Buhari charges lawyers to protect rule of law
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on lawyers to continue to protect the rule of law while delivering their services to the nation.
Buhari made this call yesterday at the opening of the 59th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) themed ‘Facing the Future’.
Represented by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the president said the Federal Government had started working on policies that would strengthen the nation’s legal system and delivery of justice.
He said there would be no room for ‘sacred cows’ in the administration of justice in the country.
In his address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, admonished the lawyers to join the bench and salvage the nation’s legal system and charged them to always live up to the ethics of the profession in the interest of the people and the nation.
Muhammad said he was ready to lay down his life to defend the independence of the judiciary, adding that the judiciary under his watch would continue to dispense justice without fear or favour.
He maintained that he would not be cowed by anybody to undermine the judiciary or the administration of Justice. “By the grace of Almighty God, I will tenaciously hold on to that, even till my last breath. Let me assure this assembly that we don’t look at faces or feelings before taking decisions. If there is any deity to be feared, that deity is the Almighty God. We will never be subservient to anybody, no matter how highly placed,” he added.
One of the fundamental issues affecting the independence of the judiciary is funding, particularly at the state level, he said and appealed to stakeholders to allow the judiciary to enjoy independence by adequately funding it.
The CJN insisted that budgeted allocations to the judiciary must be put on first line charge so that heads of courts would not have to go cap in hand to the executive for funding.
Describing the theme of the conference as apt, Tanko said though some, out of pessimism or timidity, might describe the future as bleak, “for the judiciary under our watch, I can assure you that by the grace of God, the future looks bright.”
He lashed out at some lawyers who file cases that had already been decided by the Supreme Court.
Charging lawyers to desist from the practice of filing needless appeals at the appellate and apex courts, he warned that the apex court would be unsparing in punishing “blatant abusers of court processes.”
At the event, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State urged lawyers in the country to key into the ongoing transformation in the legal profession at the global level driven by technology, if they must remain relevant in the profession and compete favourably with their counterparts across the globe.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said that with the impact of technology in different aspects of human life and practice, the legal profession could not afford not to go with the trend.
President, NBA, Mr. Paul Usoro, assured that his members would ensure that the legal profession in Nigeria was placed on the pedestal of integrity.
Delivering the keynote address, the President, International Bar Association (IBA), Horatio Neto, advised Nigerian lawyers to promote gender parity and ethnicity, encouraging them to specialise in different fields of technology relevant to the law profession at the global sphere.
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