The Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday moved to review the High Court of Lagos State fees to make them conform to current realities in justice dispensation.
Many, especially members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), however, disagreed with Lagos State High Court at the Stateholders’ Meeting on the High Court of Lagos (Fees) Rules, 2018.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting was organised by the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, headed by Mr Tunde Braimoh (APC-Kosofe II).
Prince Dele Oloke, the Chairman, NBA, Ikeja Branch said that the proposed plan to review the fees would further hinder dispensation of justice for the ordinary masses.
He said that High Courts were for the poor and the rich, and high fees would discourage poor litigants.
“Yes, there is the need for us to collect fees to generate revenue to the court but justice must not be purchased. When the masses cannot access justice because of the schedule of fees, society degenerates into anarchy,” Oloke said.
He alleged that the judiciary had since been collecting the proposed fees from members of the public, expressing his displeasure to the development.
“For us, if fees have been taken without the concurrence of the house of assembly in spite of the instance of the extant law on regulations in Lagos State, it speaks volumes.
“If we say we pass these suggested fees now into law, are we going to ask the judiciary to return the money collected from litigants before?
“Ikeja Branch of NBA will not support these fees as it’s presented and our suggestion will be later presented in a memorandum to be sent to the House,’’ Oloke said.
According to him, some lawyers come to court for a fee as low as N6, 000 and sometimes pro bono.
In his contribution, Mr Tope Alabi, a legal practitioner, said that the reviewed fees, if allowed, would affect dispensation of quality justice.
Alabi urged the lawmakers to look at other areas to generate revenue for the court rather than putting burden on the already suffering masses seeking justice.
“I notice 1000 per cent increment in the review. We need to look at it. High Court in Lagos is nearer to the people more than others.
“Lagos state can still generate billions in other places; leave judiciary alone, if the review is carried out, it will be a clog on the wheel of dispensing quality justice,’’ he said.
Responding, the Chief Registrar of High Court of Lagos State, Mrs Taiwo Olatokun, said that the new fees being introduced were not exorbitant.
Olatokun said those increases were to discourage speculative and frivolous claims by some litigants.
“These increment are not unreasonable, they are in line with the realities,’’ she said.
The registrar said that those who could not meet the cost of justice had been taken care of under the High Court Rules.
Earlier, Braimoh, the Chairman of the House Committee and a legal practitioner, said that the regulations would in so many ways be advantageous to the state and administration of justice.
Braimoh, who noted that the bill for the review of fees chargeable in the high court was sent by the judiciary, said the House would not in any way succumb to any permutation where justice would be for sale.
“Justice is not for sale, but in the course of dispensing justice, there must be some maintenance costs that are incidental to the discharge of the functions of judiciary.
“We will grant Judiciary its needs and not their wants. Judiciary is providing some services and that is a need to run their services.
“Though we don’t expect the people to pay for those services really, at least people should be contributory to the dispensation of those services,’’ Braimoh said.
Over viewing the bill, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the House, said the bill was seeking to prescribe fees to be used in the Lagos State High Court as well as repeal the extant High Court (fees) Rules, 2001.
According to Agunbiade, the bill has 30 sections and two schedules.
Earlier, in his keynote address, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, represented by his deputy, Mr Waaiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said the House would do all in the best interest of the state.
“Judiciary must survive. There must be justice and government must be humane in all issues as it affects the populace, we will look at this regime of fees.
“I assure you that the committee would do a lot on this to ensure that justice is affordable and accessible. This house will do the needful and justice to this regime of fees,’’ the speaker said.
Edited by Oluwole Sogunle
Parliamentary polls: INEC pledges to assist Chad
Parliamentary polls: INEC pledges to assist Chad
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Aug. 23, 2019 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its readiness to assist its counterpart from the Republic of Chad to conduct credible and fair parliamentary elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance when he received a delegation of Chad’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), led by its Vice Chairman, Mr Adama Djibert, to INEC headquarters on Friday in Abuja.
He commended Djibert for acknowledging Nigeria’s support to Chad’s electoral process and democracy in the recent past
Yakubu pledged that the INEC would work within it powers to offer technical assist in certain areas for the conduct the elections.
“Both at this meeting and in our private discussion in the office, you raised a number of issues and I want to respond as follows.
“The first issue is insecurity resulting in the displacement of citizens including voters.
“One area we can share experience with the Republic of Chad in this regard is to share with you our framework for Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs) voting.
“The second area is in the registration of voters and the preparation for voters register; we will share experience with you in this regard as well.
“We will also share experience with you in deepening stakeholders’ engagement, particularly with respect to Political parties, civil society organisations, and the Media.”
