February 1, 2023 11:11 pm

FENRAD Speaks The Environment & Judicial System, Gives Counsels

By Our Reporter

Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, A pro-democracy, human and environmental rights group, Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD has called on the Abis State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA to strive to ensure that the sanitary condition of Abia is not in question.
This is even as the Foundation has enjoined the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, the National Judicial Council, NJC, to brace up to ensure that the bench and the bar remained sacrosanct.

FENRAD made these calls respectively following the recent court orders and counter orders, in the form of exparte motions, from courts of coordinates jurisdiction that recently overwhelmed political parties’ internal leaderships/election process within the nation; and the August 2021 flash flood forecast by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet.

In a release respectively signed by Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, FENRAD Executive Director and Barr. Olusegun Bamgbose Head Legal Team and Barr. Akande Femisi, Head Corporate Accountability and Human Rights Enforcement, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia, FENRAD reminded ASEPA that indsicriminate refuse dumping is another contributive factor to flooding and advised the agency to be alive to its lawfully assigned duty of environmental protection by ensuring that receptacles are not left brimful littering the spot before evacuation.

The Foundation also called on ASEPA, the State Government and Abia residents to imbibe the culture of cleanliness at all times as this is the only way to environmental safety in these days of climate change and need for control.

The release partly read: “As an environmental rights group, FENRAD wishes to remind Abians that though the said forecast was for August, need still is for continuous environmental discipline and caution on the part of all to mitigate further disaster. This becomes very relevant given the issue of climate change and its consequences already plaguing our world in this time of epidemics and pandemic.

“It is common these days to see surface runoff in Aba and Umuahia environs hours or days after the rain. Aside from dangers of increasing waterways and likelihood of flood, such scene is a threat to health and living condition of Abians. It is on this note that FENRAD calls on Abians to shun littering and throwing dirt or rubbish inside ditches, manholes and gutters as this act is capable of causing flooding these days when the annual rainfall is increasing. Safety, the Foundation says, lies in following the path of environmental friendliness.

“Also does FENRAD call on the state government to ensure completion of ongoing road and drainage constructions as these too could result in flooding, especially if delayed. A situation where, for example, open ditches and drainages collect rainwater which does not drain or run into any waterboy is already a looming disaster”.

On the Judiciary, the Foundation stated that, “The states of Imo, Rivers, Kebbi, Jigawa and others have become the latest flashpoints of perceived transactional justice with the courts playing a seeming partisan or bias roles in the interest of conflicting parties while truncating and subverting justice in the main. In Imo State, for example, many within the electorate are yet to process the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement (report?) which declared a fourth-placed candidate winner using nullified votes the electoral commission – INEC – had earlier dismissed. Vertically and hierarchically downward, there is hardly a level of the court system without blemish in this regard.

“Recently, a Port Harcourt-based High Court, through its injunction, restrained Mr. Uche Secondus, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from acting as the party’s chairman. Against the status quo, another court of coordinate jurisdiction (High Court, that is) in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State vacated the position of the Port Harcourt-based court only for a Calabar-based court to declare again that Secondus remains suspended. In all this, not only the Chairman’s faction or support base is affected but the entire party and by extension the state and federation. It is so because political parties are the bedrock of internal democracy and to a very large extent the platform for leadership selection. The development is not only relative to the PDP but to almost other parties, the most striking being Anambra State where gubernatorial election is slated for November 6, 2021.

 “In Anambara, territorial and extraterritorial court orders had rocked the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA over the choice of party chairman and gubernatorial candidate. Nobody knows as of yet the situation of things with the ruling APC where the Governor Buni-led caretaker committee and its legality had recently been challenged. While this issue rocked internal democracy boat of parties across the federation, the court, by availing its instrumentality to this end, betrays the platitude of “last hope of the common man” or “defender of democracy”. Matters seem endlessly litigable while judges appear scrupulously bribable.

“Mandamuses, injunctions (both perpetual and interlocutory) have inundated the political space from get-go of 1999 return to civil rule. With this, for no just reason, becoming the order of the day, a negative foreshadowing is cast on the political future of the nation as 2023 beckons,. At this rate, stare decisis (the precedential effects) of matters would soon be jettisoned for what is not normal”.

FENRAD condemned a system where the pendency of pre-election matters has resulted in alteration of political calendar when such matters could have been concluded before elections, adding, “Post-election matters are themselves not entirely different”.

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