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National Justice Summit: Tinubu demands performance, challenge Judiciary to take the leadp

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National Justice Summit: Tinubu demands performance, challenge Judiciary to take the lead


 * As leaders seek system that provides justice for all
…Akpabio wants ruling in interlocutory appeals reserved till conclusion of suit 
…. curbing of misuse of exparte order 

By: Michael Mike

Nigerian leaders on Wednesday has called for the enthronement of an effective justice sector that would guarantee quality and speedy dispensation of justice in the country.

Leaders who spoke at the opening of a two-day National Summit on Justice include President Bola Tinubu, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola,  Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN and representatives of the European Union, United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and others.

The event is been organized in collaboration with the European Union funded RoLAC II Programme of the International IDEA.

Declaring the summit open, Tinubu who was represented by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shetima, reiterated his committed to ensuring that the justice system in Nigeria is not just working but meets the aspiration of the people.

He said to that effect his administration upon coming on board has been working hand in hand with the Judiciary to uproot identified challenges in the sector.

While stating that the key challenge is how to address the claim that the justice sector is not responsive, he appealed to leaders of other arms of government to align with the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration.

According to him, immediately he assumed office, he moved to harmonize the retirement age of judicial officers and made the welfare of the Judiciary a priority.

Besides stating that the funding for the Judiciary was double by a 100%, the president disclosed that he recently approved a substantial improvement in the salaries of judges, which is pending at the National Assembly.

The president, who observed that the Judiciary has recorded some commendable achievements especially with the Child Rights Act and reform in the Correctional service, however emphasized the need for an effective justice system that would provide justice for all.

He specifically charged leaders in the justice sector to seek for new directions and “find solutions to problems facing the sector”.

He also challenged participants at the summit to come up with policies that serve the needs of all citizens both now and in the future, adding that there must be a concerted effort towards improving public trust in the sector.

While demanded performance from the sector, so as to provide a fair and just system for all, he assured that he will not interfere with the Judiciary, adding that he will continue to work with the bar and bench in ensuring Nigerians enjoy the dividend of democracy.

Also speaking, Akpabio observed that the summit is not just a forum for discussion but a call to action, adding that expert’s recommendations must be translated into effective policies that will address not only current inefficiencies but also future challenges. 

“I will not be telling the truth if I say that we at the National Assembly are not aware of the delays and backlogs plaguing our courts, which not only deny timely justice but undermine faith in our judicial system”, he said.

According to him these delays harm society’s most vulnerable and create an environment where justice is seen as inaccessible and inefficient.

The Senate President subsequently called for urgent reform in the approach of interlocutory appeals in civil cases. “Currently, these appeals often cause unnecessary delays, prolonging litigation and burdening our courts. As was done in the criminal jurisprudence during the enactment of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, we propose that all appeals in civil cases should be taken only after the conclusion of the substantive case. 

“This change will accelerate judicial processes, reduce backlog, and ensure that litigations are not unduly prolonged by intermediate appeals”, he added.

Another area Akpabio also claimed requires urgent reform is the need for obtaining the Attorney General’s consent before executing judgments. He observed that the requirement often acts as a bottleneck, delaying justice and undermining the autonomy of the judicial system. 

To that extent the legislators are proposing a replacement of the requirement for the Attorney General’s consent with a mandatory notification system. 

He said, “Upon receiving a judgment against the government, the relevant authorities will notify the Attorney General immediately in writing.

Following the notification, the Attorney General will have a specified period, say 30 days, to respond. The response could involve initiating an appeal or settling the matter directly. This timeline ensures prompt action and prevents undue delays in justice delivery.
 
“If there is no response from the Attorney General within this period, the judgment will be executed automatically. This measure is crucial to prevent stalling and ensure that judgments are respected and enforced in a timely manner. In cases where the judgment comes from a final court, the option to appeal is not available. 

“Therefore, the Attorney General’s response would be primarily directed towards settlement. This approach ensures that the government acts responsibly as a litigant and respects the decisions of our highest court in the land”. 

He claimed that reforms like this foster trust in the justice system and improve the overall efficiency of legal proceedings involving the government.

