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The National Judicial Council (NJC) may on Friday forward the names of 11 successful candidates for the position of Supreme Court justices to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointment.
It also gathered that 22 priority and reserved candidates were shortlisted and screened on Tuesday at the Committee Room of the NJC in Abuja from 9 am to 6 pm.
The priority candidates include Justice Jummai Sankey, Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Mohammed Idris, Justice Abubakar Umar, Justice Chidiebere Uwa, Justice Obande Ogbuinya, Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu, Justice Moore Adumein and Justice Habeeb Abiru.
The names of the reserved candidates are Justice Muhammad Sirajo, Justice Ridwan Abdullahi, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, Justice Abubakar Talba, Justice Balkisu Aliyu, Justice Abdullahi Bayero, Justice Onyekachi Otisi; Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Justice Biobele Georgewill, and Justice Oyewole Kayode.
Speaking to The PUNCH, a source at the National Judicial Council said that the names of the shortlisted justices were cleared by the various security agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) and police before they were forwarded to the NJC.
The source said the names should be forwarded to President Tinubu after the NJC plenary.
The source said: “The screening was done today (Tuesday). It started at 9 am and lasted till 6 pm. The screening of justices was held in the committee room of the NJC. Their names were earlier sent to security agencies for clearance before they came to the NJC.
“The interview committee comprising members of the council is the one conducting the screening for the shortlisted justices. That committee is headed by the second in command, which is Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun.
“The council will meet, and the names of successful candidates will be ratified. After the plenary, the names of the ratified justices will be immediately sent to the President. The plenary should be concluded at most in the next two days.”
Naija News understands that the NJC guideline for the appointment of justices to the apex court stipulates that the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission/Committee is expected to come up with a provisional shortlist on the merits.
The list is to consist of not less than twice the number of judicial officers intended to be appointed at the particular time and circulate the provisional shortlist together with a request for comments on the suitability or otherwise of any of the shortlisted candidates.
The list is then forwarded to the NJC for its consideration of each of the short-listed candidates.
The candidates who have been shortlisted shall undergo an interview by the NJC to ascertain his or her suitability, after which the names of the successful candidates are forwarded to the President.
There is no respite in sight for university workers under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, who are agitating for the release of their withheld salaries resulting from last year’s industrial action.
DAILY POST reports that the union last week lost its suit against the federal government over the salaries withheld for the period they were on strike in 2022.
The development came after the National Industrial Court, NIC, dismissed the case filed by ASUU against the Minister of Labour and Employment and the Accountant General of the Federation.
ASUU was on strike which lasted for eight months in 2022 over issues revolving around revitalisation of public universities and a review of lecturers’ salaries and allowances, among other matters.
After several meetings and efforts to resolve the strike ended inconclusively, the federal government headed to the National Industrial Court to challenge the union’s action.
In its ruling, the industrial court granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike pending the determination of the substantive suit.
However, early in November last year, when they returned to work, the members of the union were bewildered following the payment of half salaries for only 18 working days in October to its members by the federal government.
The development followed the federal government’s insistence on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy when the university workers were away from their duty posts.
The then Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had said that the lecturers were paid in pro rata for the number of days they worked, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action.
The National Industrial Court further upheld the no work, no pay rule when it ruled in the suit filed by the federal government against the ASUU.
The union had demanded salaries of members from February 14 to October 7, 2022, when the strike was called off.
But according to the court, it was within the right of the federal government to withhold salaries of workers who embark on industrial action.
In June this year, ASUU filed a separate lawsuit against the federal government over what it described as discriminatory, unfair and illegal treatment of its members.
The suit was filed by Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, on behalf of ASUU.
The union asked the court to determine whether having paid the salaries of members of the Joint Staff Union, National Association of Resident Doctors and lecturers in the Medical Facilities/Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State during the period of industrial actions, the decision of the defendants to withhold the salaries of the members of the claimant from February to October 2022 was not discriminatory and illegal.
The union also wanted the court to determine “whether the members of ASUU were not entitled to payment of their salaries for the months of February to October 2022, of which their members were on strike.
While ruling on the matter last week, the President of the NIC, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, dismissed the case on the basis that it was an abuse of court process, frivolous and vexatious.
