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Judges, litigants lament decay of courtrooms

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THEY are the epicentre of “the temple of justice” and as such conjure up a solemn, pristine grandeur in the mind. They really are, in saner climes that is, hallow precincts – unsoiled, pure, spotless, immaculate, as if designed to force the presence of the Divine on anyone who steps into them.

But then take a trip to one near your home or office in this country, what do you get? Safe for some newly built, you could tick off your fingers in one or two states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for obvious reasons, you would be forgiven if you pass all courtrooms across the length and breadth of Nigeria as mere wastelands.        .

To be sure, the ugly phenomenon has defied several panels set up to tackle it by successive administration and several stakeholders were unequivocal in their submission to The Guardian that the current state of decay across courtrooms in Nigeria is one cogent reason for the delay in the very aim of their establishment – quick dispensation of justice.

To the stakeholders, the inhospitable environment of the Nigerian courtroom has created a culture of endless case adjournment or several forced stand down of legal matters, straining litigants and their Lordships for nobody’s good.

But while some blamed the situation on purported under-funding of the Judiciary, others alleged that funds voted for courtroom repairs and renovation often get sucked into cavernous black-hole private pockets of corrupt officials in charge of such duties.

The situation is at its nadir in the Magistrate’s courts, superior courts of record or the first line of litigation in most legal matters and the oldest court level in the country, which are in truth pitiable relics of colonialism across the country.

A visit to  the High Court building at Race Course, Lagos, then headquarters of the Courts in the country,  the oldest and most recognisable judicial building in Nigeria tell the sorry state of the court rooms in Nigeria.

Even the Supreme Court building commissioned by Nigeria’s first President, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in 1963, which currently houses the Appeal Court, Lagos Division, has become an eyesore to all visitors, litigants and lawyers alike.

Besides the small size of some these courtrooms, ventilation is very poor in them. Even when there is power, the cooling systems and other electrical gadgets are often out of service. In some cases, the roofs are leaky, with no cabinet for registrars to keep court files.

In Magistrate’s and Customary courts, court sessions are often conducted in hot, metal containers, with no cooling systems whatsoever.

This worrisome situation of the nation’s court-rooms recently came to the fore at the hearing of a suit filed by some senior lawyers at the Federal High Court, Lagos against the award of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and the constitutionality of the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

With a large number of lawyers and other litigants storming the courtroom to participate or watch the proceedings, the small courtroom, which can barely take 15 people became overcrowded and stuffy.

Eminent lawyer and elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, who was counsel to the plaintiffs, protested the poor state of the courtroom, describing it as “unsuitable for proper proceedings.”

The trial Judge, Mohammed Idris, could not agree more with Braithwaite. Consequently, he adjourned the matter yet again, that was after the suit had suffered several adjournments.

In Ibadan, Oyo State the same sad story is obtainable. The Oyo State High Court building, commissioned on May 24, 1985 by the then military administrator, Lt.-Col. Oladayo Popoola, is currently a dilapidated structure. Its courtrooms are in a state of disrepair and unfit for use. Judges are often forced to adjourn cases before them anytime after 11.00 a.m. due to the heat and un-conducive work environment.
The situation is not different in Cross River, Rivers, Delta, Plateau, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Imo, Abia, Edo and other states as the condition of the courts are worrisome.

Although, the State High Courts located at Mary Slessor Avenue in Calabar, Cross River State, have modern structures, there are no enough seats to take 50 persons in one courtroom.

The air conditioners and fans are not functional and there is no public address system not to talk of verbatim recording equipment to record proceedings.

In most cases, litigants and lawyers have to strain their ears to hear the judges and vice versa while judges are forced to write in longhand. Lawyers have to wait for their Lordships to record their arguments repeated several times in most cases, thus prolonging real time of litigation.

In Benue State, investigation by The Guardian showed that most court-rooms are too tiny and without modern facilities to enhance speedy dispensation of justice.

Worse still, many court-rooms in Plateau State are rodent and lice-infested, with un-screened dusty floors, leaving judges, lawyers and litigants usually covered in soot.

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Sports

The potential for iGaming in Nigeria uncovered

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There is a growing positivity surrounding the Nigerian iGaming industry. As the nation breathes a collective sigh of relief following the announcement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), it’s hoped that many burgeoning industries such as the world of iGaming can be allowed to flourish and bring much-needed tax revenues to the country.

Many analysts within the iGaming industry believe Nigeria has the potential to become Africa’s iGaming hub. Its domestic market is already forecast to be worth $2 billion, due largely to sports betting and the fascination with Nigerian soccer stars overseas like Odion Ighalo at Manchester United. Meanwhile, the domestic penetration of smartphones is also recognised, with some 83% of the population now owning a mobile device.

Nigeria was also a major focal point during this year’s SBC Digital Summit Africa, which was understandably conducted virtually earlier this month. Ahead of the summit, experts enrolled in the event were asked to vote on which African country offered the best foundations for iGaming operators to thrive. Nigeria outperformed every other nation, with 31% of all votes labelling Nigeria as the country with the highest potential to make a real
success of its domestic iGaming sector.

Even South Africa, which has a well-established domestic iGaming market, ranked second with just 28% of the vote. Prospective Nigerian iGaming operators should certainly take a leaf out of the book of South African iGaming brands, many of which have cultivated a strong customer base through the use of incentives and sign-up bonuses. The vast majority of offers available at platforms like Casinos.co.za, direct gamers to the safest and most reputable
platforms.

