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NBA ties peaceful, just Nigeria to rule of law

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Paul Usoro


The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday said for the nation to achieve peace and justice, its leaders must defer to rule of law.

Speaking through its President, Paul Usoro (SAN) in its New Year message, the body recalled that 2019 was a year the rule of law was “persistently assaulted in the country.”Usoro said: “The year 2019 marked the year that removal of public officers through nebulous and reprehensible ex-parte orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) gradually became the norm in our national life.

“ It started with the removal of erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, through a purported CCT ex-parte order in the first quarter of 2019 and towards the end of the year, this abnormality was repeated with the removal from office of the Acting Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Lady Azuka Azinge, through a questionable ex-parte order.”He added that the process leading to the removal of affected public officers was one innovation that did not go well for the security of tenure of public officers.

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The NBA president continued: “Economic growth can only be attained in an atmosphere of predictability and certainty. “This new practice of tripping and removing our public officers through contrived CCT ex-parte orders corrodes confidence in the system.

“It not only assaults our collective sensibilities when CCT ex-parte orders are used to ease out public officers but erodes due process, a fundamental plank of the rule of law.“This is as disingenuous as the other unacceptable practice of tarring public officers to provide purported justification for their removal.

“That practice has been extended to private sector professionals including legal practitioners with potentially deleterious impact on wealth creation capabilities.”The lawyers’ body also bemoaned the “invasion of courtroom by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) in an attempt to re-arrest Omoyele Sowore, who had been granted bail by the court and was released by the same DSS only the previous day.”

“This was a horrifying assault on the rule of law and the sacred sanctum of our courts and judicial processes.
“It is somewhat reassuring that in the dying days of 2019 and at the instance of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), both Omoyele Sowore and Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were finally released from confinement by the DSS after being detained for prolonged periods against the orders of courts,” Usoro added.

NBA therefore hoped that the country would build on the new resolve by government “and ensure that court orders are obeyed across board by our state officials and agencies.”It pledged to continue to speak for Nigerians by holding government accountable.

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“We will persist in holding governments to account, particularly as it relates to the promotion and protection of the rule of law and the delivery of democracy dividends to our people”, association stated. The Usoro executive, that came into office in August 2018, described the year 2020 as a milestone for Nigeria and the NBA as the nation marks its 60 years of statehood.

The senior lawyer went on: “The year 2020 provides us the opportunity to reposition ourselves for the greater good of our people and our beloved country. “On a positive note, we have sustained our democracy, imperfect as it may be, and remained a united country albeit of diverse nationalities, religion, tongues and tribes.

“ Our diversity, in truth, ought to be our strength if only our politicians and leaders will rise above parochial and selfish interests and resolve to weld us together as a united and indissoluble country where peace and justice can and will perpetually reign.”

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NBAPaul Usoro
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