22 August 2016
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to support the Federal Government to chart a new course in the management of the nation`s resources.
Osinbajo, represented by Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, made the call on Sunday in Port Harcourt while opening the 56th annual conference of the NBA.
The theme of the conference is “Democracy and Economic Development”.
He said the new course would be anchored on the principles of integrity and accountability in the management of such resources.
Osinbajo also charged lawyers to assist government in ensuring the safety and security of the people and economic prosperity of the country.
“Lawyers can contribute to this core objectives by promoting respect for the rule of law and putting the country above self interest in the advice they give to their clients or the services they render to them in the course of their duties,” he said.
The vice-president said the NBA had demonstrated its capacity as a strong advocate for democratic governance and socio-economic equity in the country.
In his address of welcome, Rivers governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, commended the NBA for giving the state the opportunity to host the conference.
Wike said the state was safe and secured for business and investments.
Mr Augustine Alegeh, the NBA president, pledged the association’s support to the Federal Government’s fight against corruption.
Alegeh said the Association had zero tolerance for corruption in all its activities and recognised that the country was ravaged by the cankerworm of corruption.
“Permit me, on behalf of our association, to restate our commitment, as a group, as a body and as lawyers to zero tolerance for corruption in all that we do.
“We stand with government in the fight against corruption. We recognise that our country is stagnated by the cankerworm of corruption,” he said.
Alegeh said, however, that the war against corruption should be fought and won within the ambits of the law and that any attempt to do it with short-cut methods would fail.
He said the Association would partner with all government agencies and bodies in the fight against corruption.
“We offer legal services free of charge if you are willing to fight corruption in accordance with the law. We remain ready, able and willing to join in that fight,” he stressed.
The president said that the legal community was scandalised and embarrassed by the state of conflicting judgments on similar matters in the courts.
“We call on the National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of the Federation to look into the matter as quickly as possible because it was a shame and embarrassment to lawyers,” he stated.
In a message, Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, said his administration`s focus was on education.
“The core objective of our administration in Sokoto State is to turn around for the better, the fortunes of our youths and get them better educated,” he said.
He said his administration had taken a decision to stop street begging in the state through the payment of stipends to indigent people.
Observers from Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa and U.S. are among 8,000 delegates attending the conference which ends on Aug. 26.