Another area he sought reform is the misuse of ex parte orders in political cases by judges.  He said to curb it,  it is imperative that the National Judicial Council (NJC) exercises stringent oversight and met out decisive punishment for judges who are found to abuse their authority in this manner.

“We further propose that the NJC establish clear and detailed standards governing the issuance of ex parte orders, accompanied by a defined set of sanctions for violations. These sanctions should be severe enough to serve as a deterrent against future abuses

“We recommend that the  NJC should conduct regular audits and reviews of ex parte orders issued by judges to ensure compliance with established standards. This proactive approach will help in identifying patterns of abuse early and in administering corrective measures promptly.

“In addition to punitive measures, we also emphasize the importance of ongoing training and education for judges on the ethical and responsible use of judicial discretion in issuing ex parte orders”, he added.

Meanwhile, in his remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria,CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola, lamented that justice is still a far reality for most Nigerians, and has therefore called for a critical look at the legal framework with a view of making necessary reforms.

Meanwhile, Ariwoola urged that the judiciary must leverage on technological innovation in order to address issues of corruption, inefficiency, and undue influence.

The CJN said that the judiciary under his watch, has recorded a significant milestone.

Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, said the justice sector under his watch will continue to push for mutuality in the formation and implementation of the national policy on justice.

According to him, the policy seeks to improve mechanisms for fair and speedy dispensation of justice; detention and correctional services; restorative justice; alternative dispute resolution (ADR) — developing Nigeria into an arbitration hub on the continent; commerce and economic activities; compliance with treaty obligations; synergy and cooperation across the justice sector; and independence of the judiciary; among others. 

“Regarding the emphasis on strengthening the independence and welfare of the judiciary, it is to be recalled that one of the cardinal items on the Renewed Hope Agenda of this administration is to drive judicial reforms to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth and investment, facilitated by the rule of law, and to address the challenges militating against judicial development in our country.. 

“One key theme that has been added to the National Policy on Justice is Justice for Children. This is in line with our commitments under various inter national, regional and national instruments on protection of children consistent with the guiding principles on the best interest and welfare of the child. The idea is to adopt deliberate and strategic interventions for dealing with children in contact with the law” he added. 

Also speaking, National Programme Manager, RoLAC II, International IDEA, Danladi Plang, observed that quality reform would attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment to grow the economy.

According to him investors would not want to come to a country where their money would be tied down. “When you go to litigation they ask somebody to pay money into the court until the case is determined. We have cases that have gone up to 10 years. No investor would want to come to a country like that. 

“So improving the efficiency of the justice system is important not only for commercial cases but also for criminals, we have seen many people detained for a very long time because their case has not been heard”.

National Justice Summit: Tinubu demands performance, challenge Judiciary to take the lead

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Potiskum market: Gadodomasun Fika seeks Governor Buni’s intervention

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Potiskum market: Gadodomasun Fika seeks Governor Buni’s intervention

By: Yahaya Wakili

Gadodomasun Fika Emirate Council in Yobe State, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Alele, has appealed to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni CON, to intervene in the construction of the Potiskum modern market.

“I will not forget the first tenure of His Excellency. During his campaign, we went round all of Yobe State, rural and urban, and he made promises to the people of Potiskum town, a modern market, because Potiskum is a center of commercial business in Yobe State. And by the grace of God, His Excellency has fulfilled his campaign promises.

Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Alele, who is also the former chairman of the NARTO Potiskum local government chapter, made the call in Potiskum while speaking to Newsmen on the one year of the second tenure of His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni CON.

Abdullahi Garba Alele further said that His Excellency Governor Buni laid the foundation stone for the construction of modern markets in Damaturu, Potiskum, Gashu’a, Nguru, Geidam, and Buni Yadi, and by the grace of God, all these modern markets have been completed and commissioning, and people have occupied them and businesses have raked off inside.

