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BREAKING: FG reduces petrol price to N123.5 per litre

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Federal Government on Tuesday night reduced the price of petrol from N125/litre to N123.5/litre.

Current petrol price indicates a reduction of N1.5 on every litre of petrol purchased nationwide.

It announced the reduction through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, after a whole day meeting with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in Abuja.

Announcing the reduction, the Executive Secretary of the PMS pricing regulator, Abdulkadir Saidu, said, “PPPRA, in line with the government approval for a monthly review of Premium

“Motor Spirit pump price hereby announces guiding PMS pump price of N123.50 per litre.

“The guiding price which becomes effective 1st April 2020, shall apply at all retail outlets nationwide for the month of April 2020. PPPRA and other relevant regulatory agencies shall continue to monitor compliance to extant regulations for a sustainable downstream petroleum sector.”

It added, “Members of the public and all oil marketing companies are to be guided accordingly.”

The spokesperson for PPPRA, Kimchi Apollo, had told our correspondent at 7.30pm that stakeholders had been meeting on the new price since Tuesday morning.

Officials from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, oil marketers and labour unions, among others, who constitute the petroleum products price modulation committee attended the meeting.

On March 19, 2020, a day after the Federal Government announced the pump price of N125/litre for petrol, the PPPRA declared that there was the possibility of a new price regime for the PMS beginning from April 1, 2020.

It explained that the N125/litre price might last till the end of March, as a new cost for petrol might be introduced on April 1.

Saidu had told journalists that the PPPRA would be undertaking a review of the PMS price and would announce a new price for the product on April 1 (today) if there were changes in the parameters used in determining the N125/litre pump price.

In another development, the Transmission Company of Nigeria on Tuesday announced an improvement in power generation.

It said this followed the support received from the NNPC in terms of supply of gas to fireup thermal power plants.

 

Culled from: https://punchng.com/nnpc-cbn-pppra-marketers-meet-on-petrol-price/

Nigeria’s coronavirus cases rise to 139 as Lagos, Abuja record new infections

Nigeria has recorded four new cases of coronavirus, three in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and one in Lagos State.

With this, confirmed cases in the country have risen to 139.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made this known via its Twitter handle on Sunday.

It tweeted, “Four new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria; three in the FCT and one in Lagos.

“As of 08:00 pm on 31st of March, there are 139 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. Nine have been discharged with two deaths.

“For a breakdown of cases by states in real time, Lagos currently has 82 cases, FCT- 28, Oyo- eight, Osun- five, Ogun- four, Kaduna- three, Enugu- two, Edo- two, Bauchi- two, Ekiti- one,
Rivers- one, and Benue – one.”

Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case on February 27 when an Italian businessman, who was on a visit to Lafarge Africa Plc, Ewekoro, Ogun State, was diagnosed with the disease. The Italian had recently been discharged.

Following the increasing cases of the virus, Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), ordered a shutdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State.

On Day One of the shutdown, Lagos was calm with the usual traffic jams disappearing.

Like in Lagos, markets, schools and clubs among others were also shut in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the NCDC says it is set to increase its capacity to test for COVID-19 to 1500 per day in the country.

Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “Last week, we had the capacity to test 500 per day, by the end of this week we will be at 1000 a day.

“By next week we are hoping to get to 1500 a day.”

 

Culled from: https://punchng.com/breaking-nigerias-coronavirus-cases-rise-to-139-as-lagos-fct-record-new-infections/

Nigerian Army Removes General In Viral Video Asking For Weapons To Fight Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, has removed General Olusegun Adeniyi, who appeared in a viral video urging military authorities to supply them with weapons and accurate intelligence to combat Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East region.

Adeniyi, who is Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, in the viral video lamented how his men were outgunned and ambushed while on an operation in Borno.

SaharaReporters on Tuesday exclusively gathered that a massive shake-up involving the redeployment of over 50 senior officers would be carried out today and Adeniyi is one of persons affected.

 

Several army generals would be removed on account of the viral video that caused the military authorities great embarrassment.

The Nigerian Army has in recent times suffered huge losses in the fight against Boko Haram due to lack of intelligence, sufficient weaponry to match the insurgents and neglect of troop welfare.

