There was mild drama at the Supreme Court, Abuja, on Thursday as a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Malcom Omoirhobo caused a stir in the courtroom when he appeared in the full traditional attire of an “Olokun priest” to attend court proceedings.
The lawyer said he dressed to court in that manner to exercise his fundamental human rights following the judgment of the Supreme Court that allowed all Nigerians to express their way of worship and the use of hijab in schools and public places.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had on Friday given approval to female Muslim students to wear hijab to school in Lagos State.
Five out of the seven members of the court’s panel which sat on the case ruled in favour of hijab while the two remaining members dissented.
The lawyer, who arrived at the court at about 9:05 am, created a scene in the courtroom when other lawyers who had been seated were taken by surprise to see him robed in traditional attire to look like an herbalist.
The lawyer who gained entry into the court was barefooted with feathers attached to his wig.
He was also wearing a gourd on his necklace with cowries and a red wrapper tied around his waist.
He dared the police officers and security guards who approached him to go out saying that he has the right to come to the court in his traditional regalia without any harassment in line with the judgment.
The court proceedings were abruptly stopped when the presiding justice suddenly announced that they would be going for a short break.
Though it could not be immediately ascertained what was responsible for the short break.
The situation attracted a large crowd who thronged the courtroom to catch a glimpse as people were seen using their mobile phones to take his pictures.
Malcom who addressed journalists said, “I am very grateful to the Supreme Court just last week Friday they made a very resounding decision that promotes Section 38 of the constitution. That is our right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. That we are free to express our way of worship in our schools and in our courts. That decision was reached on Friday and that has encouraged me.
“Because I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to “Olokun” the god of rivers.”
Malcom said the implication of the judgement was that every Nigerian, including doctors, police, military students, and journalists, can now wear their mode of worship in public places.
He added that he was not against the judgement rather he was happy with the decision because it strengthened and enriched the rights of all Nigerians as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife
Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.
Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.
Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.
The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.
“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.
Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.
Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”
Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday
The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .
The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.
A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.
The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.
Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.
Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.
Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.
According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners
After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.
The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.
However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.
“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.
Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.
The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.
New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.
Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.
But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.
“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.
Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.
Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.
“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.
Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.
“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.
The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.
For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.
Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.
The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:
- Vienna, Austria (99.1)
- Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
- TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
- TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
- Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
- Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
- Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
- Toronto, Canada (95.4)
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
- TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
- TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)
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- World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners