Category Archives: In the news

Visa Ban: Nigerian govt. hold rally in U.S

…Nigeria is a nation of progressive people who are there to add value

A Federal Government team on Tuesday visited the U.S. state of Delaware to campaign against the recent immigrant visa restriction on Nigeria and seek development cooperation.

The delegation, led by the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also comprised the Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe.

At separate meetings with top officials of the Delaware state government, the Nigerian delegation denounced the immigrant visa restriction on Nigeria by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Those visited were the Governor of the state, Mr John Carney; Mayor of the City of Wilmington, Mike Purzycki; President of the Wilmington City Council, Hanifa Shabazz, and some Delaware lawmakers.

Trump had cited Nigeria’s alleged noncompliance with U.S. information sharing and security protocols at airports as grounds for the policy, which came into effect on Feb. 21.

The policy has suffered condemnation from a section of the U.S. media and politicians, including Joe Neguse Neguse, a Colorado Democratic federal lawmaker.

Dabiri-Erewa said Nigeria ought not to be in the list, citing the enormous contributions of its nationals to the development of the U.S. economy, a fact acknowledged by her hosts.

She rallied the support of the governor, the Wilmington mayor and council president, and the lawmakers for the ban to be lifted.

The NIDCOM CEO said that the information-sharing and security gaps cited by Trump were already being addressed, adding that Nigeria had started capturing the biometrics of passengers arriving in the country at points of entry.

On development, the NIDCOM boss said that Nigeria and Delaware had a lot to gain from economic and educational cooperation as well as cultural exchange, among others.

She told the Nigerian community present, that government had initiated policies and programmes to harness their huge potentials for national development.

Also speaking, Akande-Sadipe said that NIDCOM in collaboration with the House Committee were out to change the bad narrative about Nigeria and build bridges of cooperation.

“ When we build bridges it leads to development and at the end of the day the narrative changes.

“Nigeria as a nation is not what people see on TV or what they have read on social media. Nigeria is a nation of progressive people who are there to add value,’’ she said.

Both officials invited their hosts to the 2020 edition of the Door of Return programme scheduled to hold in Badagry, Lagos, from Oct. 21 to 25.

In separate reactions, the Delaware officials welcomed the idea of economic cooperation and cultural exchange with Nigeria.

They lauded the contributions of the Nigerian community to the development of the state.


Lifes of married men with one wife, not complete – Adamu Garba

Adamu Garba, a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, has said men who have only one wife are “missing a whole lot” and are “living a half life”.
He said this while reacting to a video of a man being amused by his wives.

“A man and his two wives,” the caption on the video reads.

Adamu Garba reacted to the video, writing: “If your life is centred around one wife, my brother you are living a half life & missing a whole lot.

Nothing is sweeter than having two or more wives I tell you. Dear Men, Man Up! Stoping chasing them through the corners, come forward & marry more than one & have your life back.”

Writer, Lola Shoneyin reacted to Garba’s tweet. She wrote: “Do you have to make an effort to be obtuse, or does it just come naturally?”

Former presidential aspirant Adamu Garba, says men with only one wife “are living a half life”

Adamu Garba, who has two wives, promotes polygamy when he gets the chance. Weeks ago, he trended when he said that it is better to have the title of a wife than to become a CBN governor


What you need to know about this South African gin with elephant dung

This strange inquiry came after a game ranger had explained to her how elephants are particular about the food that they forage, yet absorb less than half of what they eat — meaning much of their diet of plants remains in their dung.

Les, a South African, had moved to the UK years earlier, where he met Paula. Both worked as professors in different fields of biology, but after leaving academia they hatched a plan to move to South Africa to start a business that could contribute to conservation and give back to the community.

So after that visit to the game reserve, Paula, a gin lover, reasoned: Why not let elephants do the hard work of collecting a range of natural ingredients for flavoring gin? Neither had any experience distilling, but the pair took a gamble and in 2018 they created Indlovu Gin, infused with “botanicals foraged by elephants” — and sourced from their poop.

“We contacted Botlierskop [Game Reserve in the Western Cape] and we said, do you think you could send us some elephant dung?” explained Les Ansley. “They said, yeah sure, no problem, and they mailed us some elephant dung and we started looking at how to prepare it.”

The dung is dried and goes through a sanitization process, before it is rinsed and dried again says Ansley, making it entirely safe to drink. The final dry product is then infused into the gin.

Each bottle is marked with the GPS coordinates of where the dung was found and the date it was collected, Ansley added. “You can see that it’s the winter in Kruger or summer in Botlierskop,” he said. “It’s an additional story.”

How craft breweries are changing the beer industry in South Africa
But doesn’t the gin taste like … dung? “It’s got an earthy, grassy-type flavor,” said Ansley. “Depending on where we collect the botanicals or which elephants we collect botanicals from, the gin flavor is going to change slightly.”

As well as including classic gin flavorings like juniper and coriander, Indlovu Gin takes its taste from extracts of the elephants’ diet of roots, grasses, fruit and bark — including aloe and acacia.

Since its first batch in November last year, the South African company has produced 6,000 liters and now exports to Europe and other African countries.

It recommends a retail price of around $34 a bottle and donates 15% of its profits to the Africa Foundation to support the conservation of elephants. While Les Ansley acknowledges the reception to elephant dung gin has been mixed, he says some customers have been pleasantly surprised by its taste.

“We were very aware that if we are making a gin from dung, we have to make a good gin,” said Ansley. “Otherwise it’s only ever going to be gimmicky.”

Les Ansley collects elephant dung in Botlierskop, a game reserve in South Africa.
Elephant dung gin is one of an increasing number of craft gins in South Africa.

At the inaugural South Africa Craft Gin Awards last August, there were over 110 entries, many using local ingredients such as rooibos and botanicals from the Karoo desert.
Starting out as novice gin makers, the Ansleys enlisted the expertise of distiller Roger Jorgensen to show them the ropes. Joorgensen says his distillery produced South Africa’s first craft gin in 2007, before the country’s gin boom started around 2013.
“I was on my own for a couple of years, but others soon joined in with some interesting gins,” said Jorgensen. “Now there are at least 280 gin brands in Cape Town alone.”

Drinks research firm ISWR estimates South African gin consumption rose from 518,000 nine-liter cases in 2013 to almost 1.8 million in 2018. Globally, it expects gin consumption to rise to over 10 million cases by 2023.
Jorgensen predicts gin will continue to be popular after the explosion of new craft gins, although it is likely fewer new distillers will enter the market.

“The market is a bit crowded but there seems to be a continued demand,” said Jorgensen. “It is a major industry now, here to stay.”


Operation Amotekun: Gani Adams propose Ammo use for Group

The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has called for the possession of firearms for Amotekun security outfit.

Adams made the call on Monday during the public hearing of the state security network agency bill 2020 in Oyo State.