Terrorists recently ambushed and killed over 70 soldiers in Borno State.

 

 

Culled from: http://saharareporters.com/2020/03/31/breaking-nigerian-army-removes-general-viral-video-asking-weapons-fight-boko-haram

ADDRESS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC SUNDAY 29TH MARCH, 2020

1. Fellow Nigerians,
2. From the first signs that Coronavirus, or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.
3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.
4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.
5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.
6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatment.
7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.
8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.
9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.
10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.
11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.
12. Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.
13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.
14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.
15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.
16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.
17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.
18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.
19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.
20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.
21. I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.
22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.
23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.
24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.
25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.
26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.
27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.
28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.
29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.
30. As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.
31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.
32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.
33. We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.
34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.
35. All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.
36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.
37. We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.
38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.
39. Furthermore, commercial establishments such as;
a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;
b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,
c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and
d. private security companies are also exempted.
40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.
41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.
42. All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.
43. Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.
44. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.
45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.
46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.
47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.
48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.
49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.
50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.
51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.
52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.
54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.
55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.
56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.
57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.
58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.
59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.
60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.
61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.
62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.
63. I will therefore implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.
64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.
65. I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.
President Muhammadu Buhari
29th March 2020.
Culled from https://www.femiadesina.com/

POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2020 HON. JUSTICE ADETUNJI JOSEPH ADEFARASIN MEMORIAL LECTURE

Recent changes in the country especially the pandemic health status attributed to the COVID-19 virus has necessitated the current release.

As we are aware, the 2020 lecture in Honor of the former Chief judge of Lagos State – Hon Justice Adetunji Joseph Adefarasin was slated for the 31st of March 2020.

However, the Lagos Sub-Region of CLASFON, hosts of the event, have taken a hard look at the current situation and In the light of the issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure the safety of  speakers, guests and attendees alike, hereby announce that the Hon. Justice Adetunji Joseph Adefarasin Memorial lecture earlier slated to hold on the 31st March 2020 at the Foyer of the High Court of Lagos State Igbosere, Lagos with the theme ‘The Challenges of Justice Dispensation in Nigeria: the role of the Bar and Bench’ has been postponed to a time to be communicated.

CLASFON wishes to heed to the warnings against large gatherings by the World Health Organization (WHO) and further adhere to the government advisory on public gatherings.

CLASFON urges us all to play our individual part to halt the spread of the virus by observing the preventive measures of good personal hygiene to wit: frequent hand washing with soap and running water, use of alcohol based sanitizers where access to water and soap is limited and avoid touching your face especially you mouth, eyes and nostril. Gargle frequently with Salt and warm water.

We further enjoin you to avoid gatherings that you can do without and report to the nearest healthcare providers in your environment if you do feel ill.

We again assure our esteemed guests and attendees that a new date will be announced as soon as the virus containment level shows positive numbers.

We also use this medium to urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to give clear and proper directions on measures for containment to save Nigeria from the looming health crisis and the attendant effects on the economy.

Above all, let us all pray for our Nation.

Thank you.

Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi Esq.

Sub-Regional Coordinator, CLASFON Lagos

 

NOTICE OF POSTPONEMENT

NOTICE OF POSTPONEMENT OF THE CLASFON-DIRECTORATE OF ANTI CORRUPTION, RULE OF LAW & GOOD GOVERNANCE (DARG) CORRUPT FREE JUDICIARY PROJECT STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT IN LIEU OF THE PANDEMIC OUTBREAK

The general public is hereby put on notice that the above Directorate stakeholders summit project tagged ’’towards a corrupt-free Judiciary’’ scheduled to hold the 30th and 31st of March, 2020 is hereby postponed.

The postponement is in our quest for safety first for our guests, speakers/facilitators, participants etc in the light of the ongoing pandemic outbreak in Nigeria and in the FCT vis a vis Government and the Judiciary directives on the restriction of crowd/public gatherings and social distancing as a preventive measure to flatten the curve against the contamination or spread of COVID -19.

A later date shall be communicated accordingly.

While commending and praying for all medical experts/health workers in the front line at this challenging time; we urge us all to please take preventive measures against the contamination or spread of COVID-19.

