With a pledge to sustain judicial independence, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday opened this year’s Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The President said he was not dictating to the third arm of government.
He explained that the Federal Government under his watch had demonstrated this by accepting unfavourable court judgments.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami (SAN), restated his administration’s commitment to strengthening institutions.
Alluding to the raging controversy about the recent trial of top judicial officers, the President pledged to justly apply the law against “sacred cows”.
He said: “We have had to disrupt the age-long wrong assumptions and historical narratives of the presumed immunity of sacred cows in our society, simply to demonstrate that henceforth the law will be used as a potent instrument to regulate the activities of all persons and institutions in our country in a fair and transparent manner.”
Malami affirmed government’s resolve to probe the circumstances surrounding the failed power project leading to $9 billion arbitration award against Nigeria in favour of British firm, P & ID.
The AGF regretted that the $9 billion is 20 per cent of Nigeria’s reserves and vowed that all culpable individuals and corporate bodies would be punished.
He said: “It is a sad testimony with potential for national economic disaster when legal issues are handled either in a compromised, ignorant or incompetent manner.
“Let me say that without prejudice to our right to challenge this award, Mr. President has already directed the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to take steps to ensure that all issues related to negotiation, signing, formation and obvious frustration of the purported contract are duly investigated and all persons and institutions, whether in the private or public sector, who acted in ways that have now made our dear nation face potential economic adversity and widespread opprobrium are made to face the law and prosecution in the law court.
“Never again shall we allow such short-sighted individuals to compromise our national interest and walk away without a sense of accountability… Never again,” Buhari said.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, noted that the Judiciary was not truly independent financially.
He promised that it would not lose “its firm grip on the mantle of honesty, transparency and integrity”.
The CJN, who explained that those three virtues formed the pivot of his administration, said the judges do not regard “anybody’s face or feelings” in deciding cases.
He said: “By the grace of Almighty God, I will tenaciously hold on to that, even until that very moment of my last breath on earth.
“Let me assure this assembly that we don’t look at anybody’s face or feelings before making our decisions.
“If there is any deity to be feared, that deity is the Almighty God. We will never be subservient to anybody, no matter how highly placed.”
He pleaded with those preventing judicial independence to desist.
“Please, all that are concerned, let us enjoy our independence. If you say that I am independent, but in a way whether I like it or not, I have to go and bend down, asking (for funds) I have lost my independence” Muhammad said.
Muhammed added that Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Justices sacrificed their annual vacation this year to clear the backlog of “time-sensitive cases”. He admonished lawyers to desist from the practice of filing needless appeals at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The CJN warned that the apex court would be unsparing in punishing “blatant abusers of the court processes”.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged lawyers to key into the ongoing global technological transformation, if they must remain relevant.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said with the impact of technology in different aspects of life, the legal profession, as the voice of the voiceless, could not afford to swim against the tide in the scheme of things. NBA President Paul Osoro assured that the association’s members would ensure that the legal profession in Nigeria was “placed on the pedestal of integrity”.
Delivering the keynote address, the International Bar Association (IBA) President Horatio Neto urged Nigerian lawyers to promote gender parity and ethnicity. He also advised them to specialise in different fields of technology that are relevant to the law profession at the global sphere.
Covid-19: Activist Accuses Presidential Taskforce of Collecting N500,000 as Daily Allowance
A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has revealed that daily allowance of the Presidential Taskforce is N500,000.
Frank said officials of the federal government has turned the current Coronavirus pandemic to business.
Making the accusation onn his official twitter account, @RealTimiFrank on Wednesday, the Bayless born political activist said each seating for every member of of the presidential taskforce committe is five hundred thousand.
He wondered how a government who has claimed that the country is broke could spend such amount daily.
“COVID-19 now profit making for federal Gov’t. That’s why they want to withdraw 150million dollars to share from our sovereign wealth fund.
“Each seating allowance for every member of the presidential taskforce committee is 500k daily. This is same Govt that claim they’re broke.”
Abusing Buhari Will Not Bring You Out of Poverty, CAFA Replies Aisha Yesufu
The Citizens Against Fake Activists (CAFA) has lashed out at co-convener, BringBackOurGirls, Aisha Yesufu, appraising her that abusing President Muhammadu Buhari won’t lift her out of poverty.
In a foul-mouthed attack, Yesufu described President Buhari as a “coward” simply “cowering in Aso rock” wasting every single kobo spent on him by Nigerians.
Yesufu’s statement attracted the ire of Nigerians, with many rebuking her for lacking manners and disrespecting the country’s most-revered office.
The Citizens Against Fake Activists, on Monday, joined fellow compatriots to reprimand the self-acclaimed activist, who according to them is unteachable, empty and bereft of knowledge; quick to jump into issues to satisfy her paymasters.
