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11042019 - INSECURITY: Senate condemns killings; insists on State Police

  • Text
  • Nigerians
  • Leaders
  • Chairman
  • Nigerian
  • Assembly
  • Senate
  • April
  • Vanguard
  • Lagos
  • Nigeria

22 — Vanguard,

22 — Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019 By Mike Ezekhome , SAN I knew it would come sooner than later. When Justice Walter Onnoghen’s travails started in January, I predicted that the cabal was out to rubbish him. They desired to bespatter him with the paintbrush of shame, odium and obloquy in such a way as to make him visibly unfit for the position of the CJN. They went after his jugular, using the CCB/CCT. The CCT was unrelenting: it discarded its earlier precedents; ignored court rulings barring it from trying Onnoghen. It was the case of the falcon not hearing the falconer. The Court of Appeal became complicit. It refused to deliver judgments in Onnoghen’s cases argued before it over six weeks ago. Nigerians watched Onnoghen being mob-lynched. Onnoghen was tried in the media, criminalized, humiliated. The Bench kept mute (as usual). The Bar became lilylivered. Lawyers whispered in hush tones. Some even supported Onnoghen’s excoriation as if that massaged their over bloated egos. So, Onnoghen, faced with the reality of the situation, knew that his faith had been predetermined by the cabal, signed, sealed and delivered. Otherwise, how can NJC hold that it decided not to delve into the allegations, relating to assets declaration levelled against Onnoghen because they were “subjudice”, yet, convicted him on the “compelling petitions” written by EFCC and others, when the said petitions remained in the realm of mere unproven allegations. I am yet to be shown a Law that makes allegations or suspicion, no matter how grave, a conviction against a citizen of Nigeria, without arraignment, trial or due process. It was simply a case of working from the question to the answer. So, Onnoghen did the reasonable thing under the circumstances. He invoked section 306(1) of the Constitution. He resigned. The section provides as follows: “Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected. (2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorized by that authority or person to receive it”. By resigning, Onnoghen 08152060944 Onnoghen: The metaphor for a fractured nation •Onnoghen removed the wind from the sail of his traducers. He shamed them. He disallowed them from humiliating him to the last, dragging his name further in the mud. Those who are guffawing and backslapping each other should bury their heads in shame. Onnoghen even saved the spin doctors in the presidency from bothering about the nightmare of the impossibility of garnering two-third majority votes of a rabidly independent ong>Senateong> to remove Onnoghen. That would have been the 8 th wonder of the world. This is because of the provisions of section 292 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which state: “a judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances – (a) in the case of – (i) Chief Justice of Nigeria… by the President acting on an address supported by two-third majority of the ong>Senateong>.” To be sure, Onnoghen who was suspended from office on January 25, 2019, had pointedly accused the EFCC of levelling “malicious and speculative” allegations against him, concerning alleged car and monetary gifts, some as far back as 2008. It did not matter to Onnoghen’s traducers that there was no way Onnoghen could receive gifts to pervert the cause of justice in two cases (mentioned by the EFCC) that involved eminent Justices such as Musa Dattijo Muhammad, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, Kudirat Motonmori Kekere-Ekun, Ejembi Eko, Sidi Bage, Katsina-Alu (then CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad (Ag CJN), John Afolabi Fabiyi, Olufunlola Adekeye, Suleiman Galadinma and Bode Rhodes-Vivor. When you want to hang a dog, simply give it a bad name. How could Onnoghen have influenced about 11 Justices of the Supreme Court to pervert the course of justice with a mare car gift worth N7 million? One of the allegations was that the sum of N24 million which accrued to him between 2017 and 2018 as estacodes and paid through the Chief Protocol officer of the Supreme Court, one Ngozi Nwankwo, had suddenly become a criminal offence. Onnoghen’s traducers did not care that Rule 13.5 (2) of the Revised Code of Conduct for judicial officers (published February, 2016), permits a judicial officer to accept “personal gifts or benefits from relatives or personal friends to such extent and on such occasion as are recognized by custom”. It was simply satanic to link Onnoghen’s gifts with If you terrorise, intimidate, harass and humiliate the judiciary, using strong hand and brute force, it is a stage set for bidding democracy farewell. Supreme Court cases in which he did not even sit as a member, simply because one of the counsel who gave him gifts appeared before the above mentioned justices during the period in question. A strong judiciary is one of the irreducible fundamental platforms for any meaningful constitutional democracy. If you terrorise, intimidate, harass and humiliate the judiciary, using strong hand and brute force, it is a stage set for bidding democracy farewell. The phoney and ridiculous charges against Onnoghen are that Onnoghen failed to declare his assets, and that he also maintains