By Tope Sunday, Bureau Chief, North Central
The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad,has called on the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to rescue the nation’s judiciary, which he said, is on ‘trial’.
Ahmad also called on the leadership of NBA to rise to the occasion and speak up on various issues affecting judiciary in order to save the nation.
A statement issued by the speaker’s Media Aide, Shuaib Abdulkadir, in Ilorin on Thursday, quoted Ahmad as making the remarks while addressing the executive members of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ilorin Branch, who were on a courtesy visit to his office.
He lamented situations where judges were falsely accused, hoodwinked, blackmailed and threatened before giving judgements, arguing that it poses serious threat to the judiciary independence as enshrined in the constitution.
Ahmad, who commended Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) for airing their views on some political trials in the country, maintained that NBA must also continue to speak on the side of law without taking side particularly as it concerns administration of justice.
He said, ” NBA does not have to be political, but it must at all times speak up against anything that could threaten the judicial arm of government.
“NBA should speak on our fundamental institution which is the judiciary by supporting judges who are being hoodwinked, blackmailed and threatened.
“This is due to the fact that not only politicians are on trial but also the judiciary. And NBA must assist in restoring the integrity of the judiciary, otherwise we will be in trouble”.
On the issue of some reputable lawyers standing trials for alleged bribery and corruption, the Speaker who is also a barrister, advised the association to quickly embark on internal cleansing by scrutinising its members in order to sanitise the sector.
Without that, he warned that it could get worse to a certain level whereby those who know nothing about law would be saddled with the responsibility of determining who becomes a judge as it is the case in some countries.
Ahmad, who also encouraged more lawyers’ participation in active politics, explained that it would be of great benefit to Nigeria by enhancing the nation’s democracy rather than leaving it for miscreants.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the NBA, Ilorin Branch, Barrister Manzuma Issa, had challenged members of the state House of Assembly to focus on legislation on the development of rural areas and job creation across the state.
Issa observed that the strategic position of the legislature demands a closer relationship between the Assembly and the NBA.