By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
National President, Nigerian Bar Association[NBA] Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud(SAN) has tasked the federal government to work harder towards halting the ongoing trend of insecurity in the country especially the kidnap of 110 schoolgirls of Dapchi Government Secondary school in Yobe state so as to save Nigeria from anarchy.
He noted that, ’’We must not allow the country to creep into anarchy which will be the consequence of massive loss of confidence in the ability of the State to protect its citizens. These killings are unacceptable and must be brought to an end.’’
Mahmoud disclosed this in Ilorin, Kwara state capital in the speech he delivered at the National Executive Committee of the meeting of the association.
Meanwhile, ,chairman, Local organising Committee, Professor Wahab Egbewole said that the NBA NEC conference became necessary so as to allow the stakeholders review its activities that would enhance the performance of the legal practice in the country.
Egbewole said that the NBA has been working hard to ensure that the attempts by few members to bring the image of the noble profession to disrepute was being corrected
According to the NBA President, ‘’ In the areas of human security, we seem to have regrettably slide significantly backwards. In the last few months we have witnessed the terrible events in Taraba, Benue and several states that have witnessed loss of hundreds of human lives and property arising from heightened conflict between herders and farmers that has assumed a new dangerous dimension threatening national security. ‘’
The NBA therefore tasked the federal government to do all that is humanly possible, including urgently seeking international assistance for the quick release of all the Nigerian school girls in the terrorists captivity.
The association also called for the immediate suspension of boarding schools in the affected northern parts of the country until a time safety of the school girls can be guaranteed.
The NBA President said, ‘’ We urge the Government to do whatever is necessary including seeking appropriate international assistance to secure the release of these girls and reunite them with their families. ‘’
‘’I want to therefore reiterate my call early on Monday that the Federal and State Governments should as a matter of urgency suspend the boarding system in the affected states of the Northeast region, especially for girls until the safety and security of the children can be guaranteed’’
The NBA also expressed serious concern that despite the reported economic statistics that indicated better condition of living for Nigerians, their living conditions are still terribly poor.
‘’ Our country has in the last several months continued to witness modest improvements especially in the area of the economy. The National Bureau of Statistics has reported that the economy has consolidated its recovery from recession with the GDP growing by 1.92% in the fourth quarter of 2017 which pushed to an overall growth of 0.82% in 2017 as against contraction of -1.58% in 2016. Our external reserves were also reported to have grown to $40.4 Billion in January 2018 representing a 4 year high. These developments notwithstanding, the country has continued to face significant challenges,’’ he said.
Accordig to him,‘’I am happy to report that we have received the first tranche of the MacAurthur Foundation grant in the sum of $600,000 for the execution of our Criminal Justice Work. The project has thus gained momentum”.
“We have taken the sensitisation and advocacy campaign for domestication and implementation of Administration of Criiminal Justice Act, 2015 to seven States namely; Akwa Ibom, Adamawa Bauchi, Ogun, Jigawa, Kano, and Kogi States. Other states that are yet to domesticate the ACJA will covered in the course of the year as we roll
out the next phase.’’ He said.
The NBA also called on the host Kwara state government,’’ ‘’To speed up the process of enacting the Administration of Justice Act, 2015 into a State law. This has become more imperative when one remembers that the current Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly Dr. Ali Ahmad was the Chairman House Committee on Justice in the House of Representatives, when the ACJA, 2015 was passed into law.’’
‘’In any event, Kwara State has given its rich legal tradition and has always been a pace setter in legal reforms. We expect that the
tradition will be maintained,’’ he stressed.
Earlier, the Kwara state Governor threw his weight behind financial autonomy for judicial and legislative arms of government.
The governor who emphasised that financial independence of those arms of government become necessary because ,’’We cannot achieve the separations of powers as well as check and balances envisaged by our
constitution if different arms of government are financially reliant on another.
The governor noted that the current national economy has hindered desired autonomy rather than accelerating it.
According to him, ’’As desirable as this autonomy is, it is more likely to succeed when our economy become more stable and our revenues improve’’