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Solicitor general says N2b proposal for prosecution of BH, others is inadequate

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Solicitor general says N2b proposal for prosecution of BH, others is inadequate

The Solicitor general of the federation of the Federation, Dayo Akpata on Monday told the Senate that the N2bn provision for prosecution of Boko Haram fighters and other offenders is inadequate for diligent prosecution of such cases across the country.

Mr. Akpata gave the indication yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Right to defend the 2021 provisions.

Senate Spokesman and member of the committee, Senator Basiru Surajudeen had enquired on the provision of N2b for prosecution while there are similar proposal for the sum N350m and N380m.
Basiru in his interrogation said “We need to know how much is being projected for civil litigation, how much is being projected for prisons decongestion all other items in that regards.

The third observation has to do with what can be divided from the sum of about N2bn for designated items under overhead cost and some of the items listed under capital expenditure’

“If you look at the the description of the expenditure on page 4, there is also the provision of N350m for criminal justice interim committee  what is the relationship of that N350m budget and the projected sum under legal services in the overhead cost proposal.

“The same thing also goes on the prison decongestion if you also look at the capital proposal, the sum of  N380m was allotted for prosecution of prisons inmates and decongestion of correctional centres nationwide.

“How much of that was budget from the sum of N2bn for legal services,  Also the aspect judicial service and  centralization of judicial services  reforms “

The Solicitor general of the federation in his response explained that the sum of N2bn is inferior to the amount of money needed to prosecute cases in different courts across Nigeria.

He said the ministry has saved the federal government about N600bn  from its decision to utilize solicitors internally as against hiring external lawyers to prosecute cases, besides the monetary benefits, the said it also birthed other benefits for the ministry manpower.

“On the issue of N2bn which is being proposed to pay ministries for legal services if you look at page four, we have already stated that it is going to be used for civil litigation. 

“Let me first of all explain what are the constraints of the attorney general.

“Since 2015 sir, the office of the Attorney general of the Federation, that is, the chambers has been doing almost all the cases inside without going out for external solicitors and that alone has actually done three things for the government of Nigeria.

“Capacity building for the officers of which am also a benefiting from the second is reducing to the bearest minimum, the amount of money the federal government ought to have paid.

“For example there is a case in Enugu which the Federal government has N50m and that case will just require to send two layers to do the case, if we are looking at the two billion it cannot be compared with what we are saving from government.

“We have saved over N600bn because we now do cases in house. So part of this N2bn is essentially  to get the lawyers to attend to all the cases which are spread around the 36 states of this country and in all the courts.

“On the issue of Prison decongestion, I will come to that. The trial and prosecution of Boko Haram, you will recall that last year, we have to create a jurisdiction, a division in Kaiji Dam in which some inmates  were prosecuted.

“How do you prosecute 3000, in a place, we have to bring four judges from the federal high court, we have to pay the legal aids, we had to pay a lot of fees, so, having done that N3bn is a tip of the Iceberg of what it is intended to do.

“Recently in Maiduguri in Borno, there is a camp there, which we are going to do another prosecution , how do you prosecute all these, these are all the things the N2bn is going to do.

“When you now look at the specific activities on the N2bn are separate and distinct description which we are doing.”

Chairman of the committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele in his response to journalists after the session said it does not matter what is proposed by the ministry, the legislature would review these proposal to what it feels is right in view of the present reality.

He also pointed out that while doing this, the Senate will not ignore the peculiarity of the security challenge which has made extra-budgetary expenditure common in the judiciary, military and other areas of governance.

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Nigeria rallies Global support against drug trafficking, terrorism

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Nigeria rallies Global support against drug trafficking, terrorism  

In its bit to tackle the links between drug trafficking and all forms of organised crime like terrorism,the Nigerian Government has called for a well-coordinated international cooperation
This was one of Nigerias demands at the ongoing 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, CND, holding in Vienna, Austria, presented before the global audience on Monday by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd).
This was contained in a statement that was issued by the Director, Media and Advocacy of he NDLEA Femi Babafemi
The statement reads,
“Nigeria calls for robust international cooperation to address the links between drug trafficking and terrorism, illicit financial flows, smuggling of migrants and other forms of organised crime, Marwa stated.

