Home FEATURES Buhari Enumerates The Qualities Of Lawyers Nigeria Needs To Fight Corruption

Buhari Enumerates The Qualities Of Lawyers Nigeria Needs To Fight Corruption

President Muhammadu Buhari has detailed the qualities of lawyers which Nigeria needs now to fight corruption that has done a lot of damage to the country, asking them not to sacrifice the integrity of the country’s legal system in a bid to cover the misdeeds of leaders who are soon to be prosecuted for corruption, no matter how lucrative the brief may be.
“Nigeria needs ethical lawyers who always keep the end of justice in mind and will never sacrifice the integrity of the legal system to cover the misdeeds of their clients, no matter how lucrative the brief may be.”
President Buhari who spoke today at the opening of the 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), called on the lawyers to support his administration’s war against corruption and help the country return to the path of rectitude by making Nigerian courts functional and effective again.

President Buhari said that he needed not elaborate on the way that corruption and impunity have damaged our economy but that he would harp on what should be the roles of the legal practitioners in helping his government return the country to the path of rectitude.
“First, we need to make our courts functional and effective again. This means that we must have lawyers who take the ethics of the profession very seriously; lawyers who will not frustrate the course of justice, even though they defend their clients with all legitimate means and resources.”
President Buhari said that lawyers are often in the vanguard of the defense of human rights, and advised them to view corruption too as a gross violation of human rights.”
The President advised the lawyers to work for a more efficient and effective legal system which, he said, will help to attract more investments to the country and accelerate the pace of national economic development.
“I am convinced that law, law-makers, lawyers, law courts and the law enforcement agencies all have pivotal responsibilities to discharge, if the change we seek is ever to materialize.
“As you all know by now, this administration has taken on the challenge of improving security, fighting corruption and revamping the economy, among many others.
“The fight against corruption is in reality, a struggle for the restoration of law and order. Corruption and impunity become widespread when disrespect for law is allowed to thrive in society. “Disrespect for law also thrives when people get away with all sorts of shady deals and the court system is somehow unable to check them.
“Ability to manipulate and frustrate the legal system is the crowning glory of the corrupt and, as may be expected, this has left many legal practitioners and law courts tainted in an ugly way.
“For the masses of our people, the millions still wallowing in want and diseases, corruption is a major reason why they cannot go to school; why they cannot be gainfully employed; and why there are few doctors, nurses and drugs in their hospitals and health centers. It is the reason why pensioners are not paid and potable water is scarce.
“In effect, corruption diverts public resources meant for millions of people into the private pockets of a greedy few, thereby causing a lot of suffering, deprivation and death. In my view, there can be no greater violation of human rights.
“Viewed in this way, I think we can all fully appreciate the gravity of this oppressive and destructive evil. This should rouse us to fight it with the same zeal and doggedness as we deploy in the defense of fundamental rights.”
Buhari called for increased engagement by Nigeria, with the outside world which he said would help in the quest for enhanced capital and expertise, adding that all these would depend on enforceable agreements and a reliable legal system.
“Contracts are only good to the extent that they are enforceable without undue delay. If by the default of lawyers or the law courts, it is found that cases take ages to conclude or that the judicial system is somehow corruptible, we obviously cannot attract the kind of partnerships which we need or which our large vibrant economy would ordinarily have attracted.
“The world today has been correctly described as a global village. Capital and expertise are readily mobile. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between our country and others when the choice of where to do business is being made. Our current position in this respect is not good enough. Our process for obtaining licenses and permits are too slow. It takes too long a time to enforce contracts in our law courts and our regulatory and administrative processes are not noticeably predictable or efficient.
“In all these lawyers have a key role to play, whether in the reform of our laws and regulation or in the integrity of our judicial systems. It is my fervent hope that this conference and other fora of lawyers and non-lawyers will closely and quickly work out ways of making our legal system much improved in terms of integrity, the human touch, efficiency and rigorous dedication to the cause of justice.”

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President Buhari assured the lawyers that his administration will give its full support to the implementation of  the required legal reforms if it is convinced that they are in the best interest of the nation. [myad]

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