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Onnoghen: Don’t institutionalise corruption, MURC tells NBA

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA not to institutionalise corruption by taking sides with the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, a man whom it said has already admitted that he committed an offence.

The ex-CJN was suspended from office last week by President Muhammadu Buhari on allegations bordering on graft but members of NBA resolved to embark on a two-day warning boycott of courts in protest against the suspension on the ground that the action did not follow due process.

MURIC said that “This boycott is sheer hocus pocus. It is poor Nigerians who will suffer from the NBA’s boycott. They have allowed their emotions to run away with them. The problem with our lawyers is that they see every problem, including political, as a legal problem. They do not look at other angles or think of other possibilities and solutions. They tend to corroborate an African proverb which says, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.’

“We are talking about a man who sat at the helm of our judiciary here. This man has admitted that he ‘forgot’ more than a billion naira in his bank account. That, to us, is preposterous. It is alarming. Unfortunately those who know better because they are ‘learned’ are the same people staging a boycott to protect the billionaire Justice.

“Why can’t it happen here if it can happen elsewhere. Just last year, on June 20, 2018 to be precise, a judge of the Supreme Court in West Virginia, United States of America, Justice Allen Loughry who was accused of using his office for personal gains was suspended. His offence involved $363,000 worth of office furniture, having expensive office furniture taken to his private house and using government vehicle and gas card for personal use.

“That happened in a sane society They have lawyers there too and his colleagues did not identify with the wrongdoer. So we need to ask ourselves if we truly want to sanitise this society. Perhaps it was this kind of sentiment that made Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to conclude that, ‘To fight corruption in a corrupt system, you don’t follow due process, you follow the necessary process.” Vladimir Putin

“We are tempted to ask, ‘Where is the human face in the practice of law in Nigeria? We know the thief. He confesses to us. But we are the same people who will tutor the thief to change his confessional statement. We tell him to claim it was made under duress. We are the same people who appear for the Evans and the Oyenusis yet we go to the mosque on Fridays and attend church on Sundays. Do you think God is blind?

“MURIC appeals to the NBA to put humanity on the front burner in matters like this. NBA should not wish away Justice Onnoghen’s offence. It should be Nigeria first. No single person is bigger than Nigeria. Crimes like the one the ex-CJN is accused of are what turned this country into a wild jungle and NBA must join other patriotic citizens who are presently working day and night to return Nigeria to the comity of sane communities.

“We further appeal that the NBA creates an enabling environment for ordinary Nigerians to have access to justice. We should not be seen protecting the rich and powerful all the time, particularly a powerful man who has already admitted that he is the owner of incriminatingly humongous bank accounts when poor Nigerians are sentenced to long terms in prison just for stealing one tuber of yam. Ayn Rand has a strong message here, ‘When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you, you know your nation is doomed’.

“It was the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who said, ‘Any wealth accumulated on a selfish basis, at the expense of the state in defiance of social justice helps to create a disorganized society in which everybody will eat everybody, and no one person can be safe.’ Do the respected members of the NBA want to support the creation of such a chaotic society?

“MURIC has taken the ex-CJN to the court of public opinion and he lost woefully. Nigerians are flabbergasted that the ex-CJN has N1,131,684,554.00 (one billion, one hundred and thirty-one million, six hundred and eighty-four thousand, five hundred and fifty-four naira) in his personal accounts and still counting. It is appalling, repugnant and nauseating.

“We advise NBA not to pursue vested interest. Nigerians see the Onnoghen affair as a struggle between those who fight corruption, those who despise it, those who embrace it and those who benefit from it. If NBA will not stand up to be counted among those in the first group, it must not be seen to identify with the third and fourth camps. The second rank is a safer ground for the purpose of posterity.

“We appeal to the NBA not to resume its boycott of courts soon after the two days. This is because it is poor Nigerians who suffer each time there is a boycott of courts. The legal profession is sine qua non to the dispensation of justice anywhere in the world and that is why lawyers are respected by all.

“Resumption of boycott is unnecessary because Justice Onnoghen himself in a separate case in 2013 acknowledged the special powers of the CCT. In the case of AHMED V AHMED & ORS (2013) LPELR – 21143 (SC) delivered on 12th July, 2013, the ex-CJN held that, ‘The CCT has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all violations contravening any of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau’ and that ‘the provisions expressly ousted the powers of ordinary regular courts in respect of such violations’. He further concluded that ‘Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this Code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau’.

“As we rise from this session, we remind honourable members of the NBA that law is a noble profession and a good number of our lawyers, both senior and junior ones, are men and women of integrity. This profession is for the bold, the assertive and the man of decency and candour. We advise NBA to think outside the box. Onnoghen appears to have dragged its name in the mud. What NBA should do to reclaim its good name is to step aside and allow the ex-CJN to defend himself at the tribunal,” MURIC said in a statement by its director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

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THE NATION

Firm hails Abdullahi’s appointment as NITDA DG

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An Information Communication Technology hub in sub-Saharan Africa, Global IT, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as the Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Country Director of the Global IT Rasheed Bakare, in a commendation letter to the President, praised the appointment of 39-year-old Abdullahi, whom he described as a digital guru and an industry key player with passion to improve on his predecessors’ achievements in NITDA.