“We underscore the importance of technical assistance by UNODC, which has greatly assisted practitioners of beneficiary countries and positively impacted global efforts to counter and address the world drug problem, and urge for their continuation.

He explained that Nigeria has continued to adopt her drug control policies and strategies to respond to emerging and evolving realities.
The NDLEA boss said despite the implementation of the country’s  framework and strategic action plan, trafficking and abuse of controlled substances persist. 
“First, the cultivation and high traffic of Cannabis and its abuse has been on the increase.”

According to him, our National Drug Use Survey, 2019 revealed that over 10 million persons abused cannabis in one year.  In similar pattern, the 2019 and 2020 World Drug Reports identified cannabis as the most abused substance with its threat to security, health and wellbeing of the global population. 
Secondly, he said the trafficking and non-medical use of synthetic and pharmaceuticals opioids, especially Tramadol, remains a challenge.

“This is in spite of our domestic control efforts as well as two tripartite meetings, facilitated by UNODC, involving Nigeria, Ghana and India held in New Delhi and Lagos in 2019, to address the Tramadol crisis.  Nigeria, therefore, reiterated that legalisation of the illicit use of cannabis is a violation of the Drug Control Treaties while highlighting the urgent need for change in the control measures for Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals.”
Gen. Marwa added that Nigeria has decentralized the storage of finished narcotic drugs to ensure their access, availability and affordability for medical and scientific use. He said as a result, we are now able to optimize data collection and improve statutory submission of annual requirement to the INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) with the launch, in 2020, of our national quantification/estimation survey, conducted in 2017 and 2019 respectively. 
‘We are also on course to start local manufacturing of narcotic medicines fromWHO-prequalified pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure availability and meet national needs”

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Nassarawa grants pardon to 47 inmates

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Nassarawa grants pardon to 47 inmates

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

47 inmates awaiting trial in four federal custodian centers in Nassarawa State have been granted pardon.

The newly confirmed Chief Judge of the state, Justice Aisha Bashir made the disclosure in Wamba local government area of the state on Thursday.
She indicated that the visit was in compliance with the presidential directive to decongest custodian facilities as part of measure to contain further spread of COVID-19 in the state.

According to her, “About 47 inmates awaiting trial in four federal custodian centres in the state have been discharged.”

Justice Aisha, who was confirmed recently by the National Judicial Commission (NJC), was appointed the acting CJ on December 31, 2020 after the retirement of Justice Sulieman Dikko, former CJ from service.

She, however, gave the breakdown of the number released from every custodian centre to include, 30 inmates from the Lafia Custodian Centre, 6 from Nasarawa Custodian center, 8 from Keffi Custodian Centre and 3 from Wamba Custodian Centre respectively.

Justice Aisha said that under her watch, the judiciary in the state would work assiduously towards ensuring speedy administration of justice as well as tackle the menace of justice stagnation.

The CJ maintained that the Criminal Justice Committee in the state would soon come up with modalities to ensure that those whose cases were stagnated for so many years without progress get their cases concluded and justice delivered.

“I have also asked that names of inmates that had stayed for five years and above be compiled for onward submission to the Executive Governor of the state for pardon,” she added.

The first female Chief Judge of Nassarawa state said, “We recommend to the governor to grant them pardon as part of efforts to ensure justice is served as well as decongest custodian facilities.”

She, therefore, applauded the authorities of the Custodian Centres for teaching the inmates various skills and enrolling those interested in education at the Open University.

Justice Aisha said such steps by the authorities would truly rehabilitate the inmates and make them useful after serving their jail terms.

The CJ also admonished those released to work hard to convince the society that they are changed to make the society trust them again and assimilate them.

The CJ was accompanied on the visit by judges, Legal Aids Council of Nigeria. Human Rights Commission, among others.