We pray Almighty God protection on us all and His healing over Nigeria.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

God bless our Judiciary

Thank you

Yours Faithfully,

Beauty Ese Uwaokhonye, Esq.                                  Aimua Okosun, Esq

DARG  Director                                                        DARG Secretary

08037779757                                                          08039236933

E-mails: darg@clasfon.org.ng,                                   clasfondarg@gmail.com

 

CLASFON STATEMENT ON COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On Tuesday, 24th March 2020, the Prime Minister of India put the entire population of 1.3 billion people on a 3 weeks nationwide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sum of $2 billion was allocated for additional health care measures.

In Nigeria, the Lagos State Government alongside side a few other States, appear to be quite proactive in the way they are handling the issue but these laudable measures may not achieve much if the coronavirus is given an opportunity to spread. A stitch in time saves nine!

It is glaring to any discerning observer that a complete nationwide lock down is imminent. The experience of developed countries despite all their medical expertise, available personnel and existing state of the art medical equipment/facilities, became overwhelmed in a matter of days by the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to take emergency measures to quickly expand their medical infrastructure. In Italy and Spain for example, deaths arising from confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached an alarming rate and their Governments were forced to impose strict restrictions on the movement of their citizens since the virus spread easily based on human to human contacts. This was exactly what China did in Wuhan to stem the spread of COVID-19. This virus is anti-social and has challenged the way we live and socialize to the limits.

In our situation, I understand that 33 States do not have Labs to test for this novel coronavirus. Many of our teaching hospitals are grossly ill equipped. You can imagine that for the whole country, we have only a handful of ventilators. Indeed, how many isolation centres do we have? What is the capacity of the isolation centres? How ready and equipped are these isolation centres to confront this threat? These questions and many more cannot be easily answered. Our people are faced with an imminent danger of great magnitude and the Federal Government has to go beyond the piecemeal approach of some state governments to save lives. This is not the time to linger in indecision. Every day, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing. We thank God and deeply appreciate the sacrifice of our medical personnel that has kept mortality figures at the lowest margin possible. This indeed is the Hand of God at work.

In view of the above, CLASFON Branches are advised to suspend their meetings and other planned programs for now while exploring other safe means of sustaining our vision. Let’s begin to come to terms with the present reality and challenge we are faced with.

I personally urge members in all our Branches to stay at home. Begin to prepare yourself and your family for the eventuality of a total lockdown of at least 2 weeks. The basic preventive protocol as advised should be observed to the letter. If you can, get enough food at home and avoid any frivolous spending. As government does its part, take personal responsibility for your life and those around you by doing your part. This will make the task of government a bit easier.

I don’t intend that we act out of fear or panic but wisdom is profitable to direct. Kindly disregard fake news and several conspiracy theories that will confuse you and compromise your defences. We need to do whatever we can to avert the imminent public health danger facing us all. If some of our own political leaders are already victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, it means it can befall any Nigerian.

As Christians, we are a people of power and praise because of the abundant grace of God. Let’s use faith to confront fear and use our common sense to act decisively to avert the real danger facing us even as we put our confidence and trust in the LORD to weather this storm. By the grace of God, there’s HELP ALL THE WAY. With A RIGHT HEART we can face this extraordinary challenge in times like this.

 

God bless and keep you.

Arome M. Okwori,

CLASFON President

 

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT-IN-COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD IN KADUNA, KADUNA STATE FROM THE 12TH TO 14TH MARCH 2020

INTRODUCTION:

The Quarterly Meeting of the President-in-Council, a body comprised of the National Executive Officers and the Chairmen and Secretaries of all the 46 branches and Heads and Secretaries of the Directorates of CLASFON held from the 12th to 14th March 2020 to deliberate on issues concerning the Nation and CLASFON.

OVERVIEW:

The 2-day meeting had in attendance the national officers and the representatives of the branches. The National President presided over the meeting as well as technical sessions. During the technical sessions, participants extolled the manifestation of a new zeal to actualize the vision of CLASFON which is to see ‘A New Legal Profession Anchored on Christ’.

