The African Bar Association (ABA) has commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, for his nationalistic approach to governance, saying he has displayed traits of a true leader.
The group, according to a press statement issued by the special adviser to the Speaker on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, said this when it paid a courtesy call to the Speaker in his office yesterday.
“I want to commend you and your team for what you are doing for your country. It is your responsibility but it is also our duty to commend you and continue to encourage you. With the demeanor of Mr. Speaker, and your politics, we must play our politics nationally and cohesively. It must cover all Nigerians and I encourage you to continue to work this way,” president of the association, Hannibal Uwaifo, said.
The African lawyers’ forum also warned members of the legal profession to observe the rules guiding the profession in the discharge of their duties, adding that they support that all corrupt lawyers and judges should account for their actions.
“We must warn that the rule of law is not an end to itself and so, we cannot destroy our country, preaching rule of law. While lawyers must be allowed to do their jobs professionally, they must not be allowed to do it unprofessionally.
“While we continue to support our colleagues professionally, we also condemn those who want to do extra. You are not allowed by law to defend an accused person beyond your brief. There are professional guidelines for this.
“We will continue to encourage government in its fight against corruption according to the laid down rules, we will also continue to talk to our colleagues who impede justice and judges who are corrupt.”
Responding, Speaker Dogara called for development of new areas of law to cater to emerging global challenges.
He stated, “I sincerely believe there is a role for lawyers, especially now that the entire world is faced with crisis. In the Middle East, for instance, there is collapse of sovereignty and challenge from conventional order. So many other things happening in our contemporary world call for solutions; it is not enough for us to fold our hands, we must do something. If history is anything to go by, when the world was challenged in those days, it was men and women of this profession that crafted solutions.
“That we are having these kinds of crisis in the world indicates that the tools developed before are no longer responding to the problems we have right now. So it is a clarion call on us members of this profession to, once again, put on our professional hats or caps and try to craft a new order and we can’t do that based on what we have learnt individually, we can only do that when we pull ourselves into associations like this.”
The Speaker also urged the lawyers to take advocacy to citizens on the true roles and running of the National Assembly, pointing out that the legislature is usually used as a tool to distract citizens from the inadequacies of other arms of government.
He explained, “There have always been attempts to demonise the parliament and it appears that it is not only the case in Nigeria, it is everywhere. As a matter of fact, it has often been said that the parliament cannot win a popularity contest, the reason being that some of the arms of government believe that they have to demonise parliament so that they can divert the attention of the people from what is happening in other arms of government.”
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