Bakare said: “Abdullahi, for a couple of years, has shown and proved to be a world-class professional who will use his wide network to take NITDA to the next level, in line with the vision of Mr. President and the agency’s role as the clearing house for IT projects and infrastructural development.”

Global IT advised Abdullahi to live above board and justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

Abdullahi is a graduate of Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 15 years of experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture across the private and public sectors.

He attended Leadership and Management courses at Harvard University in the United States of America (USA), University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom (UK) and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

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THE NATION

Yaba Psychiatric Hospital doctors’ strike enters 4th week

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The strike action embarked on the 31st of July 2019 by the  Association of Resident Doctors, Federal  Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba has entered its fourth week.

The doctors are protesting what they have described as a “severe lack of doctors to provide seamless delivery of mental health service.”

The strike action was reviewed on Monday August 19th, 2019 when the doctors deliberated for over six hours to review their ongoing industrial action.

The review meeting was called due to timely interventions of key stakeholders.

After their deliberations, the resident doctors in a statement made available to the press “resolved to CONTINUE our industrial action to insist on standard mental health  care for our clients and quality work experience for our overworked doctors, until such a time the Hospital Management deems it fit to meet our singular demand!”

Find below their resolutions:

“1. The Hospital Management is insensitive to the plight of over 535 in-patients and 220 outpatients daily who now receive suboptimal, if not pernicious,  mental health service in the 20 days that this industrial action has been allowed to fester without goal-directed interventions

2. The Hospital Management has blatantly refused to replace the annual exit of resident doctors  for the past four years. Instead, they have let  patient load and clinical work increase significantly for hapless resident doctors  whose health and academic pursuits have suffered irreparably

3. In light of the above, the Hospital Management’s insistence on employing only FIVE locum doctors is highly provocative of our demands. It hardly improves the status quo which already puts overworked resident doctors at the brink of academic failure, health challenges and malpractice suits

Our Resolution

We have resolved to CONTINUE our industrial action to insist on standard mental health  care for our clients and quality work experience for our overworked doctors, until such a time the Hospital Management deems it fit to meet our singular demand!

To this end, we call on Nigerian citizens and the  Presidency under the able leadership of  President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Hospital Management to do the needful in line with the Next Level Agenda of this administration.

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THE NATION

Meet Kashifu Abdullahi, new DG of NITDA and ‘architect’ of cashless banking in Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as the new Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.

The appointment was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Below is the profile of the new NITDA helmsman

Born on February 21, 1980, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi is a graduate of Computer Science from the prestigious Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.

Mr Abdullahi is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 15 years of experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both private and public sectors.

He attended Leadership and Management courses at Harvard University in the USA, University of Cambridge in the UK and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

As the 1st Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in Nigeria’s Public Sector, he is also a certified project manager and solution architect. He also has many professional certifications in networking, telecommunications, service management and Solution design such as: Huawei telecommunications engineer, Cisco design professional, ITIL, Prince2, etc.

He has worked at Galaxy Backbone as Network Engineer, IP Network Field Engineer, Senior Network & Lead, IP Operations Team, and Senior Solution Architect & Lead, Technical Solution Design Team between 2004 to 2013.

In 2014, he joined Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a Technology Architect, where he dedicated his time to developing Technology Architecture Repository that gives 360 view of the Bank’s IT infrastructure and easy decision on new IT investment. He was part of the team that executed software license rationalization which has increased cost savings for the bank in license annual subscriptions.

Mr Abdullahi was a key resource in the development of IT standards for the apex bank, which has reduced mean time to deploy/integrate new system by over 20%. One of his major achievements as a Technology architect was the production of 7 Solution Architectures for critical IT initiatives that helped in achieving cashless society in Nigeria.

He joined NITDA in 2017 as Technical Assistant to the Director General/CEO. Being the IT regulatory body in Nigeria mandated to implement National ICT policy, he Managed execution of strategy which has increased ICT contribution to Nigerian GDP by over 13% in Q2 2018.

The new DG coordinated Local Content initiatives that has increased ICT local production by over 200% in 2017.

He also overhauled IT clearance process and encouraged shared services among agencies. This has helped Federal Government saved over 16Bn NGN from IT projects.

Mr Abdullahi also oversaw procurement process that has reduced cost of major projects by over 5% in two consecutive annual procurement cycles.

Additionally, he managed project execution that has implemented over 300 IT infrastructure intervention.

Mr Abdullahi is a member of both British Computer Society (BCS) and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in addition to many memberships to his credit.

He is a recipient of 100 Leading Telecom and ICT Personalities in Nigeria – By Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Mr Abdullahi is from Hadejia, Jigawa State, and he is married with children.

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