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US Jobless Rate Falls to 8.3% After Hiring Surge

US businesses cranked up hiring in January in a burst of job growth that pulled the US unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent, nearly a three-year low, official data showed Friday, reports AFP.

The blockbuster jobs report blew past expectations, providing a shot of good news for President Barack Obama's reelection bid in November. The economy added 243,000 net jobs last month, the Labor Department reported, much better than the average analyst forecast. Businesses put 257,000 jobs on their payrolls, while government layoffs, which had limited net jobs generation over the past two years, declined. The jobs gains were broad-based, in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing sectors, while the information, finance and clothing retailer sectors shed jobs.

The surge cut the jobless rate from 8.5 percent in December, and it was the fifth straight month the rate has declined; it stood at 9.1 percent in August. January's rate was the lowest since February 2009. The White House said the robust numbers show the United States is climbing back from the economic meltdown that took place four years ago. "Today's employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," said Alan Krueger, President Barack Obama's top economic adviser. Krueger cautioned that the monthly labour market numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revisions.

"Nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign," he said in a statement. Job creation in January was the strongest since April 2011, and was well up from December's 203,000 figure. Local and federal authorities shed 14,000 jobs, the lowest level in four months. The average workweek in the private sector in January was unchanged from December but wages rose 0.2 percent. "The January figures were helped by exceptionally mild winter weather, but that does not remove the shine from a very encouraging report," said Nigel Gault at IHS Global Insight.

Analysts cautioned that January job numbers are notorious for future revisions. However, there have been a number of positive indicators that the economy picked up steam in January, including increases in auto sales and in closely watched surveys of manufacturing and services. The ISM services sector index released Friday showed solid growth in new orders and jobs. Moody's Analytics analyst, Sophia Koropeckyj noted a number of challenges to the recovery, including weak fiscal conditions, an expected increase in home foreclosures, the European public debt crisis, and slowing global growth.

"However, the very strong start to the year may also indicate that the US economy is more resistant to these threats than we believe," she said. But Matt McDonald at Hamilton Place Strategies said the decline in the labour force participation rate, to 63.7 percent from 64 percent in December, was a worrying sign that people are still dropping out of the workforce.

Political Risk Cover for Private Equity Funds Launched

Foreign and local investors who are usually worried about the future of their investments in Africa due to political and social instability in the continent now can now heave a sigh of relief.

This is because, the insurance market has launched a new political risks insurance to cover private equity fund investments in Africa and other emerging markets against political risk.

The product was developed by Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution. The East African reported that the cover aims at shielding investors from the political uncertainty that characterises doing business in the emerging markets and damages arising from violence related to political activity. Foreign investors have often cited political risk as a drawback to the continent’s attempts to attract private equity investment, in spite of it being considered a high potential destination.

East Africa has, in recent years, witnessed several incidents of politically instigated chaos leading to destruction of property. Besides providing protection against such eventuality, the new product also seeks to provide cover for other unforeseen circumstances that may affect investment flows across the region. OPIC’s President, Ms. Elizabeth Littlefield said: “For example, OPIC is developing insurance products for the renewable resources sector, specifically to protect investors against a government’s change in the feed-in tariff that the investor has relied upon to structure its project; and to cover investment in forestry projects, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects.”

The insurance product is an attempt to boost investment by reducing risk. With the risks toned down, OPIC argues, fund managers who take up the insurance could accelerate their capital-raising cycles for investment funds.

This is by providing fund managers and their limited partners with long-term cover for risk of loss to their investments as a result of expropriation, currency inconvertibility, and political violence. It added that by mitigating risks, this product would also boost investor appetite in pursuing opportunities in the emerging markets. “Having pioneered the development of both political risk insurance and debt facilities for private equity investment, OPIC is in a unique position to launch new, flexible and cost-effective facilities that we expect will facilitate new investment in emerging markets,” she added. According to her, the policy would be provided depending on the fund’s needs, and can be arranged for either all individual investments for all of a fund’s investors, or the specific investment amounts of a select group of investors.

It would also be available through either its direct insurance or through an OPIC-sponsored private insurer reinsured by OPIC and backed by the US government. Littlefield also state that given the volume, diversity, and spread of risk that exists in fund programmes, such facilities would be provided at more affordable rates by OPIC together with private market insurers than comparable stand-alone insurance products that are currently available.

Mechanic Sentenced To Death By Hanging For Stealing A Car Stereo

When our politicians and so called leaders are stealing millions and chopping our subsidy money, a motor mechanic has been sentenced to death by hanging for armed robbery. He was sentenced to death for robbing a University Lecturer of his car stereo at gun point in company of another accomplice, now deceased.

Prosecution led by the State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Marcel Okoh called four witnesses to prove its case. The mechanic along with another person were accused of robbing one Johnson Unuerho of his car stereo on the 29th of June, 2002 armed with a gun at Okpara Inland within Isiokolo judicial division. However the 2nd accused persons one Gabriel Iyerowho, a driver was discharged and acquitted.

The victim of the robbery incident, who was PW2 (prosecution witness), a Principal Lecturer attached to the College of Education Warri, narrated how he tip-toed to the window, opened the blind gently and saw the 1st accused person, Patrick Ekeh and another member of the gang now deceased before shouting for help.

Justice Fred of Oleh High Court in Delta, in his judgment stated that “in the final analysis, I uphold defence of alibi of the 2nd accused persons. It ought to have been investigated by the police but was not. And besides, he was not one of those sighted by the PW2 when he took a peep through the window of his house and so no evidence fixing him at the scene and sufficient to dislodge the alibi raised by him.