“As you prepare for the parliamentary elections, one important area we will discus is inclusivity for women, youths and persons with disabilities,” he said.
Yakubu said that for material assistance, it was entirely a bilateral matter between the Chadian and the Nigerian governments.
“I am happy that the man incharge of our embassy in chad is here. If there is anything we can do to facilitate this we will do so.
“Arising from the meeting, I want to proposed that we set up two technical teams from the two countries electoral bodies.
“We will be very happy to welcome the team from Chad to come and understudy our processes and procedures in Nigeria.
“On your request, we will also be happy to send a team of experts from Nigeria to see how we can further collaborate.
“Be rest assured that if there is anything of value that you think Nigeria can share with the Republic of Chad for the purpose of organising free, fair and credible elections, consider us your friends and brothers.
“We will support you in any way that we can,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, Djibert solicited the supports of Nigeria in the conduct of its forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Djibert said that present parliamentary members of Chad, whose four years tenure was supposed to end in June 21, 2019, had practically completed two tenures.
This, according to him, was due to the some problems including insecurity, especially Book Haram facing the country, which made Chad to close its borders with Libya, Sudan and Central African Republic, while declaring state of emergency in those borders.
Djibert said they were in INEC to appreciate the good bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Chad, the presidents of the two countries, as well as Nigeria’s previous interventions in the past elections in Chad, especially in 2016.
He said that Nigeria had being the first country to intervene in different forms of supports for the elections in Chad.
“We have considered Nigeria as a brother. That is why we still turn our face to you and in that respect to seek for your assistance for the conduct of elections in Chad.
“We understand that Nigeria is participating in the UN basket fund, but as I am talking, I want to make it clear that none of the countries, not even organisation, has come to help the Republic of Chad.
“We have received some promises from the European Union, but up till now there is nothing tangible from there.
“Now we have taken the matter to bilateral electoral relationship. That is we have turned you.
“Just as you have done in the past, we are sure that Nigeria which used to do so will come to assist INEC in the Republic of Chad.”
Djibert said that Nigeria has always extended assistance to Chad and other sister countries.
Nigerian Charge d’Affairs to Chad, Mr Nasiru Waje, who was part of the delegation, commended the good relationship between Nigeria and Chad and their presidents.
He pledged to consult with his principal in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see how Nigeria could assist Chad.
Edited by Felix Ajide
Benin chief lauds Buhari for appointing 2 Edo indigenes in his casbinet
Edebiri made the commendation on Friday in Benin, during a media interaction to mark his 90th birthday.
He recalled that the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, had requested for two ministerial slots, when he led traditional rulers from his area on a visit to the president.
Nigeria News Agency reports that Mr Osagie Ehanire was appointed the Minister for Health, while Clem Agba is the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning.
“I thank the president for giving Edo two ministerial slots this time around.
“The people only criticised the president for appointing more elderly people than young ones.
“But the truth is that, if the president had appointed only young people, they will fight and beat up themselves,” Edebiri said.
He said that the cabinet was a blend of both the young and old Nigerians, saying that “the ministers he returned were the finest leaders.”
Edebiri further spoke on the crisis rocking the state House of Assembly crisis, hoping that it would be amicably resolved “because the lawmakers are all our children.”
APC-led gov’t demonstrates purposeful leadership -Oshiomhole
Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) says the ruling party has demonstrated purposeful leadership to win the hearts of Nigerians.
Oshiomhole said this in Abuja on Friday at the meeting of National Working Committee with governors elected on the platform of the party.
On the delegation were Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) Abdulrazaq Abdurrahman (Kwara) Idi Gubana (Deputy Governor of Yobe) who represented Governor Mai Mala Buni, and Ahmed Mohammed (Deputy Governor Niger), who represented Governor Abubakar Bello.
Oshiomhole, who expressed confidence that the party would rule Nigeria beyond 2023 based on merit, stressed the importance of synergy between the NWC and the governors.
“We believe our party has made a lot of progress in the three key areas that were reflected in our manifesto but there is a lot to be done.
“I am sure working together at both the executive, state and federal levels by the special grace of God, we will do better in this second term. As to merit, our party will continue to govern the country post 2023,” he said.
Oshiomhole, who said the task of leading the party had been challenging, said the party had gained grounds and would achieve better in the second term of President Buhari.
“It is quite a challenging experience for me. I try to compare myself as a governor and now as chairman of a party. And coming in at the eve of primaries and dealing with fall out of the previous congresses.