ISSUES:

The meeting deliberated, among others, on the following issues:

  • The general state of insecurity and persecution of Christians
  • FGN Policy on Repentant terrorists
  • The consistent interference with the Judiciary by the members of the Executive;
  • Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Kajuru crisis;
  • The Social Media Bill;
  • Immunity for National Assembly Presiding Officers;
  • The brutal use of force by uniformed persons against civilians;
  • Global Pandemic due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COMMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS:

The recommendations and conclusions arising from the issues are as follows-

CLASFON is saddened at the continuous persecution of Christians in Nigeria and the downward slide in the state of insecurity. We note with sadness the cold murder of Rev. Lawan Indimi, Ropvil Dayep and 9 other Christians by ISWAP as revenge for the killing of their Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and continued attacks on predominantly Christians communities and Churches especially in Chibok, Minchika and other places.

CLASFON commends the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for openly admitting that terrorists were targeting Christians which underscores the need for more proactive steps to protect Christian communities. The pattern of repeated lamentations over continued killings in Nigeria must stop. We call on the Federal Government to review the current security apparatus in order to defeat the terrorist and so that they can face the full wrath of the law for their despicable crimes.

CLASFON notes with dismay various acts of kidnappings, abduction for ransom with pastors and missionaries as primary targets, cult-related killings, attack on vulnerable communities by terrorists, bandits and herdsmen across many States in Nigeria despite huge resources deployed by Federal Government to curb insecurity.

CLASFON calls again on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even more loudly, to take more seriously the responsibility of the protection of the lives and properties of all residents of Nigeria as provided by the Constitution and other relevant laws, leaving no stone unturned to secure the release Leah Sharibu and many others in the custody and captivity of insurgents and bandits.

CLASFON observes with grave concern the Federal Government policy on rehabilitation of the so-called repented Boko Haram terrorists while paying less attention to the plight of victims.

We call on the Federal Government to resist the temptation of promoting the culture of impunity and lawlessness by ensuring that those who have committed heinous murderous acts against citizens on a wide scale are made to face the full wrath of the law. Anything short of this is unacceptable as it shows that terrorism against the State pays and unwittingly make a mockery of the effort of the Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism. The morale of our Soldiers fighting terrorism and justice for the victims must not be compromised.

We call on the Federal Government jettison this policy and to urgently direct that more attention to giving help to the victims of insurgency and how to ameliorate the hardship and trauma faced by them.

CLASFON observes with dismay political interference by the Executive arm in the affairs of the Judiciary. The confusion orchestrated by the appointment of Acting Chief Judges in Gombe and Cross Rivers State is a case in point. CLASFON is concerned that the current Acting Chief Judges gender, ethnic and religious sentiments have been brought to bear in the appointments instead of the established convention of seniority and competence. The action of the Governors of Gombe and Cross Rivers State is capable of interfering with the smooth administration of justice in both State.

CLASFON calls on the National Judicial Council to stamp its authority by ensuring that established convention in the appointment of Chief Judge of a State is not abused thereby compromising judicial independence in those States. We call on the Governors of Gombe and Cross River to respond to the public outcry that has greeted the current appointments of Acting Chief Judges in both States by following the already laid down convention of the NJC in order to correct the negative perception of interference with the independence of the judiciary in their States.

CLASFON commends the Kaduna State Government for setting up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Kajuru killings that resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and destruction of property.

We note the terms of reference of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and hope that as the truth is discovered, the Kaduna State Government will not follow the usual tradition of consigning the report to the archives and the dustbin of history but take appropriate steps to ensure justice for the people of Adara Chiefdom while punishing the culprits responsible for the mayhem in order to avert future occurrence.

CLASFON expresses her objection to the Social Media Bill currently being processed by the National Assembly. We consider the proposed Bill as an attempt to gag the freedom of speech which is a recognised fundamental right necessary to sustain our democracy.

CLASFON calls on the National Assembly to hearken to the voice of reason and the cry of well-meaning and concerned Nigerians by deactivating the proposed Bill forthwith.

CLASFON also observes with concern the Bill seeking to confer immunity on Presiding Officers of the National Assembly against the backdrop that membership of the National assembly is not limited by a tenured term.

