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NJC replies Presidency over recall of suspended judges

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The National Judicial Council has responded to the recent statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s special assistant on prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, over the council’s decision to recall suspended judges.

The NJC had on last Saturday, after its 82nd meeting, recalled six judges including Justice Adeniyi Ademola of an Abuja division of the Federal High Court.

Some of the judges were suspended after a search was carried out at their residences by the State Security Service on October 7, 2016. Three of the affected judges were later arraigned for alleged corruption.

The charges against Mr. Ademola were later dismissed after five months of accelerated trial at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

But the presidency expressed concerns with the decision to recall the judges.

Mr. Okono-Obla said on Thursday that the council could not claim it was unaware of pending appeals against Mr. Ademola, filed since April.

But in its statement on Saturday, signed by the director of communication, Soji Oye, the NJC explained why it decided to recall the judges.
Read parts of the statement below:

“Council is particularly concerned about the Press statement issued by Okoi Obono-Obla, Esq, Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution on 8th June, 2017; that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed a Notice of Appeal against the Ruling of Hon. Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for discharging and acquitting Hon. Justice A. F. A. Ademola and 2 ORS on 7th April, 2017.

“Contrary to the above statement, the Registry of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, informed the Department of Information of the National Judicial Council that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed two Notices of Appeal in the Court; the first one on 7th April, 2017, against Hon Justice A. F. A. Ademola, his wife, Olabowale Ademola and Joe Agi, SAN. The second one was filed on 6th of June, 2017, two days after the Press Release was issued by the National Judicial Council, with additional grounds of appeal against only Hon. Justice A.F.A. Ademola.

“It is on record that when the Parties were invited by High Court of the FCT for settlement of records to be transmitted to the Court of Appeal on 18th April, 2017, the Appellant failed to turn up. The Registrar of the Court further adjourned the settlement of records to 21st April, 2017, and invited all the Parties, but the Appellant again did not come to Court. The total number of 45 days allowed for compilation of record in all circumstances expired on 7th May, 2017, for the Registrar of the Lower Court and 22nd May, 2017, for the Appellant.

“Council noted that the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice only filed additional grounds of appeal in the Court on Tuesday 6th June, 2017, three days after the Press Release by the Council that the Judicial Officers have been directed to resume their Judicial duties. It was on 6th June, 2017, that letters were again issued by the Registrar to the Parties for settlement of records against 14th June, 2017,” the statement said.

The NJC further said the initial appeal could not be regarded as proper, because parties failed to make the necessary agreement and settlement of records as expected.

“For avoidance of doubt, by the Rules of the Court of Appeal, there cannot be a proper appeal before the Court until Parties have agreed and settled records before the Lower Court and transmit copies of such records to the Court of Appeal before an appeal number is given. It is only after an appeal number is given that an appeal is said to be entered in the Court of Appeal.

“The Council confirmed from Registry of the Court of Appeal that there is no such Appeal till date. The only matter that is pending is a Motion with Number CA/A/371M/CR/2019 filed by Joe Odey Agi, SAN, against the Federal Republic of Nigeria seeking the dismissal of Appellant/Respondent appeal between the Federal Government of Nigeria Vs Joe Odey Agi for failure to transmit the Records from the Lower Court within 45 days.

According to the statement, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation had filed charges against two Supreme Court Justices and Mr. Ademola at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in February, but letter withdrew the charges against one of the Supreme Court Justices, Inyang Okoro, and Mr. Ademola, with a motive to amend the charges.

“Council is aware that at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Federal Government filed Suits against Hon. Justices N. S. Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court and A. F. A. Ademola of the Federal High Court on 8th February, 2017.

“However, the Federal Ministry of Justice later withdrew the files pertaining the Suits against Hon. Justices Inyang Okoro and A. F. A. Ademola, with the intention of filing additional evidence against them.
“In the case of Hon. Justice Ngwuta, he has since been arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for non-declaration of his assets.

