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UNDP advocates for bill to establish Peace Building Agency in Nasarawa

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UNDP advocates for bill to establish Peace Building Agency in Nasarawa

From Daniel Abel, Lafia

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) muted a proposal for Peace and Conflicts Management bill with the Nasarawa State Government.

The bill if considered is expected to address the myraids of security challenges confronting the state.

The State Coordinator of the UNDP, Okafor Christian stated this during an advocacy visit to the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana in his office in Lafia.

The UNDP peace mission team who were led by the Special adviser to Governor Abdullahi Sule on NGOs and development partners, Munira Abdullahi, expressed the optimism that the proposed bill will help to track any possible security breach.

According to the UNDP, if the bill comes into being, with an agency, it would provide policy support, coordinate stakeholders in conflicts management and will mobilize resources to support the peace building initiative of the state government.

“We have come here to advocate for the law to be expedited and be look into by the state assembly. We made some contacts to the key stakeholders in the state and every body is happy that it is long overdue”

Christian expressed the optimism that, the establishment of the peace building agency would not only ensure peace in the state but would create jobs, provide enabling environment for businesses and would attract investments to Nasarawa State.

The state UNDP Coordinator who recounted the several interventions of UNDP, said other joint UN peace initiative are being implemented in Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa assuring that, they have some resources to be committed in the project to support the State, if the draft bill come to light.

He listed livelihood, conflicts assessment and mapping, peace infrastructure, early warning and early response systems as some of the components that would facilitate their operations in conflicts monitoring across Nasarawa State and beyond.

He said, aside from the manpower drawn from different security systems, UNDP have provided facilities to be handled by people trained in that direction to raise alarm and to report early signs of conflicts

He added, should the peace building law see the light of day, it would not only institutionalise the system, it will bring everyone on board, strengthen the capacity of the people and the whole system for effectiveness and efficiency.

“So, it is important to put the house in order and that is why we are here and UNDP and other UN stakeholders are putting enough resources and efforts to ensure that, what Benue and Taraba sates are getting, Nasarawa State will get the same thing”.

He however maintained that the proximity of Nasarawa Toto, the FCT, with strategic resource diversification, it was important to have peace building structures to enable the state deal with other aspects of developments.

Christian urged the state government to galvanize the opportunity available to them for the good of the state and benefit of the people, adding that, UNDP got some support, funds and consultants that would assist the state achieve it peace building initiative.

In his response, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Assoc. Prof. Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana commended the efforts and commitment of the UNDP to peace mission in the state.

The AG however lamented over multiple laws in place that are not been implemented, as he noted that the State government was hoping to operationalize all the existing laws that have almost 70 percent provisions in full for the benefit of the people.

“Some of the Provisions within the laws that were proposed were in conflict with the existing law, it addresses the issues in the draft bill.

“It is on that basis we said, let see how we can operationalize the existing laws that have similar Provisions in other law. Let wait and operationalize it in full, because, it will be of no use starting a law we know we can’t implement.

According to him, “The challenges the state is battling is the outrageous nature of crimes that are more prevalence.

Kana recalled the serial communal clashes in the state which gave birth to Ombatse cult, Igbera/Bassa communities, Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen, said, it was good to envisage things as what the UNDP is proposing and the need to come up with law that would checkmate incidences of such should they surface.

He reiterated the fact that peace is something to work hard to sustain, noting that the last one and half year the volume of files handled shows that the cases of kidnapping and rape are on the increase.

Mr. Kana regretted that the farmer/herdsmen conflict resolution law of Nasarawa state has not been operationalized since it was passed, as the mechanism and the structure was never put in place.

“And we have quite a number of provisions within the penal code, which should address some of the challenges of Peace.

Kana also expressed worry over some of MDAs that are not doing their job, thereby piling up work for his Ministry, when things go wrong or someone commits an offence out there.

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Okutepa (SAN) felicitates with JUSUN over financial autonomy, insists on Judicial Independence

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Okutepa (SAN) will felicitates with JUSUN over financial autonomy, insists on Judicial Independence

Hard-won victory of financial autonomy for the State Judiciary excites Senior Advocate of Nigeria, J.S. Okutepa as he sends congratulatory message to the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and all relevant stakeholders.

This was coming few hours after the Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, addressed the press on Governor’s agreement to implement Financial Autonomy for the State Judiciary and end the lingering strike embarked upon by JUSUN.
Okutepa SAN described the feat a victory for the entire members of the Judiciary
He recalled that on Monday the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum addressed the press that the governors have agreed to give effect to the autonomy of the judiciary in terms of financial independence, expressing that is how it ought to be.

In his words, “I congratulate JUSUN and all relevant stakeholders for this singular achievement. I hope it will be permanent and not Adhoc”.
According to him, the realisation of the May 2021 agreement henceforth and going forward must be practical
He expressed the believe that giving financial autonomy to the judiciary is not enough to guarantee independence of the judiciary.
He indicated that there are so many factors affecting the independence of the judiciary which includes and not limited to recruitment process, Integrity and character of those recruited and to be recruited.
He said the competence of those on the Bench and to be on the Bench is another thing.
He noted that corruption and corrupt practices, Interfaces with judicial process by the powers are also factors militating against the independence of the Judiciary. 
In his submission he advised most strongly that once financial independence is secured for the judiciary, the next battle should be shifted to transparent recruitment process. According to him, only the best and the best with integrity, character, mien, disposition and comportment must be seen to the ones recruited to the Bench across board.
“There must be independent recruitment of judicial personnel and judicial officers. The legal profession, the Body of Benchers,  Body of Senior Advocate (BOSAN),  NBA, and JUSUN need to address the character and integrity of those who are on the Bench and those who are to join the Bench.”
He harped on the necessity for the review of the recruitment process of judicial officers.
“We must avoid recruitment of indolent and non-productive legal practitioners as judicial officers. It is not enough to just fulfill all righteousness by placing much emphasis on quota. Yes even if we need to follow Federal character and quota system, we must pick from the best eleven within that locality”.
He indicated that a situation when godfatherism, who you know, lobbying and such other vices played a prominent role in the recruitment of judicial officers instead of merit must be fought and brought to an end.
“There is no doubt that the jurisprudential quality of judgment in our courts with scintillating judicial prose seems to fast disappearing in our judgements. The logicality of reasoning and indept analysis for which our judiciary was known in yesteryears to seem to have gone for bad”.
Okutepa suggested that the Bar and Bench must come together to fashion out an enduring justice system that meets the yearning and aspirations of the legal profession and the Nigerian people. “There must be a system that in the administration of autonomy of the finance of the judiciary no one will act to give appearance of impropriety of any kind. Nobody should be allowed to abuse the autonomy.
“Honestly and integrity must be the watchword for those to administer the funds, there must be difference. Courts halls must be built and fully modernised.”
He charged the Judiciary to live up to expectations by making sure that filing processes meet the emerging 21st century practices and world best standards.
“Delay in justice must be avoided and Judgments must have as its attributes the doing of justice to the parties.

“Our judicial officers must be ready to give justice to all. They must be bold and fearless.The legal profession must liberate itself from self-destruct it is heading to. We must avoid partisan discrimination and focus more on the purity of justice to all. The way we act with impunity without sanctions must be revisited. In all we must follow the necessary and due process to make Nigerian judiciary truly independent”.

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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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