We call on the National Assembly to retrace its steps back from this slippery slope. We urge them to borrow a leaf from contemporary trends on immunity from other climes where leaders even give up their immunity by subjecting themselves to the rule of law.

CLASFON observes with dismay the widespread abuse of the rights of citizens by resort to the wanton use of brutal force by uniformed persons in furtherance of their course. These ugly incidences have now become a recurrent decimal in recent times. We condemn in totality any form of violence and brutalisation of Lawyers.

We urge the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police to take urgent steps to halt to curb this ugly trend and to heed the call for reforms in the training of their personnel on how they relate with civilians.

CLASFON notes with grave concern the evolving trend globally with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We implore government at all levels to take proactive measures to contain the spread of the virus, and towards saving the lives of those already infected.

We call on all Nigerians not to panic but trust God and be prayerful while we all cooperate with the Government to ensure safety for all our citizens.

 

AROME OKWORI                                                              OLATUNJI OMOLE

NATIONAL PRESIDENT                                                   NATIONAL SECRETARY

 

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT – IN- COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD ON THE 7TH – 9TH NOVEMBER 2019 AT ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT – IN- COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD ON THE 7TH – 9TH NOVEMBER 2019 AT ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE

Introduction:
The quarterly meeting of the President-in-Council, a body comprised of the National Executive Officers of CLASFON, Chairmen and Secretaries of all the 45 branches held from the 7th to 9th of November 2019 to deliberate on issues concerning the Nation and CLASFON.
Overview:
The 2-day meeting had the presence of National Officers and the representatives of the Branches. The National President presided over the meeting.
After extensive and exhaustive deliberation on issues, the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) came up with the following Resolutions:
ISSUES:
The meeting deliberated on the following issues-
1. Poor working conditions and inadequate infrastructure for the Judiciary in our Nation
2. General and pervasive Insecurity in our Nation
3. Multiple taxation and charges by the Federal Government and its Agencies
4. Illegal activities of the Nigerian Customs Service
5. Activities of the Nigerian Army

Comments and Resolutions:
The Recommendations and resolutions arising from the issues are as follows:
1. CLASFON commends, in particular, the government of Ogun State and other States of the Federation who have created an enabling environment for the Judiciary in terms of infrastructure and personal welfare of the judicial officers, thereby enhancing justice delivery. CLASFON encourages other States of the Federation to emulate this gesture, as most of the court buildings throughout the Nation are in a pitiable and sorry state and the welfare of Magistrates and Judges is very deplorable. CLASFON, therefore, calls on the Federal and State governments to declare a State of Emergency on the welfare of the judicial officers, funding for State Judiciaries and working environment for the administration of justice nationwide.

2. CLASFON views with dismay the daily rising tide of insecurity in the Country. It is glaring that Judges, lawyers and other law enforcement officers are now endangered species and have become easy prey to kidnappers. CLASFON, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to take seriously the issue of security and ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians particularly the Judges as it is the primary duty of any responsible government.

3. CLASFON frowns at the way and manner multiple taxes, rates and charges are being imposed on the already impoverished citizens of Nigeria and hereby call on the Federal Government to reverse this ugly trend and mitigate the hardship on Nigerians.

4. CLASFON views with dismay, the high-handedness and illegal activities of Nigerian Customs Service officials on Nigerian roads and their illegal raids of some premises, thus portraying Nigeria as a lawless nation. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to call them to order and demand that they discharge their duty professionally and in line with the statutes establishing the organization.

5. CLASFON views with disdain, the new policy of the Ministry of Interior approving only twelve (12) marriage registries in Nigeria as well as the fees imposed on Churches and prospective couples as discriminatory and an attempt to impose unnecessary restrictions and bottlenecks on statutory marriages in Nigeria; we, therefore, call on the Federal Government to reverse this discriminatory and oppressive policy targeted at discouraging statutory/Christian marriages.

6. CLASFON observes with grave displeasure the attempt by the Federal Government to muzzle freedom of speech by its purported attempt to regulate the activities on the social media given the fact that we have enough legislation to check the abuse of free speech through legal processes such as libel and defamation suit. We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to desist from this draconian approach against the Nigerian people.

