Posted by FN Editor | one year ago | 744 times
The Nigerian Bar Association said the assertion that it did not speak up when President Muhammadu Buhari suspended a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not true.
The NBA President, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), said this on Friday in response to the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who had on Tuesday criticised the NBA and the judiciary for not standing up for the former CJN.
But while fielding questions from pressmen on Friday evening, Usoro said it was on record that the NBA not only condemned Onnoghen’s suspension by the President but also boycotted the courts in protest.
He said, “Distinguished Senator Abaribe suggested that the NBA did not do something; that the Senate was waiting for the NBA and the NBA did not do anything; that is not very correct.
“You in the media, you know that the NBA released not less than five or six statements on that incident. We deplored the process; we said this was not right. In fact, the Chief Justice of Nigeria should not have been taken to the CCT and that if there was any complaint against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, it should go to the National Judicial Council. That has consistently been the position of the NBA.
“Apart from that, the lawyers felt sufficiently assaulted, which resulted in the boycott of the courts; for about two or three days, the courts were boycotted in Nigeria.”
Usoro, who said the NBA was the conscience of the nation and the voice of the voiceless, assured Nigerians that “in no circumstance will the NBA stop to promote and protect the rule of law even when it appears that the people in authority are not listening.”
He said the NBA would not only continue to speak truth to power but would also name and shame anyone in authority who trampled upon the rule of law.
“The Nigerian people should have confidence that in no way will the NBA abandon them,” he said.
Usoro informed journalists that part of the outcomes of the NBA Annual General Meeting in Lagos, was the amendment to the association’s constitution to the effect that “the association’s national officers, and in particular, the president and the general secretary, must be persons of proven integrity, administrative skills and experience with demonstrable capacity to serve without expecting or having consideration for pecuniary rewards.”
He said there was a lesson for the country to draw from the NBA example.
He said, “I think it will be interesting if the Nigerian nation would learn something from what the Nigerian Bar Association has done in the qualification for holding offices; there is nothing wrong in that qualification starting with the President of the federation.
“If you are the President of the federation, you should be somebody who has skills, who has administrative expertise; who understands basic issues regarding to governance and therefore would be able to enforce governance.
“That applies as well to the chief executives of all the states. Perhaps that is where some of our problems in Nigeria come from.”
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