While sentencing the accused, he said, “this is an offence of armed robbery for which I have no discretion. The penalty is death and I am not in a position not to impose it. To this end, the accused person is sentenced to death by handing in the neck until he is dead”, the judge stated.

Industrial Court urges NLC to settle dispute with sacked scribe amicably

THE National Industrial Court (NIC) yesterday advised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to explore the option of resolving amicably its dispute with the sacked Secretary-General, John Odah.

NIC’s President, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, gave the advice at the hearing of the suit filed by Odah, challenging the termination of his appointment as by the NLC and seeking N500 million as damages for defamation of his character.

Adejumo advised NLC and all unions to always explore the possibility of an amicable settlement of any dispute so as not to fragment trade unions and weaken them in the struggle for decent work environment or the rights of workers. He said the NLC, being a central labour

organisation with several unions as affiliates, must be able to put its house in order when things are going wrong. He held that the advice was made pursuant to Section 20 of the National Industrial Court Act (NICA) (2006). “I invoke the provisions of Section 20 of NICA (2006) and advise or encourage the parties to hasten amicable settlement of the dispute therein. Counsel on all sides are therefore encouraged to do their best so that the matter may be resolved amicably,” the judge held.

For the first time since the case was mentioned on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, all the defendants appeared before the court along with their counsel.

Odah had gone before to the court sitting in Garki, Area 11, Abuja asking it to, among other things, to make a declaration that the purported termination of his appointment as General Secretary of NLC on the pretext of on-going re-organisation in the congress was a ruse, reckless, manifestly in bad faith, unlawful and illegal as well as a pungent anti-thesis of what the NLC stands for and represents, and as such, the letter ought to be set aside and/or invalidated.

While January 18, 19 and 20, 2012 were set aside for accelerated hearing of the case, all the counsel to the first, second, third and fourth defendants pleaded for more time to properly file their defence as they were not able to do so due to last week’s strike as a result of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. Justice Adejumo also urged the two parties to adopt and file written witnesses’ statements of claim and defence on oath so as to fast track the hearing. He adjourned the case to Wednesday, February 29 and Thursday, March 1, 2012 for hearing. Meanwhile, speaking after the adjournment of the matter, counsel to Odah, Mr. Pius Akubo (SAN), said Justice Adejumo’s position on the possible amicable resolution of the matter was a wise counsel.

“By Article Three of the constitution of the NLC, labour is obliged as its fundamental objectives, to defend and promote the interest of its workers and to have underhandedly disengaged a foremost labour leader in the position of General Secretary of the congress is a bad precedent and therefore if the parties can come together to settle this matter amicably, the better for everybody, ” Akubo said.

According to him, the NLC ought to be an example, a role model in dealing with its employees. “Here is a man who headed the Secretariat in his capacity as the General Secretary and who has spent almost a quarter of a century in the union’s struggle only for the President of the NLC to wake up one morning to ask the General Secretary to proceed on accumulated leave when he had converted the leave to cash payments. You can’t do that,” he added. Akubo said Odah is hopeful that with the admonition of the court, reason would prevail so that they can come to terms amicably, adding that any other step other than Odah’s re-instatement will affect labour’s capacity to confront government on wrong doings as it affects the interest of workers since it will lack any “moral justification to pursue that line of agitation anymore if it cannot show good example by treating its own workers in the area of fair hearing, equity, justice and fairness.”

Police, SSS parade suspects in Rivers, Edo

The police in Rivers State yesterday paraded some suspects for alleged kidnapping and robbery.

Parading the suspects at the Police Headquarters, Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Commissioner of Police, Suleiman Abba, said a gang of four robbed a liquor shop on Ikwerre Road.

He said: “The patrol team from Rumuepirikom Division engaged the hoodlums in a gun battle. “The hoodlums escaped with bullet wounds; three policemen were injured.

“The policemen pursued the hoodlums to NTA Junction where a combined team of policemen from Swift Operation Squad (SOS), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Metro Patrol, Ozuoba and Rumueprikom Divisions joined them.

“Two of the gang members were found dead in their Passat Station Wagon car and three AK 47 rifles were recovered. “The dying gang leader gave his name as Tochukwu and confessed that his gang robbed another liquor shop on Ojoto Street in Mile 2 on December 29.” Two robbery suspects were arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad at Fruit Market, D/Line, Port Harcourt. Abba said the confession of one of the suspects, Ibinabo Reuben, led to the arrest of the second person, who gave his name as Doctor Horsfall from Buguma, Akuku Toru Local Government.

Items recovered from the duo include one AK 47 military rifle with three magazines, two locally made revolver pistols, 303 AK 47 ammunition, 60 LAR rifle ammunition and two revolver pistol ammunition.

Also paraded were Obe Ikaah from Nyokori-Boue in Khana Local Government, his wife and a man who deals with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs). Abba said Ikaah sells IEDs that can pull down big buildings.

“His wife collects money for him from dealers. One of the dealers was arrested with them.” The commissioner said the suspects were arrested with 14 cartridges of Nitrogerge gelatine, high explosives of 1.25kg per cartridge making it 17.5kg, 19 pieces of non electric detonators and about 100 metres of safety fuse.

Abbah said the corps member, who was kidnapped in Udoga, Etche Local Government would be rescued soon. In Delta State, the State Security Services (SSS) arrested a musician, Vershi Sammy Takum, and two others in connection with the kidnap of two teenage girls, Blessing Ogugua and Fidelia Onochie.

