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States Ask Supreme Court To Quash Buhari’s Order On Judiciary Funding

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The 36 states of the federation have approached the supreme court seeking to quash the presidential executive order No. 00-10 of 2020 which mandates state governments to fund the judiciary.

President Muhammadu Buhari on May 22 signed the order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary in the 36 states of the federation.

The order empowered the accountant-general of the federation to deduct funds for the state legislature and the judiciary from the federal allocations to the states.

“Based on this order, where any state of the federation fails to release allocations meant for the state legislature and state judiciary, the accountant-general of the federation shall authorise deduction of the money from source,” the order read.

In the suit file by their respective attorneys-general, the states are contending the constitutionality of the executive order.

Leading a team of lawyers on behalf of the states, Augustine Alegeh, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said with the executive order signed by the president, the federal government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, sharia court of appeal and the customary court of appeal has been pushed to the state governments.

He said the order violates sections six and eight (three) of the 1999 constitution which put the responsibility of funding the courts on the federal government.

Alegeh also said the 36 states have been funding the capital projects in the listed courts since 2009.

He asked the apex court to make an order compelling the federal government to refund the money spent by the states since 2009.

“Since the 5th of May 2009, the defendant had not funded the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, sharia court of appeal and the customary court of appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, apart from paying only the salaries of the judicial officers of the said courts,” the lawyer said.

“The plaintiffs’ states have been solely responsible for funding the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, which the defendant has failed and/or refused to funds.”

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, is the sole respondent in the suit representing the federal government.

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E-News

Gunmen Abduct 13 Travellers In Niger

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The Niger police command, on Wednesday, said 13 travellers were abducted by gunmen at Konar Barau village in Rafi LGA of the state.

Monday Kuryas, Niger commissioner of police, confirmed the incident in an interview with NAN in Minna, the state capital.

According to Kuryas, the divisional police officer (DPO) of Zungeru reported that one Mubarak Idris of Kwanawa village, Sokoto state, reported the matter to the police “at about 1530 hours”.

Idris, identified as the driver of a bus with registration number LGT 12 XWX, was said to have been conveying 18 passengers from Yauri in Kebbi state, when the incident occurred.

The travellers, mostly fishermen, were said to be on their way to Yenagoa in Bayelsa state, when they were attacked.

The police said Idris reported that on getting to a sharp bend at Konar Barau along the Tegina-Minna road, some “suspected bandits in military uniform” attacked the vehicle and took away 13 passengers and his “motor boy”.

The driver also said the gunmen dispossessed him of N131,500.

Speaking on the development, the police commissioner said a manhunt for the victims has commenced.

He also urged residents to come forward if they have useful information that can lead to the arrest of the gunmen.

“We appeal to residents to volunteer reliable information that could aid in apprehending miscreants in the state,” he said.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the protection of lives and property in our area of supervision.

“All we require from residents is vital intelligence information that could aid the security personnel deployed across the state on movement of dubious characters in their midst for necessary security action.”

The development comes months after over 100 pupils were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, located in the same LGA where the travellers were kidnapped.

The children regained their freedom after spending 16 weeks with their abductors, but six of the pupils died in captivity.

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E-News

#EndSARSMemorial: Police Tear-gas Protesters At Lekki Tollgate 

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The protest to commemorate #EndSARS first anniversary took a different turn as the police fired teargas at protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.

Nigerians in Lagos, Abuja and some other states poured into the streets on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest.

The #EndSARS protest of October 2020 was a campaign against police brutality, harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killing by the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

Speaking to journalists shortly after, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the protesters told him they were going to end the demonstration by 10 am.

Odumosu said any protest beyond the agreed time is constituting a nuisance.

“Between 8am and 10am, anything after 10 am is a nuisance,” Odumosu said.

“I discussed with them and they said they will end the protest by 10 o’clock. Any other person doing it now… that’s nuisance…. that have guns, the ones with machete, hammer, are they protesters or miscreants?

“The protesters are free; they have done their thing and left. Any other person remaining are the miscreants, hoodlums that want to capitalise on that to attack innocent people and start robbing people. We will not allow that.”

The CP also confirmed the arrest of a journalist and said he has ordered his release.

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Onanuga Advocates Functioning Social Security System In Nigeria

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By Sola Alabadan

In view of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis, the former Director General of Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) said there is the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.

Mrs. Onanuga made this call while delivering the theme paper “Covid-19 Impact On Financial Inclusion: Opportunities For Insurance & Pension Sectors” at the sixth edition of the national conference of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondent (NAIPCO) held recently in Lagos.

She said “The World Bank estimates that the covid-19 crisis will result in 10.9 million Nigerians falling into poverty by January 2022. If we have learned anything, the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have highlighted the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.

However, she lamented that “unfortunately, the social security system in Nigeria is next to zero; so you need to plan for yourself so that if anything happens, you need to be able to stand.”

Mrs. Onanuga stressed  that in this era of COVID-19 pandemic, insurance and pension is what Nigerians need to lean on for a hopeful future.

“If you really want to remain in business, you must take insurance, in the event of sudden occurrence like the pandemic, insurance will help you to stand back on your feet; in the event of you finding that because of the pandemic a breadwinner of a family dies, there must be a buffer to ensure that the family is not affected.

“Therefore, more than ever before, you find out that actually there is need for both insurance and pension products to ensure that we continue to live and meet our need of sustainable living, healthy living, wealthy living and of course, continuity in business. That is why it is important for all of us to identify that we have these needs for growth and continuity by taking up both insurance and pension products,” Mrs. Onanuga said.

In her goodwill message, Director General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, who was represented at the event by the Commission’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, emphasised the need for Nigerians to embrace contributory pension, as a social security safety net.

He said the issue of gathering retirees physically in various locations across the country for verification is now a thing of the past with the online verification and enrolment portal recently launched by the Commission.

According to him, “Before now, we would congregate several retirees in different centres of the country to do the enrolment for the Treasury Funded retirees, and now that can be done online.

“I’m happy to announce that over 3,000 people have been enrolled through our online portal out of 11,000 expected to retire this year.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Olorundare Thomas, called on Nigerians in all walks of life to embrace insurance as risk-mitigating mechanism.

The Commissioner for Insurance was represented by Assistant Director, Market Development, Adeyemi Abubakar.

He congratulated the NAIPCO members, for their consistency in organising the conference, as a platform to ensure that they reach out to the public with their reportage on the insurance sector to ensure the growth of the insurance business in Nigeria.

The Commissioner for Insurance reminded NAIPCO of their role as purveyors of information, awareness creation and catalysts of economic growth, just as he solicited the continued cooperation of the Association for the growth of the industry.

He said for the Nigerian insurance market to record significant growth and contributes adequately to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), all hands must be on deck, noting that the media has a critical role to play in this especially in sensitising the public on the benefits of insurance.

Thomas believes that deepening insurance penetration can only be possible through a deliberate and sustained insurance awareness which, he said, will also lead to the realization of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion initiative.

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