“But our own for Potiskum town, which has the longest history in business with a high population of people, businessmen, and farmers, but up to now this modern market has not been completed, the work has stopped as a result of what we don’t know, the contractor has abandoned the work. Therefore, we use this opportunity to appeal to His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni CON, to intervene and call on contractors to resume work on site.” Alele said.

The former NARTO chairman said that in the history of Potiskum, God blessed Potiskum with transports, because in the 774 local government councils that we have in the country, there is no local government that has transporters like Potiskum. We thank God, and we thank His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni for considering this thing critically. He constructed us a trailer park in Potiskum, and we thank him a lot.

“But I am assured to His Excellency that this project has stopped. Therefore, we appeal to His Excellency to intervene in this matter to complete these two projects before the end of his three years in office, so that people can benefit from this development. He prayed to Almighty Allah, and as His Excellency completed his five years successfully, we also prayed to Almighty Allah to guide and help him complete the remaining three years successfully.

Gadodomasun also commands His Royal Highness, the Emir of Fika, and Chairman Yobe State Chiefs, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Idrissa CFR, in his efforts to unite the people and the traditional rulers in Yobe State, and also prays to Almighty Allah (SWT) to give him health. He also prays to Almighty Allah to long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, long live Yobe State, and long live Potiskum local government.

Potiskum market: Gadodomasun Fika seeks Governor Buni’s intervention

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Defense industries: Senator Lawan meets Minister of state

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Defense industries: Senator Lawan meets Minister of state

By: Yahaya Wakili

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Defense, and President of the 9th Senate, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, Ph.D., GCON, Yobe North Senatorial District, has today met with the Minister of State for Defense, Dr. Bello Matawalle, MON, and his team to discuss the implementation of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Act 2023.

In a statement issued and signed by him on his official page, which was made available to newsmen in Damaturu,.

The DICON Act, which was signed into law by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in November 2023, is a major step towards enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces to produce their own equipment and reduce dependence on imports.

During the meeting, the minister of state for defense briefed me on the progress made so far on the implementation of the DICON Act.

“I commended the minister, members of his team, and other stakeholders present for the swift action taken to implement the DICON Act. I emphasized the urgent need to make DICON a catalyst for the industrialization of the defense sector in Nigeria.

The President of the 9th Senate pledged that the Senate Committee on Defense, which I chair, will continue to provide legislative support and oversight to ensure the successful implementation of the DICON Act. We believe that a vibrant and self-sustaining defense industry is essential for the security and prosperity of our nation.

Senator Ahmed Lawan also seized the opportunity to inform the minister and his team that the Senate Committee on Defense will embark on a familiarization tour of the ministry next week.

He urged the minister to leverage the expertise of Nigerian engineers, scientists, and manufacturers in the development of indigenous weapons and equipment. This will not only boost our national pride but also create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

The DICON Act has the potential to transform the defense sector in Nigeria. By working together—the Senate, the Ministry of Defense, and other stakeholders—we can make this transformation a reality.

Defense industries: Senator Lawan meets Minister of state

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FG intervenes in Travails of Nigerian students in UK Teeside University

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FG intervenes in Travails of Nigerian students in UK Teeside University

By: Michael Mike

A delegation, to be led by a representative of the Nigerian Embassy in the UK, Amb. Christian Okeke, leaders of the Nigerian Students Union in UK, will visit the Management of Teesside University to intervene on the allegations of unfair and unjust deportation order served on some Nigerian students, in the middle of their studies .

The decision was taken at the end of a virtual meeting held between Chairman/ CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Representative of the Nigerian High Commission UK, Amb. Christian Okeke, President, Nigerian Students Union UK, Mr Yemi Soile, and many of the affected students at the meeting on Sunday.

The affected students passionately narrated their ordeal and were optimistic of a positive intervention.

During the meeting , Chairman NIDCOM appealed to the students to remain calm and not to take laws into their hands while appealing to the University to treat the students with justice and fairness. Ambassador Okeke spoke in the same vein.

On May 22, some students of Teesside University from Nigeria staged a protest following the directives by the University authorities for them to leave UK on the allegations that some of the students defaulted in paying their school fees.

FG intervenes in Travails of Nigerian students in UK Teeside University

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