Justice Kanyip also awarded the sum of five hundred thousand Naira (N500,000) payable by ASUU to the Attorney-General of the Federation within 30 days.
“This stance is further reinforced when the supporting affidavit of the instant suit is considered. In paragraphs 6 to 12 and 15 of the affidavit in support of the instant suit, the Claimant recounted what constitutes the work of a lecturer, how the strike it embarked upon does not abrogate the responsibilities of its members as lecturers, how, despite that the defendants refused to pay its members their salaries for the period of the strike, how the strike continued thereby, how the teaching job component of their job was only restored upon the orders of this Court and the Court of Appeal, etc. These were matters ASUU ought to have canvassed in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/270/2022 if they had filed their defence processes. But ASUU ‘strategically’ chose not to.
“ASUU accordingly has itself to blame for all these ‘strategic’ blunders. It cannot, by the instant suit, re-litigate a suit it deliberately refused to file a defence to. To do so would be re-litigation through the backdoor. I so hold,” the court ruled.
Recall that before the court judgement, President Bola Tinubu had last month approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order against ASUU members.
According to the presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu approved the grant of the waiver with a mandatory requirement that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding establishing that the exceptional waiver granted by the President would be the last one to be granted to ASUU and all other education sector unions.
Ajuri said the waiver would allow for the previously striking members of ASUU to receive four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary which was withheld during the eight-month industrial action undertaken by the union.
He said Tinubu invoked the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy, seeking to “mitigate the difficulties being felt during the implementation of key economic reforms in the country, as well as his recognition of the faithful implementation of terms which were agreed upon during the deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
Findings by DAILY POST indicated that the union was not amenable to the condition attached to its members receiving the four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary.
A top official of the union told DAILY POST that signing the agreement would amount to ‘slavery.’
He said the union would never relinquish its rights because of the withheld salaries.
Speaking to DAILY POST about the matter, the ASUU UNN branch chairman, Comrade Nobert Oyibo Eze said the government was yet to reach out to the union concerning the eight months’ backlog of salaries – a fallout from last year’s strike.
He also said that the national body of ASUU has not come out with any statement on the recent court pronouncement on the matter.
Eze said that the leaders must consider the interest of the people for things to work well in the country.
He further warned that ‘‘it is going to be worse for this country if the courts are no longer doing what is proper’’.
He said, ‘‘As far as the idea of four months salary and signing documents are concerned, ASUU has not received any official communication from the government. And the truth of the matter is that we have done the work. And you cannot deny us our salaries after we have done the work.
‘‘You see, the problem with the Nigerian system is that we have a political class that is hypocritical, that is self-centred and extremely wicked.
“Why would they want to answer a doctor and a professor and claim they have attended university, which they did not? They claim all sorts of titles from the educational sector, they want to be doctor, professor; they want to claim they have the degrees. So, education is good to them but they cannot fund it in this country. What exactly is the government of this country doing?
“Recently, it was reported all over the place about the N160 million they appropriated to each one of the members of the National Assembly to buy bulletproof vehicles. So, they are the only ones to be secured.
‘‘The major salary they are paying the workers, they cannot pay it. Whenever it comes to their own, there would be money.
“I read somewhere two days ago about how N104 billion was sandwiched, smuggled into the budget as an end of the year parting gift, where a senator will take N300 million and a member of the House will take N200 million.
“Whenever it comes to their own needs, there would be money. But when it comes to taking care of the workers who generate this money, they will be talking about empty treasury. Are they talking to kids?
‘‘President Tinubu said during his campaign that if he becomes the president of this country, he will make sure that he stops strikes in the university by ensuring that whatever the universities need to be functional that he provides them.
“Since he took over as the President, has he called the members of the union to dialogue? Why do we have this type of system where the people, the masses who are working are being crushed?
“Today, we are buying a litre of fuel at N700, how much is our salary? A professor’s salary cannot feed him summarily for two weeks.
‘‘I want to tell them that if they want things to work in this country, they must consider the people. If all of us die, who are they going to govern?
“Why is it that our political class is self-centred? Other governments are pumping money into the system to have a state-of-art-university. Here in Nigeria, they are busy proliferating universities, which they don’t fund. The health sector is sick.
“I’m saying, unless they pay those salaries, things will not work well in the universities. And they are even using the eight months salaries, which we have worked for as a cover because the major issues why we went on strike, nobody talks about it anymore.