The kidnap took place on November 25 last year in Asaba, the state capital.

SSS State Director Florence Ikanone said the suspects were members of a six-man kidnap gang that has been operating from Nwanbodo Street , Dennis Osadebe Road, Asaba. Takum (22), whose stage name is Lezy, Anabonam Robert Amobi (23) from Anambra State and Frank Atusue (22) from Amai in Delta State were arrested on Monday. The Benue State-born musician said he was given N56,000 from the N500,000 ransom collected from the victims’ relatives. Amobi, who claimed to be an Okada rider, said he got N52,000; Atusue said he was given N10,000.

Oyo PDP, ACN disagree over investment

The Oyo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Renaissance Group yesterday urged Governor Abiola Ajimobi to lay out his plan on how the state’s share of the expected revenue from petrol subsidy removal would be invested.

It advised the governor to invest it on “meaningful projects.”

In a statement after its reconciliation meeting in Ibadan, the state capital, the group’s Protem Secretary, Alade Babatunde alleged that the state is expecting N8.3 billion from the subsidy revenue.

But the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said the Ajimobi administration comprises of responsible persons, who would not act like the past administration, which looted the state’s treasury.

In a statement, ACN Publicity Secretary Mr. Dauda Kolawole said: “We have heard them saying that N8.3 billion would accrue to the state from the subsidy removal. We assure Oyo PDP that unlike it government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would not be on our trail, as the people would be at the epicenter of the total spending of the state.

“We do not engage in barren econometrics. We would not spend the people’s money like drunken sailors, as the PDP did during its gangster reign in Oyo State. At the end of the day, whatever money accrues to the Oyo coffers would be spent by Oyo people.

“It is laughable that Oyo PDP wants to teach government about prudent spending. “How come PDP pointsmen are today answering charges of predatory looting of the Oyo treasury, if they know so much about prudent spending? “How come they subverted every known meaning of decency in financial matters and today, we are being made to collectively suffer for their merciless profligacy and theft?” ACN said until the PDP leaders on trial for the alleged stealing of N50 billion are proved innocent, the PDP has no right to advice anyone on prudence.

ECWA Plateau hosts 400 displaced Christians from Yobe

The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Jos, the Plateau State capital, is hosting over 400 Christians from over 100 families. They fled Yobe State in the wake of the killings by the Boko Haram sect in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Emergency and Conflict Committee, Rev. Etannibi Alemika, spoke in Tudun Wada, Jos, where about 177 of the displaced Christians are being camped. The church had assembled assorted food items and household essentials such as detergent, beverages, mats, blankets, mattresses and clothes for distribution to the displayed Christians.

Alemika said: “We have over 400 of them: men, women, aged and children, who escaped the persecution going on, particularly in Damaturu and Portiskum. Many others have been killed in the Boko Haram organised attacks in Yobe State. The families taking refuge here are lucky to have escaped to Jos...”

Angela Nzea, Remanded For Cutting Co-tenant’s Face With Blade

A 23-year-old housewife, Mrs. Angela Nzea, has been arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on a one-count charge of using a razor to slash the forehead of her co-tenant, Miss Abiola Shotunbi, during a fight.

The police alleged in charge sheet, suit number. K/1/2012 that the accused was arrested following a complaint lodged by the victim with blood gushing out from her forehead that Angela, her co-tenant at 36, Odo Street, Obalende, Lagos, slashed her forehead with razor when she attacked her over minor disagreement over spilled water in the passage at their residence.

Following the report, the police arrested the woman, while the victim was rushed to hospital.

In her statement to the police, the victim said the accused attacked her over water that poured on the passage while she was taking a bucket of water to her apartment. She said, “I told her it was not intentional and that I would clean it up. The matter degenerated into a quarrel and neighbours settled us. “As I bent down to mop up the water, the accused suddenly pounced on me from behind threatening she would kill me and a fight broke out. “In the ensuing confusion, she slashed my forehead with a razor blade and blood started gushing out profusely.”

After investigation, the accused was charge to court for inflicting injury, occasioning harm, an offence which, according to the police prosecutor, Colman Williams, is punishable under Section 355 of the Criminal Code Cap 7 Vol.11 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

Mrs. Nzea pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to her and the presiding magistrate, Mr. W.B Balogun, granted her bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must provide evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State government. He also directed that one of the sureties must be working with a reputable company, while the other must be a blood relation of he suspect. The case was adjourned till 23 January. The accused was taken to Kirikiri prison when she could not meet her bail conditions.

Man arrested over alleged stabbing his girl friend to death

The Lagos State Police command yesterday announced the arrest of one Kabiru Ogunlana, who allegedly stabbed his girl friend to death.

Mr Samuel Jinadu, the spokesman of the command, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the suspect also attempted to commit suicide immediately after the death of the lady.

Jinadu said that the “lover boy suspect” who also stabbed himself in the stomach was now on admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja after the arrest.

According to him, the suspect allegedly stabbed to death his girl-friend, one Isima Ajayi, on January 16, at about 5.20 a.m. at No. 13, Popoola St., Mafoluku, Oshodi, over undisclosed issues.

Jinadu explained that following the death of the lady, the suspect attempted to commit suicide by stabbing himself in stomach but was rescued by neighbours.

A’Court strikes out PDP’s suit against Ikuforiji

LAGOS – The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, yesterday, said it lacked the power to hear the appeal against the election of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

The court, it would be recalled, in December struck out the appeal by Mrs. Olajumoke Sawyer of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against the election of Ikuforiji due to undue delay by the appellant.