CAFA took out time to school Yesufu on issues surrounding insurgency in the country and the West-African sub region, particularly as it concerns Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
In a statement by Director Communications and Publicity, Comrade Ibrahim Kabir Dalla, CAFA reckoned that the Nigerian troops would have achieved more than it already did if not for Yesufu’s associates, comprised mostly of terrorists.
The Citizens Against Fake Activists, however, advised Yesufu to tender an apology to the Office of the President.
The group further called on Nigerians to report offending posts and any other irresponsible attacks coming from her to Twitter, just like they did some time ago.
Read full statement below:
The Citizens Against Fake Activists (CAFA) has noted with disgust the new low to which the co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls group, Aisha Yesufu has sunken to when she decided to describe the office and person of President Muhammadu Buhari as a waste. Even for the pay-for-hire activist that Aisha Yesufu has been confirmed to be, her decision to desecrate the highest office in the land is the height of irresponsibility regardless of how much she has been paid to distract the government of the day.
Her justification for this unpatriotic criminal act was supposedly because Chadian troops were able to give Boko Haram terrorists a fight, which made her to ignorantly conclude that Nigeria has not done enough to deal with the insurgents when the opposite is the case. She irresponsibly wrote _“The coward we have as Commander-in-chief who is supposed to be a Rtd Major General is cowering in Aso rock villa. His theatre of war is reading in front of the camera. Buhari @MBuhari is a waste of every single kobo spent on him by Nigeria,”_ which is most unfortunate and unacceptable.
In reality, the saddest part of the entire incident is that Aisha Yesufu is unteachable, incapable of keeping quiet and composed long enough for the facts being presented to her to sink in before she goes all hyper in her desperation to satisfy those that are deceiving her that they can pay her way out of poverty. Had Yesufu been capable of these qualities, CAFA would have undertaken to provide knowledgeable experts to educate her to the cardinal errors that underpin her commentaries on national issues.
Even at that CAFA will like Aisha Yesufu to orientate herself to the concept of international relations, international law and jurisprudence, which would easily point her to understand that while Boko Haram operates in an area that transverses Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger it is still not possible for one country to intrude into the territory of the other, which the terrorists have been exploiting to launch cross border attacks before fleeing into a different jurisdiction.
In terms of military realities, an intelligent person, even without military background, would have realized that it took the constant containment and degrading from the operations conducted by the Nigerian Army to have corralled the Boko Haram terrorists into the underground holes from where the Chadian Army smoked them out. She must also be made aware that her comments are supporting Boko Haram recruitment drive by creating the impression that there is a preponderance of public sympathy and acceptance of the crime that the terrorists are committing.
It is important to mention that the Nigerian military would have made further gains against the terrorists but for the sabotage of Yesufu’s associates, comprised mostly of terrorists’ sympathizers and organizations that trade in human misery, who do everything possible to prevent the military from wiping out those scums of the earth.
CAFA hereby calls on Aisha Yesufu to immediately apologize to Nigerians for treating the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with disrespect and disdain. Yesufu’s personal angst against President Buhari is something that only her understands so we are not going to ask her to apologize to Mr. President, what we demand from her is an apology to the office being proprietary to Nigeria and one that must not be disrespected by anyone. We must however offer her the free counsel that she risks damaging her health if she does not take measures to manage her pointless anger against President Buhari.
We urge Nigerians of good conscience to report the offending tweet and any other irresponsible attacks coming from her to Twitter as hate speech. Twitter does not accept that kind of behaviour from users in some other countries and we can collectively make the company respect the same level of decorum here.
COVID-19 Has Exposed President Muhammadu Buhari Government Social Intervention as a Hoax– PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the social intervention programmes of the Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress (APC) government as a ‘total hoax’.
PDP alleged that the APC leaders have been fleecing the country through the social incentives programme rather than deploying it to benefit the people.
The party said in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, that the manifest failure of the COVID-19 social palliatives for Nigerians contrary to claims by the APC-led administration also validates allegations that the APC has been using ghost beneficiaries to siphon government resources.
It described as alarming and revealing that not even a handful of Nigerians has acknowledged receiving any social panacea from the government despite claims by officials of having paid out billions of naira as palliatives to individuals and households.
The PDP urge Nigerians to note how officials of the APC-led administration fraudulently sidestepped extant financial regulations and illegally resorted to cash disbursements directly by a cabinet minister instead of using Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash disbursement facility.
According to the PDP, “Such was part of the design to use few unsuspecting Nigerians to circumvent the system, muddle up financial documentation and accountability processes and facilitate the siphoning of huge chunk of the palliative fund.
“Such practice directly points to fraudulent diversion of funds by APC leaders, who have been using the same template of the discredited social investment programmes, which had been exposed by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, as a fraud, when she revealed last year that the N500 billion Social Investment Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was not getting to the targeted beneficiaries.”
More embarrassing, PDP said, was the duplicitous inclusion of the scandalous school feeding programme as an expenditure line even when schools are closed following the social distancing directives, “an alarming development that points to the level of corruption in the APC administration.”
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