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Ozekhome stresses need for judicial independence

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Participants at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTOS: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Right activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has stressed the need for the judiciary to be independent, to protect citizens’ rights.

Speaking at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference, Ozekhome said as the third arm of government, citizens would be in trouble if the judiciary goes down.

“The judiciary must stand up and be steadfast, no matter how much they are being intimidated. They should know that they are the last hope of the common man,” he said.

According to the senior advocate, the legal profession guards hard work, perseverance, dedication, honesty and daring bravado jealously.

“To be in this profession, you must be ready to suffer certain predicaments and inconveniences with a view to fighting for the common man. We should fight more, question authorities, speak truth to power in trying to bring about a better society, which is the purpose of the law,” he stressed.

Ozekhome, who expressed worry over the output of the present crop of lawyers, recommended that law be made a second degree, as it is in the United States.

“In America, you cannot read law as a first degree; you need to be more mature. Some of the lawyers that have passed through me have also discovered that those who first majored in another area before going to read law do the job better,” he pointed out.

The cancer of materialism ravaging the nation is also affecting lawyers, he said. “They want to ride the same car or have the same type of house I have, even as I have practised law for 38 years. They don’t want to look at the longevity of service.”


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