The CJ’s tour of the custodian centres was the first since she assumed office in December 2020.

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NDLEA wants end to duplication of its functions amongst Sister Agencies

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NDLEA wants end to duplication of its functions amongst Sister Agencies

*Proposes NDLEA attache’s for foreign Missions

By Sunday Joseph


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is seeking exclusive legislative powers to be the lone government institution when it comes to dealing with offences relating to illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

The agency has also proposed for legal backing that will enable it to appoint drug attaches from amongst its staff to serve in Nigerian foreign missions.

This followed the ongoing NDLEA Amendment Bill, SB.288 of 2021 under consideration at the Senate, which was sponsored by Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka (Plateau Central) on the enforcement and execution of NDLEA Act Cap N30.

The Chairman of the agency, Brigadier-general Mohamed Buba Marwa made this know in his presentation at a public hearing on the bill Thursday in National Assembly.

Marwa who was represented by the Director General of NDLEA, Shedrach Haruna, noted that new amendment seeks to address four basic in the principal Act of the NDLEA, which includes: Establishment of additional scientific laboratories; replacement of the word ‘heroine’ to ‘heroin’; restriction of sentencing discretion of judges and increase in amount of fine for punishment of obstruction.

However the areas of amendment proposed for consideration by the NDLEA in Section 3, subsection (2) seeks to ensure that “All drugs units under existing institutions dealing with offenders or offences concerned with or relating to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances shall relate and be responsible to the Agency (NDLEA) in performance of their duties and function and transfer all seized substances and persons arrested in pursuant to this Act to the Agency for Prosecution”.

He said this will enhance local coordination by the Agency for the purpose of international reporting and cooperation. Marwa further hinted that this will grant the Agency the power to operate in all Nigerian entry and exit points and ports without hindrance or legal encumbrance.

The Agency has also proposed the amendment of Section 45 where it may in “consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appoint a drug attache from amongst its staff to serve in any Nigerian diplomatic mission abroad”.
However, Senate Committee chairman on health Yahaya Oloriegbe faulted the demand for drug attache in foreign mission saying, “I saw where you are proposing the appointment of drug attachés in every mission or as may be necessary which is not there before. “Do you know the cost implication of that vis a vis the load of work and then the relevance of that in all our missions abroad?
“Now, even the staff that we have who are the core staff, there are challenges in terms of payments. What you are trying to do is to create another corps that would be on drug desks in other countries and what kind or work will they be doing on a day by day basis and they will be a drain on national resources.
“I have concerns on this and unless you are able to convince us when we are taking up we will look at that.”

Haruna, who represented the Chairman of the Agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, in his response said: “We find that some country really requires the assistance of our drug attachés. We have seen that even Section 45 of the NDLEA law as presently couched grants the Agency powers to request for information of competent Nigerians abroad to enable us follow up with investigation at home. “However, we felt that just like we have liaison magistrates of foreign countries in Nigeria giving us assistance in other areas we also need to do that because we have had requests from so many countries saying that drug attachés from Nigeria will be needed to ensure that they have a comprehensive approach to investigations in their own countries.

“There is a need for drug attachés to support the investigations of Nigerians committing drug crimes abroad. We have so many Nigerians in some countries abroad that the drug agencies in those countries will actually require the assistance of Nigerians particularly in language issues.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe

“We have severally demonstrated that we cannot allow the degeneration ofnour values through drugs and other substances considering our concerted quest for growth.

“The bill before us is yet another attempt at strengthening the regulatory mechanism on drug abuse following identified loopholes in the extant law.
This amendment also flows from the regular trend of reviewing or updating laws after operational experiences as a step towards perfection.”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka:

“There is no doubt that the NDLEA Act Cap L90 is now overdue for amendment as the agency has experienced and learnt some lessons in the course of operating Nd enforcing the Act.

“It is therefore hoped that the this time around, the process of the amendment will be far reaching, all embracing and concluded n order to bring the amendment Act into force.”

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