“In effect, there is currently no Suit filed against Hon. Justices Inyang Okoro and A. F. A. Ademola J. at the Tribunal,” the statement said.

The council also defended itself against alleged hasty decision made against it (NJC) by chairman presidential advisory committee against corruption, Itse Sagay.

According to its statement, persons recommended by the council for dismissal over alleged fraud have remained active in their various capacities long after they were recommended for dismissal to the executive arm of government.

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Education crisis widening social gaps in Nigeria, others –World Bank

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The World Bank Group has warned that the education crisis in Nigeria is currently widening the social inclusion gaps in the country .

The group said this in its World Development Report for 2018 titled “Learning to Realise Education ’s Promise ” which was presented in Abuja on Wednesday .

The event was attended by the Minister Finance , Mrs . Kemi Adeosun , her counterpart in the Education Ministry , Adamu Adamu , and major stakeholders in the education sector .

The bank in the report called for greater action and coordination of the education sector to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction.

It said millions of young students in low and middle -income countries face the prospect of lost opportunities and lower wages in the future because their primary and secondary schools were failing to educate them to succeed in life .

Warning of a ‘learning crisis’ in global education , the World Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

Without learning , it said education would fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all .

The report observed that even after several years in school , millions of children could not read , write or do basic mathematics .

This learning crisis , according to the report , is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them .

It added that young students disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability got to adulthood without even the most basic skills of life .

The World Bank Group said like in Kenya , Tanzania, and Uganda “where third grade students find it difficult to make a sentence ,” evidence had shown that in Nigeria , when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two- digit subtraction problem , more than three – quarter could not solve it.

It said , “The diagnosis in this World Development Report may make for disheartening reading , but it should not be interpreted as saying that all is lost – only that too many young people are not getting the education they need .

“Learning shortfalls eventually show up as weak skills in the workforce , making it less likely that young people will find good- paying , satisfying jobs .

“But change is possible , if systems commit to learning , drawing on examples of families , educators, communities , and systems that have made real progress . ”

 

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New study finds that 78% of black fathers are unmarried

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A new study has found that most black fathers are unmarried and this revelation has led to a coversation online.

The study carried out by the Centers For Disease Control reveals that more than 3/4 of all Black fathers are not married. The study also found that 72% of Black men have had children by age 44. But only 27% of African American fathers were ever married to the child’s mother. That number applies irrespective of the race of the child’s mother.

The study goes on to point out that 78% of Black men with kids fathered at least one child outside of marriage.

Past studies have pointed out the high percentage of unwed Black mothers. The new study pointing out the percentage of unwed fathers exposes a crisis among Black men and social media activists are concerned by the high percentage of unwed fathers.

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IVF made easy: Scientists create device to identify strongest sperm

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Scientists from Cornell University have created a device that will help doctors identify the strongest sperm to be used for in-vitro fertilization.

The result of the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Alireza Abbaspourrad, Cornell’s Yongkeun Joh assistant professor of food chemistry and ingredient technology, said conventional methods of separating motile sperm is tedious and takes hours.

The device takes advantage of sperm’s ability to go against the flow — a process called rheotaxis. It has a microfluidic channel through which the sperm swim and a microscopic corral — shaped like a “C” — with a retaining wall that attracts the strongest swimmers.

“The older method is tedious, time-consuming and not efficient. It’s the time that laboratory technicians and physicians expend that makes the process expensive,” Abbaspourrad said.

“With this method, it’s five minutes instead of several hours.”

Soon Hon Cheong, Ph.D., assistant professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Meisam Zaferani, a doctoral student in chemistry, also worked on the device.

“Here, we took advantage of sperm’s natural tendency to redirect against fluid flow, once the sperm reach a certain velocity,” said Cheong.

“Once the sperm detect interference, they can use it to swim upstream. That’s when we can trap them. We could separate the good sperm from the not-so-strong in a reasonably elegant way. We are able to fine-tune our selection process.”

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