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Calls for the Repositioning of PDSS made

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Calls for the Repositioning of PDSS made

By: Michael Mike

The Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) has been asked to be repositioned so that Nigerians everywhere in the country can effective access justice.

The call was made at a stakeholders meeting at the weekend in Abuja to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.

Experts at the occasion called for renewed understanding among police officers on how the PDSS supports the Police Force from investigation to court appearance.

Among those who spoke at the event include the former Inspector General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,, Lateef Fagbemi SAN; Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Aliyu Abubakar; Project Manager, Criminal Justice Reform, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC Phase II) Programme, Dr. Oluwatoyin Badejogbin among others.

The event which marked the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender Based Violence 2023, was organised by the European Union-funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC II) of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) in collaboration with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON).

In his opening remarks, the Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Aliyu Abubakar highlighted the benefits of the Scheme to include: fosterimg community policing and strengthening service delivery by the Police; increase protection and promotion of the legal and human rights of suspects and detainees; improve accountability and transparency in the Police Force; promote access to justice for the poor; vulnerable and marginalized persons; improve the quality of legal assistance and justice delivery in Nigeria and increase Nigeria’s compliance with her international human rights obligations.

He asked for cooperation from the Police hierarchy ahead of rolling out of the Scheme nationwide.

Delivering his keynote address, Arase noted that the introduction of the PDSS, in response to the imperative outlined in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), was a watershed moment in our commitment to safeguarding the rights of individuals in police custody.

According to the Police Service Commission boss, the gains achieved through the PDSS have been transformative, not only in principle but in tangible, life-changing ways.

He however called for a more comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses systemic issues within the country’s criminal justice system.

He said: “Historically, detainees faced prolonged periods in police facilities without access to legal representation, leading to routine violations of their rights. The PDSS, driven by a commitment to justice, has become a mechanism through which lawyers provide free legal services to detainees across Nigeria, ensuring that their rights are not only protected on paper but upheld in practice.

“While the success of the PDSS is evident in specific regions, there is a need for widespread replication and adoption. The lessons learned in Anambra, Edo, FCT, and Lagos should serve as a blueprint for other states, fostering a culture of legal responsibility and collaboration that transcends regional boundaries”.

On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,, Lateef Fagbemi, represented by Gladys Odigbaro, Director of Solicitor Department, Federal Ministry of Justice pointed out that the enforcement of Force Order 20 and other relevant provisions of Administration and Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) are commendable milestones in the concerted efforts to address the crisis of arbitrary, irrational and interminable pretrial (awaiting trial) detentions in the country.

He noted that the Scheme also comes with the advantage of preventing undue congestion of inmates in correctional facilities with the consequential benefit of saving government the resources required to maintain a large population of inmates or detainees.

The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, who was represented by AIG Shehu Gwarzo, said the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme as captured by Force Order 20, aims to contribute to the realization of the ongoing reform programme of his administration.

He said: “Force Order 20 addresses ‘free legal services for arrested and/or detained persons in police formations’ and institutes the PDSS as a country-wide mechanism for its delivery. It expands the provision of legal services in police stations by ensuring prompt access to Duty Solicitors for suspects. It implements the constitutional promise of access to counsel in police stations in Nigeria.”

On what informed the event, Dr. Oluwatoyin Badejogbin, Project Manager, Criminal Justice Reform, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (Phase II) Programme of International IDEA said it was aimed at establishing renewed commitment of the IGP to grant duty solicitors access to police detention centres as well as initiate renewed understanding among Police on how the PDSS supports the Police Force from investigation to court appearance.

Police spokespersons from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were among participants at the event.

Calls for the Repositioning of PDSS made

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The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee

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The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee

By: Michael Mike

The following is the full text of the statement.

Joint Statement of the First Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria

On June 21, 2024, H.E. Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, held talks with H.E. Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The two ministers co-chaired the first Plenary Session of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee.

The two sides reviewed the positive outcomes achieved since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria over the past more than 50 years, jointly planned the future development of the bilateral relations, exchanged views on China-Africa relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest, and reached wide range consensus.

