2016 budget’ll meet aspirations of Nigerians – HURILAWS

Senior Legal Programme Officer, Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS), Mr Collins Okeke, yesterday, said the 2016 budget would meet the aspirations of Nigerians across all walks of life, if properly implemented.
Okeke, who spoke at a media briefing in Lagos, on the topic, “Judicial Application of 2015 Election Laws in Nigeria,” pointed out that the 2016 budget was the most ambitious, following a reduction of over N17 billion.
“This is actually the first time Nigeria is having that size reduced from its budget. The infrastructural projects listed in the budget are also very ambitious. The problem we have been having is not passing the budget but implementing it. I am hoping that at the end of May 2017, government should be able to say that at least 60 per cent of the budget has been implemented,” he said.
Speaking on the judicial application of 2015 election laws in Nigeria, Okeke explained that Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 134 of the Electoral Act needed to be amended to provide exceptions to the election petition timelines.

The HURILAWS Senior Legal Programme Officer noted that the Electoral Act needed to be amended to incorporate and recognize the use of card reader during accreditation of voters.
According to him, card reader reports need to be recognized in the Electoral Act as part of admissible evidence in proof of electoral malpractices such as over-voting.
“The Electoral Act, especially Section 137, needs to be amended to afford locus standi to the electorate to bring election petitions. However, tribunals may also be empowered to consider and summarily dismiss in chambers frivolous petitions and petitions on issues already being canvassed in another petition or which should be more appropriately canvassed by a party to the election,” he added.
Okeke called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that card readers deployed for elections were pre-tested, of the highest quality and user friendly, including training its permanent and ad-hoc staff ahead of elections.

Link: https://www.today.ng/news/national/120773/2016-budgetll-meet-aspirations-nigerians-hurilaws

Constitution restructuring’ll revive Nigeria’s economy — HURILAWS

Human Rights Law Service, HURILAWS, has said the crucial issues in the nation’s constitution that should be looked at to revive Nigeria’s economy, include restructuring of the political arrangement to strengthen the states and local governments through the devolution of more powers and funding.
Programmes Officer of HURILAWS, Mr Collins Okeke, contended in Lagos that the major cause of the political and economic tension in in the country was because Nigerians were yet to decide on the constitution which largely accounted for the extremely fragile and slow development of the country.
At a media parley, Okeke noted that the crucial issue in the nation’s constitution included restructuring the political arrangement to strengthen the states and local governments through the devolution of more powers and funding.

According to him: “Ànother issue is to review the legislative list, to reduce the exclusive list which as it stands confers too much power, responsibilities and wealth at the centre as well as the concurrent list which empowers the federal government and gives it more say in matters that ordinarily should be the exclusive domain of state governments.”
“The federal government should strengthen key institutions that support democracy like the courts, INEC, Police, ICPC, Accountant General, Attorney General, CBN, National Human Right Commission, EFCC, Public Defender, Code of Conduct Bureau, Auditor-General etc.”

Link: https://www.today.ng/news/national/96898/constitution-restructuringll-revive-nigerias-economy-hurilaws 

Breaking: Court Abolishes Disparity in Federal Colleges Admission Requirements

The Federal High Court today declared unconstitutional the state based admission inequality in Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools. The declaration was made in a landmark Judgment delivered in Lagos, by Honourable Justice John Tsoho on Wednesday 17th November 2014, in Suit FHC/L/CS/1358/2013 filed by Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN against the Federal Government and Education Minister, to challenge the admission disparity. The case is based on Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution which prohibits administrative or executive actions by government that discriminates between Nigerians on grounds of ethnicity, gender, religion and place of origin. The Originating Application was filed on September 30, 2013, for the following Orders:

  1. A Declaration that the administrative acts of the Respondents, particularly the 2nd Respondent which prescribes and applies different requirements including cut-off marks for candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, based on gender, ethnicity, states of origin etc. is discriminatory against Applicant’s grandchildren and the group/class they represent, on grounds of ethnicity, states of origin, gender etc. and therefore violates Section 42(1) of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria:
  2. An Order directing the Respondents, particularly the 2nd Respondent to apply uniform admission requirements, especially cut-off marks to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, notwithstanding their gender, states of origin, ethnicity etc.
  3. An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Respondents, particularly the 2nd Respondent, whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination in admission to Federal Government Colleges.
  4. Such Further Order(S) as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances

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