Why Governors must respect judicial autonomy – NBA

The Ado-Ekiti branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has insisted that state governors must respect the provisions of the 1999 Constitution on the contending issue of full autonomy for the Judiciary.

The legal body regretted that the closure of courts across the country had not only debased the country’s democracy, but adversely affected the fortunes of the legal practitioners, urging the governors to swiftly accede to the request of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to resolve the conundrum.

The NBA also urged the Federal Government to convene a roundtable discussion, where all stakeholders could  meet, ruminate and proffer solutions to the senseless killings and kidnappings of innocent Nigerians.

The NBA, Ado Ekiti Branch, said these in Ado Ekiti at a news conference heralding the 10th Annual Law Week being held in honour of a Legal Icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN).

The Branch Chairman, Mr Adeyemi Adewumi who gave the theme of this year’s Law week as: “The 21st Century Lawyer: Integrating Business Skills with Legal Knowledge”, said: “The Courts are shut due to the strike by JUSUN, who are agitating for the implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary.

“And to attain  true separation of powers, the other arms of government; judiciary and legislature must be weaned from the breast of the executive, that is, become independent in all wise, particularly financially.

“This is the only way public perception can become re-engineered towards trust for the judiciary and the legislature.

“Section 81 (1) and 123 of the 1999 Constitution as Amended,  guarantees financial autonomy to the judiciary.
“Meanwhile, following the refusal of government to implement this autonomy, JUSUN and Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, had sued the government in two different cases at the Federal High Court, where both cases were won.

“Pursuant to the judgment, the Federal Government had eventually complied when the President issued the Executive Order 10,  which authorised the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct the fund standing with the credit of the judiciary in the consolidated revenue of each state.

“This was challenged by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

“It is a pity that government had allowed this issue to degenerate to the level where courts and legislative houses have to be shut before the right thing is done.

“Thus, the NBA is in solidarity with the demands of JUSUN on financial autonomy for the judiciary,  notwithstanding the temporary pains this industrial action may cause to lawyers’ welfare or work.

“We have resolved to stand by them because we believe in this cause for the good of all. We, therefore call on the government of Ekiti and indeed all state governments to attend to this matter with the urgency it deserves.

“Lawyers are the worst hit by the closure of courts  and we are calling on government to please adhere to our request.

“They should follow what the law says concerning financial autonomy to the judiciary, this is not even about executive order, but our Constitution,” he said.

Adewumi said Nigerians and recognised groups should be bold enough to demand for justice for those whose lives were being wasted like they did during the  protests against the scrapped Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

He added: “We are just praying that something would happen that will stop these senseless killings.

“Government should look into this issue, it is a terrible one and  all of us too must be security conscious. We must come to the roundtable, because it is getting bad on daily basis.

“From the North to the South and everywhere, the rate of banditry, kidnapping, killings and destruction has skyrocketed without any seemingly clear pathway to curtailing them.

“Despite the efforts of security forces, we still hear of kidnappings and killings on a weekly basis.

“Where do we go from here? Shall we continue to sleep with one eye open? Shall we continue to travel with our hearts in our mouths?”, the NBA boss asked?

Speaking on the Annual Law Week, Adewumi,  said the Ooni of Ife,  Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi would  chair the Are Babalola Public Lecture to be delivered by Prof. Tayo Oke.
Source: Ashnews Online

​Bandits in rush to make more money, Buhari tackling issue wrongly – Gumi

Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Monday, disclosed the reason Nigerians are witnessing a rise in the activities of bandits.

Gumi said most bandits were in a hurry to make more money before security agents close in on them.

Speaking exclusively with DAILY POST, the Islamic cleric said the rush was responsible for the increase in abduction and demands for ransom.

Stressing that most bandits have laid down their arms, Gumi disclosed that just a few fragments are carrying out attacks.

According to Gumi: “What is happening is like when you spray an insecticide in a room infested by mosquitoes, there would be an initial reaction, which is what is happening. There is an uncoordinated pressure from both sides on bandits; maybe that is why it’s now producing the results we see.

“But what I think is happening is that nobody spoke to them to draw attention to their problem, so they are terribly divided.

“Most of the bandits we spoke with have put down their arms and are ready to resume negotiation. On the other hand, there are some few others who are saying ‘we will overtake them so in the meantime, we will make the most gain of the system’ that is why they are so much in a hurry that they now kill their victims, they now want payment of ransom done quicker than when they had enough time and the forest to themselves.”

Gumi also blamed the issue of banditry on previous governments, including the current administration.

He insisted that the long marginalization and neglect of herdsmen was responsible for the surge in banditry.

“The long process of neglect by previous administrations of herdsmen, complete neglect, marginalization, and nobody showing concern about their plight has led to what we have now, so in that case, I blame all the previous governments.

“This government should tackle this issue the right way; they are trying to tackle the problem the wrong way, thereby making the matter worse,” he added.

Source: NewsBalance

​World Press Freedom Day: ActionAid Nigeria Says FG Must Work To Improve Its Record Of Repression Of Media, Journalists

ActionAid Nigeria, has called on the government and other stakeholders in Nigeria to use the opportunity of the World Press Freedom Day to take action to improve on the country’s appalling record of repression of the media and journalists.

In a statement by ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Ene Obi, to commemorate the 2021 world Press Freedom Day, Urged the Nigerian Government to Uphold Its Commitment to Create A Safe and Favorable Environment for Human Rights Defenders, Journalists and Civil Society groups to operate.

Obi Specifically appealed to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to review some of the stringent terms and conditions gagging or threatening press freedom and the rights to freedom of expression by citizens.

She stressed that in line with this year’s World Press Freedom Day theme: “Information as a Public Good,” NBC should liberalize media social actions because “we also affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good.

The statement reads in part “It is vital to have access to reliable information, especially in an era of misinformation. Additionally, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the governors of the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT should make strong commitments to end attacks on the media and journalists while increasingly expanding the space for free speech and respect for the rule of law. 

More importantly, she maintained that media proprietors must also ensure improved welfare package for journalists in Nigeria.

“ActionAid Nigeria, a humanitarian non-governmental organization working to promote human rights, combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria calls on Nigerian government to uphold its commitment to create a safe and favorable environment for Human Rights Defenders, Journalists and Civil Society. Speaking in Abuja, the Country Director, Ene Obi said “The freedom of the press is one of the essential cornerstones of a democratic society.

“But, in Nigeria, there has been a consistent and dangerous attempt by both state and non-state actors to breach not only local and international statutes guaranteeing the essential freedom of expression but to expurgate and censure the media and journalists while doing their legitimate duties”.

“In a report released by Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) on November 13, 2020, it was found that a total of 160 journalists were attacked in Nigeria between 2018 and 2020.

“The PTCIJ’s report indicated that the repression of the media and journalists in Nigeria ranges from physical attacks, arrests and detentions, unconstitutional legal proceedings, repressive laws, and cyber-attacks amongst others.

“In another recent report on Nigeria titled, “Climate of Violence,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked the country at 120th position in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index and stated that “Nigeria is now one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists, who are often spied on, attacked, arbitrarily arrested or even killed.”

“At its last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2018, the Nigerian Government had made a commitment to protect and promote freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and to create a safe and favorable environment for human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society.

“Unfortunately, these commitments have not translated to action by government as many cases of impunity against the media and journalists have led to the poor rating the country has received.

Source: enduring news