“And then proceeding to conduct elections. Then conduct primaries and campaigns across the 36 states and the FCT. And working hard to ensure that we secure as many votes as we can for our president.
“As well as support our states, particularly where we didn’t have state governors to ensure that we are able to lend a helping hand. I am happy to say that at the end of the day even though we lost some states we also gained some states.
”We gained Kwara, which for us is extremely important. And, we also gained Gombe state which is also very strategic among others.
“Of course, we have a clear majority in the National Assembly. We have more Senators elected on our platform, we also have more House of Representatives members elected on our platform,” he said.
Oshiomhole expressed confidence that the party would win its cases in court.
“Because we believe that a lot of our cases in court have merit. We hope that there will be justice and they would be resolved in our favour,’ he said.
Responding, Bagudu said the governors appreciate the vibrant relationship among different organs of the party.
“We are happy to cooperate and participate in whatever way we can to strengthen our party.
“Mr President led Nigeria to recover from recession at the quickest time. He funded states to pay salary deficits, he paid retirees and established different social reinvestment programme. This is despite the drop in income.
”We also want to congratulate you for having been reelected. Sometimes it is easier to be elected the first time. But, to be reelected implies a huge vote of confidence by the people of your respective states.
“Looking at things from here I know a lot went into trying to seize the deliberate attempt by opposition to discredit the good ones,” Bagudu said.
He added that budget performance under President Buhari had reached 80 per cent compared with 20 per cent in 2013 under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, this is a great credit to visionary leadership of the president.
APC Caretaker C’tee takes over party secretariat in Ogun
The committee led by its chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi and other executives, party chieftains and security operatives, arrived the secretariat around 10.am, and headed straight to the offices within the complex.
Addressing newsmen after inspecting the facilities, Sanusi, explained that his members were at the secretariat to assess its condition, adding that the committee would swing into action immediately.
Nigeria News Agency reports that prior to the take over on Friday, the APC secretariat had been under the control of the sacked state executive led by Chief Derin Adebiyi.
Sanusi told journalist that “the authentic caretaker exco put in place by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has legally taken over the party structure”.
He expressed displeasure over the present condition of the secretariat, but assured that the committee would give the secretariat a facelift in preparation for the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
According to him, the take over was in order as the party was expected to swing into action after the general election and inauguration of a new government in the state.
But in a swift reaction on Friday evening, Adebiyi said the take over of the secretariat by Sanusi-led caretaker committee was “a forceful invasion and illegal occupation by loyalists of Gov. Dapo Abiodun”.
He accused the committee members of storming the party secretariat in a “warlike manner”, accompanied by fierce looking security operatives.
“It is a forceful invasion by the loyalists of Ogun governor. They illegally occupied our secretariat.
“They stormed the offices, drove away our staff and locked the place up. The action is condemnable,” Adebiyi said.
He explained that the matter of the dissolution of his exco was currently before an Abuja High Court, wondering why the caretaker committee could not wait for the outcome of the case.
Adebiyi, who insisted that his exco was a product of a state congress held on May 2018, declared he and his members would explore all legal means to reclaim the party secretariat.
“We are products of the Congress on May 19, 2018. We are not engaging them like touts, the next court hearing is in October.
“They should have waited. We paid the rent of the secretariat. The caretaker committee has been conducting their businesses in Osoba’s house.
“We are no novice, we have refused to take laws into our hand,. but we will explore all legal means to reclaim the party secretariat,” Adebiyi declared.
He, however, accused the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole of backing the “illegal caretaker committee” in Ogun and also causing crisis in the party as a whole.
“Oshiomhole is backing this illegal caretaker committee; he has caused serious damages to the party at the national level. Mark my word, Oshiomhole will leave his position with ignominy,” he added.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni
Nullification of my election, a miscarriage of justice — Melaye
Sen. Dino Melaye, the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, has described the ruling of the Election Tribunal which on Friday nullified his election as a miscarriage of justice.
Melaye stated this in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday.
He said the decision of the tribunal was based on information that was alien to the fundamental matters brought before it.
He said: “The judgment is full of importation of information that is alien to the case.
“I however commend the courage and moral strength of the chairman of the tribunal for resisting evil and standing on the part of justice.”
On his next step, the Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation revealed that he would take his case to the appeal court where he believed his mandate would be reclaimed.
“I have confidence in the appeal court to right the wrongs as contained in the pronouncements of the judgement.
“I also want to tell those jubilating that their jubilation will be short lived while appealing to my teaming supporters to remain calm as their mandate is safe and secured and cannot be taken through any mischievous means.
“However, Our legal team is already working on appealing the judgment and I assure all that justice will prevail.”