Represented by Gboyega Adejumo, Adams said that the use of guns will be ineffective for their operations, adding that hoodlums and criminal-minded persons may attack operatives once it was observed that they had no arms.

Also, Oyelowo Oyewo, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, who spoke during the event, said one of the objectives of Amotekun was to share intelligence about crime, suspicious activities and other criminal activities.

He said, “It is also meant to protect lives and property within the state and ensure that people travelling on highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forest and inland waterways carry out their normal socio-economic activities without fear or hindrance.”


Operation Amotekun: Miyetti Allah wants to join Leopard

tells Oyo govt to enlist members

Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has told the Oyo State Government to include its members in the Amotekun security network.

A former chairman of the association, Yaqub Bello, said this during a public hearing of the state security network agency bill 2020 in Oyo State.

He said, “Some of us have been in Oyo State for over 40 years, cohabiting with the natives, married Yoruba women and have children.

“So, our request is to include Miyetti Allah as members of Operation Amotekun to enhance the job of the outfit, since we know the terrain of where we rear our cattle.

“Having Fulani among the outfit will make it easier for Amotekun officials to distinguish between genuine herdsmen and criminals while on patrol. A Fulani man can also serve as an interpreter while interrogating any suspected herdsman.”

Operation Amotekun is an idea of governors of the six South-West states to combat insecurity in the region.


Pastor Beg Trump To Save Nigerians

Senior Pastor Adewale Giwa of Awaiting The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ Ministry released a three-page letter to the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, asking him to save Nigeria from President Muhammadu Buhari and Boko Haram.

The open letter is a response to the Boko Haram rehabilitation agency bill being sponsored at the National Assembly. The pastor alleged that Boko Haram has enriched some people by the millions paid by the Nigerian government as ransom.

He added that it is no longer news that terrorism has become a lucrative business under the leadership of Buhari, as according to him ”repentant Boko Haram members” are being treated like kings by the federal government.

“These terrorist members are being tagged” Repentant Boko Haram Members”, and the Federal Government is now treating them like kings,” he said.

“I want to first commend Mr. President for fulfilling the promises he made to the great people of America. I could recall that Your Excellency promised to protect the citizens of this country during the election campaigns, and you are doing just that. Not only this, the economy of this great nation under your leadership has improved tremendously.

“I had served both the United States Department and the United Nations as a foreign journalist, and I can boldly describe President Trump as a God-fearing politician. It is important to add my voice to the security challenges currently facing Nigeria, the most populous among African nations.

“Having said this, the good people of Nigeria, especially Christians have continued to pray for God’s intervention against terrorism in Nigeria, but it seems that the more we pray the more the activities of the deadly group, known as Boko Haram persist due to inability of the government under President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful.

“Sir, Nigeria has been ravaged by terrorist activities which has made the country unsafe for Nigerians and foreigners. Founded by late Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the terrorist group was later hijacked by one Abubakar Shekau in 2009. When the group first formed, its actions were nonviolent. Their main goal was to purify Islam in Northern Nigeria.

“In 2015, the group aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq. Boko Haram has since killed thousands of people in Nigeria, and the group continues to kill on a daily basis. Instead of President Buhari to use proactive measures to defeat the deadly group, rather, his administration continues to negotiate with Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram is enriching itself via the millions of dollars thus far paid to it by the Nigerian government in the form of ransom payments. It is no longer news that terrorism has become a lucrative business under the leadership of Mr. Buhari. The approach of the Nigerian government in handling the issue of Boko Haram with levity has further given the group power to continue with its nefarious activities,” Giwa’s letter made available to media read

He said that Nigerians were now living in fear of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups like ISIS, the Taliban, AI- Qaeda and Miyetti Allah, known as ‘Herdsmen’.

“Presently, the Nigerian Senate under the leadership of President Buhari’s Political Party, APC, is proposing to establish an agency that could further take good care of them. A few weeks into the new year, precisely on January 19, the Islamic group released a video of a child who looked to be around 10 years old executing a Christian man in Borno, Nigeria. As if it was not enough, a few days later, on January 22, a Nigerian Pastor, Rev. Lawan Andimi, was beheaded by Boko Haram Militants.

“Boko Haram has split into two main factions. One faction remains aligned with Abubakar Shekau and appears to be centered in the Sambisa forest near Maiduguri, Borno State’s regional capital, and extends into Cameroon.

“The other, often referred to as the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, was until recently commanded by Mohammed Yusuf’s son, Abu Musab al-Barnawi and officially sanctioned by the Islamic State.

“ISWAP reportedly commands up to 5,000 fighters, three times that of Shekau’s faction, and its operations are centered around Lake Chad. The evidence suggests that Boko Haram has recently focused more of its attacks on state targets. In 2015, three-quarters of Boko Haram attacks targeted civilians, according to data from the Nigeria Security Tracker.

“Today, Boko Haram appears to be on the rise again as it continues to kill the innocent Nigerians consistently. The group’s resilience, in particular the effectiveness of its attacks against security forces, has taken a toll on morale and rattled the Nigerian government. In 2018, Boko Haram killed 459 members of Nigeria’s state security forces, exceeding its previous total of 450 in 2014. Through November 2019, it caused more than 750 state casualties.

“Between January and February 23 this year, Boko Haram has killed more than 200 people in the Northeast of Nigeria. In the past five years, more than five thousand Nigerian Christians have been killed for their faith. There is another extremist group operating across the states in Nigeria that is just as deadly as Boko Haram. Every day, hundreds of Nigerian Christians are being assaulted, tortured and killed by Fulani extremists.

“One could have thought that President Buhari, being a former General in the army could be able to defeat these groups, but all he keeps promising Nigeria is to exercise patience while Boko Haram continues to kill the people of Nigeria. February 19 this year makes Leah Sharibu two years in Boko Haram captivity. The 16-year old girl was abducted, along with 109 others by Boko Haram in February 2018.

“Leah Sharibu was attending class with her colleagues at the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi, Yobe State, Nigeria when the Islamic terrorists stormed the place and whisked them away. In the process, five of the girls died. 105 students were taken away, including Leah. After paying the ransom, the group released 104 students while Leah remains captive. She is being held captive for refusing to renounce her Christian faith in exchange for freedom.

“The Scripture says in Proverbs 17:13 that,” Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house,”. President Buhari’s government is rewarding evil for good and the group continues to kill innocent Nigerians.

“Mr. President, it is now glaring that Nigeria’s situation has gone beyond prayers, but all we need now is to cry out for help since our government has failed us. It is evident that Boko Haram has overpowered Buhari and his security personnel. We can no longer fold our arms and watch our people being killed. The deadly group has grown wings under the administration of Mr. Buhari.

“The citizens of Nigeria can no longer sleep with their eyes closed. This development has informed some regions in Nigeria to establish their security outfits, yet the situation is getting out of hand.