Counsel to Sawyer, Mr. Deji Fasusi, regularised the appellant’s brief and the appeal was adjourned for hearing till January 9, 2012 but the court could not sit as a result of the nationwide strike embarked upon by organised labour against the removal fuel subsidy.

When the matter came up, yesterday, the appellate court held that the 60 days envisaged by Section 285(7) of the constitution for hearing and determination of election petitions had lapsed on January 9, 2012, hence the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

The court added that to entertain the appeal would amount to amending the constitution, which was the sole responsibility of the National Assembly.

Of norms, values and attitudes: The cogency of international law (4)

ADMITTEDLY there have been twists and turns in Nigerian treaty-making, very often arising from the personality, power and influence of heads of the various ministries mentioned. However, it is worthy of note that, after a hiatus in the conduct of treaty relations when it appeared as if the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing in terms of treaty-making since there was no clear prescription on the matter, more so as it was most difficult to enunciate the legal position regarding treaty-making in Nigeria, the country has finally arrived at a point when it has been able to stipulate the modalities for concluding treaties. Accordingly, the Treaties (Making Procedure, Etc.) Act of 1993 specifies guidelines for concluding Nigeria’s treaties under which treaties have now been classified into three categories, viz.,

(a) law-making treaties, being agreements constituting rules which govern inter-state relations and co-operation in any area of human endeavour and which have the effect of altering or modifying existing legislation or which affects the legislative powers of the National Assembly;

(b) agreements which impose financial, political and social obligations on Nigeria or which are of scientific or technological import;

(c) agreements which deal with mutual exchange of cultural and educational facilities.

Furthermore, the legislation defined treaties or agreements as ‘instruments whereby an obligation under international law is undertaken between the Federation and any other country and includes “conventions”, “Act”, “general acts”, “protocols”, “agreements”, and “modi vivendi ”, whether they are bilateral or multi-lateral in nature.’ Presumably, these would include agreements with international organizations. In addition, it should be pointed out that the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, which had previously laid claim to being the depositary of Nigeria’s treaties, has now been compelled to yield place to the Federal Ministry of Justice as stipulated under the legislation. In addition, it is noteworthy that the law now provides that “the Federal Ministry of Justice shall, to the exclusion of any other Ministry or authority, have power to give notification on the conclusion of any new treaty to the Federal Government Printer for purposes of publication.”

Accordingly, the trend towards centralization of legal counseling in the treaty-making process has now been all but complete, having received legal imprimatur, compared with the decentralized form of treaty-making which hitherto had characterized Nigerian state practice regarding treaty-making generally. This is secured via the usual practice of dispatching lawyers from the Federal Ministry of Justice to other ministries, departments and agencies as legal advisers.

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it now seems apposite to dilate a little bit on the treaty-making process in Nigeria.

The Treaty-making Process in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the prevalent practice is for each ministry, if not indeed, department and agency to, as much as practicable, be responsible for the foreign dimensions of its activities, especially the cultivation and development of ties with corresponding ministries of other states and relevant international organizations. Accordingly, any federal ministry, department or agency can initiate action leading ultimately to the negotiation and conclusion of a treaty between Nigeria and another party, in pursuance of matters falling within its competence.

This is usually commenced by way of presentation by the ministry concerned of a memorandum containing proposals in respect of the intended treaty to the Federal Executive Council for the purpose of securing Federal Government approval, in principle, of the proposed treaty. Once the approval is granted, officials duly designated members of the negotiating team are then issued with instruments of full powers to enable them commence negotiation with representatives of the other party. In the event that the proposed treaty has a subject-matter cutting across the responsibilities of a number of ministries, an inter-ministerial negotiating team is usually constituted under the leadership of the representative of the ministry that took the initiative of seeking Federal Government approval for the negotiations.

Upon completion of the negotiations, the text of the treaty is usually initialed or signed ad referendum and forwarded to the respective minister or the President, as the case may be, for full signature at a later date. However, in case the treaty is a multilateral one and which, ipso facto, is to be concluded by a diplomatic conference specifically convened for that purpose, the members of the country’s official delegation to the conference are usually empowered to perform all actions thereto such as adoption of the text and signature of the treaty.

To sum up, treaty-making in Nigeria is an open-ended, decentralized activity which permits each and every ministry to take charge of treaty-making in respect of its schedule of duties, despite the potential for conflict and dysfunction embedded in such a hydra-headed approach. However, before any conclusions can be drawn on Nigeria’s practice in respect of treaties, it is necessary to consider the question of treaty implementation.

Treaty Implementation in Nigeria

If by treaty implementation is meant the execution or fulfillment of obligations assumed by a state under a treaty, it follows that implementation of a treaty can only occur, stricto sensu, after the treaty had entered into force at the international plane. This is, of course, without prejudice to the obligation of the parties not to defeat the object or purpose of the treaty prior to its entry into force.

It needs also be pointed out that treaty implementation in a federation is very often beclouded by problems arising from the division of powers between the federal government and constituent units. Unlike a unitary state where the government which concludes the treaty is also the one which sees to its implementation, in a federation, performance of treaties frequently requires co-operation between both levels of government, federal and state, despite the well-established prerogative of the federal government in foreign relations generally.

Division of powers in a federation varies from federation to federation. In some federations, legislative power over specific items may be conferred on the federal government, leaving the residue in the hands of the constituent units. Alternatively, specific items are assigned to the constituent units, with the residuary power vested in the federal government. Finally, it is quite possible to have a combination of both approaches such that items falling within the competence of the two levels are separately enumerated, with the understanding that whatever is omitted can be legitimately acted upon by the federal government in consonance with the doctrine of covering the field.