The two sides agreed that over the past more than 50 years, China-Nigeria relations have withstood the test of changes in the international landscape and have become increasingly resilient and more robust. The two countries have developed a good tradition of mutual trust on political and diplomatic issues, mutual benefit in practical cooperation, mutual support in international affairs, and mutual learning in people-to-people exchanges.

Both countries pledged to support each other in their aspirations in various international fora, particularly the UN, G20 and BRICS.

The Government of Nigerian side acknowledges that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Nigeria opposes any separatist activities of “Taiwan independence” in any form, and any external attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and Nigeria will also support the efforts made by the Chinese government to realize national reunification.

The two sides agreed to work towards good governance and democratic values, peace, security and stability in the Sahel region and recognize Nigeria’s leading role in the fight against terrorism and other related transborder crimes. It was also agreed that necessary efforts towards ensuring economic viability of the region would be pursued through infrastructure development and sectoral cooperation.

China commends His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s leadership role in ECOWAS and his efforts towards bringing about stability in the region.

Both governments committed to intensifying efforts to protect the rights and dignity of each others’ citizens living in its country and create a business-friendly environment for their business.

The two sides agreed to support each others’ efforts to promote reunification, ethnic unity and social harmony, endeavor to enhance political mutual trust, and further support each other on matters related to its core interests and major concerns.

The two sides stressed the importance of the Forum on Chin-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to China-Africa relations and international peace and development and Nigeria supports China in hosting the 2024 FOCAC Summit.

The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral affairs and jointly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. The two sides advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and inclusive economic globalization that benefits all and jointly promotes building a community with a shared future for humanity. Nigeria applauds and supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping.

Both countries are dedicated to advancing the high-quality Belt and Road Initiative, facilitating synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and FOCAC conference outcomes, with the Renewed Hope Agenda and the Eight Priority Areas proposed by President Tinubu, and jointly promoting high-quality, practical cooperation in an all-around manner.

The two countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications, finance, agriculture, industry, mining and free trade zones. Both countries will jointly explore cooperation opportunities in fields such as digital economy, green economy and blue economy, and they will foster new growth drivers in cooperation.

The Chinese side is willing to expand imports of Nigerian agricultural products. The Nigerian side called for increased partnership in Mining and Solid Mineral development and expressed willingness to partner with Chinese companies to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria for local consumption and exports.

The two sides stand ready to create an open, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for the corporate cooperation between the two countries, strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, oppose trade protectionism, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The two sides support more Chinese and Nigerian provinces and municipalities/States and Local Governments in establishing more friendly relations and encouraging sister cities.

China expressed its commitment to support Nigeria in upgrading its science and technology in the military sector, equipment, and capacity building of intelligence to respond more effectively to traditional and non-traditional security challenges at home and aboard, as well as at the regional and international levels, and to safeguard peace and stability of the country.

The two sides are willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the departments in charge of military security, military industry and trade, and police enforcement, to enhance their capacity to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests, and make joint efforts to maintain regional and world peace.

The two countries restated their commitment to enhancing the mutual bond and friendship between the two peoples, mutual trust, interest sharing and common progress through mutual exchanges, mutual leaning and mutual understanding.

The two countries are willing to continue to build culture brands such as the Happy Chinese New Year, Chinese-Nigeria Culture Week, Chinese-Nigeria Film Festival, and Abuja International Art Fair. The two sides will strengthen mutual visits and exchanges between art groups and personnel, promote human resources training in the fields of culture and tourism, and support cooperation in the fields of creative culture between the two sides. The two sides will also strengthen cooperation in cultural and tourism fields such as publishing, film and television production, cultural heritage, libraries, museums, and tourism promotion.

The two sides confirmed their readiness to maintain regular contacts and close communication at all levels on convening the second Plenary Session of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee and Sessions of its Sub-committees.

The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee

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Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance

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Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance

By: Michael Mike

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mrs Kemi Nandap has appealed for the support of market women, youths and traditional rulers for proper monitoring and surveillance of Nigerian borders.