“We went on strike because our take-home-package can no longer take us home. This salary we are receiving today, they were negotiated and effected in 2009. What is the exchange rate now compared to 2009?
“What is a professor in Nigeria earning when you convert the dollars to naira? It is a shame that our people go to places where things work, they send their children overseas to study because things are working well there.
‘‘Why is it that the people who are now in government, those who went to the university, who enjoyed bursary award, free education, federal scholarship cannot even give scholarships, cannot even pay salaries?
“All over the place, the primary and secondary schools are crying. Then come to the universities, colleges of education and polytechnics.
‘‘Nobody is enjoying the strike. If they uplift the system, strike will stop. As long as they continue to play politics, we will continue to go on strike.”
When asked to comment on the court judgement, he said, ‘‘The courts are no longer the hope of common persons. I cannot address that issue because the national body has not come out with any statement.
“You see, they are using courts to do whatever things they want to do. The court is not helping the situation. Nigerian people don’t believe in court any more.
“It is going to be worse for this country when the courts are no longer doing what is proper; nobody will be interested in going to court.
‘‘We did our work. There is no question…Are they saying we did not work?
“After the strike, we went back and made sure that every lacuna was closed up. JAMB has continued to admit people because we are teaching.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sought the Senate approval to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to execute critical projects across the country.
The figures put together amount to N7, 097,738,729,598.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Daily Trust reports that the fresh loan request will add over N7 trillion to the national debt, which stood at N87.38 trillion as of June 2023, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
The $8,699,168,559 at the prevailing exchange rate is equal to N7, 009,268,074,728.66; while €100m equals N88, 470,654,870.00.
When added to the existing total public debt of N87.37trn, the debt profile will rise to over N94 trillion.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cut across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government to deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The House of Representatives Committee on Health on Tuesday raised concerns over the decline in the country’s health manpower.
The committee disclosed that due to the relocation of doctors and nurses from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to various parts of the world, five wards comprising 150 beds have been shut down. LUTH is Nigeria’s premier health training institution.
Chairman of the committee, Dr Amos Magaji, described the situation as worrisome saying the legislative arm is working toward nipping the increasing rate of Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism in the bud.
He said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s heath system affirming that “the japa syndrome will be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.”
Speaking during an oversight visit to LUTH, Idi-Araba, the health committee chairman reiterated that “Nigeria as a nation has found itself in a precarious moment, especially in the healthcare system where japa has taken centre stage. We used to have japa only for nurses, and doctors, but now it has even gone to many departments in the health sector.
“We saw significant problems here. Right now, there are about five wards in LUTH, totalling about 150 beds that have been shut down because there are no nurses and doctors to work in those wards. And these are a result of the ‘japa’ syndrome we are having.
“As a committee, we will work together with the Federal Government and also with the teaching hospital to find a way out of these national embarrassments that have befallen this country.
“It’s not something that can be fixed in one day, but nevertheless, we are going to be approaching it piecemeal. We are going to do what we can do immediately and what we can do long-term approach to it.
“So, by the grace of God, some of the issues of the ‘japa’, we are actually looking at how to solve this problem, starting even from the enrollment in universities, and then how house officers are employed, and then of course, the residency programme.”
“They have sacrificed so much for Nigerians to be healthy, for us to get proper health care. Our hands are on deck, and then that was the reason why if you were here earlier, you discovered that some of the key questions and some of the key things we attended here were things that have to do with delivering affordable and accessible health care to Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Wasiu Adeyemo told the lawmakers that the cancer centre of the university teaching hospital has treated over 9,600 patients since it was commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Professor Adeyemo added that citizens of other countries in Europe, Africa and America now visit the centre for treatment and urged Nigerians to patronise the facility just as he commended the federal government and the House of Rep for the supports LUTH enjoys in providing quality healthcare for Nigerians.
The embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, will spend both the Christmas and New Year Day celebrations behind bars.
This is as he failed to meet his bail conditions on Tuesday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) charged Emefiele with six counts bordering on alleged breach of procurement procedure in the award of the contract to April1616 Investment Limited.
In August, the anti-graft agency had first charged Emefiele and one Mrs Sa’adatu Yaro and April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belong to Mrs Yaro, on alleged breach of the procurement Act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.
