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Bayelsa CJ bemoans loss of respect for lawyers, profession

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Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, has lamented that the honour and respect legal practitioners used to enjoy was fast disappearing, insisting that lawyers should work for excellence to restore the pride and dignity of the profession.

Justice Abiri stated this yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at a conference organised by the Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum and the Serenity Legal Union and Partners tagged: Special Session on Law Practice Building.

She expressed worry over the fate of younger lawyers especially, as non-lawyers were beginning to doubt the ability of those being called to the bar.

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“The honour and respect this very noble profession had when growing up before I became a lawyer seem to be eroding. If after us we just leave it like that, we don’t know where it will end.

“We cannot take up arms to change society, but what God has deposited in us as lawyers will go a long way to affect our families, villages, states and the country at large.

“I worry a lot for the young lawyers. Each year, those of us that are benchers will attest to the fact that no fewer than 3,000 fresh lawyers are called to the bar yearly. That’s even given an under-estimation of the number,” she said.

Abiri said with or without COVID-19 another set of lawyers would be called to the bar before the end of the year, adding: “We want excellence in this profession. It has come to the point now where non-lawyers begin to doubt the ability of some lawyers who have already been called to bar.”

She said the programme was timely, as it would strengthen the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).

Speaking, interim chairman of Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum, Ayebaesin Beredugo, said the body was an association of lawyers from the Nembe ethnic nationality presently comprising about 200 members.

“Our core priorities on matters of justice, the rule of law and fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples to their God-given resources, self-determination and development,” he stated.

He said the session was an opportunity for the participants and speakers to share experiences and exchange ideas on the theme and other associated legal issues of the session.

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