“Sir, I write to beg you on behalf of the good people of Nigeria to save us from these terrorist groups. America remains a great nation to solicit help from in this difficult situation that we are experiencing in Nigeria. I hope that Your Excellency will do everything possible to rescue the good citizens of Nigeria from Boko Haram and other terrorist groups that have taken over Nigeria,” he wrote.


Minister Of Humanitarian Affairs Tells Staff To Pray, Fast Against Boko Haram

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has urged staff of the ministry to pray and fast for the people of Borno State.

The directive was contained in a statement by the Assistant Director, Information, in the ministry, Rhoda Iliya.

The statement reads, “The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Permanent Secretary, Directors and staff of the Ministry have resolved to fast and embark on special supplications to the Almighty in solidarity with the government and people of Borno State.

“In a notice issued to staff, the minister urged them to voluntarily fast on Monday and pray for a quick end to the carnage caused in Borno State and other parts of the North-East by Boko Haram terror group.”


Oluwo: My Suspension Was Audio


NASFAT Says Muslim Women Should Be Of Good Behaviours

The Nasiru Lahi-l- Fatih Society (NASFAT), an Islamic group, in Lagos on Monday enjoined Muslim women in the country to exhibit good conduct at all times.The NASFAT Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Suwebat Kupolati, gave the advice in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the society, Mr Akeem Yusuf, to mark the end of the Hijab Day.She also appealed to the government to ensure equal rights were given to Muslim women who wear hijab as granted their counterparts, adding that hijab wearing is part of Islamic dress code.

“We have always reminded our women to be of good conduct because we are all ambassadors of Islam and everybody is looking at us when we wear hijab,” she said. “We created hashtag hijab story on Instagram telling ladies between 12 to 25 years old to share their real life experience on difficulties wearing hijab. “We received 46 videos and three ladies were selected and given gifts to round off the world hijab day,” she said. She said NASFAT also visited schools across the country to sensitise the girls on the need to wear hijab. She said NASFAT would continue to sensitise the public most especially Muslims on the importance of wearing hijab. “It is in the Qur’an and we must obey Allah so we will continue to sensitise the public,” she said.

NobleReporters learnt that the hijab day is celebrated every Feb. 1. Series of activies to commemorate the event by NASFAT ended on Feb. 23.


Mashayi Tea: See NAFDAC’s Warning To Nigerians

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians to be cautious when taking cup of tea popularly known as `Maishayi’ from vendors.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director-General gave the warning in an interview.

Adeyeye said that the warning became necessary following information the agency received that Maishayi now mix intoxicating drugs in the tea prepared for customers.

She mentioned intoxicating drugs such as tramadol, Vieteling, Marijuana and others, adding that people could lose their lives after taking tea mixed with such drugs.

“In the US, lots of people are dying because of these medicines. How can such medicines mix with palm wine in the name of getting high in Nigeria?

“There are some medicines you cannot take if you have cardiovascular problem,’’ she said.

The director-general said that the agency was working toward collaborating with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to check for quality medicine in orthodox and herbal.

According to her, the idea is necessary since NIPRD specialises on research, and the purpose is to safeguard health of the nation.

She however, called on the people to desist from harmful medicine in the name of power enhancement in whatever area they think of.

Adeyeye added that the agency’s five laboratories had been accredited many times and has quality with high standard.

“We are going further, we want a central drug lab to be World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualify; we are raising our bar higher,’’ she said.

Adeyeye said that it would continue to sensitise people against the drugs and believe that within the year, the agency would get the WHO pre-qualified central drug lab


Abuja Lawyer Says His Colleague Lied About Over 4000 Couples Applied For Divorce

Abuja-based lawyer, Firsts Baba Isa has debunked claims by his learned colleague that 4000 divorce applications have already been filed in 2020 in Abuja

Recall that a lawyer, Annebrefa, made the claim on Twitter last Friday, adding that some of the marriages involved were just a year old.

However, Barr. Firsts Baba Isa described the claim as a “lie from the pit of hell” adding that the total number of all cases including divorce filed at the FCT High Court since the beginning of 2020 is not even up to 2000.

Read Isa’s post below:

This is a lie!
Immediately I saw this tweet, I knew it was a big fat lie. But I still called the appropriate authorities to confirm, it is a lie from the pit of hell.
I don’t know why anyone will put up such a lie out there. But if the purpose is to get people to bash marriage and lose faith in the institution, I think they have succeeded, a lot; see how a massive lie has gone viral. Even those who should know better have been broadcasting this falsehood.
I’m a core litigation lawyer. Family law is one of my practice areas and I handle quite a number of divorce, custody, adoption, maintenance, etc cases. I’m based in Abuja. Bottomline? I know what I’m talking about.
The total number of cases (all cases o, not just divorce) filed at the FCT High Court since the beginning of 2020 is not even up to 2000, yet. So where did she get her figures from? And note that the High Court is the Court that has jurisdiction to entertain divorce proceedings for marriages contracted under the Act (Court Marriage).
Though other inferior courts like the Customary Court have jurisdiction to entertain divorce proceedings for marriages contracted traditionally, but only a negligible number go there for divorce proceedings. So where did she get her 4000 figure?
How many couples dey this our Abuja sef?
Another crazy angle of this lie is that some of these marriages are less than a year old. In law, you can’t bring a divorce proceeding to dissolve a marriage that is less than 2 years old, unless you satisfy some stringent conditions to get the permission of the court.
And less-than-a-year-old marriages have satisfied these conditions and gotten the permission of court to commence divorcé proceedings in two months? Mtcheew.
Na wa o.
Now that it has been proven that Aunty Madam was lying, oya, make una follow share this post o.
– By Firsts Baba Isa (FBI)


Operation Amotekun: Actions Have Been Taken For Legality – Ogun Speaker

The Ogun State House of Assembly has considered and taken necessary legal processes on the South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Amotekun’.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, disclosed this to Channels Television at his office in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Oluomo explained that the actions taken by the lawmakers were expected to make Amotekun a legally acceptable security outfit and deliver on its core mandate.

Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, during an interview with Channels Television in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

He also gave an update on the journey so far in the legislative procedure for the actualisation of the security outfit.

The speaker, however, sought the support and understanding of residents of the state to ensure the success of the outfit in securing their lives and properties.


Obasanjo To Speak On Insurgence As African Leaders Celebrate Him At 83

Barring any last-minute change, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo would once again speak on the deadly Boko Haram sect terrorizing the nation.

This was disclosed by the Director, Centre for Human Security and Dialogue, Prof. Peter Okebukola, at a world press conference he addressed on Monday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The world press conference, TheNation learnt, was to herald the 83rd birthday of the elder statesman, which comes up March 5th.

According to reports, Obasanjo’s need to comment on the Boko Haram insurgents became necessary, following a statement credited to a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, that the insurgents would have been degraded if Obasanjo were to be the President.

