Abuja, July 7, 2020 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is room for innovative technology that will be suitable for use in the courtroom.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the virtual Townhall Meeting of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN).
The theme of the meeting is “How to build the right mindset for a better Nigeria, post COVID-19”.
The vice president said COVID-19 challenges could be a turning point for innovative thinking especially towards resolving the numerous challenges faced by humanity.
He said that of importance to lawyers or lawyers in the making were what the challenges meant for lawyers and where the opportunities lied.
“ And I think we have to think through this especially like yourselves who in the next couple of years will be out there in practice; a few examples will tell you that you are living in the most interesting period in the history of our profession.
“So, the Supreme Court has recently endorsed virtual court proceedings; this means that there will be plenty of opportunities for new technologies adapted to the dynamics of the courtroom.
“ You can share documents on Zoom but for courtrooms and for practice; you need more nimble technology to tender documents or cross-examine a witness from a remote location on a bundle of documents.
“ So, Zoom will not be the best technology for court proceedings although it is being used now but it is not the best technology because sometimes you have a bundle of documents to tender and that may be difficult.
“So, there is room there for innovative technology that will be suitable for use in the courtroom and I know that there are so many ideas that people are coming up with but there is plenty of room for thinking that through.’’
According to him, there is the need to think about what the new rules for protocols will be.
Osinbajo said that virtual court proceedings were not the same as in-person or live court proceedings.
“When you are sitting in your office, conducting a case, the record-keeping will be totally a different issue; what will the protocols be for cross-examination, for making submissions?
“How does the judge look at the question of demeanour? It is a bit more difficult to look at people’s demeanour when you are using virtual processes such as we are using today. So, we need to be able to define what the rules will be,’’ he said.
He said there was a two-fold global crisis– health crisis and economic crisis and the combined effects had resulted in possibly the greatest socio-economic crisis in recent history.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government, faced with the prospect of unprecedented unemployment figures and business closures, had to get creative about solutions.
“To build resilience into our economic growth structure and to take bigger and bolder steps in our approach to creating wealth and opportunity.
“So, for about two months, at the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari, I led an inter-ministerial team mandated to look specifically at how to resolve some of the issues around the pandemic, its impact and draw up a response plan.
“That response plan is what we call the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) and we have a committee called the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) which is to implement ESP and I also have the privilege of chairing this committee.
“ What we tried to do in the ESP was to design strategies that will save jobs and create new opportunities; and we looked at certain broad areas; we looked at mass housing and mass agriculture where we are focused on using local resources and innovation,’’ he said.
The vice president tasked Law students to prepare themselves for the new world, aside their regular Law curriculum.
He urged them to educate themselves in new ideas, read widely, and take up the enormous resources available online on practically any field of human endeavour.
Osinbajo said that they must be intentional about understanding technology, information systems and artificial intelligence.
“This sort of radical versatility is the new normal; you cannot be a lawyer such as we were.
“You are in a completely new world,’’ he said
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
FG seeks collaboration with Agric stakeholders to curb post-harvest losses
The Federal Government on Saturday urged stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to collaborate with governments at all levels to minimise the incidence of post-harvest losses of farm produce being recorded in the country.
Dr Muazu AbdulKadir, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the call in llorin, the Kwara capital, when he paid a visit to the Nigerian Stored Products Research institute (NSPRl), llorin.
AbdulKadir, while addressing the management of NSPRl, noted that Nigeria was losing billions of naira annually to post harvest losses of various farm produce due to lack of well-equipped storage facilities.
“Over sixty per cent of tomatoes, onions, cashew, mangoes, oranges and water melon, among others harvested in Nigeria are lost after harvesting.
“The Federal Government is working round the clock to address the problem, to allow the country maintain food sufficiency.
“I, hereby, call on stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to collaborate with the government by coming up with modern scientific approaches on curbing post-harvest losses.’’
AbdulKadir praised the foresight of NSPRl in the preservation of farm produce, fabrication of farm implements, storage facilities and ensuring reduction of post-harvest losses of farm produce, as a priority.
He said the Ministry would continue to give necessary assistance within the available resources to NSPRl, to meet its mandate in farm produce storage and other agricultural activities.
