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Nnamdi Kanu: SERG Hails Judiciary, Urges FG to Obey Order This Time

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The South East Revival Group (SERG) has described the bail granted to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as yet another victory for the judiciary, saying “it proves that some Judges still have conscience and a sense of justice.”

The group in a statement signed by its Convener and national coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu then urged the federal government to obey its own court this time around.

“Despite that his bail conditions were too stringent, we commend the judiciary for proving its independence by not standing justice on the head by refusing Nnamdi Kanu bail.

“We hope that this time around the federal government would obey the order of the court and allow the judicial process to be completed.

“If for any reason the government is not satisfied with the ruling of any court, it can choose to appeal rather than being the Judge in its own case.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should show Nigerians that he has become a democrat by ensuring that the rule of law is followed no matter who is involved in any matter, be it criminal or civil.

“Once the rule of law is undermined by undue interference in the duties of the judiciary, the basic tenet of democracy is decimated”, the group said.

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The United Nations’ 2022 World Mental Health Day: A Call for Proactive Action

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As the world marks the World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2022, the National Association of Seadogs – Pyrates Confraternity has expressed concern that this year’s event does not end up as “mere ritual for speech making and grand declarations that fail to speak to the issues. We therefore use this to call on the relevant stakeholders to ensure that concrete steps that will frontally address the issue are taken.”

The association said as a country presented with another opportunity to focus on and address an issue that has continued to be a source of concern, noted that mental illness has evolved into what behavioral scientists call a phenomenon and the data is such that if we continue to ignore it, we do so at our collective peril.

This year’s event, according to the group, has the theme: Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All A Global Priority is important as it seeks to draw attention to the issues relating to mental health.

Mental wellness according to the WHO is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Mental ill-health has grown into a global menace; a report from The Adracare Team states that 1 out of 5 Americans aged 18 and above, live with mental illness. However, more alarming is the statistics released in a 2019 report of the World Health Organization, (WHO) which reveals that one in four Nigerians – some 50 million people are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Even more worrisome is the fact that the same report states that the country is nowhere near equipped to tackle the problem. Instances of suicide which most often is precipitated by mental illness has been burgeoning of late. There have been several cases of individuals that jumped to their death on the 3rd Mainland Bridge in what we may preliminarily categorize as anomic suicide.

A statement by Olamide Oni Capoon, Sahara Deck, National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates’ Confraternity), Abuja City Centre said, “while we recognize that there is a multiplicity of factors that may predispose to mental illness, some of the most common in our shores are: use of recreational drugs, poverty, traumatic experience – especially common among those unfortunate enough to have been at the receiving end of the horrors of boko-haram insurgency, kidnap victims and genetic factors, poor medical and professional care, cultural practices, superstition, and social stigma. Poor medical and professional care, certain cultural practices, superstition, and social stigma are also among the factors that tend to exacerbate mental ill-health. Families of mentally ill persons keep them in hiding, more concerned about their social standing that seek medical care for them. There is also a dearth of specialized medical institutions and certified psychiatrists in the country. Some communities and cultures see mental illness as a curse and therefore believe the cure is in exorcisms and other spiritual means.”

Text of the statement further read: “As members of the National Association of Seadogs – Pyrates Confraternity, we believe firmly in a just and equitable society where everyone is as much as possible, exposed to equal life’s chances. We therefore use this to call on the relevant agencies of government and other stakeholders to use this opportunity to formulate policies that speak to the very heart of the issues, repeal the old legislations on the subject while passing new laws with input from the critical stakeholders. When there is a well formulated policy in place, then there can be appropriations at new budget cycles wherein the government can fund the establishment of institutional structures that address the peculiar problem. Specialized hospitals can be sited at the various urban centers and certified mental health personnel trained. Preventive measures such as fighting the menace of drug abuse especially among the youths, improving the general quality of life through a robust and growing economy are some of the preventive measures that can also be applied.”

In commemoration of this year’s “World Mental Health Day”; the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), Sahara Deck – Abuja City Centre, has concluded plans to donate drugs to patients at the Behavioral Home in Karu, Abuja. The group will also embark on a 7-kilometer morning walk to sensitize members of the public on the need to take mental health seriously, in line with this year’s theme: “Make mental health and wellbeing for all; a global priority”.

“According to the latest United Nations data, nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder, and one in seven teenagers are affected. In Nigeria, over 60 million people suffer from mental illnesses, according to the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN). Despite the huge number of people affected globally, mental disorders are widely under-reported in the media, a situation that forces the issue to the background, in global health discourse.

“Therefore, to draw more attention to this global menace, NAS Sahara Deck invites members of the public to participate in its health walk, slated for Monday, October 10. The Capoon of National Association of Seadogs, Sahara Deck, Olamide Oni, called on governments at all levels to prioritize reducing the factors that predispose people to mental illness and improving conditions that people need to thrive. Later in the month, the deck will also be having a public lecture on mental health; where experts in the field will be invited to x-ray issues as it concerns mental health.”

