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I Did Not Defect To APC, I Moved To The Party — Akpabio

Peter Okunoren

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Former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has clarified that he did not defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, but only moved to the party.

Akpabio said he was surprised that the same people who founded the ruling party were the ones pulling it down.

The former Governor, who represents Akwa Ibom North-West at the National Assembly, told Vanguard that the same people were determined to ruin the party to bring down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari just because of their selfish interests.

Asked why he defected to the APC, Akpabio sais, “I did not defect, I moved to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the national interest especially if you look at what is happening at the national level.

“I was surprised that people who founded the APC were the same people determined to ruin that party, to bring down the government of President Buhari just because the election is approaching so that they could go and contest under another platform.

“I felt there is need for us to have a country before we talk about elections. People say statesmen think about the next generation while politicians think of the next election.

“I saw a trend where a lot of us are now becoming politicians thinking only of the next election without thinking of the next generation.

“I moved in the national interest, to stabilize the polity and in order to support the current administration.

“And I think that, to a large extent, my intention was achieved and so it was referred to as ‘uncommon defection’ because it was one defection that stopped a lot of defections.

“I was not thinking whether I will win election in 2019 when I was moving because, at that time, my state was totally PDP; when I moved, people were shocked but today, less than two months after, the entire state, 98%, has turned APC.”

Speaking further on the forthcoming general election, the former governor said there will be no war in the country and added that only people who want war will see war.

He said, “There will be no war in Nigeria in 2019, people should not think of election as war. Election should not be war.

“I appreciate that question because recently I made a statement which I love to make.

“I said, ‘Warsaw saw war’ because the political leadership in PDP in Akwa Ibom had said that the current administration should recruit people and prepare for war, that 2019 will be war and that only the fittest would survive.

“So, the youths and some elders of the APC met me to say that people are calling for war.

“And I told them that people calling for war have never seen war and that, in those days, even when the worst enemies of mankind, Hitler, went to Poland which capital is Warsaw to wage war, he thought it was going to be a cheap thing but it wasn’t.”

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Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System Needs Judicial Surgery —- Prince Abimbola

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A call has been made for the criminal justice system of Nigeria to undergo judicial surgery.

The call was made by Prince A.S Abimbola, Chairman Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Epe Branch during the opening ceremony of the 2019 NBA Epe Law Week themed “Administration Of Criminal Justice: “The Journey So Far”.

While delivering his speech at Centenary Hall of St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Popo Oba, Lagbede Street, Epe, Lagos, Prince Abimbola called for reforms in the judicial system. In his words: “Our criminal justice system in Nigeria needs to go through what I call judicial surgery if you like you can call it reforms. While the fight against corruption remains sacrosanct, the criminal justice system must be safe, just and fair and seen to be so within the ambit of the rule of law.

He further stated that it was pertinent to state that until people unaffected by injustice are as concerned as those affected, the end of justice will not be served.

Adding that the Lagos State Government had provided modern facilities in the courts, Prince Abimbola said that there are still areas in need of reform.

“The Lagos State Government, over the years has provided modern facilities in the courts, vehicles, funds, legal framework for adjudication, administration and implementation of the administration of the criminal justice law in Lagos State, training and re-training of staff and other logistics needed, despite this achievements, areas that require urgent attention and reforms are numerous.

Worthy of note is the challenges of bail facing persons charged with sexual offences who cannot perfect their bail. It is no longer news that sexual offences are on the rise all around the world, given this fact, cum stigma of the offences and administrative challenges of perfecting bail conditions, accused persons are taken back to prison resulting in overcrowding of Nigerian Prisons by a high-ratio of persons charged with sexual offences who are not able to perfect their bail conditions for months or even years,” Prince Abimbola said.

The NBA Epe Law Week which held between Friday, May 10 and Tuesday, May 14, was in honour of Honourable Justice George Adesola Oguntade.

This year’s event had Hon. Justice G. Safari as Chairman of the Session, while Femi Falana (SAN) and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) were keynote speakers. Discussants included His Honour Ademola Paul, Chief Magistrate Epe Magistrate District; Roselyn Ekhoe Obakpolor, Vice Chairman NBA Ikeja Branch; Ademola A. Koko Esq, Vice Chairman NBA Epe Branch; and Ishah Abdulmajid DPO Maroko Police Station.

Events to celebrate the week included a visit to Ikoyi/Kirikiri Male Prison; Prayer at the Aleke Central Mosque, Epe, Lagos; Pro Bono Legal Clinic; and a Novelty Football Tournament at Salami Playing Ground beside Recreation Centre, Epe, Lagos State.

Members of the branch also had a Thanksgiving Service at St. Michael’s Anglican Church Popo Oba, Lagbade Street, Epe, and Workshop Training on Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) delivered by Stanley Ibe Associate Legal Officer for Africa (Open Society Justice Initiative) among others.

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GTBank Improves Access to Education for Children in Rural Communities with #BeatTheDistance Initiative

Gbemileke Ajayi

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As the country marks the 2019 Children’s Day, leading Nigerian Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) has launched a nationwide initiative, tagged #BeatTheDistance, to improve educational outcomes for children in rural communities by easing the difficulties they face with mobility to school and back.

Through the initiative, the Bank is providing students in remote parts of the country with bicycles to reduce the time and energy they expend in getting to school whilst helping to boost their attendance and focus on academics.

One of the biggest barriers to education for millions of children in Nigeria’s rural communities is often the physical act of getting to school, which could be as far as 10 kilometers away from home.

The challenge of covering such distance twice every day on foot, coupled with the responsibility of doing chores in the morning, significantly curtails school attendance rate, increases the chances of students dropping out, and hampers academic performance. By providing them with bicycles, the Bank aims to empower the children most affected by these challenges to beat the distance, not just to school, but between their present realities and immense potential.

Organized as part of the GTBank CSR Action for Rural Empowerment Scheme (GTBank CARES), the initial stageof the #BeatTheDistance initiative will focus on children in 20 rural communities across the Taraba, Enugu and Ondo States.

Jerry Hannatu, a student of Government Technical Training School, Jalingo, is one of the first beneficiaries of the initiative. Before receiving the bicycle from GTBank, he had to trek for an hour and a half to get to school. Now, his 10-kilometer journey to school takes him about a quarter of that time. Jerry and other beneficiaries like him will now be able to spend less time traveling to school and more time in the classroom improving their academic performance and attaining the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential.

Commenting on the Bank’s #BeatTheDistance initiative, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said; “Children are our greatest hope for a better future, and it is our duty to ensure that every child has access to quality education regardless of their socioeconomic background or geographic location.As an institution that is passionate about empowering young people to reach their full potential, this initiative reflects our commitment to building a society where distance is no longer a barrier to education for any child, and in every community.”

He further stated that “At GTBank, we will continue to leverage our unique capabilities and broad networks to help people and communities thrive. Whether we are intervening in public education, investing in underserved communities, promoting the Arts or working to protect the environment, we are constantly looking for creative and impactful ways to touch lives and give back to society.”

GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run African financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality, and innovation.

The Bank, through its clearly defined Corporate Social Responsibility, champions education for all, empowers under-served people and communities, expands access to healthcare, promotes African Art and advocates for environmental protection. In 2018 alone, the Bank carried out more than one hundred CSR projects across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and supporting some of the most underserved communities in the country.

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Zenith Bank Achieves Feat Of First Nigerian Bank To Consecutively Audit Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Be Certified Compliant Using Internationally Recognized GHG Protocol

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Zenith Bank Plc was presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year.

The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr.Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date. He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. She commended the bank for proving its commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards”..

In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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