The Executive Director of NSPRl, Dr Patricia Pessu, in her remarks, told the permanent secretary of several interventions currently being embarked upon by the institute, aimed at curbing post-harvest losses of farm produce.
Pessu appealed to the Ministry to assist the institute in the realisation of its objective at curbing post-harvest losses, to create employment for the teeming unemployed, and further boost the national economy.
She called on the Federal Government to allow NSPRl be represented in the intervention committee related to food security.
The NSPRI boss requested that the Ministry give intellectual property rights to agricultural researchers, as a way of encouraging them to do more at ensuring food preservation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the permanent secretary later inspected the laboratories of the institute and its fabricated farm implements with storage faculties.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Idonije Obakhedo
Lawyer advocates leadership training for youths
An Ilorin based legal practitioner, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, has advocated the need for the training of youths on leadership skills to help reposition Nigeria’s future.
Ahmed, who spoke in Ilorin on Saturday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , agreed that youth’s development remain critic in nation building.
He said it has become necessary for Nigeria youths to be equipped with leadership skills in order to do things differently from the past.
“Bad leadership in the past has put Nigeria in a serious mess. Our youths should be shown the way to manage the God’s given abundant resources at hand.
“Nigeria is blessed, but we have people in the past, who lacked those leadership skills in the corridors of power.
“With proper orientation and leadership training for the youths, we can get it right and place the country on the right path.
“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes of our past leaders. We cannot claim to be giant of Africa and see our people dying of hunger and poverty,”he said.
The legal practitioner however called on NGOs and the three tiers of governments to ensure leadership training were organised for the youths.
He advised that the future of the country is at stake if the youths are left out and not well prepared and equipped for leadership position.
“We cannot allow the youths to emulate the past trend. We want them to do things differently and safe the future of the country,”he said.
He also advised Nigerian leaders to stop being selfish, show love and care for the people for them to be proud of their country.
3-storey school building collapses in Lagos
A three-storey building of the Excell College, a private school in Ejigbo, Lagos, collapsed on Saturday, two days to reopening of secondary and private schools in the state.
The building is located at No. 15, Ansarudeen St., by Ile Epo Bus stop, Iyana Ejigbo.
Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions re-opened on Sept. 14.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told newsmen that no person was trapped in the collapsed building.
He noted that the school had been under lock and key since March due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.
According to the LASEMA director-general, the building, which collapsed at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, is part of a conjoined (twin) three-storey building.
He said that the collapse was attributable to “visible distress”, adding that the collapsed portion affected the second wing, as shown by visible cracks on the walls, pillars and decking of the second portion.
“Distress calls received established that the building collapsed at about 8:15a.m.
“Information gathered from some officials of the school revealed that the building had previously shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.
“The three-storey building has two wings; the wing that collapsed seriously affected the second wing, as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.
“Fortunately, nobody was trapped.
“Responders to the incident are LASEMA, Lagos State Building Collapse Agency and the police,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Edo poll: Gov. Obaseki faults INEC preparations
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said he expected better preparations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Saturday’s governorship poll, after queueing for over an hour before voting.
Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election, stated this, shortly after he cast his vote at 11:48a.m, having joinied the queue for hand washing at 10:24a.m.
According to him, to wait for one and half hours on the queue before exercising his franchise is a bit disappointing.
“Given that this is a sole day election, I expected a bit more planning and preparation, and resources should have been put into this election.
“During the last presidential election in my polling unit, there were two polling points which helped the body on voters. You all are witnesses of how long this has taken.
“The card reader is working very slowly, and this is the situation in all the major voting centers in Oredo Local Government Area of the state as I speak.
“In Garrick Memorial Secondary School, I understand that over 500 voters are already stranded because they can’t vote because of the slow processing of the card readers.
“One would have expected that INEC will have deployed more card readers and more voting points in highly numbered polling centers,” he said.
On the issue of vote buying at polling units, the governor said that the security agencies were not doing what they assured Edo people and Nigerians of, before the election.
“The security agencies assured us that they won’t allow anybody who don’t have business of voting in a particular place to be there, but they are working on the contrary to what they promised us.
“You can see cars parked with a lot of cash being disbursed to people and it seems to be normal practice, but we are not perturbed. People know what to do; cash can’t buy their future,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta