The president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, has urged Nigerians to retain confidence in the legal profession, saying that a few bag eggs should not define the profession.
The NBA president, who stated this during a press conference to mark the end of the maiden NBA State of the Union Dialogue in Abuja, Tuesday, said the NBA had turned a new leaf and was now ready to take up its responsibilty of holding the government accountable to the Nigerian people.
“We are not corrupt; Nigerians should repose confidence in the legal profession. A few among us have brought disdain to the profession by their misconduct, but do not use them to characterise the entire profession.
Report bad eggs to us, ” he said, adding that many members who committed acts of misconduct have been penalised, including withdrawal of their practice licence.
Maikyau reiterated his statement at the opening of the State of the Nation Dialogue – that the legal profession was apologising to Nigerians for abdicting its leadership role in society and failing failing to use its privileged position to fight for social justice using the instrumentality of the law.
He also said the NBA was ready to expose and punish its members who commit misconduct in adjudicatiing electoral matters, adding that it was in alliance with the Body of Benchers in this quest.
He saud: “We are on the verge of another general election.. As members of the legal profession, serving either on the Bench or at the Bar, we owe Nigerians sincere and honest participation in the process.
“While we shall stand with the Court and do everything legal to protect the integrity of the Bench against any form of intimidation from the political class, any person(s) or group of persons, we will not hesitate to call out and pursue disciplinary action against erring judicial officers.”
Maikyau also declared that the NBA was not partisan in the coming election and that it was already taking punitive action against its chapter in Akwa Ibom State which declared allegiance to one of the candidates in the coming election.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria insisted that the NBA was insistent on not allowing double standards in the legal profession as such act will erode the people’s confidence in its ability to provide justice and force them to resort to self-help which will destroy society.
According to Maikyau, it was in respect of the NBA’s resolve to resume its hitherto abandoned leadership role that it invited all the presidential candidates in the coming general election to give an insight into how they would tackle issues in three key areas: security, economy and administrarption of justice in the country.
He thanked the presidential candidates of the political parties who attended the dialogue – those of the AAP, Major Hamza Al Mustapha; Omoyele Sowore, AAC; Yabaji Sani, ADP; Dumebi Kachikwu, ADC;, Prof Peter Umeadi, APGA; Adebayo Adewole, SDP; Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik, YPP; and Daniel Nwanyanwu, ZLP.
The NBA said the views aggregated from the interaction at the maiden State of the Nation Dialogue would be distilled and made availabe to all the presidential candidates for their use when elected president.
Adadainfo reports that none of four leading candidates – Peter Obi, LP; Rabiu Kwankwaso, NNPP; and Atiku Abubakar, PDP, were present at the dialogue; however, APC candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, sent the legal director of its campaign organisation, Mr Liman, to represent him, a move that drew complaint from some of the candidates.