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Virtual Court Proceedings: Osinbajo to Deliver Online Address Today

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Whether or not court proceedings held online have the same effect as when lawyers, clients, and the public appear physically in court has been a subject of debate in recent times. No thanks to coronavirus. To tackle the issue, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will today, 3 September  2020, speak in an online conference with the theme, “Media Coverage of Virtual Court Proceedings: Prospects and Challenges”. It is being organized by Gavel International, an online news platform that covers the administration of the justice system in Nigeria.

According to the Publisher of Gavel International, Mustapha Adekunle Ogunsakin, the conference has become crucial particularly now that Covid-19 has changed so many things across the world, even the court system

He said: “There is no gainsaying the fact that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected systems, norms, institutions and countries across the world, including our beloved country, Nigeria. The administration of the justice system of our country is particularly affected as stakeholders seem not to be prepared for the challenges the pandemic has incurred;

Since lock-down started in late March 2020, courts across the country are just beginning to sit. The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chief Judges of States are now making Practice Directions to allow Courts to sit online via social media platforms such as Zoom and Skype!

Now, part of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution is a public hearing of Court proceedings. There was a recent decision of the Supreme Court which ordered a case to start ‘de novo’ because a trial court delivered Judgment in the Judge’s Chambers, and not in an open court. Due to this constitutional provision, Courts in Nigeria make available Press Galleries for journalists in recognition of the media as representatives of the people during court proceedings. The media as the representative of the public, therefore, ensures fair hearing and fair trial in dispute resolution.

With the “new normal” the world is in, the question that readily comes to mind is: “How can the media fulfill their constitutionally provided role in the coverage of virtual trials?” It is in light of this that Gavel International has put together this webinar to discuss the role of the media in the coverage of virtual court proceedings.

Others to join the Vice President in this discourse are Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole(JCA) of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, former General Secretary, NBA, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, human rights crusader, Femi Falana SAN, former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, and Mr. Richard Akinnola, Publisher, Anti-Corruption Journal

The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Reuben Abati, former Senior Special Adviser (Media) to President Goodluck Jonathan, and ably assisted by Mrs. Shola Soyele of Channels television.

The time of the webinar is 2.00 pm

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NIGERIA

No going back on Water Resources Bill – FG

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The Federal Government has declared it will go ahead with the Water Resources Bill.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told reporters the bill was not designed to cause water wars in the country.

He said the bill is a panacea to likely water conflicts in the country.

He said critics of the bill have either not read it or might be mischievous.

He said there is no hidden agenda behind the bill.

He said it is not a subterfuge reintroduction of RUGA.

Mohammed made the clarifications at a joint briefing with the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja.

He said: “There is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill. This is because it is an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence for a long time.

These are:

– Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004

– The River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004

– The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N1100A, LFN 2004

– National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004

“So, why are the laws being re-packaged as the National Water Resources Bill 2020?

“The answer is that they are being re-enacted with necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

“The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.

“The Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of the people (i.e. for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

“The Bill will ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons.

“Critics contend that the Bill is aimed at taking the resources of a certain part of the country for the use of herders. In other words, the Federal Government is seeking to implement RUGA by subterfuge.

“We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever.”

Adamu said the bill was sent to all the states for concurrence without any object.

He said the bill predated the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said:” This was never a Buhari bill, it is a bill for Nigeria. It started 2008 long before the President thought of winning election.”

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NIGERIA

#Fuel hike: No going back on strike, protest – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has vowed to proceed with its planned strike and protest with effect from September 28 following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price.

Rising from its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja a few minutes ago, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the proposed action by the organised labour would proceed from next week.

He stated that the decision was unanimously taken by the chairmen of the 36 states and FCT chapters of the NLC.

Details later…

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Business

#Technology: Sanusi Urges Youths To Explore and not Rely on Government

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The Former Central Bank Governor, CBN, Mohammed Sanusi (II), has urged Nigeria youths not to rely on government but to explore and create opportunities for themselves, especially with technology.

The former CBN governor who was the guest speaker on the second day of the Kaduna Investment Summit explained that over-reliance on oil has left the country unproductive.

“We need to think over and over again as to how we understand economics and what we see. How do we understand technology or electricity are we consumers or are we producers and that’s why investment in human capital is so important.

“Produce young men who know that they are worth more than just using their phone to import a pair of shoes,” he said.

Sanusi said Nigeria has to take economic diversification more seriously in order to experience growth and development.

Referencing Malaysia, Sanusi gave a breakdown of the economic growth of both countries within a 30-year period.

According to him, for Nigeria “there was an increase in wealth but without any structural transformation”.

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“We were growing but we did not diversify and that explains the huge levels of poverty in the country, it explains the huge levels of inequality in the country, it explains the vulnerability of the economy to shocks, it also explains the relatively slow pace of growth because when Malaysia started, they started from a GDP per capita level lower than Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 1985. It started from $310 to $4,045 while we started from $345 to $2,055”.

He also stressed the importance of the government creating the right environment and infrastructure for private businesses to thrive.

The former CBN governor who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency noted that with the right environment, the country can move away from being only consumers to producers of technology.

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