However, the arraignment could not go on because of the reported ill health of Yaro.
When the matter was called on Friday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, drew the attention of the court to an amended charge dated Nov. 8, 2023.
In the new charge, Emefiele was the sole defendant and the charge reduced from 20 to six, to which Emefiele pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed trial, Shamsudeen Abulili, the first prosecution witness, an officer of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) gave evidence on how the company April 1616 Investment Limited was incorporated on August 1, 2016 with RC : 1350837and tendered several documents on how the company was floated.
He read out before the Court names of the shareholders of the Company which comprised Aminu Idris Yaro, with 500,000 shares, Maryam Aliyu Abdullahi, 350,000 and Saadatu Yaro , 150, 000.
The witness, led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said that Emefiele’s name was not in anyway connected with the company.
The witness explained that although CAC was responsible for incorporation of the company, it however has no roles in the day to day running of affairs of the entity.
The second witness, Remigious Ugwu, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank told the court on how various sums of money in millions of naira were paid by the CBN into the April1616 Investment Limited.
Specifically, he told the court how on Oct.19, 2020, a sum of N39, 060, 465. another N421, 953, 488 on Nov. 6, 2020 and the third one N304, 883, 720 was paid on Nov. 23, 2020 to the same company by CBN.
Similarly, he said that N304, 883, 720 was paid on January 1, 2021 and another N304, 883, 720 paid the same company on March 23, 2021 by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He admitted that non of the payments has any link with Emefiele’s name while also that he did not know the purpose of the payments.
The witness who tendered various documents on behalf of the bank said that the former CBN governor was not a signatory to the bank account of the company.
The third witness, Oluwole Owoeye, a Deputy Director, Banking Services with CBN and former Secretary to Major Contract Tendering Committee MCTC of the CBN said that his body was responsible for ensuring of compliance with Procurement Act told the court by CBN in the award of contracts.
When cross examined by Emefiele ‘s counsel, Matthew Burkaa, SAN, Owoeye informed the court that his committee was not involved in the vetting of bidding for the award of contracts that led to prosecution of Emefiele.
The witness explained that another committee handled the bidding because it was above the thresholds of his own Committee
“My Lord, all I know is through our records is that contracts for award of vehicle supplies were awarded to April1616 but I cannot say whether the contracts were executed or paid for because my Committee played no role”
He admitted that MCTC and Procurement Department were fully functional while Emefiele held sway as CBN governor.
After listening to these testimonies , Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until January 18 and January 19, 2023.
The Nigeria Correctional Service, Enugu State Command says it has registered 1,137 inmates for the National Examination Council of Nigeria external exams in the last 12 years.
The Controller of Corrections in Enugu State, Mr Nicholas Obiako, disclosed this on Tuesday in Enugu to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The controller said that 124 inmates were taking the ongoing NECO external examination at the Special Study Centre within the Enugu Custodial Centre.
Obiako noted that the three custodial centres in the state, comprising Enugu, Nsukka, and Oji River, had been doing well as far as the educational pursuit and formation of inmates were concerned.
According to him, there are currently 124 inmates writing the NECO examination, which is one of the highest among inmates in custodial centres in any given state in the county.
“For over many years now, our inmates come out with excellent results as we invest heavily in grooming them right from the primary and secondary school classes and quality adult education classes in the centres.
“Most of those who will make their result in their chosen field of study will seek direct admission to the university through the National Open University of Nigeria that has a study centre in Enugu Custodial Centre.
“For those that cannot continue, they will be enrolled into various vocational centres – tailoring, leather, iron, wood works etc – and they will be groomed to pass a trade test examination for certification before graduating from the vocational training,” he said.
Obiako also lauded the Controller-General of Corrections, Mr Haliru Nababa, for his administration’s focus on education as a viable tool for reformation, re-orientation, and reintegration of the inmates back into society.
“The Nigeria Correctional Service under Nababa’s watch has committed available resources to ensure that inmates develop themselves while in custody, to ensure self-reliance and public protection even after their stay in the custodial centre,” he added.
A Deputy Controller of Corrections in charge of Operations, Mr Kelvin Iloafonsi, said that the education pursuit and obtaining of certificates while serving had led to zero recidivism among former inmates that schooled within the custodial centres.
