State Governors and dignitaries across the nation were in Kano today, November 10, at the introduction ceremony between Abolaji Ajimobi, son of the Governor of Oyo State and Fatima Ganduje, daughter of the Governor of Kano State.

The governors include Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Aminu Masari of Katsina State, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, among others.

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido and former governors including Niyi Adebayo, Adebayo Alao-Akala were also at the event.

See Photos below…

 

FG Supported States With N1.6tn In Three Years, Says Buhari

This file photo shows President Buhari during a meeting with state governors on August 25, 2017

In order to stabilise the polity, the Federal Government supported states with N1.641tn between 2015 and 2017.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his Independence Day broadcast on Sunday morning.

The amount was provided to the states in the form of Excess Crude Account loans (N200bn) in 2015; Budget support facility (N441bn) in 2016; and Stabilisation fund release (N1tn) in 2017.

“This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years,” the President said.

As part of efforts aimed at reviving the nation’s economy, the President said his administration remained proactive with its diversification policy.

He cited the Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme as an initiative that recorded outstanding success.

Launched in November 2015, President Buhari said N43.92bn has been released through the Central Bank of Nigeria and 13 participating institutions with 200,000 smallholder farmers from 29 states benefitting.

These farmers went on to cultivate a variety of crops including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, and groundnuts with some venturing into fish farming and poultry.

In the process, 233,000 hectares of farmland had been cultivated, according to the President.

“These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and the Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions,” President Buhari said.

“Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.”

Also, the President informed Nigerians that Since December 2016, his administration has produced over seven million 50Kg bags of fertilizer with 11 blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons reactivated.

“We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertiliser prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500,” he said.

In addition to that, the President said the Federal Government created a special window for manufacturers, investors and exporters’ foreign exchange requirements, which has proved very effective.

“Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments,” he said.

“The country has recorded seven consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilise, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.”

For President Buhari, another positive for the economy is an improvement in power supply.

He said, “Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all-time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.

“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.”

Sallah Celebration: State Governors Call for Unity, Peaceful Co-existence

 

As Muslims celebrate this year’s Eid-El-Kabir, many state governors have re-emphasised the need for national unity and continuous peaceful coexistence of Nigerians despite calls for restructuring by some group leaders.

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in his message admonished Nigerians to shun acts capable of disrupting the unity, togetherness and peaceful co-existence of the country.

Ajimobi, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka said, “Rather than engaging in acts capable of disrupting our peaceful co-existence as a people, I enjoin those who have issues with the current composition of the country to toe constitutional and lawful path in seeking redress.’’

The Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha while joining faithfuls to mark the Eid-El-Kabir celebration challenged them to be patriotic enough and pray earnestly for the prosperity and unity of the country and also for love for one another more than they had done in the past years.

The governor said those lacking faith in the unity of the country should try and strengthen such faith and advised Nigerians should begin to see the beauty of the nation’s oneness.

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls For Friendship, Unity In Sallah Message

While Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State called on all Muslims to  live a life of selflessness; religious tolerance, brotherliness and patriotism were the message from Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

Governor Tanko said, “As we are all aware, the feast of Eid-el-Kabir is a test of faith in commemoration of the sublime submission by Prophet Ibrahim (May Peace Be Upon Him) to the call for sacrifice. This, indeed, symbolises a call to all Muslims to live a life of selflessness, brotherhood, sacrifice and adherence to Allah’s commands.”

Governor Amosun, speaking at Lantoro eid ground in Abeokuta, the state capital called on Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his fight against corruption, and his quest to further develop the economy.

In  Adamawa State, during the Eid prayers, Governor Mohammed Jibrilla called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and also emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence.

Northern State Governors, Monarchs Meet Over Meningitis Outbreak

Northern State Governors, Monarchs Meet Over Meningitis OutbreakAn emergency meeting of State Governors and traditional rulers of the 19 northern states of the country has been held in Kaduna State.

The meeting was convened on Tuesday to discuss ways of tackling the meningitis outbreak that has claimed over 400 lives across Nigeria, most of them from the region.

