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Poverty, rising insecurity, evidence of poor leadership, says NBA

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(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Poverty, mass unemployment and growing insecurity confronting the nation are the results of the inability and unwillingness of Nigerian leadership to build a nation out of diverse ethnic and religious diversities.

Also, the present Constitution of the nation has been described as key impediment to progress, hence the necessity for the National Assembly to address the review of the Exclusive Legislative List with a view towards decongesting it; restructuring and devolution of powers away from the centre; fiscal federalism; a more equitable revenue-sharing formula; electoral reforms; judicial independence and financial autonomy; gender parity and women’s participation in governance; a robust security architecture characterised by multi-level policing; and constitutional guarantees of social, economic and human rights.

These were part of the Communiqué issued at the end of 2021 NBA Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) conference held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, signed by the chairman 2021 NBA-SLP conference planning committee, Chief Ferdinard Orbih (SAN).

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NBA-SLP stressed that it is imperative to subsume all regional identities under one Nigerian identity if democratic governance and nation-building are to succeed.

The Section observed that the Nigerian crisis, at its core, is as a result of ‘eruptions’ of long-suppressed frustrations of the poor against the political class and the high-income class of citizens as well as the tension between the have’s and the have –not’s in the society.

Hence, the imperative to urgently implement fundamental and drastic reforms to redirect the nation on development paths to work for all, the group insisted.

The Conference urged the government to deploy policies, which will bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and promote equality.

It also declared that lives and property are sacrosanct and must be secured by the government at all levels.

The Conference condemned the lack of equal platform for diverse voices in the national discourse and called for inclusive participation and equality in governance, gender equality and increased participation of women and all ethnic groups in governance as one of the ways of making Nigeria work for all.

“Poverty is the most dangerous threat to the rule of law and the practice of democracy and therefore must be addressed head-on – even if it means challenging the complacency of the rich on behalf of the poor. The current security challenges bedeviling the nation are as a result of ‘eruptions’ of pent-up and long-suppressed frustrations,” they said.

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The Conference stated that Nigeria as currently structured, is dysfunctional; and the most obvious indication of this dysfunction is her regression from previous levels of performance and good governance, especially with respect to the quality of life of its people.

The Section sadly observed that the voices of division and secession in Nigeria are louder today than those of national unity and cohesion, stressing the need for urgent task of calming divisive voices by undertaking actions – and promoting attitudes – that narrow the widening national fault-lines, ensuring justice, and creating a sense of belonging for all constituent people.

“Government should convene a sovereign national conference to address the concern of constituent entities and ethnic nationalities agitating for secession<” the lawyers said.

They also called for a fully automated judicial system from the filing of court process to the delivery of judgment, adding that a system should technically evolve to the point where certain applications or court documents can be processed and obtained online without being physically present at the court premises.

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