However, with regard to the issue of division of powers and treaty implementation, federal constitutions can be classified into two main groups. The first group comprises federations under whose constitutions the federal legislature is empowered to enact laws for the implementation of treaties or which provide that, in certain circumstances, a treaty once made, could have the force of law throughout the federation even if, in the absence of such a treaty, the subject-matter of the treaty would normally have been reserved for the constituent units.

The second category includes those federations whose constitutions do not provide for treaties to automatically become the law of the land or allow the federal legislature to alter the distribution of powers enshrined in the constitution by way of treaty implementation.

The constitutions of the United States, Australia, India and Malaysia are considered as belonging to the first group while those of Canada and the Federal Republic of Germany lean more toward the second.

Nigeria’s constitutional arrangement and treaty practice combine attributes of both groups. Thus, under Nigeria’s constitutional law and practice, the treaty power has, to all intents and purposes, signified power to implement treaties since it had never been considered necessary to have explicit constitutional provisions regarding treaty-making. However, it should be remembered that if treaty-making had generally been an area conceded to the federal government under the various constitutional arrangements which had operated in the country, treaty implementation is an issue in which some role had been granted to the constituent units, the only point of contention being, perhaps, the extent of their role.

It is remarkable that, although Nigeria has been spared the cantankerous experience of some other federations which had witnessed political conflict and misgivings over the exercise of the treaty power by the federal government, Nigeria apprehended the wisdom of accommodating its constituent units in as delicate an issue as treaty implementation. Unlike in Canada, for example, where Quebecois nationalists have found a ready outlet in the foreign arena to ventilate their grievance against Anglophone Canada, local protagonists of “statism” are yet to discover the foreign arena as a forum to propagate their anti-Abuja sentiments.

Accordingly, Nigeria’s various constitutions have embodied provisions such as is contained in s. 12 of the 1999 Constitution on treaty implementation thus: No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has cbeen enacted into law by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly may make laws for the Federation or any part. Thereof with respect to matters not included in the Exclusive Legislative List for the purpose of implementing a treaty.

A bill for an Act of the National Assembly passed pursuant to the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall not be presented

to the President for assent, and shall not be enacted unless it is ratified by a majority of all the Houses of Assembly in the Federation.

However, in line with the Treaties (Making Procedure, ETC) Act earlier referred to, not every treaty concluded by Nigeria warrants implementation by way of enabling legislation. Only those which, one way or another, affect existing legislation or the legislative powers of the National Assembly require implementation by way of legislative enactment. Accordingly, treaties which impose financial, political and social cost or which are strictly of scientific or technological import require legislation for their implementation, while mutual exchange or cultural agreements generally do not necessarily have to be implemented via legislation.

Today, there is a growing tendency among countries to adopt less formal methods of treaty implementation, especially in relation to so-called agreements in simplified form which usually take effect upon signature. While the relevant statute to which reference had just been made really fails to distinguish between treaties and agreements, it is safe to assume that Nigerian state practice would still continue to reserve the term “treaty” for more solemn engagements which, more often than not, are multilateral in form needing to be laid before the National Assembly for their implementation domestically as against those that are usually bilateral in nature and envisaging executive rather than legislative action for their implementation.

The loose use in many quarters of the term “ratification” in relation to actions taken pursuant to treaty implementation should not blur the distinction between ratification and legislative approval. Indeed, ratification which is an executive act communicating to other parties of a country’s intention to be bound by the treaty usually follows legislative approval by way of an enabling legislation transforming the treaty into domestic law, thereby opening the door for its implementation.

Nigeria has had a chequered history as far as its treaty implementation is concerned. While upon independence, Nigeria had acceded to a number of existing multilateral treaties, it, nevertheless, had to enact laws to bring them into force domestically, in consonance with the country’s Independence Constitution. These included the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, 1944, the Berne Copyright Convention, 1952 and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil of 1954. As observed earlier, the rather unimaginative acceptance by Nigeria’s Prime Minister of all the treaties concluded by Britain in colonial times saddled Nigeria with a considerable amount of treaty obligations for which it now had to take action toward their implementation.

4 OPC members docked over alleged killing

LAGOS — Four members of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, have been charged before an Ebute Meta Magistrate Court, Lagos, over the unlawful killing of a suspected cult member, Ahmed Balogun, during a shoot-out between them.

The accused persons, Jide Sunny, 27; Saliu Okeboyelu, 26; Musibau Garuba, 20 and Adekunle Raheem, a.k.a. Adex, 35, are facing a two-count-charge of conspiracy and murder.

According to the police prosecutor, Inspector Ekundayo, the four OPC members allegedly killed the suspected cult member during a gun battle between them on April 22, 2011, at Segun Magbon Village, in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The Investigating Police Officer, IPO, Mr. Benson Ajie, informed the court that the police recovered two empty cartridges from the scene of the incident.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge preferred against them.

The accused persons were ordered by the trial magistrate, Mrs. Joy Ugbomoiko, to be remanded in prison custody, pending the outcome of the DPP’s advice; while the case was adjourned till February 10, 2012 for mention.

How Fire Wrecked Court Of Appeal In Calabar

What was actually responsible for the mystery fire that razed the Court of Appeal, Calabar last Friday? Was the fire incident a man made, or it was caused by electrical fault?

Those are the questions many residents in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, especially lawyers and other judicial officers have been asking in the last few days. The oldest court building in Nigeria and former residential quarters for the colonial masters in Calabar, was gutted by a mystery fire, damaging valuable properties in the main building, which until last week housed the offices of the judges and the court hall.