7. CLASFON frowns at the purported positive identification program proposed to be embarked upon by the Nigerian Army and the likelihood of gross violations of the fundamental rights of Nigerians as guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). Furthermore, CLASFON views this act as a usurpation of the primary duty of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

AROME OKWORI                                                                                  TUNJI OMOLE
National President                                                                               National Secretary

PRESS RELEASE-ILLEGALITY OF THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF MONDAY UBANI ESQ

MONDAY UBANI ESQ

ILLEGALITY OF THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF MONDAY UBANI ESQ 

The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, Directorate of Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good Governance (CLASFON-DARG) joins the rest of the World to condemn the incessant harassment of Legal Practitioners in general and the continued detention of Mr. Monday Ubani, a former 2nd Vice President of the NBA, in particular by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

We are deeply concerned that in spite of the fact that a competent Court of law had made a valid Order directing the EFCC to charge Mr. Ubani to Court on or before March 28, 2019 or release him from detention, in furtherance of their penchant for abuse of power and outright lawlessness, the EFCC has held on to him without arraigning him and in defiance to the time-honored principle of the rule of law. This precarious development has put Mr. Ubani’s health in grave danger as he is reported to have fainted after suffering severe dehydration and high blood pressure, having been subjected to unwarranted physical, psychological and emotional trauma. We like to remind the EFCC that it is a creature of law and it is bound by the Constitution and other laws of the Land that guarantees the right of every Nigerian to liberty. The prolonged and continued incarceration of Mr. Ubani in EFCC custody without trial cannot take cover under the exception in Section 35(1)(c) of the 1999 Constitution as the length of time already spent in custody without an arraignment is unreasonable and untenable.

We have taken notice of the reported unconstitutional practice by the EFCC of demanding that lawyers stand as sureties for their clients before they can be released on bail. This practice amounts to arm-twisting and is highly condemnable and smacks of nothing but cheap blackmail of members of the legal profession. The action of EFCC in arresting Mr. Ubani in lieu of his client who is the suspect negates all established norms of administration of justice. Specifically, Section 7 of the Administration of Justice Act prohibits the arrest of any person in lieu of a suspect. Our view of the law is that where a surety fails or is unable to produce a suspect, as alleged in this case, the recognizance is simply a bond giving rise to a civil debt with a special enforcement procedure requiring the surety to show cause, which is civil in nature. There is nothing criminal about the procedure and the continued detention of Mr. Ubani is unconstitutional, illegal and smacks of highhandedness.

Even in countries where democracy is not practised, the rights of the citizens are secured and preserved; it is therefore very sad that our democracy is on trial and the rule of law which forms the fulcrum of orderliness and decency in every sane society is seriously under threat in Nigeria. It is imperative to note that Mr. Ubani is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court. Therefore, if there is any other allegation against him apart from the fact that his client breached her bail terms, let him be charged to court. Let the court pronounce on the merit of the case. This Directorate stands for compliance with and promotion of the Rule of Law and will not relent in advocating for same and engaging with the Government or any of her agencies that is bent on trampling on due process.

In saner climes, governments and their agencies work with great respect for the rule of law but the reverse is beginning to take the centre stage in Nigeria. We urge all to keep faith, soldier on, and continue to speak to those in power that the non-observance of global protocols is reprehensible. We say once again that the rule of law upon which the principles of justice, equity, and good governance stand is seriously being eroded by the barbaric actions of the EFCC and by the continued detention of our colleague without trial as it amounts to a gross violation of his Constitutional right which is our supreme law. Assuming without conceding that Mr. Ubani breached the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners by standing surety for his client as alleged, prolonged detention or detention at all in EFCC custody is not the punishment for such breach. If EFCC has a case in that regard, it should make representations to the appropriate authorities officially and quit hiding under the Rules of Professional Conduct to commit grievous constitutional infractions. Such antics with colourations of blackmail cannot fly.

We, therefore, call on the authorities at the EFCC and demand for the immediate unconditional release and or arraignment of Mr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani before a competent court to enable him to attend to his failing and deteriorating health conditions.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

SIGNED

Beauty Lawrence

Director, Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good

Aimuamosa Okoson

Directorate Secretary, Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good