Reps Speaker tasks lawyers on dysfunction in legal profession
Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged Nigerian lawyers to fix the dysfunction marring the legal profession and undermining its prestige.
He gave the admonition, yesterday, in his keynote address at the 2021 Nigerian Bar Association-Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) conference, held at Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Chairman House Committee on Judiciary and Member Representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency, Mr. Onofiok Luke, stressed that as lawyers and citizens, they must put in more effort at doing things differently for the profession and the country.
According to him, the nation desperately needs honest brokers to mediate a national dialogue, resolve key issues, and give the country a new lease of life.
He said: “The work of fixing our country must begin in our own house, within our profession. Before we can begin to play our full and proper role as lawyers in the difficult, yet necessary task of nation-building, we have to fix the evident dysfunction that corrupts the Nigerian legal profession and undermine its prestige. “
In his remarks, Guest of Honour and Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel wondered if the current challenges with the Nigerian project were a consequence of the justice lawyers failed to dispense in the past.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, said the theme of the conference, ‘Law, Lawyer and the Next Generation’ harped on the cross-generational impact of what lawyers do or fail to do in their capacity as ministers in the temple of justice.
“As you take the law practice, this time around, through the crucible of this conference, I urge that you do so within the context of the larger concerns about our country. I hope that you will find a way of reshaping our sense of nationhood towards building land of peace, justice and unity,” he said.
Declaring the four-day conference open, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko, who was represented by Justice Abdul Aboki, said women and men of good conscience and leaders of thought must not stand aloof and watch the country degenerate further.
“Our country is officially weak and the leaders of the population have a virtual role to play as the conscience of the society, to secure equity, fairness and justice,” he said.
Earlier, NBA President Mr. Olumide Akpata identified globalisation and technological advancement as factors changing global industries at a rate never before imagined.
“May the day never break when members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the largest Bar in Africa, wake up to the rude shock that they are unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in the world because they have refused to equip themselves with the skillsets necessary for global practice.”
He added: “In welcoming you to this conference, I am confident that with the line-up of the stellar faculty, the participants would leave the conference charged and well-equipped for the challenges of a changing time and business climate.”