Iloafonsi said that the zero recidivism recorded was the brain-child of the Controller-General of Corrections, Mr Nababa, to ensure pragmatic reformation solutions.
“I must commend our hardworking and resourceful C-G of Corrections, which has created the enabling environment for inmates to study and also improve on their academic proficiency.
Iloafonsi, who is also the Desk Officer of the National Open University of Nigeria, said that some NGOs, such as the Catholic Prisoners’ Interest Organisation and others assisted in the education of the inmates.
“They have been an immense help to us since the inception of educational reforms and, in fact, the ongoing 2023 NECO exams; CAPIO registered about 90 per cent of the 124 inmates writing the exam and other public-spirited individuals took care of the rest.
“We are asking for more NGOs to come to the aid of the inmates and partner with us to help teach them how to fish and become responsible when they are released,” he said.
Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced plans to open passport front offices in several key cities across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales), within the next three months.
During an appearance on the Tuesday edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, the minister addressed the challenges faced by Nigerians in the diaspora when renewing their passports at foreign missions.
“I think there are only two places where we have this challenge now, realistically. I think in the UK, precisely, London and in the US — precisely, in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians,” Tunji-Ojo admitted.
Focusing on the UK, where numerous notable cases have been documented, the minister contended that the sole remedy to address the challenges would be the establishment of passport front offices in strategic cities by February 2024.
“There is no quick fix. But we have ensured Nigerians that by February next year, we would have opened our front offices such that we’ll have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales, and Scotland,” the minister said.
“So, once we have this, definitely, it will reduce the stress of Nigerians, it will reduce the waiting period, and of course, it will bring efficiency into the whole passport procurement system.”
Tunji-Ojo explained that the problem existed “because we have only one passport office in the entire United Kingdom“.
He clarified that Nigerians living in outlying cities like Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, Belfast (Northern Ireland), and Manchester or Birmingham faced the necessity of travelling to London for passport renewals due to the lack of passport offices in these areas.
Highlighting the substantial Nigerian population in the country, the interior minister emphasized the need to assess the immigration office’s daily capacity and the volume of passport requests, noting the importance of addressing the growing demand.
The Nigerian government revealed that it allocates a daily expenditure of N3 million to provide meals for inmates in prisons nationwide, emphasizing the need for decongesting custodial centres nationwide.
This financial commitment underscores the urgency of efforts to alleviate overcrowding in detention centres across the country.
Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who took office a few months ago, has actively pursued initiatives to reduce the congestion in prisons. A planned release of approximately 4,000 inmates is underway as part of these measures.
The minister emphasized that, given the current count of 80,804 inmates housed in 253 custodial facilities, the substantial cost of providing meals for prisoners significantly impacts the Federal Government’s financial resources.
“So, before you go on, let me say this. You look at the economy of scale. To feed these 4,068 inmates costs the government about N3 million a day. Multiply N3 million a day by 365 days,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
‘What Is The Justification?’
Prior to the decongestion initiative, the minister disclosed the necessity of N500 million to cover fines for inmates, thereby enabling their release.
While this action sparked debates, human rights lawyer Femi Falana urged the Federal Government to reconsider the plan.
Olubunmi, however, clarified that the funds were sourced from the private sector. He argued that a comparative analysis indicated that paying the fines for the inmates was a more viable option.
Since the funds were not drawn from the government’s purse, he asserted that proceeding with the decongestion drive made practical sense.
“It means we raised N585 million from the private sector to offset these fines and compensations to save the government of average of N1.1 billion per annum in feeding. That’s just the economy of scale,” he added.
“So, to me, what is the justification behind feeding somebody with N1.1 billion why holding him for N585 million, especially when that N585 million isn’t coming from the government?”
[PRESS STATEMENT] Construction Of Flyovers and Roads in Delta State by Julius Berger: Delta APC’S Condemnation of Governor Oborovweri Is Misplaced and Politics Taken Too Far - Igbini Odafe EmmanuelWritten by Admin
I have just carefully read in some leading media publications, the content of a Press Statement reportedly issued yesterday by the Delta State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) in which the Delta State Chapter of APC accused or alleged that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori inflated the cost of construction of three flyovers in Effurun near Warri, to the tune of fifty billion naira (N50 billion), claiming that yet, the project would not be completed in 8 years. It further alleged that these three flyover projects awarded to Julius Berger Construction Company are not only a ruse but a conduit pipe to fleece Deltans of over N78 billion.
