JUST IN: Don’t Use Us For Political Ambition, NBA Slams Wike
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has slammed Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike for referring to the organization as a “paper tiger” that had failed to protect the judiciary.
NBA President Olumide Akpata defended the league’s record and stated that Wike “cannot and should not be allowed to use the NBA as fodder of any kind for his vaulting ambition.”
Akpata cited several instances in which the body stood up in defense of the judiciary, including when it fought on behalf of recently retired Supreme Court Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Akon Ikpeme, and Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court.
Wike’s forgetfulness of these and other things, he said, suggested “a dissonance that is most disconcerting and should give one serious cause for concern,” especially given that the Rivers governor is a “senior member of the Bar.”
Wike, speaking at a book launch in honor of Justice Peter-Odili on Tuesday, said, among other things, that the NBA had become a “paper tiger” that had not only failed in its responsibility to protect Nigeria’s judiciary, but had also been unable to rescue it from political intimidation.
The FidelinfoNews sighted a statement by Akpata , where NBA responded to Wike, The statement was tittled “NBA HAS FAILED TO PROTECT THE NIGERIAN JUDICIARY- MY RESPONSE TO GOVERNOR WIKE’S DIATRIBE”.
Akpata said: “As President of the NBA, it is not usual for me to respond to criticisms regarding the activities or performance of the NBA, and indeed our philosophy has been to welcome all such criticisms and take useful lessons therefrom. But I am unable to allow the Governor of Rivers State make such baseless allegations against the NBA particularly as he is a senior member of the legal profession who will be presumed by many to be speaking from a position of knowledge.
It is indeed quite ironic that Governor Wike made these unfortunate statements at an event held in honour of the Honourable Justice Mary Peter-Odili in support of whom, the NBA stood firm in the face of that brazen attack on her home in Abuja by some persons who are now standing trial in our law courts. That Governor Wike has chosen so quickly, to either forget or ignore this and other actions of the NBA in support of the Judiciary is suggestive of a dissonance that is most disconcerting and should give one serious cause for concern.
“It is very convenient for Governor Wike to ask Nigerian lawyers (as he did at the Book Launch) to emulate their apparently more courageous Pakistani colleagues when the issues at stake do not concern him directly, but when in 2019 the very same Nigerian lawyers had the “temerity” to question his handling of the security situation in Rivers State and threatened to boycott the courts if there was no abatement of the rising insecurity in the State, he was only too quick to lambast the lawyers and to withdraw his “support” for the NBA in the State.
“While we understand that Governor Wike is currently on the political soapbox and, like a man with the proverbial new hammer, to whom any and everything is a nail, he will latch unto any chance to sell his candidacy, he cannot and should not be allowed to use the NBA as fodder of any sort for his vaulting ambition.”
He said the politico-legal history of Nigeria is replete with the commendable role that the NBA has played, and continues to play, as a primary defender of the rule of law and protector of the Judiciary in Nigeria.
Akpata noted that “While the NBA might have at different points dithered in playing these roles, the NBA is not known to have shirked that responsibility in recent times.
Our commitment to defend the Judiciary and its integrity has remained unshaken and the NBA has been making spirited efforts to discharge that responsibility creditably in the less than two years since this administration of the NBA assumed office. Illustrative examples abound to drive home this point, and three well-known examples remain fresh in the consciousness of Nigerians and constitute recent history that cannot be rewritten even by a personality of Governor Wike’s calibre.”
He listed several instances of the NBA’s efforts, including “Firstly, there was the crisis that rocked the Cross River State Judiciary when, against established legal tradition, the Governor of the State refused to appoint the most senior Judge in the State – Justice Akon Ikpeme – as the substantive Chief Judge on the ground that she was not an indigene of Cross River State.
That was an attempt by the executive arm of government to extend its political turf to the Judiciary, and the active role that the NBA played both publicly and privately in defending the Judiciary and resolving that ugly debacle in that State (and a few other States where similar scenarios played out afterwards) is well-documented.
“Secondly, Nigerians would recall how the NBA swiftly rose to the defence of Mary Peter Odili JSC (rtd) in particular, and the Nigerian Judiciary in general, when the former’s residence was invaded by rogue officers of the security agencies. The NBA’s fierce opposition to the illegal invasion also included the appointment of a Special Investigator to unravel those behind the illegality. That the Special Investigator, after an extensive fact finding process, did not find the executive culpable is indicative of the fact that his appointment was not intended to achieve a contrived end, and should not be interpreted as the NBA being a “paper tiger”.