domiciliary accounts, contrary to the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. Domiciliary accounts are not foreign accounts. What the construction forbids are foreign accounts, not local domiciliary accounts. It is clear to any objective observer that the charges against Onnoghen were highly political, and designed to intimidate the Judiciary ahead of the 2019 presidential election and force out Onnoghen, who, as the CJN, would play a major role in the system to entertain disputes arising from the presidential election. Many facts bear this simple deduction out. The petitioner, an NGO, actually committed the Freudian slip by anchoring its petition on “bearing in mind the imminence of the 2019 general elections and the overwhelming role of the judicial arm both before and after…”. The second fact is that even after recommendation of Onnoghen as CJN by the NJC on 13 th October, 2016, it took VP Osibanjo the courage to appoint him as CJN on 1 st March, 2017, after protests and outcry by overwhelming majority of Nigerians, and at a time PMB was actually abroad on medical vacation. Three, Onnoghen became the first Southerner to be made CJN in 30 years, after the last Southerner, Justice Gabriel Ayo Irikefe, occupied that exalted office in 1987. Four, Onnoghen had been CJN for well over a year. How come the Executive suddenly woke up from a deep slumber and discovered his operation of domiciliary accounts years before he was appointed CJN, which accounts, according to the petition, had been in existence since 2011, a period during which the CJN had already been a Justice of the Supreme Court since 2005? When have Nigerian security agencies optimised and displayed such efficiency that a petition written by an NGO on 7 th January, 2019, received by CCB on 9 th January, 2019, was acted upon with such “automatic alacrity” that by 11 th January, 2019, charges had been filed against Onnoghen. And wait for it, he was arraigned on Monday, 14 th January, 2019, all within one week! What of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Act, which prescribe certain necessary steps that must be taken before a charge is filed? How come the CCT granted an ex parte order not moved by any lawyer on record to order a sitting CJN to “step aside” from office? What would be the final punishment at the end of the trial? This onslaught is to finally cow and annihilate the Judiciary, the last hope of the common people. Nigerians now appear to live in bondage of dictatorship and absolutism. Citizens now talk in whispers, afraid of even their shadows. Only those who support the government, however corrupt, find peace. Like Naaman the leper, who was deeped into River Jordan seven times and became cleansed of his leprosy, all that a corrupt politician needs to do to be washed clean of his political leprosy (as white as snow), is to decamp to the ruling APC. He would be embraced immediately, given a front pew, inducted into the hall of fame, and put in charge of leading Buhari’s presidential campaign. Some Nigerians are still playing the Ostrich in the full glare of this clear and present danger, behaving like the “Chichidodo” bird talked about by the Ghanaian author, Ayi Kwei Armah, in his epic novel, “The beautiful ones are not yet born”. Continues on page 29 C M Y K

Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019 — 23 Stak akeholder eholders seek strict enforcement of Gas flaring regulations By Onozure Dania Worried by consistent flouting of enabling legislation aimed at curbing gas flaring, stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have called for strict enforcement of the recently enacted Flared Gas ( Prevention and Waste) Regulation, 2018. At a 2-day Oil & Gas workshop held in Lagos, stakeholders including government officials, deliberated on how to effectively regulate and commercialise gas flaring in Nigeria. The workshop was organised by Syncrest Energy Limited, in partnership with George Etomi & Partners and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources. The Workshop was facilitated by energy experts from the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, NGFCP, Wycliffe Advisory & Consulting Services, George Etomi & Partners, Tranergy & Co, Primera Africa Le-gal, and Pioneer Energy. Industry players, investors, representatives of the Ministry and Regulatory bodies in the oil and gas sector, were in attendance. The Workshop touched on the Gas Industry, in terms of gas monetisation strategies, gas dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa and other regional markets, the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, the Gas Flare Regulation, transnational and commercial struc-tures, Project bankability, etc. Speaking at the event, Mr. Justice Derefaka, Pro-gramme Manager of the NGFCP, on the importance of eliminating gas flaring noted, “flaring gas is a waste of natural re-sources only 12.5 million out of 180 million people have access to electricity.” While giving an over-view of the gas industry, Abimbola Olu-fore (Wycliffe Advisory & Consulting), highlighted that, “with re-spect to commercialisation of gas, there is a nexus of gas with virtually all sectors of the economy, from the power sector to the healthcare sector, the agriculture sec-tor and the textile industry.” Ann Norman, Pioneer En-ergy, extensively showcased the Continued from Page 28 The bird hates human faeces, but paradoxically feeds on maggots that wriggle out of