An eye witness told journalists in Calabar that the fire outbreak was caused by electrical fault from one of the judges’ chambers. He said that the fire incident started at about 1.00 am Friday, when a security officer noticed a thick smoke coming out from one of the windows – which attracted security personnel from the neighbouring government house and called for rescue intervention.

Built over 100 years ago, the current Court of Appeal in Calabar, was the first West African Court of Appeal and later the first Supreme Court of the Southern Protectorate.

It was the first court in Nigeria created by the white people – when they invaded the area during the pre – colonial era. And because of the presence of the first court in Calabar, many lawyers tend to believe that the law practice actually started in the “Canaan City”. Perhaps so; most of the early prominent lawyers and Judges started their practice in Calabar. Some lawyers had even claimed that the first legal practice started in Calabar before it moved to Lagos. For instance, Sir Alexandra, who later became a Chief Justice of Nigeria and others like him, passed through the court.

Nasarawa Assembly summons Al-Makura

Members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday, shouted down on their Minority Leader, Tanko Maikatako of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), when he suggested that out of respect for Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, he should appear before their Executive Session today to face questioning over alleged cases of constitutional breaches levelled against him by the legislators.

Before the governor appeared to make the presentation of the 2012 Appropriation Bill, the lawmakers observed that since assumption of office in May, Almakura continued to carry on with his programmes and actions as though he was running a private estate, explaining that he severally flouted provisions of the constitution which also provides for his office.

Mention was made particularly last week redeployment of the most senior civil servants at the local government and development area levels,who have been acting as chairmen since November 3, 2010, as well as the appointment of a new managing director to head an agency in the state.

Majority Leader, Godiya Akawashiki who raised the matter under Matters of Public Interest, had drawn the attention of the House, informing members that the governor flouted constitutional provisions to seek approval for the recent appointment, just as he insisted that the redeployment of 39 senior civil servants back to the local Government Service Commission in Lafia, did not follow due process because there was no explanation as to what they are expected to do in Lafia.

Abdulkareem Usman (Wamba PDP), Francis Orogo (KEana PDP, Mohammed Baba Ibaku (Udege/Loco PDP), and Mohammed Muluku (Nasarawa-Eggon-East PDP), made various contributions, alleging that the governor was neck deep in constitutional breaches, and suggested that he be summoned to appear before the House today, to answer questions.

It was at this time that the Minority Leader, Maikatako (Lafia-Central CPC), rose with a plea for Al-Makure to appear for questioning at the Executive Session, rather than the floor of the House, where newsmen would be gathered at the gallery. He said his suggestion was out of respect for the position Al-Makura is occupying as governor.

But his colleagues shouted him down and resolved that the governor appear today on the floor of the House.

Court reaffirms Dakingari’s victory … says CPC’s case lacks merit

The Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto has yesterday set aside the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the April election of Governor Dakingari of Kebbi State.

In the summary ruling, the Court said the verdict issued was empowered and guided by Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and based on issues raised, reasons adduced and oral submissions and resolved in favour of the appellant. The Presiding Judge, Justice Amiru Sanusi, said the Appeal scored a pass mark and succeeded and accordingly allowed that the Judgment of the Tribunal that nullified the elections of the appellants and the 5th to 7th respondent be set aside.

The Chairman said the cross-appeal by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) that demanded return certificate was devoid of any merit and deserved no any other thing but to be dismissed and that reasons for the Judgment will be given at a latter day to be communicated in due course.

Reacting over the judgment the counsels of the CPC Mr. I. G Oghenero and Sam Kargo call for the written verdict of the Court which they would study for further action at the Supreme Court.

Speaking to newsmen over the development, the governor described the legal tussle instituted by the opposition as an attempt to divert the attention of the state government from offering good service to the people adding that even with the demands of litigation his administration remained focused in pursuing its policies and programs.

Court awards N6.2bn damages against NIMASA

The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to pay N6.2bn as damages to Hensmor Nigeria Ltd.

In a copy of the judgement delivered by Justice O.E. Abang on December 2, and made available to our correspondent on Friday, the plaintiff, Hensmor Nig. Ltd., had instituted an action joining Dominic Alim, an engineer, as the second defendant.

Hensmor had gone to court to challenge the detention order reference NMA/APP/006/01 affecting Vessel M.T. Agbonmien, which bore 63million metric tonnes of kerosene.

The ship was said to have been detained indefinitely on the grounds of ‘unseaworthiness,’ resulting in the subsequent theft of the product valued at N5.02m in 2007.

The judge said, "Where a public officer as in this case acted in bad faith, for instance, declaring the vessel as unseaworthy when in fact it was not, but however detained it to pave the way for the second defendant, habour master and the captain of the vessel to illegally dispose the plaintiff’s product was an act done outside the confines of the second defendant’s office.

"I hereby make an order directing the defendants to pay the plaintiff the sum of $25m being the estimated value of Vessel M.T, Agbonmien.

"There is unchallenged evidence before me that since the unlawful detention, the vessel has become moribund and unserviceable."

American convicted for money laundering, forteits $17,080

A Federal High Court, Lagos, has found an American, Parker Damian George, guilty of money laundering.

The court ordered a forfeiture of 40 per cent of the total sum found on him at the point of arrest.

According to a statement by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, convicted George under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

George was said to have been arrested on November 29 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos during a secondary check at the boarding gate with $42,700. Uwujaren stated that the convict was arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agent and was handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.