I also carefully read the comparison made by the Delta State APC, between these projects by Governor Oborovweri and some Projects embarked upon by governors Zulum, Wike, Sanwo-Olu and Ben Ayade, with which Delta State APC tried to reinforced its claim that the about seventy-eight billion naira (N78b) approved for these projects by governor Oborovweri is to defraud Deltans of fifty billion naira (N50b) through Julius Berger Construction Company.
While I commend the Delta State APC for reacting to the amount approved for these projects in order to ensure that there is accountability and justification for money spent by Governor Oborovweri, I am however unable to see any cogent and verifiable proof from the Delta State APC to buttress these serious allegations of fraud it made against Governor Oborovweri.
From my knowledge as an Engineer and with my experience in construction of roads, flyovers, bridges and other related road projects, only detailed and careful analysis of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) approved for such Projects marched with the actual Site evaluation for the projects, can tell whether or not there is any element of inflation of cost or attempt to defraud citizens. Sadly, the APC did not make any reference to the approved BEME for these projects.
Secondly, all projects are not exactly the same and therefore not expected to cost the same amount. There are variations even though within similar environment like Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States of the South-South Geopolitical Zone, there should not be wide variations among these States particularly if the projects are handled by the same company, in this case, Julius Berger. Here again, the Delta State APC did not tell Deltans what it cost former Governor Wike and Governors of Akwa-Ibom to construct exactly or similar Projects by the same Julius Berger Company.
Thirdly, the Delta State APC did not show any evidence of how Governor Sheriff Oborovweri had planned to use an internationally reputable company like Julius Berger Company to defraud Deltans of a huge sum of money to the tune of fifty billion naira. This is a very serious allegation with very serious implication not only for Governor Oborovweri but for the corporate image and integrity of Julius Berger Company that Delta State APC is under strict obligation to prove beyond reasonable doubt otherwise it stands to lose it credibility before the people of Delta State.
Fourthly, the Delta State APC did not make any attempt to first commend Governor Oborovweri for breaking what had appeared to be a jinx in Delta State Government where no previous Delta State Governor ever contracted Julius Berger to construct roads, drainages, bridges and flyovers in Delta State. It is a fact known to Delta State APC that even when majority of its leaders were still Chieftains and top government Appointees of Delta State under PDP, Deltans were consistently demanding that Julius Berger Company be awarded Contracts to construct major and critical roads, bridges, drains and flyovers rather than awarding contracts for such mega projects to some very incompetent and ill-equipped local contractors who end up executing shoddy jobs that lead to collapse of such projects few months or few years after their claimed completion or in some case, are left uncompleted and abandoned.
It is also an inconvertible fact known to Delta State APC that the dual carriage road from PTI Junction to NPA, Warri, being a trunk A Road under an APC-led Federal Government has been a death trap to Deltans and Nigerians using it daily because of many failed sections on this stretch of about few kilometers. I would have expected that the Delta State APC exploits its access to President Buhari and now President Tinubu and the former and current Minister of Works, to demand as matter urgent public importance, that this very critical road be rehabilitated and regularly maintained.
In conclusion, I hold so honestly as a major stakeholder in affairs and governance of Delta State, that the only intention of the Delta State Chapter of APC to issuing its Press Statement and making the serious allegations that it made with no cogent and variable proof, against governor Oborovweri is to discredit the laudable effort by the governor which vast majority of people of Delta State have been celebrating and thanking the governor for.
This condemnation and allegations are also misplaced and politics taken too far in the retrogressive direction. Our good people of Delta State particularly those from the Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial Districts that produce the oil wealth of Delta State have suffered for decades because of lack of mega projects of these international standard to be constructed by Julius Berger. I had expected the Leaders of Delta State APC to be physically present at the venue of the flag-off ceremony yesterday to encourage and support governor Oborovweri to do much more for the overriding interest of all Deltans irrespective of our political affiliations.
