Eminent jurists canvass constitutional reform to tackle underdevelopment
Leading jurists have canvassed reform of Nigeria’s legal and constitutional system in order to stem the slide into anarchy and economic downturn. The jurists warned that unless urgent steps are taken to restore the rule of law and respect for human rights, the country’s development may continue to plummet.
They spoke during the 2019 dinner and award night of Otu Oka Iwu, an umbrella society of lawyers of Igbo extraction in Lagos penultimate week. The event witnessed awards to leading jurists including respected Supreme Court Justice, Chima C. Nweze; Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu of the Court of Appeal; Justice Nelson Ogbuanya of the National Industrial Court; Justices Sunday Onu and Obiora Egwuatu both of the Federal High Court.
Others who also received the coveted awards are former Chairman of The Body of Benchers of Nigeria, Owelle George Uwechue, (SAN); President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. Nnia Nwodo; Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN); former Otu Oka Iwu presidents, Chief Guy Ikokwu and Mr. Zik C. Obi II; former Lead Prosecution Counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Mrs. Ifeoma Ojemeni-Okali and immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (Lagos Branch), Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom.
Nwodo traced the decline in the fortunes of fossil oil, Nigeria’s major revenue earner, adding that aside from the emergence of shale oil, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous/electric cars point to a bleak future for the fossil oil market. Noting that new technologies are also threatening lawyers’ employment, Nwodo urged lawyers to take the lead in canvassing constitutional reform.
President of Otu Oka Iwu, Chief Chuks Ikokwu, said the association would continue to participate actively in the national debate and discussion for enthronement of the rule of law, respect for the individual and collectivequity and justice.He said: “We strongly support the quest by the various nationalities for a restructured federating units to propel this country into the present age. Those who oppose this quest do so in denial and live in the past.”