Press spotlights challenges of Nigerian judiciary, others

The statement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria that it is difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective…

The statement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria that it is difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective in a democracy, where it remains financially tied to the executive is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Guardian reports that it is difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective in a democracy, where it remains financially tied to the executive. Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, made this known, yesterday, at the 2021 biannual All Nigeria Judges Conference for courts of superior records, at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

He stressed the need for financial autonomy upon which the impartiality of the judiciary is anchored and to avert the repeat of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike that grounded the judiciary for months.

The conference offers judges a chance to collectively strategise and tackle the problems of court inefficiencies, poor infrastructure and condition of service, decay of intellectual capacity and corruption.

He said: “The theme of this year’s conference, ‘Promoting judicial excellence in the administration of justice’ was apt and germane, considering the pivotal role of the judiciary towards stabilising our democracy.

“Financial independence is not just desirable; it is crucial, vital, constitutional and imperative to allow judiciary effectively discharge its mandates.

“The importance of that role is evident in the provision of Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended), which clothes the judiciary with its wide constitutional powers. It similarly thrusts on judges the responsibility to fairly, justly, judiciously and impartially exercise judicial powers.

“Without appearing to contradict me, I yield to the fact that it may be difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective in a democracy where it remains financially tied to the executive. It is trite that the foundation of impartiality is independence.”

The newspaper says that the Federal Government is to engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on mass vaccination of citizens. It restated the December 1 deadline for federal civil servants to take the COVID-19 vaccines.

The government also warned that vaccination records/certificates would be verified to detect unscrupulous citizens who procure such cards through the black market, threatening prosecution.

In the meantime, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has assured Nigerians that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has sufficient vaccines in the pipeline to vaccinate about 50 per cent of the target population by the end of January next year, just as efforts are also ongoing to bring on board the booster dose to build a stronger level of anti-bodies.

The PSC Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, gave the updates yesterday at the regular COVID-19 briefing of the panel in Abuja.

Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, noted that Nigeria had made tremendous strides in building its capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases of public health importance.

BESIDES, the NPHCDA, yesterday, said it had begun a nationwide “Operation Verify Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Online” to check fraud and enhance the integrity of the exercise.

The Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who made the disclosure at the briefing, vowed that the agency would invalidate all COVID-19 vaccination cards illegally obtained by unvaccinated people during the operation.

The Punch reports that Nigeria may experience fuel scarcity in coming days following the threat issued on Monday by the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

NUPENG has given the Federal Government a two-week strike notice, raising the possibility of fuel scarcity across the country in the coming weeks.

NUPENG members basically control the downstream arm of the oil sector and an industrial action by the union would ground the supply and distribution of petrol nationwide.

Citing the need to attend to oil workers’ welfare, NUPENG said it would begin the proposed strike at the expiration of the notice. The development came via a statement signed by NUPENG President, Williams Akhoreha, and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi.

The union had reached its decision during a special national delegates conference convened on last Thursday. It listed non-payment of workers’ salaries, title benefits, among others, as reasons for its resolution.

The Sun says that the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, 2021, if implemented, will help stir Nigeria’s economic development by attracting and creating investment opportunities for local and international investors, says Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN.

According to its Dean, Extractive Industries Taxation Faculty, Mr Afolabi Akanni-Allimi, who stated this recently at a webinar to educate stakeholders on the imperatives of the new regime in the oil and gas sector of the economy, “the Act is one of the most audacious attempts to overhaul the petroleum sector in Nigeria which has finally come to be after almost 20 years of its conception.”

He explained that “if implemented conscientiously, the PIA will help to stir Nigeria’s economic development by attracting and creating investment opportunities for local and international investors.”

On the theme of the webinar, which centred on the Legal and Regulatory Framework of the Governance Structure and Fiscal Provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, Akanni-Allimi stated that as a key player in the taxation and fiscal landscape of Nigeria, CITN organised the online training to build up skills for key players in the sector.

He added: “The Institute intends to go further to harness the rich content of this training as ready reference material for members and other key players in the Industry.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have commenced rights violation investigation into the nation’s lending industry.

ThisDay reports that after months of relative growth, Nigeria’s oil rig count fell from 11 in September to nine in October 2021, according to data released by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its November Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR).

The reduction of the country’s oil assets by two is in contrast to a number of other countries that have their facilities increase markedly, including Algeria’s, which climbed by three, Congo’s which rose by one, Saudi Arabia’s which increased by seven and United Arab Emirates which added four oil rigs.

Angola’s rigs remained constant, staying at four in September and October, but overall, between 2018 and 2021, total OPEC rigs from the 13 member countries fell from 549 to 380, but rose by 13 month-on-month from 367 to 380.

But in all, world rig count, that is, the combination of OPEC and non-OPEC members’ rigs, fell from 2,357 in 2018 to 1,610 in October 2021, but with the United States taking the lead with additional 29 rigs, followed by Canada with 13 assets month-on-month.

 However, the number of Nigeria’s total offshore oil rigs remained unchanged in September as the country continued to struggle to meet the production quota allocated to it by OPEC.

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