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Catholic cleric urges lawyers to speak out on national issues

By Ngozi Egenuka
20 September 2022   |   4:04 am
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martin, has called on lawyers to be vigilant and speak out on issues, whether it is dispensation of justice, insecurity, governance and economy.

The Archbishop, Metropolitan See of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martin, has called on lawyers to be vigilant and speak out on issues, whether it is dispensation of justice, insecurity, governance and economy.

He urged lawyers to use their profession to bear witness to the value of their faith, which entails integrity of life, honesty of purpose, service of justice and peace.

The clergy added that there is a need to take actions directed towards common goals.

He said this at the 2022 New Legal Year Mass held at Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.

“I urge you to arm yourself with knowledge of the social teaching of the church so you can bear effective witness to Christ and others in the service of human life, dignity of labour, rights and responsibilities of people,” he said.

He also called for prayers for peace in the nation, government’s policies affect citizens’ lives daily.

The Archbishop noted that the government has not done enough to stop attacks or bring perpetrators of killings in the North to justice.

“We must pray that those who rule us must do the right thing so we can practice our faith,” he added.

On expectations for the upcoming elections, he said politicians should explain what and how they wish to achieve all the projects they have for the nation and be mindful of the people’s needs, which range from security, education and fixing the economy.

“We want to hear them state very clearly what they wish to do and how they want to achieve that. It’s not enough to say you are going to create many jobs, tell us how you want to do it,” he stated.

He harped on the importance of voting, calling on citizens to exercise their electoral rights of voting and resist the urge to trade their votes, as buying and selling of votes are criminal offences.

President, National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), Lagos Archdiocese, Philip Njeteneh, said as an association, they make use of their ethics and faith to render services, pro bono and other’s to the society.

“We offer pro bono services, we go to the prison on a regular basis to interview inmates that need legal services and provide them with provisions also. Last two months, we donated five Olympic-sized table tennis boards to the prisons/correctional centres in the state, as the centres are meant to be correctional and not punitive.

“The donation is to allow them opportunity of participating in sporting activities and things that could enhance their positivity throughout their stay,” he said.

Njeteneh noted that the association has offered at least 29 pro bono cases and has recorded one discharge and acquitted case, while the other cases are still in court.

He added that the association has mapped out strategies for this New Year to generate funding to expand their horizon in service to humanity.

Part of the activities of the celebration was a free medical check up organised for all lawyers.

Chairperson, Planning Committee, Ifeoma Ben, said the mass was an opportunity for Catholic Lawyers to come together and commit the new legal year into the hands of God, which underscores their dependence on the Lord Almighty even in law practice.