Also fresh in our collective memories is the NBA’s defence of Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court who was wrongly excoriated by His Excellency Engr. Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State after an unfavourable judgment was entered against the Governor. The NBA’s defence of the Judiciary in that case would later result in an almost immediate apology by the Governor.
“More generally, the NBA has at different times in the last 20 months, filed public interest lawsuits to challenge the excesses of the Government and its agencies; issued strongly worded statements and reprimands in which it named and shamed political leaders with despotic and undemocratic tendencies; initiated a process to enthrone the appointment of only the best from amongst us as Judges; and even joined in a ten-week long strike action (with significant economic loss to our members and other debilitating effects) in a bid to contribute towards our quest for a more independent and efficient Judiciary in Nigeria.
“Short of taking the law into our hands and carrying ammunition without licence to defend the Judiciary, the NBA insists that it is doing its best in the circumstance, and in an atmosphere that is widely acknowledged to be characterised by recklessness and little regard for the rule of law by governments at all levels. It is in this respect that the NBA views Governor Wike’s invectives as inconsiderate and uncharitable.”
Akpata conceded that there is room for the NBA to do more in maintaining and defending the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.
Nevertheless, be argued that it would be “mean-spirited to make such far-reaching and ridiculing statement about the NBA, at least given its engagements and activities in defence of the Judiciary since August 2020 when the current leadership assumed office.
“The NBA would continue to do all that it can to defend the Judiciary, the rule of law and indeed, Nigeria’s democracy. We will not pass that buck.”
Creed III Actor Jonathan Majors Arrested For Assault
Creed III actor Jonathan Majors has been arrested on strangulation, assault and harassment charges.
Fidel Info reports that The New York Police Department said Mr Majors, who stars alongside Michael B Jordan in the recently released film, was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman on Saturday.
“The victim informed police she was assaulted,” a police spokesperson said.
Mr Majors was briefly taken into custody.
A lawyer for the 33-year-old actor denied any wrongdoing.
The NYPD said they were called around 11:14 local time after receiving a 911 call from an apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea district.
They added the woman suffered minor head and neck injuries and was taken to hospital.
He was released from custody by Saturday night, an NYPD spokesperson told the Associated Press news agency.
In a statement, Mr Majors’ lawyer said the actor was “completely innocent” and alleged the star was the victim of the altercation involving a woman known to him.
Priya Chaudhry said: “We are quickly gathering and presenting evidence to the District Attorney with the expectation that all charges will be dropped imminently.”
“This evidence includes video footage from the vehicle where this episode took place, witness testimony from the driver and others who both saw and heard the episode, and most importantly, two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations.”
“All the evidence proves that Mr Majors is entirely innocent and did not assault her whatsoever.”
Mr Majors’ arrest comes just weeks after the actor presented an award at the Oscars.
His career took off after breaking through in 2019’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, before going onto to star in Netflix western The Harder They Fall and Marvel Comics film Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
Mr Majors plays Jordan’s adversary in Creed III, a boxing film released earlier this month.
US Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off Africa Tour In Ghana
Vice President Kamala Harris was greeted by schoolchildren, dancers and drummers as she arrived Sunday in Ghana for the start of a weeklong visit to Africa intended to deepen U.S. relationships amid global competition over the continent’s future.
Fidel Info reports that Harris said “We are looking forward to this trip as a further statement of the long and enduring very important relationship and friendship between the people of the United States and those who live on this continent.”
The children cheered and waved Ghanaian and American flags as she stepped off her plane after an overnight flight. She smiled broadly and placed a hand on her heart as she passed by the dancers.
“What an honor it is to be here in Ghana and on the continent of Africa,” Harris said. “I’m very excited about the future of Africa.” She said she wanted to promote economic growth and food security and welcomed the chance to “witness firsthand the extraordinary innovation and creativity that is occurring on this continent.”
Ghana is one of the continent’s most stable democracies, but Harris is arriving at a time of severe challenges for the West African nation. Its economy, among the fastest growing in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic, faces a debt crisis and soaring inflation that is driving up the cost of food and other necessities.
A country of 34 million people that’s slightly smaller than Oregon, Ghana is also wary of threats from instability in the region. Burkina Faso and Mali have each endured two coups in recent years, and local offshoots of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group operate in the area known as the Sahel, which is north of Ghana.
Thousands of people have been killed and millions more have been displaced.
The fighting has created an opening for the Russian mercenary outfit known as Wagner, which maintains a presence in Africa despite participating in the invasion of Ukraine as well. Mali welcomed Wagner after it pushed out French troops that were based there, and there are fears that Burkina Faso will do the same.