I must remind us all, that political campaigns are over and election is also over. It is now time for Good Governance for the benefit of our good people of Delta State. We all therefore have moral and constitutional duties under section 24 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, to make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of our beloved Delta State
President Bola Tinubu will, on Wednesday, depart Abuja for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to attend the COP28 Climate Summit, also known as the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28).
At the World Leaders' Summit, which takes place on December 1 and 2, 2023, under the theme, "Unite, Act, and Deliver," President Tinubu will deliver a national statement, highlighting Nigeria’s stance on various thematic issues, including renewable energy and climate financing.
Mindful of the severe impact of climate change on Nigeria, such as desertification, flooding, erosion, drought, and national security risks arising therefrom, President Tinubu will maximize the opportunity afforded by the platform to advocate increased financial and technical support for developing nations, while reminding developed countries of their public pledge to provide $100 billion annually for support to localized initiatives to address climate change-related challenges.
The President’s message will also focus on holding businesses and institutions accountable, reflecting Nigeria’s dedication to sustainable and responsible practices.
The Nigerian delegation to COP28 will actively explore establishing new and deeper bilateral partnerships to implement Nigeria's Energy Transition, Article 6 Projects, Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), Technology Transfer, Capacity Building, and Methane Mitigation.
While in Dubai, President Tinubu will actively participate in key sideline events, which will further support the advancement of his avowed commitment to aggressively attract foreign direct investment for enhanced wealth creation and revenue expansion in the country, in addition to other events hosted by the Nigerian delegation.
The President, who will be accompanied by senior government officials, is expected to return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit.
Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
November 28, 2023
The Deputy Speaker of the Bauchi House of Assembly, Jamilu Umaru Dahiru Barade has been sacked by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
Naija News reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker was sacked days after nullifying the election of the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly.
The 3-man panel of Justices, in a judgement delivered on Monday, set aside the judgement of the Bauchi State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which earlier affirmed the election of Barade as the duly elected member representing Bauchi Central State constituency.
The court therefore ordered a rerun election in some polling units in the constituency, where the appellant, Aliyu Abdullahi Ilela, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), alleged over-voting.
The court further directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to retrieve the Certificate of Return earlier issued to the Deputy Speaker and conduct a rerun election in the affected polling units before determining the eventual winner.
The State and National Assembly Appeal Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday affirmed the election of Governor Siminalayi Fubara in the March 18 2023 governorship election.
The Appeal Court in a unanimous decision dismissed four separate appeals filed by Tonye Cole of All Progressive Congress, Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party, Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement, and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.
The court held that all the Appellants failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The court also faulted the tribunal for dismissing Tonye Cole’s appeal on the ground that APC sponsored him and had withdrawn the petition against Governor Fubara’s victory.
The appellate court further held that the fact that APC withdrew its petition against Fubara’s victory does not prevent its candidate, Tony Cole from pursuing his appeal.
[PRESS RELEASE] ’Ansar-Ud-Deen Has Built an Enduring Legacy' — Sanwo-Olu Salutes Islamic Society At 100Written by Admin
- Governor receives leaders of religious organisation
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has felicitated the Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria for sustaining the legacy of its founding fathers 100 years after the Islamic organisation was founded in Lagos to propagate conventional education among Muslims during colonial era.
The Governor, on Monday, received the Society’s delegation led by its national president, Dr. Rafiu Sanni, at the State House in Alausa as part of the ongoing consultations by the missionary group to celebrate its centenary anniversary.
Sanwo-Olu said he was no stranger to the progressive ideals and guiding the activities of the Islamic movement within communities it had established its roots, noting that his personal contact with the Society came during his formative years in Surulere where Ansar-ud-Deen ran a grammar school.
The Governor said Ansar-ud-Deen gained prominence and stood tall among Islamic organisations, given the influence its reformist values had on young Muslims towards training them to be upright and attaining intellectual development.
He said: “I have come with contact with Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria right from when I was a toddler. Right behind the house I was born in Surulere is Ansar-ud-Deen Grammar School. I grew up with the idea that Ansar-ud-Deen was the only Islamic society until I started coming in contact with other religious movement. This goes to show the positive influence Ansar-ud-Deen had in my community and other communities where it has established its own identity.