One of the main reasons that industry experts believe in Nigeria’s iGaming potential is that it already boasts an engaged target demographic. Many of its young adults are already betting on sports like soccer and boxing, and there is a feeling that introducing them to casino gaming verticals would not be too difficult a stretch. Marry that with a growing number of smartphone users, which is predicted to reach over 140 million people by 2025, and you can
see the potential for iGaming apps and web applications to provide immersive, secure gaming
on the go.

Presently, the country has three separate bodies responsible for licensing online betting activities – the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). At the time of writing, online betting at a domestic Nigerian site is strictly prohibited by law. Loopholes regarding offshore operators make it possible for
Nigerians to play elsewhere, but it seems somewhat short-sighted for the Nigerian government to steer clear of creating its own regulated, revenue-making iGaming industry.

In a nation of substantial population, supporters of developing a domestic iGaming industry in Nigeria believe that the most would be a positive step, creating new career opportunities for everyday people. This could be in customer support, game development or any other facet of an iGaming operator. All the while, generating tax revenues for the Nigerian government and helping to breathe new life into the domestic economy.

There is a general feeling that Nigeria’s gaming industries tend to follow the same path as South Africa’s. The SBC Digital Summit Africa revealed that there has been a “seismic shift” from sports betting markets to casino games in the last eight months, including live dealer tables, that’s according to Sean Coleman, CEO of the South Africa Bookmakers Association.

Live dealer games seemingly “appeal to millennials” across South Africa. Dean Finder, CEO of Evolution Services SA believes the fact that live dealer games are “not gender biased” is an opportunity to reach out to female players, which are an often “unserved market” across Africa.

For these trends to follow suit in Nigeria, operators will need to build further trust in their
games and regulatory measures to curry favour with the country’s legislature.

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Metro News

Femi Otedola Reacts To Lekki Tollgate Shooting

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Femi Otedola Finally Reacts To Lekki Tollgate Shooting
Femi Otedola

Femi Otedola

Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has finally reacted to the shooting that took place at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on Tuesday.

Information Nigeria recalls men dressed in military wears opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters, who convened at the area.

Otedola took to his Instagram page on Sunday to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.

Sharing a photo of the Nigerian flag, he wrote;

“The horrors that have been unfolding in our country have left me filled with sadness. I deeply commiserate with those who have lost their loved ones and as a father, I share the sentiment of my three daughters who protested in Lagos and London. As a young boy of 16, I participated in the ‘Ali Must Go Protest’ of 1978, so I understand the determination of our youths who rightly want our country to be better. We must all do our part to make Nigeria great! I will continue to do my own quota in providing for those who are most in need of support in our country in these tough times .…F.Ote💲”

Read Also: Femi Otedola Spotted Dancing With His Children (Video)

See his post below:

Otedola’s post

Otedola’s post

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Metro News

“Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet, He Was Stabbed By Thugs” – Brother Claims

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“Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet, He Was Stabbed By Thugs” - Brother Claims
Oke

Oke

Information Nigeria recalls a graphics designer identified as Oke, was killed hours after tweeting “Nigeria will not kill me” on Wednesday.

It was reported that the young man had passed away after he was hit by a stray bullet.

The deceased’s younger brother, Daniel has come out to clear the air regarding the circumstances leading to his death.

Daniel revealed his brother was stabbed on the neck by thugs who infiltrated and ransacked their home.

In his words;

Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State.

Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning the police station at makinde was attacked by thugs who wanted to destroy the station, I my mom and brother were holed up in our house.

 The attack went on for hours before the thugs eventually breached the police and proceeded to set the station on fire, after accomplishing this they set their sights to the barracks and began the assault, they proceeded to destroy every car in the barracks, my mom’s 2 cars where destroyed and set on fire and then they infiltrated our house by breaking the door they then proceeded to ransack the house and carted away with everything we own. 

 my brother on trying to get them to take everything but spare us was pushed to my mom’s room and stabbed on the neck, the attacker then proceeded to attack me but missed my neck but got my chin instead, after this my mom and I carried my brothers body to the entrance of the station soliciting for help from the thugs still ravaging the barracks, we were finally able to put him in a wheelbarrow and took him to a hospital where he was rejected because “he was already dead” unfazed we moved him to another hospital where he met the same treatment this was where he bled his last drops of blood and died, his body has now been moved to a morgue

we have lost every single thing we own, as our house was completely ransacked and set on fire the only thing left is my brothers phone and at about 8 o’clock this evening the barracks was still on fire but Okechukwu has paid with the ultimate price

I and my mother are homeless with nothing now but we’re safe for now, we thank everyone that has been able to reach out to us, and were able to share consoling words with us in these trying times, God bless you

While we were holed up in the house the three of us said these words together and we say it again ” THREE OF US ARE HERE, THREE OF US ARE TOGETHER, THREE OF US ARE SAFE”

Let it be known that my brother @O_Okee  was NOT killed by a police bullet but died a hero protecting my mother and I.

If you see this please retweet, let the world know how Okechukwu died. He was NOT killed by a police bullet but thugs in his home!”

Read Also: RIP Oke: Barely 3hours After Tweeting “Nigeria Will Not End Me” #EndSARS Protester Dies From Gunshot

See his post below:

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