The economic and security challenges will likely be discussed on Monday when Harris meets with Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo. They also are expected to hold a joint news conference.
The two leaders have met twice before, both times in Washington.
During their first meeting, in September 2021, Akufo-Addo said “our big challenge — and it is a challenge of all those who want to develop democratic institutions on our continent — is to ensure and reassure our people that democratic institutions can be a vehicle for the resolution of their big problem — that is economic development as the means to eradicate poverty on the continent.”
Harris is the highest-profile member of President Joe Biden’s administration to visit Africa this year. After Ghana, she plans to visit Tanzania and Zambia. She returns to Washington on April 2.
The expanded outreach is intended to counter China’s influence, which has become entrenched in recent years through infrastructure initiatives, lending money and expanding telecommunications networks. Ghana, for example, reached a $2 billion deal with a Chinese company to develop roads and other projects in return for access to a key mineral for producing aluminum.
Most of Harris’ events in Ghana will focus on young people. Africa’s population has a median age of 19.
On Monday, she plans to visit a skate park and co-working space that has a recording studio for local artists. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, who is accompanying her on the trip, will hold a town hall meeting with actors from a local television show and attend a girls basketball clinic.
In the evening, they will attend a state banquet with the Ghanaian president and first lady.
On Tuesday, Harris will give a speech and visit Cape Coast Castle, where enslaved Africans were once loaded on ships bound for the Americas.
Before leaving for Tanzania on Wednesday, Harris will meet with women entrepreneurs and Emhoff will tour a chocolate company that was founded by two sisters. The name of the company, ’57 Chocolate, is a reference to when Ghana became independent.
Cameron Hudson, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Ghana has been “a bright spot in the region” but “it’s facing some very stiff headwinds.”
He noted that the country’s south, where the capital of Accra is located, is primarily Christian, while the northern area is mostly Muslim, and there are fears that militants could expand their operations there.
“These terrorist groups are able to prey on existing fault lines within these societies,” he said.
Hudson said Ghanaian authorities have intercepted weapons shipments and human smugglers. Sometimes there are bursts of violence, and the number of incidents spiked last year.
Buhari Mourns Late Retd. Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sorrow on the loss of Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, who led the military from 1993 to 1997 and served as vice chairman of the Interim Governing Council in 1994 under the Abacha government.
Fidel Info reports that He praised the late statesman “for his love, belief, and dedication to the country,” adding that “his services to the nation will never be forgotten.”
“Diya was known for his brilliance, exceptional organisational skills and discipline, and he displayed these virtues in the important roles he held in office as a military officer,” a statement signed by Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, read on Sunday afternoon.
The statement is titled ‘President Buhari pays tribute to General Diya’.
Diya, 79, passed away in the early hours of Sunday, as announced by his son, Oyesinmilola Diya.
The announcement read, “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, Lt-General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (retd).
“Our dear daddy passed on to glory in the early hours of March 26, 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.
Born April 3, 1944 at Odogbolu in Ogun State, Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.
He served as the Chief of the General Staff under General Sani Abacha from 1994 to 1997. He was second in command and the de facto vice president of Nigeria.
Adesina said that the President honors General Diya for his daring and valiant military career in Nigeria as well as his devoted service to the nation as General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Commandant, National War College (1991–1993), Chief of Defence Staff, and Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.
“The President recalls that Diya was known for his brilliance, exceptional organizational skills and discipline, and he displayed these virtues in the important roles he held in office as a military officer.”
“The President salutes the former Chief of General Staff for his love, belief and loyalty to the country he cherished so much and fought gallantly on the frontlines to defend her unity,” he added.
Buhari sent heartfelt condolences to Diya’s family, friends and colleagues, on behalf of the Federal Government.
He also prays that General Diya’s soul finds rest with his Creator, and may his contributions to the nation never be forgotten.
2023 Elections1 week ago
AdamawaDecides: Close Race Between APC And PDP
News3 weeks ago
Breaking: Terrible Accident Involving A Train And BRT Bus In Lagos
News4 weeks ago
BREAKING: CEO Lanre Shittu Dies Aged 65
2023 Elections6 days ago
Here’s Why INEC Declared Adamawa Elections Inconclusive
2023 Elections4 weeks ago
NaijaDecides2023: Tinubu Wins Obasanjo’s Polling Unit
2023 Elections1 week ago
APC Campaign DG Murdered In Rivers State
News6 days ago
Ramadan Might Start On Wednesday- Sultan
2023 Elections1 week ago
LagosDecides: Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour Loses Polling Unit To Sanwo-Olu