COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF THE
> NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) OF THE NIGERIAN BAR
> ASSOCIATION (NBA) HELD ON THURSDAY 18th FEBRUARY, 2016 AT
> CREST HOTELS & GARDEN, JONAH JANG WAY (FORMERLY OLD
> AIRPORT ROAD), PLATEAU STATE

> INTRODUCTION
The Nigerian Bar Association at its National Executive Committee [NEC] Meeting held at The Crest Hotels & Garden, Jonah Jang Way (formerly old
> Airport Road) on Thursday 18th of February, 2016 considered
> several issues of urgent national importance including, but
> not limited to: the anti-corruption policy of the Federal
> Government of Nigeria; the delay in the payment of salaries
> and allowances of Judicial Officers and staff; misguided
> remarks and disparaging utterances by politicians and
> certain personalities against the Judiciary in order to
> intimidate or infuse fear; the appointment of Justices of
> the Supreme Court; the worsening state of the Nigerian
> economy; the ongoing electricity pricing controversy; the
> urgent need to set up the NBA Anti-money laundering and
> Anti-terrorism Financing Guidelines for all lawyers in
> Nigeria. NEC carefully considered the said issues and
> resolved as follows:

STATE OF NIGERIAN JUDICIARY ATTEMPTS
> TO INTIMIDATE OR INFUSE FEAR INTO THE JUDICIARY
> NEC noted with concern the worrisome trend of
> disparaging the judiciary and judicial officers by the
> political class and other disgruntled persons in the course
> of the performance of their judicial duties in an attempt to
> malign, intimidate them and infuse fear. NEC resolved that
> any member of the NBA involved in such unprofessional
> conduct should be sanctioned.
> NEC restated
> the independence of the Judiciary and called on all the
> other arms of Government to ensure that the Independence of
> the Judiciary is maintained and observed at all times. NEC
> resolved that the NBA shall continue to uphold and safeguard
> the Integrity of the Judiciary and shall rise to the defence
> of the Judiciary whenever Judicial Officers are unfairly
> attacked by the political class and other members of the
> public.

DELAY BY FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS IN PROMPTLY
> PAYING THE SALARIES OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND STAFF
> NEC noted that the Federal and some State
> Governments are unduly delaying the payment of the salaries
> and allowances of judicial officers and staff. This is a
> worrisome development in view of the losses suffered by the
> nation as a result of the last Judicial Staff Union of
> Nigeria [JUSUN] industrial action in 2015.
> NEC reiterated the need for full compliance
> with the provisions of the Constitution on the financial
> autonomy of the Judiciary in order to ensure the
> independence of the Judiciary and to prevent unnecessary
> interference in their affairs by the other arms of
> Government.
> NEC resolved that the Federal
> and State Governments should as a matter of urgency set up
> measures to tackle issues of non-payment of salaries and
> allowances of judicial officers and staff and to take robust
> steps to ensure full compliance with the constitutional
> provisions on judicial autonomy.
>
JUDGMENTS BY ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNALS AND APPELLLATE PANELS
> NEC commended the judiciary for their efforts
> in resolving election matters timeously. NEC noted that the
> judiciary applied its best efforts but conceded that certain
> things could have been done a lot better. NEC noted with
> concern the several instances of conflicting judgments and
> failure to abide with laid down judicial precedents by some
> Tribunals and Appellate Panels. NEC also noted the role of
> NBA members in the Election Petitions/Appeals and the need
> for there to be a remarkable improvement in the professional
> conduct of Lawyers handling Election Petitions/Appeals. NEC
> resolved that all those who were responsible for these
> obviously avoidable blemishes on the judiciary and the
> entire legal industry should be sanctioned to prevent them
> from causing grave harm to the fabric of the legal
> profession. THE APPOINTMENT OF JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME
> COURT. NEC commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria for
> amending the Guidelines for the Appointment of Justices of
> the Supreme Court to include appointments of deserving
> Senior Advocates of Nigeria. NEC noted that despite the
> impeccable records and deep knowledge of the law of NBA
> nominees, the final decision was based on number of
> judgments delivered when it is a known fact that lawyers do
> not write judgments. NEC urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria
> to initiate a holistic review of the appointment guidelines
> to accommodate lawyers as doing so will inject new blood and
> improve efficiency of the Supreme Court.