Asked, Okebukola said Obasanjo, alongside other African leaders, would air their opinions, with a view to providing workable solutions that would help in fighting insurgency.

Their speeches would also include discussions on how to develop Africa using Asia as a yardstick.

The former NUC Executive Secretary informed that former Liberian President Johnson Sirleaf; former Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma, and former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn would have a round-table on ‘The Asian Aspiration’, to share lessons from Asia’s development for strengthening Africa’s socio-economic integration and cooperation.

Recall that former President Obasanjo has on several occasions called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do more in the fight against insecurity in the country.


Reps Member, Shina Peller Honoured In Epe

House of Representatives member, Shina Peller is a chief again. The Chairman of Aquila group of companies along side his wife were conferred with Chieftaincy titles in Epe, Lagos State this weekend.

Shina shared photos from the event and wrote: “It was a memorable event yesterday in Epe as His Royal Majesty, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, Arolugbade Elepe II (Olaja of Epe land) honoured me and my lovely wife with chieftaincy titles of Akinrogun of Epe land and Yeye Akinrogun of Epe land respectively.

”The conferment of the chieftaincy titles was part of the activities to mark the 20th coronation anniversary of His Royal Majesty as the Oba Oloja of Epe land.”


Constitution Is Silenced When It Comes To Service Chief’s Tenure – Ikponmwen

What is your interpretation of the current situation where our service chiefs are still in office in spite of the public outcry about their poor performance?

With our security system generally acknowledged as haven failed to make the required standards which points to failure of the system, the retention of the present Service Chiefs cannot be justified or defended.

The present administration, which sought and received the approval of the National Assembly in the appointment of the present Service Chiefs in 2015, is legally and morally bound to heed the overwhelming position of the present National Assembly that there should be a change of batons.

Democracy thrives on the prevalence of power of the people. If the opinion poll recently carried out revealed that over 70% of Nigerians were in support of the removal of the Service Chiefs, it follows that the view of the Nigerian people should be respected.

Indeed, the level of lack of proficiency, indiscipline, despair and corruption in the military system are clear indictments of the present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

The need to re-energise and revamp the system with new heads, so as to improve efficiency, effectiveness and morale of troops has become imperative.

However, we must also understood that the failure of our security system cannot be blamed solely on the Service Chiefs. It must be stated without equivocation that the present high level of insecurity arouse from a systemic failure.

What does the law say about the appointment and tenure of service chiefs?

Any discussion on the subject matter of appointment of Service Chiefs in Nigeria must necessarily consider the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the Armed Forces Act (CAP A20 LFN 2004) and the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for the Armed Forces of Nigeria. It therefore requires at least a cursory review of each of the above provisions in order to arrive at the right import of each and to proffer reasonable answers to the question posed.

The constitution, being the ground norm in our country is particularly relevant; not only does it create the Armed Forces in section 217 (1), it further says “there shall be an Armed Force of the federation which consist of the Army, Navy and Airforce and other branches of the Armed Forces as may be established by an act” of the National Assembly.

Subsequently, section 218 (1) provides that “the power of the President as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces of the Federation. Subsection (2) of this section provides that “the power conferred on the President by subsection (1) shall include power to appoint Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and Heads of any other branches of the Armed Forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly.

Also relevant, is the provision of subsection (4) of this section which says: “The National Assembly shall have the power to make laws for the regulation of the exercisable powers by the president as Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation.

The constitution also says under sub-section (4) (a) that the appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of members of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall be the responsibility of the National Assembly.

Section 219 (a) says that: “In giving effect to section 217 of the constitution and with respect to the powers exercisable by the President under section 218 by an Act establish a body which shall comprise such members as the Assembly may determine and which shall have power to ensure the composition of the Armed Forces of the Federation which shall reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed in section of the constitution.”

What is the position of the Armed Forces Act on the appointment and removal of service chiefs?

The Armed Forces Act states under Part1 sub-section 1 of section1 that “there is hereby established for the Federation an Armed Forces comprising the Nigeria Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air force (In this Act referred to as “The Army, Navy, and Air Force”) respectively.”

Subsection (2) of this same section lists the component of the Armed Forces as commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers, soldiers, rating and aircraft men as the president may in consultation with the National Assembly determine.

In its provision for the appointment of Service Chiefs, Part 7, section 18, sub-section (1) provides thus: “The President may after consultation with the Chief of Defence Staff and subject to confirmation by the National Assembly appoint such officers, in the act referred to as the Service Chiefs, in whom the command of the Army, Navy and Air force as the case maybe, and their reserves shall be vested

Subsection 2 of Section 18 lists the Service Chiefs to include: in the case of Army as the Chief of Army Staff; in the case of Nigerian Navy as the Chief of Naval Staff in the case of Nigerian Air force as the Chief of Air Staff.

Subsection 3 of the same section says that “subject to the terms of appointment of the service chiefs and to such directions as the operational use of the Army, Navy and the Air force respectively, and their reserves.

Similarly, subsection (4) Says the President may before consulting with the Chief of Defence Staff, consult with the Forces Council, but the question as to whether any consultation was held or what happened in the course of the consultation shall not be enquired into. It is also noteworthy that section 22 to Part vii provides that:

“The president may make regulations as to the persons in whom command over the establishments and units, thereof is vested and as to the circumstances in command as aforesaid is to be exercised and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing may in such regulations provides for the duties, functions and powers of the command and staff of the Armed Forces. Also worthy of note is section 23 Part viii which provides that:

“No person shall be appointed to a commission in any of the services of the Armed Forces unless he is a citizen of Nigeria and has been recommended by a Board of Officers set up by the appropriate Service Chiefs.

“A person recommended for appointment to a commission in the Armed Forces shall be appointed to a commission either for an indefinite period or a specified time.”

Similarly, Section 25 to Part viii provides that: “An officer who has retired or was permitted to resign may be recalled at any time during the currency of any term of reserve service in accordance with regulation made under this Act, and on the recall, shall be liable to serve until he is released or discharged.”

With regards to the provisions of the Revised Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (RTCS), disengagement is determined by completion of 35 years in service or attainment of the age specified for the retirement in the rank he holds which in any case is a maximum of 60 years for the highest ranking officers.

An officer of Major General and its equivalent has an age limit of 57 years, Lieutenant General and equivalent ranks 59 years and Full Generals and their equivalents 60 years.

The provisions of Section 02.10 of the RTCS is that basically an officer holding a substantive rank will be retired on reaching the age limit indicated for that rank. The appropriate retirement age for the different types of commission in the Armed Forces is stipulated in the RTCS. Noteworthy however that the age of 60 is the limit for officers of the highest existing ranks of substantive General and their equivalent rank in the Navy and Air Force. The provision 02.10 subsection (c) that : “An officer may only serve a maximum of 35 years after commission except as deemed fit by the C-in-C which amounts to saying that an officer can serve for more years if the C-in-C so decides.”