The meeting, which was organised by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, seeks alternative ways of importing vaccines for the treatment of meningitis victims, and prevent further spread of the killer disease in the region.

Declaring the meeting open, the Sultan of Sokoto, who was represented by the Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, called on the Federal and State governments to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to strengthen primary healthcare system in the country.

He said the traditional rulers would support government’s effort in ensuring that the people get the needed medical attention to contain the spread of the disease.

“The traditional rulers of Nigeria, in coordination with stakeholders, will do all that is humanly possible to assist in ensuring that our people and members of communities are given the appropriate medical attention promptly, to avoid the outbreak of meningitis.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on the Federal, State and Local governments to put all hands on deck to ensure that appropriate measures are taken, to give the necessary prevention by way of immunisation and preventive drugs against the bacteria, so that our members of communities will be protected adequately,” the monarch said.

Jonathan, PDP Governors Meet To Perfect Election Strategies  

 Jonathan meets with state Governors

The President of Nigeria and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has met with state Governors elected on the platform of the PDP to strategise on how to win in the March 28 and April 11 general elections.

The meeting, which was held on Monday behind closed doors, started at about 5:30pm local time at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the chairman of the PDP Governors forum, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said it had become imperative for the party to let Nigerians know that so many sectors had been opened up under the President Jonathan’s administration far more than any previous administration.

He said the states under the PDP could not be compared to states under opposition, adding that his party must find a way to sell its achievements to the electorates.

Governor Akpabio then urged Nigerians to shun ethnic and tribalistic issues, stressing the need for them to focus on returning the President to power.

The meeting had in attendance most of the PDP Governors, led by Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.

After about two hours into the meeting, they were also joined by the PDP governorship candidates in all the 36 states.

President Jonathan had earlier in the day met with all the candidates of the PDP from the state House of Assembly, governorship and national Assembly election.

 

Federal Allocations: APC Governors May Drag FG To Court

Rochas OkorochaGovernors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may be heading to the court to ask the federal government to explain the several deductions from their federal allocations.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the governors in Abuja, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who is also the chairman of the forum, said that some states in the last few months have had about 40 per cent of the allocations deducted.

He described the deductions as illegal and that every constitutional means will be explored to ensure the deductions are stopped.

Other governors who attended the meeting include Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe state and the Deputy Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Umar Mustapha.

On the proposed National Dialogue, the governors said that the Party will make its stand known at the end of their National Executive Committee meeting, which is on-going at the Party’s National secretariat in Abuja.

Constitution Review: Senate Throws Out 6-Year Single Tenure, Autonomy For Local Councils

The Senate has thrown out the proposal of a six-year single tenure for the president and state governors.

It was not a surprising decision as the debate last week showed which way the lawmakers would swing.

On resumption of plenary this week, the lawmakers engaged in a clause by clause vote of areas for review in the 1999 constitution, an engagement which lasted for almost five hours.

They however adopted clause 9 of the draft bill which empowers the national assembly to make an entirely new constitution for the country.

They also adopted section 3a of the draft which rejects the president’s assent on the amended constitution before taking effect.

However, the lawmakers rejected autonomy for local governments, a move that comes across as surprising because many lawmakers during the constitutional review debate last week appeared to be favourably disposed to autonomy for local governments as 59 lawmakers voted for local government autonomy, while 38 voted against bearing in mind that 73 votes are needed for any clause to be passed.

The Senators also rejected the inclusion of the Attorney General of the Federation for first line charge and the separation of the office of the attorney general from the minister of justice.

In a vote that was taken twice, the lawmakers voted against the removal of prisons from the exclusive list.

The senators also endorsed life pension for the president and deputy president of the senate as well as the speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.

The recommendation that a bill automatically becomes law if the president fails to assent to it after 30 days of transmission was also approved.

However clause 4 of the bill caused controversy on the floor of the senate.

The committee recommended alteration of section 29 of the constitution that deals with the manner of renunciation of citizenship.

The constitution states that full age means eighteen years and above and the committee proposed a removal of part b of the clause which states that any woman that is married shall be deemed to be of full age.