2.0 STATE OF THE BAR

2.1. THE DUTY OF LAWYERS TO REPRESENT CLIENTS WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION
NEC noted with displeasure the steps taken
> by certain overzealous operatives of Government hiding under
> the guise of fighting corruption and criminality to apply
> unlawful techniques in harassing and intimidating lawyers in
> the course of their legitimate work. NEC declared such
> unlawful practices by these overzealous operatives of
> Government as totally unacceptable and morally
> reprehensible. NEC further noted that the investigation
> and/or prosecution of corruption cases will be a sham if the
> agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution enjoy
> the services of lawyers, but the accused persons are denied
> access to counsel of their choice. NEC stated that lawyers
> carrying out their legitimate duties of representing their
> clients within the ambit of the law cannot be wrongly
> classified as persecuting or aiding corruption. Our law
> provides for the presumption of innocence until proved
> guilty. NEC resolved that lawyers will continue to offer
> their legal services to all clients in accordance with law
> and in compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct for
> Legal Practitioners.

2.2. NBA ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND
> ANTI-TERRORISM FINANCING GUIDELINES
> NEC noted that lawyers play a significant and independent role
> in the administration of justice as well as in ensuring
> lawful compliance by persons and entities involved in
> commercial and financial activities. NEC resolved that in
> furtherance of the commitment of the NBA to effectively
> combat corruption, NBA shall put in place anti-money
> laundering and anti-terrorism financing guidelines to be
> observed by law firms and lawyers in Nigeria which shall be
> known as The NBA Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism
> Financing Guidelines. 2.3. DISCIPLINE AT THE BAR
> NEC warned lawyers to desist from making
> disparaging comments against the Court simply because the
> Judgments were not in their favour. All lawyers must imbibe
> the practice of decorum and civility while commenting on a
> judicial pronouncement. NEC restated NBAs commitment to
> deal with all cases of professional infractions and
> misconduct with dispatch.

STATE OF THE NATION CORRUPTION
> NEC restated the support
> and commitment of the NBA to the zero tolerance for
> Corruption policy of the Federal Government and restated
> NBAs undertaking to work with the FGN and all willing FGN
> Agencies in the battle to kill corruption before corruption
> kills Nigeria. NEC also stressed that the war against
> corruption must be fought within the ambit of the law and
> rule of law must at all times be given primacy. The war
> against corruption can only be won within the ambit of the
> law.

> THE DECLINE IN THE VALUE OF THE
> NAIRA NEC noted with grave concern the dire straits of the
> Nigerian economy with particular emphasis on the
> depreciation of the Naira against other international
> currencies thereby causing serious panic in the Nigerian
> Stock market. NEC noted that the fluctuating exchange rate
> of the US Dollar to the Naira in an import based Country
> such as ours is extremely dangerous. NEC resolved that the
> Federal Government should formulate policies and initiate
> measures to salvage the value of the Naira and to reflate
> the economy to reduce the hardship currently faced by
> millions of Nigeria.

3.3 ELECTRICITY PRICING CONTROVERSY
> NEC noted the current controversy on
> electricity pricing and the resolution of the Senate
> directing NERC to suspend any proposed increase in the
> electricity tariffs. NEC urged all concerned parties to
> amicably resolve the controversy in the interest of all
> Nigerians. The rights of electricity consumers to a fair and
> reasonable tariff mechanism and the rights of Investors in
> the Power Sector as determined by our extant laws must be
> protected at all times.

DATED THIS 19TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2016 Augustine Alegeh, SAN, FCIArb [UK] > President, Nigerian Bar Association National Secretariat (NBA)
> Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
> National Head Office,
> 24 Oro-Ago Street,
> Off Mohammed Buhari Way,
> Garki II – Abuja,
> Nigeria.
> info@nigerianbar.org.ng
> Tel:234-07098211663
> www.nigerianbar.org.ng
>

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