Furthermore, it is also provided under sub-section (d) of this section that whereas the services are enjoined to adhere or comply with these required age limits such extension may not be beyond one year subject to the decision of Service Board or the discretion of the C-in-C an officer’s career could be extended beyond one year for as long as deemed necessary.

It therefore boils down to saying that these rules as to years of service or age limit would only apply subject to the discretion of the Commander -in-Chief.

Does it mean that under the law, service chiefs don’t have a specific tenure of office ?

The Constitution gives the president and Commander-in-Chief wide discretion in appointing Service Chiefs and same is practically silent on tenure. However, same constitution gives power to National Assembly to regulate the powers of the C-in-C in respect of his operational use of the Armed Forces. Thus in this regard, the National Assembly not only has power to make rules for regulating the powers of the C-in-C with regard the appointment of the Service Chiefs but also the power to make laws for appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of the AFN.

Several intriguing questions arise from the present legal provisions on this subject matter of appointment of Service Chiefs in Nigeria, to wit (a) whether the existing AFA, haven predated the 1999 constitution and haven been reproduced practically as replica of the military Decree without any review can be taken as falling outside the scope of existing law requiring to be brought in conformity with the 1999 constitution; and if not being so, whether this AFA, parading as CAP 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) has been validly enacted (b) whether the RTCS (2012), not haven been made, as required by the constitution by the National Assembly but by a former CDS, can be regarded as a valid terms and conditions of service for the AFN. (c) If the AFA and the terms and conditions of service are invalid, whether the absolute power vested in the C-in-C for the appointment of Service Chiefs would serve the best interest of Nigeria, a system characterized by checks and balances.

What should guide a C-in-C in choosing service chiefs?

In the appointment of Service Chiefs, the President and Commander-in-Chief should consider competence of the appointee as adjudged by professional training, exposure, integrity and effectiveness in previous appointments. He should also consider whether the person, being a serving officer, is a Nigerian by birth; whether the officer being considered ranks among the first few in the officers seniority roll in his service. There is also the need to reflect the Federal Character principle as entrenched in the Constitution of Nigeria whenever the President is appointing service chiefs..

Is it legal for Service Chiefs to remain in office after they had attained their mandatory 35 years of service in the military?

The issue of legality can only be adjudged by the extant laws and regulations. Going by the extant provisions and without prejudices to the questionable status of the Armed Forces Act (AFA) and the Revised Terms and Conditions of Service (RTCS), it must be asserted that there is too much leaning towards absolute discretion in the appointment and tenure of Service Chiefs in the Armed Forces of Nigeria. However, I lean in favour of the control by the National Assembly over the powers exercisable by the C-in-C in the operational use of the military because of the obvious danger inherent in absolute power of any president in a system where checks and balances are hallmark in order to avoid abuses.

Whatever wide and absolute discretionary powers are vested in the C-in-C, every measure ought to be taken to prevent misuse of the military. As the constitution, law and regulations stands today, only a vocal populace, an effective political system and a duty-conscious National Assembly can save Nigeria from misuse of the Armed Forces which can be highly enhanced by unfettered discretion in the appointment and tenure of Service Chiefs.


Bill to free repentant Boko Haram members must be trashed – Sen. Gyang

Senator Istifanus Gyang, who represents Plateau North and is the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, in the Senate has called on senators to reject a bill seeking to establish an agency for the rehabilitation and reintegration of ‘repentant’ Boko Haram terrorists and bandits in the country.

Sen Gyang, in a statement in Jos signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Protocol, Musa Ashoms, said that the bill, if passed, will promote insecurity in the country.

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“The Bill is not only uncalled for but assaults the sensibility of Nigerians in view of the fact that most of the victims and communities affected by insurgency, banditry and violent attacks are still languishing from neglect and lack of the much-needed government attention and intervention despite repeated calls.

“I am calling on all Senators to reject the Bill given its obvious negative implications for the security of the nation. To do otherwise is to incentivize terrorism and put the nation in perpetual harm’s way,” Gyang’s statement read.

The senator disassociated himself from the bill seeking to establish an agency for the rehabilitation and reintegration of ‘repentant’ Boko Haram terrorists and bandits introduced for mention on first reading at the Senate and said senators will have the opportunity to debate the bill on second reading.

He argued that victim displaced from their homes and communities by insurgents and bandits are the ones to be rehabilitated and reintegrated, not the terrorists and bandits who are responsible for their plight.

He described as ironic a situation where care and attention for terrorist take precedence over their victims and said the bill is offensive to the good conscience of Nigerians.

“Attempts at certain quarters to compare and equate Boko Haram terrorist with the Niger Delta Agitators which attracted the Presidential Amnesty Initiative and Programme under the administration of President Yar’adua is ludicrous.

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“The Presidential Amnesty Program was not a product of legislation but of government policy and has remained so. It was an intervention programme with a timeline and a terminal date, unlike the Pro Boko Haram Bill which intends to create an agency that will exist in perpetuity.”

The sentator said with the proposed legislation, terrorism will become a permanent feature in the country and the agency will become a terrorist breeding ground.


Emir Sanusi: We Don’t Beg In Islam

…beg government not individuals and relatives

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that begging of alms was not allowed in Islam.

The traditional ruler and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria said this at the National Conference on Alarammomi (Qur’anic teachers) on Saturday.

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He also stated that beggars should direct their entreaties to the government and not the people around them.

He said, “Begging is disallowed in Islam and if you must beg for alms beg the government, not individuals or relatives.

“It is better for you to cut firewood and sell to earn a living than to beg.

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“Those who beg or seek assistance from individuals will be resurrected on the day of judgment without meat/flesh on their faces.

“And if you must beg, then beg the government not individuals or relatives. This is because they should be responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.

“Individuals, relatives or neighbours can assist you as gestures of kindness and generosity, but that’s not necessary.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

“So, those who are saying that begging is not prohibited in Islam are just misleading you,

“Programmes like cash transfer and many more can assist in tackling these problem. So, we urge the government to sustain the cash transfer programme and come up with many more.”


Group tackles Buhari over insecurity, poverty rate in Nigeria

A group, Concerned Nigerians in Canada, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately resign from office following the rising spate of insecurity and poverty in the country.

Decrying latest attacks on helpless citizens by Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East region of Nigeria, the group said that the administration of Buhari had failed woefully in protecting Nigerians and creating avenues for economic empowerment for the people.

In a statement by Convener of the group, Olujimi Adekanle, and addressed to House of Commons Government of Canada, Catholic Archdiocese of Canada, Amnesty International among others, Concerned Nigerians in Canada disclosed that they would soon embark on a global protest against the government of President Buhari for failing to deliver on promises made before coming into office.

The statement reads, “We want to register our fears and utter disappointment at the leadership and government of President Muhammed Buhari.

