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Olanipekun tasks lawyers on access to justice, rule of law


Wole Olanipekun

•Falana, others knock Buhari, Malami over national security

Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has charged the association to be outspoken in issues of access to justice and rule of law. He made the call at a special session on access to justice, with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, at the ongoing yearly conference of the NBA.He said the rule of law has no meaning unless lawyers play active role in it.

He said: “When we talk about the rule of law, what is the role of the bar association? You are the anchor! We have to remind ourselves what NBA stands for at all seasons. It is not just for bread and butter, jamboree or picnics. We have to remind ourselves about the years of yore, and what NBA was doing?” Olanipekun lamented that the NBA of today represents a philosophy of “see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing.”

He warned that enthroning rule of law does not involve the posture of folding arms and standing akimbo.Also, Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has described President Muhammadu Buhari preaching at the opening session of the NBA, as ‘rule of ruler, not rule of law.’He said there should be a balance between the rule of law and national security.

According to him, state security does not mean the security of government in power, but the collective security of Nigerians. He stated that on that premise, there are times that governments may subvert the security of the country.Also, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, represented by the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah, said there is a judicial information technology policy, which is being implemented.

Delivering a paper on how the judiciary is leveraging technology to enhance access to justice for effective justice delivery, he said: “It is important that we know this because without the active involvement of the Bar, it cannot work or succeed.” He stressed that it had become clear that we have been at digital age since 1980.

“It is identified as an era where social, economic and political activities and processes are driven by the application of information and communication technology or digital technology. “Because of that, agreements are digitally formed and the evidence that will come would increasingly be in digital format. We are delivering justice in digital age for digital citizens and for digital aged disputes. The just efficient and effective resolution of these disputes would have to be driven by the same technology,” he said.The chief justice explained that another reason technologies must be adopted, is due to the sheer volume of disputes.

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Wole Olanipekun
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