President Muhammadu Buhari has advised Nigerian lawyers against sacrificing the integrity of the nation’s legal system for covering the misdeeds of their clients no matter how lucrative the brief may be.
The president spoke in Abuja yesterday while declaring open the 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
He described the ability to manipulate and frustrate the legal system as the crowning glory of the corrupt which, he said, had left many legal practitioners and law courts tainted in an ugly way.
“The fight against corruption is in reality a struggle for the restoration of law and order. Corruption and impunity become widespread when disrespect for law is allowed to thrive in society. Disrespect for law also thrives when people get away with all sorts of shady deals and the court system is somehow unable to check them,” he said.
Buhari, who asked lawyers to support his government’s anti-graft war and help Nigeria return to the path of rectitude by making Nigerian courts functional and effective again, said he was convinced that law, lawmakers, lawyers, law courts and law enforcement agencies have pivotal responsibilities to discharge, for the change sought to materialise.
The president said his government would fully support the implementation of the required legal reforms if convinced that they are in the best interest of Nigeria.
He said Nigeria must make her courts functional and effective again by having lawyers who take the ethics of the profession very seriously and who will not frustrate the course of justice even while defending their clients with all legitimate means and resources.
The president, who said lawyers were often in the vanguard of the defence of human rights, also urged them to see corruption too as a gross violation of human rights.
He said: “Corruption diverts public resources meant for millions of people into the private pockets of a greedy few, thereby causing a lot of suffering, deprivation and death. In my view, there can be no greater violation of human rights”.
Buhari also charged lawyers to work for a more efficient and effective legal system that would help attracts more investments to Nigeria and accelerate the pace of national economic development.
He said contracts are only good to the extent that they are enforceable without undue delay. “If by the default of lawyers or the law courts, it is found that cases take ages to conclude or that the judicial system is somehow corruptible, we obviously cannot attract the kind of partnerships which we need or which our large vibrant economy would ordinarily have attracted,” Buahri said.
Fire guts documents, furniture, others at Nigerian National Assembly
he management of the National Assembly has confirmed the fire outbreak at the new wing of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
The incident happened at a storeroom in the lower chamber’s section of the complex in Abuja.
Passers-by around 6pm who noticed smoke coming out from a store on the second floor of the New Building, House of Reps Wing of the Complex, raised the alarm.
The wing houses the offices of the lawmakers, committee rooms, banks and other private businesses.
The office of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and principal officers are on the fourth floor.
Firefighters from the Federal Fire Service within the premises and other first responders rushed to the scene.
The inferno was later put out by the firefighters and other responders.
Agada Rawlings, Director, National Assembly Information in his reaction to the Incident in a late-night statement, said that the situation was immediately brought under control.
He said the fire was suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the staff members working with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
He said the employee quickly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit in the complex.
Rawlings explained that the fire was put out with the assistance of staff members on duty who immediately broke into the affected office and used fire extinguishers before the arrival of the fire service officer.
He said; “There was a fire incident this evening (Thursday) in one of the Janitors, located on the 2nd floor, Room 227 in the new-wing, of the House of Representatives, suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the Staff to the Clerk, House of Representatives, who promptly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit stationed in the National Assembly Complex.
“Consequently, the combined prompt efforts curtained the fire to the affected office only and power supply to the wing put off to enable a full assessment and investigations into the incident.
“It is expected that after due assessment by the fire service and the Estate and works directorates, normalcy in the New Wings, housing all principal officers of the House of Representatives and Honourable members offices will be restored immediately.
“Management wishes to commend the prompt response/actions by the first responders particularly, National Assembly staff and the Fire Service Unit in helping to curtain the fire outbreak.”
El-Rufai writes Buhari, says terrorists creating ‘parallel’ govt in Kaduna
Terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in Kaduna with a parallel government and permanent operational base, according to Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.
El-Rufai in the memo, warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation in a late July memo, according to online platform, Premium Times.
The terrorists belonging to Ansaru for short, are believed to have moved to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State in 2012 when they broke away from Boko Haram.
In the memo, the governor laid bare how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority,” exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.
He said the terrorists had advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.
Law banning political activities
As the political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam, the terrorists, El-Rufai told Buhari, have promulgated a law to ban residents from participating.
“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages,” the governor wrote.
The Ansaru terrorists are known to have an extremist ideological posture against democracy and secular authorities.
In 2021, the census enumeration exercise could only hold in two of the 11 wards that form Birnin Gwari due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, officials in both Kaduna State government and the population commission had said.
The ban on political activities, the governor said, followed a recent wedding ceremony involving the terrorists.
“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru) are hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA, which recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village,” Mr El-Rufai wrote.
“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District.”
In the area of adjudicating disputes, Mr El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”
In addition, with the government becoming removed from rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of violent criminals, terrorists, Mr El-Rufai suggested, are manning the ungoverned space and extracting revenues from the people.
“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields,” the governor said.
Terrorism researchers say that revenues from taxes and levies forced on ungoverned spaces – created by the failure or limited capacity of the government – are a major source of financing and sustenance for terrorists.
Like the Kaduna situation described by El-Rufai, ISWAP terrorists based on the Lake Chad islands are also extracting huge revenues from the fishing activities and pastoralists operating in the area.
El-Rufai, when contacted, said he would not comment on this story because his correspondence was supposed to be confidential communication to the president.
In 2016, he wrote a similar confidential letter to the president, warning that the Buhari administration was losing momentum just about a year after coming to power
Soludo suspends LG Chairman over alleged killing of wife
Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has suspended the transition committee chairman of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Hon Mbazulike Iloka.
Iloka, who is popularly known as Mba Mba, was suspended over the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death last Sunday morning.
Iloka’s wife, Chidiebere, was said to have slumped and died on Sunday morning, after serving her husband breakfast.
But those who know the coupe insisted that Iloka may have killed his wife, as he has a record of consistently battering her.
Signs of violence was also found on her body, while a huge wound on her head aroused suspicion, leading to public outcry over her death.
In a letter of suspension, which was signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affair, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, the chairman was asked to hand over to the head of Local Government administration, to avoid interfering in investigation.
The letter read: “Following the sad news of the death of your wife, late Mrs Chidiebere Iloka on 7th August 2022, there have been a massive outcry over the circumstances leading to her death, including alleged possible homicide.
“While you are presumed innocent until the completion of investigations, it has become imperative that you step aside to allow unfettered investigation and justice.
“Consequently, you are directed to step aside and to hand over the affairs of the local government to the head of local government administration, not later that 12th August 2022, until further notice.”
Iloka has only recently been appointed chairman of the local government. He has only been in office for about a week before his eventual removal.
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