“Events and heart-breaking happenings in our country as a result of gross incompetence of the Buhari administration can no longer be tolerated judging by the humongous negative effect they are having on our nation.

“We unequivocally submit that Buhari’s government has failed in all departments of governance and he has become nothing but a puppet in the hands of his cabal.

“The recent infighting between the National Security Adviser, General Monguno (retd), and Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, is a signal that all is not well with Nigeria’s security system. Buhari has totally lost it.

“Nigeria went in search of solution and elected a problem, today we have graduated to the third position in global terrorism index after Syria and Iran.

“What is obvious to the whole world is that rather than face good governance and delivery of his campaign promises for public good, Buhari and his cohorts have continued to engage in lethargic divisive ethnic and sectarian sentimentality with alarming impunity.

“We can no longer entrust our collective destiny in the hands of such wicked leaders and therefore call on Nigerian patriots world over to rise up to this occasion to join us to resist Buhari’s government of total failure.

“We want to assure you that a protest will be staged round the globe to finally end a grossly incompetent and self-centred government.

“We beckon on all well-meaning Nigerians to support us in our quest to take our Nigeria back from evil leaders benefiting from terror in our nation.”


Corruption in Nigeria is generational, death penalty can’t stop – Clarke (SAN)

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Robert Clarke, shares with TUNDE AJAJA his worries about the nation’s judicial system, the rise in the requests for Supreme Court to review its judgement, indiscipline in the bar and other issues

Prior to the Supreme Court judgement on the Bayelsa election, the apex court’s ruling on the Imo State governorship election was greeted by series of drama. Is it normal for Supreme Court judgement to elicit such outrage?

Let me start from the drama. You know politics now permeate everything we do in our political life in Nigeria. When that decision was given, definitely it was a shock to the then governor (Emeka Ihedioha) who realised he was no longer a governor and the shock would have been so great that his supporters decided to shout foul play. To anyone outside, that was a normal reaction, but having had the privilege of looking into the matter from the legal point of view; I mean the fact of the case, I discovered that the court was in order. So, the Supreme Court has said it is not god and so it could make mistake but it has also said if it made mistake, you could come back. That is the norm all over the world. Under the Nigerian law, however, the court said it would only listen to you on certain grounds: if you find that it had no jurisdiction; if you think there was fraud or if you think the judgement was mistakenly given. However, the court said if it did not fall within those parameters, it would not look into it because it could not open floodgates for judgements to be reviewed as if you are appealing against its own judgement. Else, that would destroy the judicial system. And that is why in the history of Nigerian jurisprudence, only three instances have come before the Supreme Court. Fortunately, I have been instrumental in two of the three.

When was that?

Thirteen years ago, I took one to them, which I lost. There were five sitting members of the Supreme Court and in all judgements of the Supreme Court, all judges must sign. In this particular case, in the Certified True Copies, only three judges signed, so I challenged the Supreme Court that their judgement was a nullity because three of them could not sign when the law stated five. However, they were able to convince me that how they sign in their inner chamber wasn’t known to me. Now, I have challenged the court’s ruling on Zamfara case (where the court sacked all the persons elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress over irregularities in their primary). I said in my appeal that they have no jurisdiction. A constitutional court should be made of seven judges when dealing with constitutional matters, but in Zamfara case there were only five judges and it was not an appeal from the tribunal. It was a pre-election matter that had nothing to do with the election, so why should they declare the election a nullity? I believe I have a good case. So, in the case of Imo, the litigants also have a right.

In the past, cases on governorship elections used to terminate at the Court of Appeal, up till the time Justice Ayo Salami was the President of the Court of Appeal. Would you blame that on politicians’ desperation or you think it’s helpful?

I’m not blaming the politicians for that. That fault was solely by the Supreme Court then. The Chief Justice of Nigeria at that time (Late Justice Katsina Alu) was the brains behind that amendment because prior to that amendment, all governorship election matters terminated at the Court of Appeal and there was no problem. But then, Salami’s case came up. There was a governorship election in Sokoto and judgement was to be delivered and somebody wrote a petition to the CJN that money had changed hands. The CJN, thinking he had the power, ordered Salami not to give judgement, whereas he had no such power under the law. The CJN has no power under the law to give directive to the President of the Court of Appeal on any election matter, because it’s the prerogative of the President of the Court of Appeal to form election tribunals. So, Salami refused and history today knows what happened thereafter. As a result of that, Katsina Alu made the National Assembly to amend that provision. Now, Senatorial, House of Reps and governorship elections now get to the Supreme Court and that is why the Supreme Court judges are being overworked. I feel sorry for them for overworking themselves, but they are the architect of their own misfortune due to what their boss did and now they are faced with almost 300 cases from election petitions.

To create room for the judges to have time for civil and other matters before them, shouldn’t the National Assembly or the Supreme Court take steps to revert to the status quo ante?

They can do that. In the interest of the Supreme Court itself, it can initiate, through the National Assembly, a bill to return to what obtained before; that all election matters, except the presidential election, should terminate at the Court of Appeal. Also, if there are concurrent findings of facts by a lower court and the Court of Appeal, then the appeal should terminate there and I believe that now the Supreme Court has a policy that where there are concurrent findings by two lower courts, they don’t set it aside. But why should it even go to them? The law should be amended to allow the Supreme Court deal with constitutional matters of very serious nature.

In the midst of the challenges in the judiciary, which of them worries you most?

Today, we have the best personnel all over Africa. Nigeria is still the best in Africa and we have the best brains. The only problem is politics. Let me be bold enough to say that since the 1999 Constitution came into effect, the politicians have corrupted virtually every aspect of the Nigerian life, including the judiciary. In political matters today, before judgement is delivered, you would be hearing so many rumours as to what would be the outcome and that is politics playing out itself. These are the things we should be able to remove and help our judiciary so as not to be influenced by politicians. They (politicians) are a dangerous specie of people. But I don’t blame the judiciary alone; I blame lawyers also, because most of the top lawyers in Nigeria today are also in this with politicians.

There are instances where some lawyers, your colleagues, go ahead in such instances to lead their clients on even when they know the rules don’t allow it, is that part of the dynamics of being a lawyer?

That was why I said politics has infiltrated everywhere. There are instances where lawyers would know there is no reason to appeal, but because they know the politicians have the money they have stolen and they are ready to spend part of it, they (lawyers) would encourage them to go ahead. You won’t find lawyers doing such in a case involving breach of contract or land matters. It’s in political matters that you would find it and that is the problem. Lawyers give politicians hope when there is none; they tell them to appeal when they know there is no case. All these have to be corrected and we have to look inwards and see that most of the rot today come from us. If your client has a good case, let them know and tell them that you would try your best. If they have a bad case, tell them the truth and let them know that they have a marginal case but that you would see what you could do, maybe you would be able to convince the judge.

In the case of Heineken Lokpobiri vs David Lyon over the APC primary in Bayelsa State, the Supreme Court dismissed the case because it was filed outside the 14 days allowed by law. Could it be that some lawyers don’t pay attention to some of these things?

In election matters, time is of the essence. If you are filing an interlocutory appeal in a pre-election matter, it is 14 days. If you don’t do it within 14 days and you go to court, it will be thrown out. I just won a case in the Supreme Court on a pre-election matter from Delta State, in which time element was of the essence. With that single point, I won the case. So, time is so important and I’m so sorry, many of our lawyers would see it and close their eyes to it. At the end of the day, they would look so stupid at the Supreme Court.

Situations like this waste the time of the court, and it is disturbing especially in a system where there are thousands of cases before the court. Should there not be a sanction for lawyers who deliberately do this?

I have stated it many times that we need a review of the judicial system involving election matters. I believe we don’t need the Supreme Court except for presidential elections. From elections into the Senate downwards, we should have an intermediary Supreme Court, which would be a Constitutional Court, where appeals from the tribunal would go directly and it would be the final court for election matters. The case won’t go to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, it would have a status higher than the Court of Appeal but lower than the Supreme Court and that would solve most of our problems.

Would you say the Nigerian Bar Association has done its best to ensure discipline in the bar?

Again, it goes back to the advent of partisan politics in 1999. The NBA has always stood for probity and discipline within the bar association and we have been able to produce within that period top lawyers who had prestige and good character. But again, we have politicised the bar association. We have done it in a way that in order to remove schism, we did rotation with insistence on getting the best. But since democracy came in, government itself would go and pick a lawyer to contest and they back them up with money. You will not believe it; to be a president of the NBA today, you could spend nothing less than N1.5bn. Why? And that is how they now allow government into the process. So, most of what is happening in the bar today has the influence of government and that is my only fear for the bar association.

In some other climes, lawyers sometimes advise their clients to plead guilty to their offence, perhaps not to incur the wrath of the judge or not to waste the time of the court, but in our clime, the situation is different. Should we not imbibe such a culture to save our justice system?

In the United States of America, to become a lawyer, you must have a first degree, then you must go to the Law School for four years. So, it takes about seven years to become a lawyer, and they are in demand and so there is affluence among them. Here, there are ‘cash and bail’ lawyers who have not got a brief for some time. Such lawyers would cling to any brief, whether it is factual or not. So, the problem is poverty. A young lawyer who has not got a brief before now gets a brief and you think he or she would tell his client he has no case? He wouldn’t want to do that. But things would change. I can see a good future for Nigeria.

Politicians, who are the ones behind constitution amendments, have put timelines in election cases while other matters could last for as long as possible. Is that fair?

Many state judiciary procedures have made it easy so that you don’t waste much time on litigation. There is something called pre-trial conference, so that before a case is heard in the open court, you would have cleared all the pleadings within a short time. However, the problem we have is the election petitions and that is why I keep referring to it. Every four years, virtually all the normal courts in Nigeria are at a standstill because most of the judges from the 36 states are pushed to 36 tribunals and they would be there for 180 days. That means all the cases they have are kept at a standstill. By the time they come back, there is a backlog.

What would you suggest as the way out?

Once we decide not to use present acting judges as chairmen of tribunals, things would get better. Let them engage retired magistrates and judges – and there are many of them who are still agile – to go to these tribunals rather than take from the mainstream of the judiciary, because already the judges have so much to do. That is why I keep saying we have many pending cases because we have allowed political matters to take control of our courts. Look at the Federal High Courts, when election is coming and nominations or primaries have begun, 60 per cent of Federal High Court cases would be pre-election matters because the FHC is the only court that can deal with INEC matters. We find that all other matters will be pending because all other political matters would be given expeditious hearing. So, our problem is not because the courts are congested, our problem is that we have allowed political matters to overwhelm the courts. Anybody that is not properly nominated would go to court; and if they lose an election, they would go back to court. Until we create a separate court for politics outside the normal courts, we will not enjoy the normal courts. It is the disruption every four years that causes the issues. We hope they would agree to this doctrine of constitutional court.

There have been arguments that we need a system where the appointment of the CJN should have nothing to do with the executive to avoid undue influences. Do you agree with that?

I have always criticised the way and manner judges are appointed. I believe it still has political connotation, which should not be, even though the governor would tell you he’s acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. But why can’t the NJC or the Judicial Service Commission itself as a body appoint who should be the Chief Judge of a state or who should be a judge? For me, that would be better. The governor can tell you I want three names out of which he would pick one. So, invariably, he is the one appointing. Those are the things we have been asking that a review should be done about so that the prerogative of appointment and removal should be with them. Let us have a proper judicial service commission that is not concentrated by judges again.

Who do you advise should be the members?

Top Nigerians who have made good name in different fields can form the majority of the membership of the NJC. When you put all lawyers there, it doesn’t make sense. Those are the things I would recommend.

A renowned professor of international law and jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, said recently that instead of amending our current constitution, we should come up with a new one. What’s your view on that?

I have said it over 100 times that the 1999 Constitution is a rotten egg. You cannot build anything on it. Once an egg is rotten, it cannot bear any good result. We have to restructure Nigeria and get a new type of constitution. We cannot afford to have 36 states in Nigeria. We don’t have the money to maintain it and that is why, today, 80 per cent of our earnings go into maintaining governance. Only 20 per cent of it goes into capital project. Within the past 20 years of this democracy, except for Buhari, who among the former presidents built infrastructure? They frittered away Nigeria’s money with nothing to show for it. Today, people say we are borrowing but we are borrowing money that we are seeing what we are using the money for. We are borrowing from the Chinese to build the railway system. Dangote has gone into a massive venture and he’s going to revolutionise that sector. So, we have seen something better. Let us change the system of governance. Let us reduce the number of states to an appreciable number that we can manage. Why do we need to have 36 states’ chief judges; 36 Attorney Generals and commissioners and so on?

How many states do you think we should have?

Between eight and 12 would be ideal so that we can manage it under a system where each state would be autonomous. The 1963 Constitution is the best constitution we have ever had in Nigeria. If we can go back to that constitution, which had the regionalization of the states; all states were self-governing and they were developing at their own pace until the military coup came and we moved from 12 states to 19 states, to 21 states, until (late Gen Sani) Abacha had a brainwave because he wanted to be Head of State and he wanted to please everybody, so he created 36 states. It’s all nonsense. Let us reduce our cost of governance.

Many people have canvassed this idea for years, how do we get started with the process especially when people feel the current set of political leaders – executive and legislature – like others before them, may not have the political will to set it in motion?

The 1999 constitution is being managed by the National Assembly and the Executive. These two arms of government are enjoying so many privileges in terms of financial considerations and emoluments and they would not want to leave it. So, if you leave the change to these people, nothing would come out of it. But if Buhari wants to leave a legacy before he leaves in 2023, he should set up a national conference, where he will get a bill passed first, not like the way Jonathan did it that it had no legal basis. Buhari should send a bill to the National Assembly that he intends to set up such an assembly and that at the end of the deliberations he would send whatever they decide to a referendum and once the referendum approves it, you pass it into law.

Once he can get a commitment from them, then he puts it in motion. Get a correct representative of the people and let them go through the process like they did during Jonathan’s time and let them draw their resolutions. But, rather than sending it to the National Assembly, send it to a referendum. That is the voice of the people. We have never had a constitution except the 1963 Constitution that represented the voice of the people. Every other constitution in Nigeria has been military-inspired. Therefore, for once in our lifetime, let us send it to referendum. With that, the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives would have no choice but to accept it because they would have expressed commitment that they would be bound by it.

Instead of 21 judges at the Supreme Court, as stated in the constitution, the number dropped to 13 about three weeks ago. Why have we never had a full complement of judges in the Supreme Court?

In all my years of practice I have never seen the full complement of judges in the Supreme Court. In Nigeria, ethnicity, tribalism and religion find their ways into everything. For some time now, we have grouped Nigeria into six geographical zones. When they want to appoint a judge now and there is a slot for Yoruba extraction, there are six states and so to pick from them, tribalism would creep in. But, I believe that at no time should the Supreme Court be less than 17 because there are about three or four panels in the Supreme Court and each panel is made up of five judges. When only 13 persons are handling all the cases in that court, why won’t they be overworked, even though it is a self-inflicted injury, as far as I’m concerned.

The Court of Appeal also doesn’t have its full complement and down the line to the High Courts it is the same story. Is it that there are no right persons to be elevated to the bench?

It’s all these rubbish political matters that have disrupted the judicial system in Nigeria; they are not allowing the courts to carry out their normal duties. Until a drastic situation creates a constitutional court and we deploy renowned judges from the Court of Appeal to serve there, things won’t change.

Given the level of stealing in our country, do you think it’s high time we considered capital punishment for corruption?

Whether it is capital punishment or not, a crook would always be a crook. Most of these things are in the blood. Somebody who wants to steal has it in the blood and some Nigerians have imbibed the custom of believing that when they are working for government, they are there to steal. If you are made a commissioner tomorrow, all your relations are looking forward to getting contracts from you. So, we believe it’s a money-spinning venture. Sentencing people to death will not stop people from stealing. it’s in the blood of Nigerians to steal.

Does it mean we can’t do anything about it?

Once there is good governance, the propensity to steal would reduce. When a mechanic has power supply to work in his workshop and a tyre repairer has electricity to do his job, when will he have the time to dupe others? Nigeria is so great, with about 200 million people. Can you imagine if we have one singlet and briefs factory in Nigeria? Do you know the market it would have? We import everything. Whereas if most of our politicians who are stealing money can set up singlet and pants factories in every geo-political zone, the market is there, but we all just believe in stealing.

In our current constitution, when someone is sentenced to death, the governor needs to sign and because of religious beliefs and political considerations, there are over 2,000 persons awaiting their execution since governors have refused to sign. Should we not at this time eliminate the provision of the governor signing?

My answer to this question is that we should abolish death sentence and make it a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment. I believe somebody who killed at the age of 36 and is sentenced to 20 years and comes back at the age of 56 should have learnt a lesson, rather than keep them there. Some are afraid to sign a death warrant or they have religious phobia that you shouldn’t take life when you don’t make one. Then, let us agree to cancel death penalty in our books and make it 20 years’ imprisonment.

We hear judges are poorly paid, is that also a disincentive?

I’m aware that in Lagos State, judges are well paid, but I don’t know what happens in other states. However, I believe a judge must be well paid to enable them look away from temptation. But again, the lifestyle of some of the judges is questionable. I know of a young judge in the Federal High Court in Lagos that has over 26 children. How does he pay the school fees of his children? Some people just breed children, and corruption may not be far from such a judge. There are singular cases of corrupt judges that we know of. By their acts you would know they are corrupt.

Have you ever wished to be a judge?

Advocacy is an intrinsic act; you need to have it in your blood. I love advocacy; it’s in my blood and I do many cases pro bono. Many people would wonder why I still go to court. I love to be in court; I pray that the day I would die, maybe I would die in the courtroom, because that is my life.


Okada, Keke Ban: ACOMORAN tackles Lagos Government

The national leadership of the Amalgamated Commerical Motorcycle, Tricycle, Owners, Repairer, and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), has chided the Lagos State government for restricting the activities of motorcycles (Okada) and tricycle operators in some parts of the State.

The National Chairman of ACOMORAN, Prince Samsudeen Apelogun, said the government policy of banning motorcycle and tricycle in six local government areas of the state, was a clear demonstration of government insensitivity to the plight of the masses.

He said this in his remarks at the inauguration of new state executives of the Association in Ogun State, under the chairmanship of Comrade Kayode Sowunmi, on Friday, that government ought to have provided alternative means before banning commercial motorcycle and tricycle activities.

Apelogun lamented that many organised firms that invested in the sector are now in huge debts, owing to the government policy.

He said many of the motorcycle and tricycle operators are now back in the labour market and are confronted with the hardship of how to make a living.

The chairman said,” I really don’t think that banning commercial motorcycle without providing alternative, as was done in Lagos will never be the panacea for the problems facing the Lagos state government and Lagosians in general.

“That policy is a demonstration of the government’s insensitivity to the plight of the people. If care is not taken, many of those that have been thrown back into the labour market might find solace in crime

” We have over the years, advocated for sanitization and for setting of standards against adding to the pains of the people in the name of policy implementation. Unfortunately, poor Nigerians are usually at the receiving end.”

He appreciated the Ogun State Government both past and present for adding human face in their policy formulation.

In his remarks, Sowunmi said his administration would focus on five-point agenda which include the overall welfare of members; security of members; insurance policy; empowerment and discipline.


Kwara plan to give uniforms to Okada riders

The Kwara State Government has revealed its plans to issue Identity Cards and uniforms to commercial motorcycle operators as security measures to curb crimes in the state.

The State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Suleiman Rotimi, made this known on Thursday in Ilorin during a meeting with Okada riders in the state.

Rotimi said that the measure was necessary due to the influx of Okada riders from other states into Ilorin, the state capital.

He said that part of the security measures adopted was the introduction of uniforms, ID cards with bar codes and stickers to enhance easy identification and planning.

Rotimi listed other security measures to include census and registration of commercial motorcycle operators to ascertain their population in the state.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Yusuf Manjo, commended the joint motorcycle union for accepting the proposal for the introduction of a single uniform, stickers, and ID cards.

Manjo said that the necessary mechanism would be set in motion to actualise the measures within the shortest time possible.

Responding, the President of Joint Motorcycle Riders Union, Mr Gabriel Ajewole, expressed the union’s readiness to abide by the security measures.