President Muhammadu Buhari has solicited the support and cooperation of the Nigerian judiciary with his administration’s declared war against corruption in order to ensure its success, even as he says that corruption kills like death.
The President stated this on Sunday in Abuja while declaring open the 55th Annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) tagged “Lawyers and National Development”.
Buhari who reminded the over 3,000 conference delegates about his administration’s commitment to the war against corruption, noted that lawyers, courts and prisons all have great roles to play in the fight under a functional court system.
According to the president, lawyers have the duty to make the court functional and the country needs lawyers that will not frustrate the cause of justice while defending their clients.
“Lawyers should see corruption in its true colours; it hinders human rights which you stand for; corruption diverts resources meant for people’s welfare and development into an individual pocket and causes death for those who are deprived.
“In my view there is no greater violation of human rights and so the country’s legal system must be made to function with speed.
“A functional legal system will help in reviving the country’s economy and increase the participation of foreign investors. It will also hasten the processes of obtaining licenses and permits which are presently too slow. All these processes are the work of lawyers,’’ he said.
The President also charged Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies to ensure speed and efficiency, shun corruption and work in accordance with the rule of law, noting that corruption becomes widespread if the laws are not obeyed and not functioning.
Also speaking, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, in a keynote address, urged lawyers to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for positive changes and good governance, stressing that lawyers must help to address the delay in the administration of justice.
He said: “Although the judiciary is not perfect, we cannot overlook the role of the counsel who employed interlocutory appeals to deliberately cause delay.”
The CJN further decried the volume of petitions by lawyers to National Judicial Council, adding that he received over one million petitions weekly.
“It is important that lawyers who want to petition against judges must have cogent reasons and verifiable facts. Even public statements on judges should be supported by evidences,’’ the CJN said.
He also disclosed that the Supreme Court had already embarked on some reforms, which include the introduction of legal email system, open and transparent recruitment for judicial officers, among many others.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr Augustine Alegeh (SAN), the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, had pledged the association’s support in the current fight against corruption by the Buhari administration.