such excreta. Some people are bent on breaking up Nigeria.Those currently ululating over Onnoghen’s “downfall”(I consider him a hero who stood against brazen and raw display of state power) must know that what goes around comes benefits of various remotely operated modular flare gas processing solutions. Abolaji Femi-Ishola (Tran-ergy & Co.), in discussing the gasenergy nexus, stated “As gas prices come close to market prices, there will be an in-crease in gas deals. The core of gas production, goes to power consumption, to ensure that power plants are not stranded and have enough gas as feedstock”. Israel Aye (Primera Africa Legal), enlightened •L-R: Mr Jide Loye (Syncrest Energy), Mr. George Etomi (George Etomi & Partners), Mr Justice Derefaka (Program Manager, Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Program), Mrs Abimbola Olufore (Wycliffe Advisory & Consulting), Mr Wale Ogunbufunmi (Syncrest Energy), Mrs Ivie Ehanmo (George Etomi & Partners), and Mr. Abolaji Femi-Ishola (Tranergy & Co.) Nigerian, UK lawyers partner on legal services The Nigerian Bar Association's Section on Business Law, NBA-SBL, last week brought together Lawyers from Nigeria and the United Kingdom, for a collaborative seminar in Lagos. With the theme ‘Building UK & Nigeria Legal Sector Collaboration’, participants examined issues in the subthemes, including ‘The Future of Regional Integration: Lessons from the EU for the Prospective African Continental Free Trade Area – A Conversation’. Other sub-themes the seminar engaged participants on included, ‘New Challenges for Lawyers & their Clients: Navigating Data Protection Regimes & Cybersecurity’; ‘Facilitating Future UK/ Nigerian Trade & Investment (Regulatory Issues; Risk Management; Ease of Doing Business; Business Immigration; Beyond Oil & Gas)’ and ‘Facilitating Future UK/Nigeria Trade & Investment (Accessing Capital; FDI; Project Finance)’. The first plenary session, which was chaired by NBA- SBL pioneer Chairman, George Etomi, had as panelists, Senio Adio, SAN and Jeremy Cape, a Partner in Squire Patton Boggs, London. They engaged on the issue of cross border legal services, and how Nigerian and UK Lawyers can work more closely together. Speaking at the event, NBA President, Paul Usoro, SAN, said: “It’s always a great pleasure, getting to meet our colleagues from other jurisdictions. We get to interact and partner them, on a number of issues. It also creates opportunities for developing partnerships and collaborations”. On the vexed issue of outsourcing legal work to foreign law firms, Usoro said “I have always maintained that, there is no aspect of legal practice that we can’t find Nigerian Lawyers who are versed in those areas. I actually believe we should use the skills that we have in Nigeria, primarily. However, Nigeria is part of a global system, and therefore, it is not impossible that we should have partnerships”. “It would be good for these parties not to underestimate the capabilities of Nigerian Lawyers. It is rather unfortunate, in the field of advocacy, you don’t allow Lawyers from other jurisdictions to come. Those skills are there in transactional legal work. We will continue to work on providing the necessary participants about the legal and regulatory expectations within the Regulation, while Ivie Ehanmo, discussed the legal, regulatory, transactional and commercial structures and strategies for flare gas commercialisation and sale to off-takers. The Flare Gas Regulations had been signed into law by President Muhammed Buhari in July 2018. Gas flaring in Nigeria is a tremendous waste of scarce natural resource and fuel. It also contributes to climate change. The gas commercialisation programme seeks to provide a framework to eliminate gas flaring through gas utilisation projects which are technically and commercially sustainable. These projects would be developed by competent third-party investors who are being invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process. The first stage of the bidding process commenced in January 2019. The NGFCP hopes to attract investment of about Billion, creating over 300,000 direct and indirect jobs and reducing CO2 emissions by over 20,000MT yearly. Onnoghen: The metaphor for a fractured nation around. When you throw a stone into a busy market, you can never say who would be hit. Whenever you point a finger at others, four are pointing against you. Some people are still clapping with Nigeria going down the drains, with state institutions being systemically and systematically destroyed for immediate political gains. We are now operating a broken system. And some citizens leadership, for Lawyers in Africa. In my first year in office, I am trying to establish systems that work for the NBA, and to sanitise the entire Bar. I have to then move on to broader issues, after the Annual General Conference in August. Of course, we do have a leadership role to play in Africa, and we are gradually taking steps to do that.” are not seeing the danger because they want to be seen to be politically correct. History has shown that democratic platforms like the NASS, Judiciary and Political parties can be used by a dictatorial inclined ruler to enthrone dictatorship, absolutism and fascism. It was Learned Hand who once theorized that the only price we must pay for our liberty is eternal vigilance. I so humbly submit. EDITORIAL Innocent Anaba ( Head) Ikechukwu Nnochiri Contributors: Henry Ojelu, Onozure Dania C M Y K