He stated that the court considered the convict as a first offender without previous criminal record when it ordered that he should forfeit 40 per cent of the total undeclared sum found on him at the point of arrest.

The charge preferred against the convict by the EFCC read in part, “That on or about November 30, 2011 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court failed to make a declaration of the sum of USD 42,700 (Forty two thousand and seven hundred dollars) which you were transporting from Nigeria to the United States of America to the Nigerian Customs Service as required under section 2(3) of the Money Laundering Act of 2011 and Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act Cap. F3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 2(5) of the Money Laundering Act of 2011.”

Uwujaren referred to the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 which stipulates that “any person who falsely declares or fails to make a declaration to the Nigerian Customs Service pursuant to section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to forfeit not less that 25 per cent of the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument or to imprisonment of not less than two years.”

Reps lack power to stop FRSC’s N192bn revenue drive – Lawyers

The House of Representatives’ recent resolution to stop the N192bn number plates and driving licence scheme by the Federal Road Safety Corps cannot be enforced.

SATURDAY PUNCHlearnt this from separate interviews with lawyers on Friday.

The lawyers said Nigerians should not bank on the resolution passed by the House as it lacked constitutional backing and so, could not stop the FRSC project. The legal practitioners said the power to stop the FRSC from going ahead with the issuance of the products belonged to the executive and not the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the project, which was inaugurated in September, appears to have received presidential endorsement with August 2012 chosen as its deadline. Public commentators have given kudos to the House for intervening in the matter; a move initiated by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr. Sam Tsokwa, in November.

Tsokwa had moved a motion on the implications of allowing the FRSC to continue with the implementation of the new number plate and driving licence, stating that the corps was not established as a revenue generating agency and asking it to stop.

But an investigation by our correspondent in Lagos showed that despite the popular resolution by the House, the issuance of the number plates and driving licences was still going on in the state. The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka, had said that the anticipated proceeds from the sales of the products stood at N192bn.

Chidoka would, however, want the public to assess the scheme based on its overriding interest of ensuring national security and safety of all Nigerians. “I would prefer that analysts focus more on that angle and not just emphasise on the economic aspect of it,” he had said.

The approved price for a new number plate is N15,000, while old vehicles would exchange the old plate for N10,000. According to a lawyer, Festus Keyamo, the prices of the products were too expensive and unaffordable to a lot of Nigerians. He said although he was not against the idea of enhancing security through the scheme, the revenue generation drive may have negatively influenced some aspects of the project.

Keyamo said that no matter how nice it sounded to the public, the directive of the House to suspend the scheme lacked constitutional backing and could not be enforced. “The House of Representatives has no power to stop the FRSC, that is the place of the executive but that does not mean that what they are doing is right. They can only go through it by passing a law,” he said.

Another lawyer and Executive Director, Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project, Adetokunbo Mumuni, corroborated this view. He said that if the House was sincere about helping Nigerians out of the compulsory scheme, one of its members could sponsor a bill to that effect. “The bill will have to go through the three stages of reading; then it goes to the Senate after which the President would need to assent to it. Whatever is short of that makes their resolution a mere pronouncement.

“That even a president makes a statement on the television doesn’t make it a law. There is a procedure through which laws are made in Nigeria,” he said.

Mumuni said it was unfortunate that the scheme was being forced on all vehicle owners instead of focusing on people with new cars, who may require one.

He said, “If we have security challenges, making a new number plate is not just the way to tackle it. What we need is to commit resources to intelligence gathering, to address issues before they become a national concern.

“Now we are asked to get new number plates, the same way there is a plan to change the old national identity cards that means the billions of naira spent on the initial ones will go down the drain again.”


Senatorial candidate petitions Appeal Court president over trial

The Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dalhatu Adamu, has been asked to investigate the handling of an appeal seeking to set aside the decision of the Elections Petitions Tribunal in Asaba.

Jude Azekwoh, in his petition dated November 9, 2011, requested the acting PCA to constitute a different panel to hear the appeal.

He stated in the petition that the panel, which heard the appeal numbered CA/B/EPT/230/2011, shut him out without being heard.

The senatorial aspirant, who wrote through his counsel, Mr. Oladipo Okpeseyi, added that the action of the appeal panel amounted to an abrupt and unjustifiable termination of his appeal. Azekwoh, in the petition, requested the Acting PCA to, “To investigate the conduct of Justices of the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, on why the appellant should be shut out (prematurely) without being heard properly in a matter before them, in appeal number, CA/B/EPT/230/2011.

“To constitute a different panel to hear the appeal as the appellant is yet to be given an opportunity of being heard on his appeal number CA/B/EPT/230/2011 before it was abruptly and unjustifiably terminated.”

The appellant had approached the Benin Division of the appellate court, seeking the setting aside of a decision of the lower tribunal in Asaba, which upheld the election of Dr. Arthur Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party as the senator representing Delta North Senatorial District.

The petitioner contested the April 9 senatorial election under the umbrella of the Democratic Peoples Party.

According to him, his appeal was filed on August 18 and his brief submitted on September 19.

He stated that along with their briefs of argument, the respondents, including Okowa, also filed their notices of preliminary objection on the grounds that the appellant’s brief was filed out of time.

Azekwoh stated that the appeal panel on September 27, insisted on, despite his objection, hearing his appeal along with the preliminary objection.

He stated that he was only served with the respondents’ briefs of argument and notices of preliminary objection on Monday 26.

He claimed the court refused his application for an adjournment and proceeded without hearing him even when his counsel requested for time to file a counter-affidavit and an application to regularise his brief.