“Ansar-ud-Deen gained prominence in our communities and is still standing tall today because of the incredible work to build upright society through education and religious values that produced outstanding Nigerians who are well respected in our country today. The Society has stood the test of time in terms of discipline; 100 years on, Ansar-ud-Deen has remained focus on its guiding principles and ideals of its founding fathers.”
Sanwo-Olu commended the missionary leadership for building on the foundation bequeathed to the Society, urging members of the movement to work together and maintain spirit of brotherhood rooted in the Society to sustain its cherished legacy.
Dr. Sanni observed that the story of the Society would not be told without Lagos being mentioned in significant details, noting that the missionary group had its birth in the State when it was difficult for Muslims across the Yoruba-speaking parts of the country to get conventional education.
Ansar-ud-Deen, its national president said, has over 600,000 members in Lagos, noting that the Society had been playing its part to promote development of the State.
“Ansar-ud-Deen Society, over the last 100 years, has produced prominent personalities in the society, while have continued our missionary work towards reforming young people in our effort to improve the society’s value system,” Dr. Sanni said.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
27 NOVEMBER 2023
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, during the Supreme Court’s legal year and inauguration of SANs ceremony on Monday, gave his final legal year speech ahead of his retirement.
He spoke on law, justice and the role of Senior Advocates Of Nigeria (SAN) in Nigeria’s development during the 2023 legal year celebration held in Abuja on Monday.
Ariwoola noted the ceremony, including the swearing in of 58 SANs, is the last legal year he will be presiding over before retiring.
He admonished brother justices and judges across the nation not to be moved by public opinion but that they should make decisions based on the law.
The CJN also said the judges owe the society a great duty of always deciding cases without fear or favour, affection or ill will and friend or foe.
He maintained that the law remains the law, no matter whose interest is involved and that judges should endeavour to separate emotion from logic and assumption from fact while deciding on cases.
“For the umpteenth time, I wish to honestly assure all judicial officers that if you are discharging your functions as an upright judicial officer by genuinely following the norms, then you have no cause to be afraid or feel intimidated by the often frivolous complaints or vitriolic attacks made by persons having vested interest.
“However, I expect every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the Bar, and discharge all your judicial functions with all humility at your command.
“Even while doing this, it is still necessary to have at the back of your minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before you,” Olukayode charged the judges present.
He explained that judges should never be “overwhelmed by the actions or loud voices of the mob or crowd” and now begin to confuse law with sentiment.
He applauded the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) inaugurated in 2018 by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice W.S.A Onnoghen, for helping in fast-tracking the trial of corruption and financial related crimes in the country.
“The Committee, which is headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justice Suleiman Galadima, CFR, has been working assiduously with various heads of Courts, to ensure that there is a remarkable rise in the dispensation of corruption and financial crime cases in the country.
“With the impressive effort they put in during the last legal year, some commendable results were achieved in the disposal of cases.
“This achievement was brought about as a result of increased and continued vigilance of the Committee. The two leading anti-graft agencies in the country have also been trying to amplify the war against corruption.
“The ICPC was able to successfully secure a total number of 10 convictions while the sister agency, EFCC was able to secure 1,094 convictions within the same period under review,” he added.
On the part of the Supreme Court, the CJN revealed it presided over 1,271, comprising of motions and appeals, from the 12th day of September, 2022 to the 11th day of July, 2023,
“Out of these, we heard 388 political appeals, 215 criminal appeals, and 464 civil appeals.
“Similarly, the court considered a total number of 49 criminal motions, 153 civil motions, and 2 political motions.
“Between the 30th day of September, 2022 and the 11th day of July, 2023, the Supreme Court delivered a total number of 251 judgments.
“Out of these, 125 were political appeals, 81 were civil appeals and 45 were criminal appeals.
“Within the period under review (precisely 10 months’ duration), a total number of 91 Rulings were delivered by the Honourable Court,” the CJN added.
To the new SANs, the CJN told them that following their inauguration, they have automatically become members of the Inner Bar and Apostles of the Temple of Justice.
“As Senior Advocates of Nigeria, you now carry heavy burden on your shoulders. From the moment you leave this Courtroom, everything in you and about you will now be freely scrutinized and dissected by everyone that comes in contact with you.
“There is nothing like private life for you henceforth, as whatever you hitherto regarded as private life will now be treated as public life by members of the public; and there is nothing you can do about it,” the CJN charged them.