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Olanipekun warns lawyers against using disciplinary committee to settle personal scores

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The Chairman, Body of Benchers (BOB), Mr Wole Olanipekun, SAN, has advised lawyers not to see the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) as a forum for settling scores with imaginary enemies.
Olanipekun made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the Call to Bar ceremony for 1,491 new lawyers, held by the BOB  at its secretariat in Jabi.
According to Olanipekun, the LPDC, as an independent agency of the BOB, serves solely as an avenue through which it exercises the power to discipline any erring legal practitioner.
“Over the years, the LPDC, has continued to operate as an independent arbiter, enjoying absolute independence in the course of carrying out its assignment.
“The Body of Benchers does not and will not interfere with any of the proceedings or outcome of such proceedings before the LPDC.
“It is important to point out that the LPDC is not an avenue for dealing with perceived enemies or ventilation of grievances against fellow lawyers on personal issues.
“The decision of the LPDC is known as direction, and any appeal against the direction goes directly to the Supreme Court,” he said.
He said the body was concerned over what he described as  the unethical practice of forum shopping and hinted of plans to evolve regulations to address the problem.
“You are no doubt aware of the disturbing trend of forum shopping in Nigeria, a very reprehensible conduct introduced to the practice of law recently.
“This is the act whereby litigants and legal practitioners shop for ‘friendly venues and judexes’ to file and litigate otherwise frivolous and questionable causes, purportedly arising out of the jurisdictions where the actions are eventually filed, pursued and prosecuted.
“This ugly practice is permeating the entire Nigerian legal landscape, leading to the churning out, on regular basis, of conflicting orders and decisions of courts of coordinate jurisdictions.
“As a result of this, the legal profession is being brought to disrepute and opprobrium, leading to tirades, venoms and uncomplimentary remarks and sentences being passed on the legal profession and some of our judges.
“Be informed that the BOB, by virtue of the powers conferred on it by Section 10 (1)(c) of the Legal Practitioners Act has now set up a regulations committee, empowered to make regulations for the decent practice of law in Nigeria.”
He also said the committee had submitted a draft regulation to the BOB and the regulations, when approved, would become binding on all legal practitioners.
This, he said would restrict them to initiating and filing causes and matters where the said causes of action arise or as provided by the rules of the adjudicating courts.
“Just as it is provided under the Matrimonial Causes Rules, lawyers will be required to sign and file certain forms and documents, indicating compliance with the regulations before filing any originating process at trial courts.
“Any infraction or breach of the regulations would amount to professional misconduct,” Olanipekun said.
The senior lawyer who is a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stressed the need for lawyers to always uphold the time-tested morals and ethical standards of the legal profession.
“I admonish you all to carefully and soberly go through the provisions of the rules of professional conduct in the legal profession, as the rules regulate all your conducts
“Be it as a practicing lawyer in private legal practice or in any of our various ministries of justice, or as a solicitor, working in any private establishment, institution, company, organization or body.
“You should not assume that the rules are meant to regulate and control legal practitioners in what is commonly known as ‘active legal practice’ or the private Bar.
 He added that adherence to the rules was a condition precedent to success at the bar and the legal profession.
“ I plead with you, as you join the bar, to always strive at being an added value to the nobility, honour, dignity and respect of the profession, rather than coming to deplete and discount the established virtues the profession has stood for over the ages.”
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu-Chiroma said that the ceremony had to be shifted from  Bwari to the BOB complex due to threats by terrorists and bandits to attack the Law School.
He said that the graduands had been found worthy in character and in learning hence their induction into the Nigerian Bar as  lawyers.
Ciroma appreciated the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, the Inspector -General of Police, Director- General of State Security Services (DSS,) Civil Defense Commandant and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for providing adequate security.
Source: NAN
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NCC commits N500m for research across varsities – Danbatta

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THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has donated over N500 million to Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions across the country to facilitate research and innovations to promote developments in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this at a two-day Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and Other Stakeholders in Kano at the weekend, said the funds had been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities, in salient areas to drive technology development.

Danbatta said the commission was now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches, noting that this was relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development  of the country.

He said the roundtable, organized by the commission, was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of locally- developed telecommunications innovations which NCC had been sponsoring.

“The commission collaborates with the Academia in maximising the contributions of tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and communications Technology (ICT) industry as finance is needed to drive possible success of these endeavours, “ Danbatta said.

He said these efforts had enabled the commission to contribute to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, saying all these were fundamental to the objective of the NCC’s R&D-oriented programmes.

On the basis of these, he said ideas, inventions, and improvements that emanated from the academia were required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity.

Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been achieved since the commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on successful commercialisation of locally developed solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Engr Ubale Maska, also disclosed that the commission had so far awarded 49 telecom- based research grants to the academia,  out of which 10 prototypes were successfully developed and displayed to industry stakeholders.

He said the R&D efforts of the commission were aimed at actualizing some of the 8-point Pillar Eight of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, focusing on Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

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