By; Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna.
Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Legal Matters, Professor Adamu Usman has decried the attitude of Nigerian Lawyers towards the current administration’s efforts at curbing corruption.
Professor Usman recalled Buhari’s first coming as a military H of State when the Bar was not very helpful to his anti-corruption crusade by boycotting the Special Military Tribunals for the Recovery of Public Property set up by his then government on the ground that the tribunals were chaired by military men instead of judges the lawyers’ prefered.
He warned that history should not be allowed to repeat itself because from his knowledge whenever it repeats itself, it carries vengeance and calamity in its fist and teeth.
The Presidential aide who delivered a keynote address at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Law Week in Kaduna with the theme “The Fight Against Corruption: the Role of the Bar and Bench” acknowledged that “Now the same Buhari is back again on the saddle locking horns once more with the hydra-headed monster called corruption.
“When in 1984 we refused to support his anti-corruption war, we saw what corruption eventually did to the country. It may even do worse now if by our lack of cooperation and support, the current anti-corruption war is once more lost.
“I strongly feel we should give the current anti-corruption fight a chance of success by supporting it.
“Honor and the law should stand on the same side of the line. Lawyers and Judges are the law and should be on the same side of the line with honor. Every member of the Bar and Bench should see himself as a trooper in the anti-corruption war.
“For us, the rule of law here should be the rule of conscience and the rule of honor that propels us into action and restrains us from action.
“As lawyers and judges, we all profess love for the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law is what is being used to fight the anti-corruption war. The sure way we can show our love for the rule of law is to support it in its fight against corruption by fighting on its side. Anything short of this gives us the appearance of loving the Rule of Law when it serves us and not loving it when it is not serving us. God Forbid this be the case.”
Declaring the Law Week open, Chief Judge of Kaduna State, Justice Tanimu Zailani, noted that what affect the Bar also affect the Bench, as such the need for them to work closely to achieve the common goal of winning the war against corruption.
He expressed disappointment over what is currently going on in the fight against corruption in the country, adding that as lawyers they have very important role to play either as solicitors or prosecutors because their role is to do justice to every case that comes their way.
In his welcome address, NBA Kaduna Chapter chairman, Sherrif Ndasule said a lawyer, as an officer in the temple of justice should be seen as someone who should abhor any form of illegality.
He explained that the topic was informed by the encompassing nature of corruption and the realisation of the fact that it has a devastating effect on the economic and social development of the people and undermines accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs.