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Police arrest suspects in siege to Odili’s home

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Justice Mary Odili

Some operatives who laid siege to the Abuja residence of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili have been arrested, Inspector-General Alkali Usman announced yesterday in Lagos. The police boss neither gave the number of those arrested nor their organisations.

But he said the circumstances surrounding the incident were being investigated.

In his first comment on the incident,  Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Muhammad warned that the Judiciary under his watch would no longer tolerate any form of indignity from other arms of government.

Also yesterday, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN),  cautioned that the siege to Supreme Court Justice‘s home must  “not be politicised” as  “it is   a matter of huge  political and constitutional importance.”

Justice Odili’s residence was on Friday night under a siege by armed security operatives who claimed their mission was to execute a Chief Magistrates’ Court search warrant.

Attorney-General of the Federation Abubarkar Malami (SAN), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) denied any involvement in the act, which drew widespread condemnation.

Following public outcry, Usman on Monday disclosed that an investigation into the incident had commenced. He assured Nigerians that the perpetrators would be fished out and brought to justice.

Yesterday, the IG gave an update on the matter during a two-day capacity-building workshop for security operatives in Lagos and Ogun states in Lagos.

He said: “I have taken my time not to speak quickly on this issue to ensure that when I speak, I am able to give Nigerians information on what transpired or what has been done.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have been able to arrest the perpetrators and we are investigating the circumstances surrounding the invasion or siege to the judge’s residence.”

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Enough is enough, CJN warns

In Abuja, the CJN, who hosted BOSAN leaders, condemned the siege to Odili’s home, saying that “enough is enough.’’ Warning that the judiciary “cannot only bark but can also bite,” he added that it (Judiciary) had commenced independent probe into the matters.

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that the Nigerian Judiciary is the third arm of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should be respected and treated as such,” Muhammad said in a statement by Supreme Court’s Director of Information, Festus Akande.

the statement reads: “The Judiciary should never be misconstrued by any individual or institution of government as the whipping child among the three arms of government that must always be chastised and ridiculed to silence because of our conservative disposition.

“The Judiciary cannot only bark, but can also bite. We can no longer be treated with disdain and levity. .

“We are alarmed with the news of the unwarranted and despicable raid on the official residence of one of our senior justices,  Justice Mary Peter Odili, in a Gestapo manner that unfortunately depicted a gory picture of war by some armed persons suspected to be security operatives representing different agencies of government, who seemed to have come to kill and maim their target under the guise of undertaking a search whose warrant was questionable and baseless.

“We are deeply saddened and taken aback by this uncivilised and shameful show of primitive force on an innocent judicial officer that has so far spent several years of her productive life serving the country she calls her own.

“We have had a full dosage of this fusillade of unwarranted and unprovoked attacks on our judicial officers and even facilities across the country and we say it loudly now that enough is enough.

“We have commenced a full-scale independent investigation to unravel the true masquerades behind the mystery as well as the real motives behind the whole imbroglio.

“Similarly, we call on the IGP  to   make his findings known to the Nigerian public with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice as quickly as possible.”

“The Nigerian Judiciary cannot only bark, but can also bite. We can no longer be treated with disdain and levity.”

Senior lawyers kick 

BOSAN, whose leaders, including Adegboyega Awomolo, Prof Yemi Akinseye-George, Awa Kalu and Jibrin Okutepa, also visited Malami on the Odili issue. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SANs) condemned the siege.

Awomolo, who led the delegation, said:   ”When judges’ lives, careers, security, and safety are threatened, then, democracy is also threatened.

”This incident appears to be in isolation, but we cannot let it be swept under the carpet. The incident must be investigated and investigated thoroughly.

“There are three arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature, and Judiciary. One is not supposed to be in ambush or overriding the other or threaten the other’s existence, otherwise, democracy is at risk.”

Also condemningthe siege, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanded a proper probe.

In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP  warned    the Federal Government against  sweeping  the matter under the carpet “on the guise of misleading whistleblower operation.”

The party condemned what it called coordinated assault on our institutions of democracy.”

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Oshiomhole praises Jonathan, says he left enviable legacies

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Former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress,Adams Oshiomhole, has said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan left enviable legacies behind.

The former Edo State governor said no leader is appreciated until they leave office, explained that his disagreement with former President Jonathan was due to their differences in political interests.

He stated this at the one-year memorial lecture in honour of late Captain Hosa Okunbo, in Abuja on Saturday.

Oshiomhole said, “You (Jonathan) left legacies even though I had cause to fight because it is politics. The legacy you have left, there is no successor who can afford to do less.

“But the logic of multi-party democracy is that even an angel can be defeated. You have set a standard that none of your successors can afford to go below.

“Part of your (Jonathan) legacies was when you launched the almajiri school and your thought was that no Nigerian child should be left on the street and also appropriated special funds.

“These ideas are not new but what we lack is the will to transform it to practice. We never know who are our friends until when we are no more. No one is appreciated until he or she leaves office.”

Other speakers at the event were Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase III decried the glorification of stomach infrastructure in Nigeria’s political culture, among others.

They described the late Captain Hosa Okunbo as a man with a large heart and spirit of philanthropy.

They noted one of his legacies that would continue to endure was that he nurtured and mentored many to become responsible members of the society.

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Shaving Inibehe Effiong’s hair, beard a security measure, says NCoS

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The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Akwa Ibom command, says the shaving of the hair and beard of Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner, is a security measure.

Effiong was sent to prison July 27 by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, Ekaette Obot, after the lawyer reportedly protested against the presence of armed policemen in court.

The human rights lawyer was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), have called for the release of the human rights lawyer.
On Thursday, reports surfaced on social media that Effiong had been transferred to the Uyo correctional centre, and that the lawyer’s hair and beard had been forcefully shaved.
Speaking on the reports, Femi Falana, human rights advocate, said such action was a violation of Effiong’s fundamental human rights.
In a statement on Friday, Richard Metong, NCoS Akwa Ibom spokesperson, said the shaving was not done with blunt instrument as speculated on social media, adding that the action was “a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility”.
“On arrival at Uyo, he was duly admitted into the facility and was also informed of the need to cut his hair and beards as a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility, which he obliged and willingly allowed the barber using a clipper and not a blunt instrument as speculated on social media,” the statement reads.
Meeting told TheCable on Saturday that the decision to shave Effiong’s hair and beard was carried out to ensure his safety among other inmates.
“On the security aspect, you know that the cells where they stay is not only for one person. There are a lot of other persons, and if you know barrister Effiong very well, he has a very long beard,” he said.
“In case of an argument or altercation with somebody in the cell, it can lead to him being harmed in a way if there is anything ensuing between himself and other inmates.
“You know he is a very popular human rights lawyer and I’m also very sure that there are other persons he prosecuted their cases who are also in the same facility.
“So, we are also considering his own safety by asking him to please shave to be clean. It is for his own best interest. It poses security threat to him as he goes into the facility. We don’t want him to be harmed.”
Speaking further, Metong said the decision was in line with the personal hygiene clause stipulated in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela rules.
Rule 18 (personal hygiene) of the Nelson Mandela rules states: “Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.
“In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be able to shave regularly.”

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ASUU won’t go on strike under my administration, says Atiku

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, says the Academic Staff Union of Universities will not go on strike if he is elected Nigeria’s president.

He stated this at the commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day in Abuja on Friday.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 due to the inability of the Federal Government to honour their 2009 agreement with the union.

Atiku, who disclosed that he had been investing in education for 30 years, noted that the most important fundamental right of any youth is the right to education.

He said,  “I take a very strong exception to the strike by ASUU. The inability of the government to resolve that crisis will never happen under a PDP government or administration that I will oversee.

“I have been investing in education for the past 30 years.”

The former Vice President promised to work with the university authorities to bring an end the incessant strike.

“I believe the PDP provides the best platform for you to actualise your individual, collective aspirations,” he said.

 

 

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