He noted that the court’s refusal was despite the fact that the appellant still had four more days to the expiration of the statutory 60 days provided for filing his brief.

According to him, the court did not only strike out his brief of argument and the entire appeal, it also asked him to withdraw an application for re-listing of the appeal that he filed on September 29.

Azekwoh stated that the tribunal had on August 2, struck out his petition on technical grounds that the pre-hearing application was by a letter instead of a motion.

He had told the tribunal that he was dissatisfied with the conduct of the election as well as the declaration of Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.


Supreme Court sacks 10 CPC NASS members

The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the election of two senators and eight members of the House of Representatives elected under the umbrella of the Congress for Progressive Change in Katsina State.

The affected lawmakers are Senators Abdu Umar Yandoma and Ahmad Sani Stores, representing Katsina North and Katsina Central senatorial districts respectively.

Others are Murtala Isa, Muntari Dandutse, Musa Salisu, Aminu Ashiru, Umar Adamu Katsayal, Muhammad Tukur, Tasi’u Doguro, and Abdu Dankama, who are members of the House of Representatives.

In its judgement, a seven-man panel of Supreme Court justices maintained that going by the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Independent National Electoral Commission should not have recognised the ousted lawmakers as authentic candidates of the CPC for the April 2011 general elections in Katsina State as they were not validly nominated.

The panel, presided over by Justice Tanko Mahmoud, upheld the verdict of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which had on April 20, 2011, declared the primaries that produced the sacked lawmakers as illegal, null and void.

Consequently, the court ordered the National Assembly leadership to immediately inaugurate the 10 members of the CPC in Katsina State, who it declared as the true candidates of the party, having won the primaries.

The 10 CPC members that benefited from the apex court’s judgement, and who are to be sworn in to take over the seats of the ousted legislators are Sadiq Yar’Adua (Katsina Central Senatorial District), Hadi Sirika (Katsina North), Ahmed Kaita (Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency), Salisu Salisco (Kaita/Jibiya constituency), Shiek Umar Abubakar (Katsina federal constituency), Salisu Ado Daura (Daura/ Maiaduwa/Sandamu constituency), Isa Lawa Doro (Mani/Bindawa constituency), Sani Bello Mashi (Mashi/Dutsi constituency), Abbas Machika (Kankara/Faskari/Sabuwa constituency) and Dr. Mansur Funtua (Funtua/Dandume constituency).

Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 requires every registered political party in the country to give a 21-day notice to INEC on its intention to conduct primaries.

The CPC wrote a letter to INEC on December 24, 2010, giving the commission notice of its intention to hold primaries for the April 2011 National Assembly, state assembly and governorship elections in Katsina State, stressing that the said polls would be concluded on January 13, 2011 and names of the successful candidates submitted a day after.

The CPC also notified INEC of the constitution of a committee under one Col. Jibril Hassan (retd.), saddled with the responsibility of organising the primaries.

The election took place as slated and names of the winners were subsequently ratified by the National Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the party and forwarded to INEC through the CPC national congress committee led by Dr. Lanre Tejuosho.


Commission dismisses two senior policemen for misconduct

The Police Service Commission has dismissed from service two senior policemen for acts of professional misconduct.

The commission, at the end of its meeting in Abuja on Thursday, approved the dismissal of Babatunde Jonathan and Sheikh Usman Umar, both Chief Superintendent of Police. The PSC also approved the promotion of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Hassan Biu, to the rank of Commissioner of Police with effect from December 15, 2011 based on the Inspector-General of Police’s recommendation.

Similarly, nine other officers were reprimanded, while a Deputy Superintendent of Police had his rank reduced to Assistant Superintendent of Police for conduct unexpected of a senior police officer.

The chairman of the commission, Parry Osayande, said the PSC would always reward hard work and diligence with elevation, while all acts against police conduct would not go unpunished.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, has inaugurated the Police Biometric Central Motor Registry with a call on the force to take an advantage of the advancement in technological innovations to protect lives and property.

He called for the integration of the BCMR with the new driving licence database and the National Communication Commission database for effective security system, adding that a proper utilisation of these databases would help to detect stolen vehicles and reduce car theft in the country.

The IG, Hafiz Ringim, said the upgraded BCMR would provide first-hand information and authentic database for police operational guide on crime prevention and detection in place of reliance on secondary data hitherto provided the force by other agencies.


FOI: Journalists want FG to revisit Dele Giwa’s murder

Journalists and human rights activists have called for the re-opening of investigation into the death of editor-in-chief and co-founder of Newswatch magazine, Mr Dele Giwa, who was killed by a parcel bomb in 1986.

The journalists, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors and National Association of Women Journalists, spoke with one voice during the 25th anniversary of Giwa’s death in Lagos on Wednesday.

In a symposium organised by NUJ, Lagos council, with the theme, “hazards of journalism profession and challenges of FOI law,” the chairman of the Lagos NUJ, Mr Deji Elumoye, said journalists across the country would not relent until the killers of Giwa were found.

In his opening remarks, Elumoye said the anniversary became necessary to challenge the Federal Government to find Giwa’s killers and bring them to justice.

According to him, there is need to re-open investigation into the death of a journalist who represented professionalism, truth and justice.

The guest speaker and President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, spoke extensively on the FOI law and how it could be used to fish out Giwa’s killers.
When the news of Osare’s death was broken to his family members, his younger brother also identified as Robinson rushed to the police station in anger to ascertain the cause of his brother’s death.

He, however, criticised the law, saying it contained some contentious issues that would not make it to work effectively for the media.


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