Nandap, in her appeal, insisted that their support has become imperative as critical stakeholders in managing the nation’s borders, especially the vast unmanned areas.

Nandap made the remarks during assessment tours to Nigeria borders towns and villages in Katsina and Jigawa States

A statement from the Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Kenneth Udo, revealed that the Immigration boss during her tour of duty took time out to visit former President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Emir of Daura Alhaji Umar Farouk.

He said during the tour, the CG visited the Fago Patrol Base, Daura Forward Operational Base and Kongolam Border control post as well as Magatari Control Post where she inspected the ongoing e-border projects and other facilities.

Nandap called on critical stakeholders at the border communities especially traditional leaders, youth leaders, transport unions and market women, to support the Service in safeguarding the country’s borders particularly in the vast unmanned areas.

She however warned the stakeholders on the dangers of transborder organised crimes such as smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons with particular emphasis on the need to always provide useful information on the activities of irregular migrants.

The CG while interacting with other security agencies, called for continued collaboration in the task of effective border governance, noting that, “a safe border is a safe nation”.
She urged border officers to display utmost professionalism in the discharge of their duties and to be extra vigilant in manning the borders.

She said the federal government is committed to improving the working condition of officers at the borders through provision of logistics, accommodation and continuous capacity building.

Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance

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FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States

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FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States

By: Michael Mike

The Federal Government has issued a flood alert in 15 states across the country.

The National Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Center of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja in the alert stated that the following locations and their environs are likely to witness heavy rainfall that may lead to flood within the period of prediction: 21st -25th June, 2024

The area include: Adamawa State : Abba Kumbo, Demsa, Farkumo ,Ganye, Gbajili, Jimeta, Mubi, Natubi, Shelleng, Song, Wuro- Bokki, Mayo- Belwa; Benue State : Agyo, Ugbokpo; Borno State: Maiduguri; Jigawa State: Hadejia; Kaduna State : Kauru; Kano State : Gezawa, Gwarzo, Kano, Karaye, Kunchi, Wudil; Katsina State: Daura, Jibia

Others are Kebbi State : Argungun, Bagudo, Bunza,Gwandu, Ribah, Sakaba, Shanga, Yelwa; Kogi State : Abejukolo, Omale,
Zugbe; Nasarawa State : Gidan Dogo, Keana, Lafia, Loko, Rukubi, Tunga, Udeni; Niger State : Magama; Plateau State : Langtang ,Wase; Sokoto State : Gagawa ,Goronyo, Isa, Shagari, Silame, Sokoto, Wamakko; Taraba State : Bandawa, Donga, Kwata Kanawa, Lau, Ngaruwa, Yorro; and Zamfara State: Anka, Bukkuyum, Gummi.

In another development, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Mahmud Kambari has called for the provision of safe, functional sanitary facilities and waste management materials in communities across the country, insisting that this is key to tackling infectious diseases in the country

Kambari stated this at the commemoration of National Environmental Sanitation Day in Piwoyi community Abuja, with the theme ”go green,stay clean, climate change is real” over the weekend.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Ministry of Environment, Mr Olubunmi Olusanya said provision of these facilities would go a long way in promoting public health and improving the sanitary condition of people leaving in rural communities.

Kambari called on the people in the community to clean their surroundings regularly so as to curb the spread of diseases like cholera, typhoid fever and Lassa fever

A representative of Breakthrough Action Nigeria, a non governmental organisation, Mr Jonathan Daku encouraged the rural communities to imbibe hygienic lifestyle, as dirty environment breeds infectious diseases.

Also,the technical Officer, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr Edwin Edeh pledged WHO’s support to the government in scaling up the exercise in all the 36 states of the federation including FCT.

The Esu of Piwoyi, Chief Tanko Bayago appreciated the ministry of environment and its partners for choosing the community and promised to continue with sanitation awareness in the community

Highlights of the exercise were a visit to the Chief Palace , clean up exercise of the community and the donation of cleaning materials to the community.

FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States

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