Rule of Law must be upheld in Nigeria – President Buhari

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari declares open 58th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference 2018 held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari says rule of law must be upheld in Nigeria, to depict the supremacy of the nation’s security and interest.

He made the remark on Sunday in Abuja, while declaring open the 58th annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA.

According to the President, Lawyers can contribute a lot towards the sustenance of rule of law and social justice in the country.

He said: Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest. Our apex court has had cause to adopt a position on this issue in this regard and it is now a matter of judicial recognition that; where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.

“I believe that lawyers can contribute to another core objective of enhancing our business environment and promoting social justice by promoting respect for the Rule of Law; contributing to the law reform process and putting national interest and professional ethics above self in the conduct of their business.

Secure Environment
He noted that the law can best be practiced in a secure environment, thus his administration’s resolve to continue to provide security in all parts of the country, in line with its mandate of securing lives and property.

The President stressed that the fight against corruption will also continue, in order to provide a vibrant economy.

“Let me remind you all, my dear compatriots, that the law can only be optimally practiced in a Nigeria that is safe, secure and prosperous. As you go into this Annual Conference, let me assure you of the resolve of this administration to promote measures that will achieve a vibrant economy under which the practice of law will thrive.

“Through fiscal discipline, good housekeeping, we navigated the difficult days of economic transformation at the beginning of this Government in 2015 and have now come to improving economic indices, including the consistent increase in our foreign reserves; thirteen straight months of decreasing inflation; the expansion of social safety nets programmes as well as the blockages of historical drain pipes in our national treasury, all within the context of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. It is equally significant to emphasize that our willingness to hold persons accountable for offences against society, through the judicial process, will equally transform the future of public service in Nigeria in a positive manner,” he said.

National Cohesion
The Nigerian leader charged the conference participants to promote national cohesion as the country prepares for the 2019 general election.

As we gradually move into another season of intense political activities preparatory to the 2019 General Elections, I enjoin you to remember that by reason of your profession, you all have a responsibility to work for national cohesion and unity through your speeches and public positions and most importantly in your advocacy in court. In the context of opinions and narratives about our past and present political and socio-economic experience, you cannot afford to jettison rational and proper analysis of issues in a manner which builds, rather than destroys the nation. I also urge you to work to uphold and improve the sanctity and integrity of our judicial and electoral institutions which play a fundamental role in the sustenance and growth of our democracy, he said.

President Buhari said his administration will not condone impunity. Rather, he said government will work hard to sustain the new order it has introduced, in order to restore the dignity and pride of Nigeria.

As you will recall, this administration’s emergence marked the first successful civilian transition in Nigeria’s democratic history, following the outcome of the 2015 General Elections. Given the enormity of the challenges we inherited and the yearnings of a citizenry earnestly desirous of a new way of running national affairs, our first challenge was to transform our country speedily into a society where impunity in the management of national resources would be replaced with a culture of accountability and transparency. We needed to deploy our resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few. In order to achieve this, we have had to disrupt age-old assumptions and unsettle ancient norms in the management of our national patrimony, as you have all witnessed in the last three years.

“While we have made appreciable progress in several sectors, including public awareness of the need to challenge the corrupt and the brazen in our midst, we have also learnt useful lessons on the dynamism of our society. However, elements within every society, including some lawyers, can equally become unduly resistant to change, even where it is proven that such change is to serve the interest of the larger society.  At worst, corruption fights back, he stated.

 

Nnenna.O