COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF THE
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) OF THE NIGERIAN BAR
ASSOCIATION (NBA) HELD ON THURSDAY 12th NOVEMBER,2015 AT
OBI WALI INTERNATIONAL COVENTION CENTRE, PORT HARCOURT,
RIVERS STATE
INTRODUCTION
The Nigerian Bar Association at its National Executive Committee Meeting
held at the Obi Wali International Convention Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers
State on Thursday 12th of November, 2015 considered several issues of
urgent national importance including, but not limited to; the alarming rate
of acts of professional misconduct by lawyers, the resumption of strike
action by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria [JUSUN] in some States of the
Federation. NEC also reviewed the state of the Nigerian economy in the as
well as the state of Federal roads in the country.
NEC carefully considered the said issues and resolved as follows:
STATE OF NIGERIAN JUDICIARY
1.1. THE DISPARAGING OF JUDGES AND THE JUDICIARY BY
LITIGANTS AND LAWYERS WHO LOSE CASES IN COURTS
NEC reviewed the actions of litigants and lawyers who disparage
judges and or their judgments simply because they lost their cases
and strongly condemned all such acts.
NEC noted that these persons praise the same Judges and Courts
when they win but fail to see anything good in the Judges and/or
their judgments when such judgments and Rulings are not in their
favour. NEC further noted that where a person has a proper ground
for complaint against a judicial officer, the proper thing to do is to
forward such compliant to the National Judicial Council [NJC].
NEC advised aggrieved litigants and/or their lawyers to exercise
their right to appeal against such decisions to enable the Appellate
Courts to deal appropriately with any errors of the lower
Courts/Tribunals.
NEC resolved that the NBA must continue to ensure that lawyers who
are involved in such conduct are investigated and prosecuted for
professional misconduct.
NEC maintained that lawyers must always treat the Courts with
respect, dignity and honour.
1.2. THE ARGUING OF CASES IN THE MEDIA BY LAWYERS INVOLVED
IN TRIAL
NEC observed that some lawyers especially those involved in
Election matters now canvass facts and arguments before the Press
on matters which are already pending before the Court.
NEC condemned this unwholesome practice of arguing matters
which are sub judice in the media.
NEC resolved that henceforth any lawyer who engages in such
practice will be made to face disciplinary proceedings before the
Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee [LPDC].
1.3. ALLEGATION OF WALK-OUT OF CODE OF CONDUCT TRIBUNAL
BY SOME LAWYERS
NEC examined the allegation that two Senior Advocates of Nigeria
walked out of the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Thursday, November
5, 2015 after the Tribunal refused their application for adjournment
of their client’s case pending the determination of an appeal filed at
the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
NEC observed that pursuant to NBA’s objective of the maintenance
and defence of the integrity and independence of the Bar and the
Bench in Nigeria, it requested both counsel to submit a written report
to the NBA so as to ascertain what transpired at the Tribunal.
NEC noted that consequent upon the receipt of their reports as well
as review of various independent accounts of what transpired before
the Tribunal, the NBA discovered that the lawyers were not culpable
and did not walk out of the Tribunal as widely reported by the Press.
NEC is satisfied that in line with the procedure of the Bar and
professional etiquette, the two Senior Advocates of Nigeria sought
and obtained leave of the Tribunal to withdraw their legal
representation for their client in the matter.
NEC resolved that the Tribunal was not exposed to ridicule by the
withdrawal of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria as the Prosecution
Counsel was in Court with his retinue of Juniors and other lawyers
and the Court did not have to bow to an empty Bar.
NEC further noted that the Supreme Court has stayed proceedings in
respect of the matter before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
NEC resolved that the NBA will not hesitate to clear the air where an
otherwise professionally and ethically justifiable action by a legal
practitioner is misrepresented by the Press so as to portray him/her
as well as the legal profession in a bad light.
2. GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN KOGI AND BAYELSA STATES
NEC reiterated the resolve of the NBA to take a very keen interest in the
Elections to be held in any part of the country as the legitimacy of the
ballot box determines the quality of Government and also determines if
the governed would ever enjoy the true benefits of Democracy.
NEC resolved that the NBA will continue to use its network of Branches
to engage in VOTER EDUCATION AND VOTER MOBILISATION in the
gubernatorial elections scheduled in Kogi and Bayelsa States on a
strictly non-partisan basis.
NEC restated the resolve of the NBA, as the voice of the oppressed, the
defender of human rights and advocate of rule of Law to continue to
educate and mobilise the electorate and monitor elections and report
on the conduct of all such elections.
3. LEGAL EDUCATION
NEC noted with regret that the foundation of some legal practitioners
are outdated and most of our lawyers are unable to understand
emerging areas of practice to compete with international best practices,
or even to address the challenges thrown up by new legislation and law
reforms.
NEC emphasised the importance of continuing legal education to help
Nigerian lawyers understand emerging areas of practice so as to be able
to compete with international best practices and to address the
challenges thrown up by new legislation and law reforms.
NEC resolved that the Council Legal Education should ensure that
persons, who read law in institutions which are not recognised by the
Council of Legal Education, should not be allowed to attend the
Nigerian Law School.
NEC further resolved that in order to ensure that Law School students
get a solid foundation, Branches shall review and update the list of Law
Offices within their jurisdictions and send same to the NBA National
Secretariat so that the Law School will be availed with a comprehensive
list of viable law offices where Law School students could be sent for
law office attachment.
4. STATE OF THE NATION
NEC noted the deteriorating condition of many inter-state roads which
cause a lot of traffic grid-lock, lost man-hours, accidents, loss of lives
and properties and thereby called on the Federal and State
governments to take urgent steps to fix these roads.
NEC also called on the Federal Government to develop a clear-cut
strategy for addressing the threat posed to our national security by
unscrupulous elements and individuals who resort to violent means to
clamour for sectional interests.
NEC urged the Federal Government to deploy sufficient human and
material resources to quell the Boko Haram Insurgency in the NorthEastern
States.
NEC also urged the Federal Government to initiate measures to curb
the incessant devaluation of the Naira and to promote policies to boost
the National economy.
5. APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS
NEC congratulated His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on
the successful constitution of the Federal Executive Council by the
appointment and swearing-in of Thirty Six [36] new Honourable
Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
NEC commended His Excellency, The President on the appointment of
ten [10] Members of the NBA into the Federal Executive Council as
Honourable Ministers and restated NBA’s resolve to support and
collaborate with the new Ministers in promoting the Rule of Law and
advancing the cause of justice.
6. FINANCIAL AUTONOMY OF THE JUDICIARY
NEC observed that many State Governments are reneging from their
commitment to abide by the court judgment which affirmed the
constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of the Judiciary.
NEC observed with dismay that the failure of the affected state
governments to honour their commitment has led to the resumption of
the strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria
(JUSUN).
NEC lamented the adverse affect of the resumption of the strike by
JUSUN on the administration of justice, the livelihood of lawyers and
court users as well as access to justice by people seeking relief from the
courts.
NEC reiterated the resolve of the NBA to continue to mediate in the
ongoing negotiations between JUSUN and the respective State
Governments.
DATED THIS 13TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2015
Augustine Alegeh, SAN
President, Nigerian Bar Association

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply