By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—President-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, has vowed to use his two-year tenure to expose corrupt lawyers across the federation.
Mahmoud, who held his maiden press briefing in Abuja yesterday, said: “Under my administration, we will not tolerate senior lawyers undermining justice administration in any way.
“Senior lawyers must demonstrate leadership and courage to assist courts to dispense justice. We are going to pay attention to lawyers who abuse the rules of professional conduct in the discharge of their duties.
“The NBA under my watch will work hard to ensure that we flush out lawyers with integrity deficit. Most importantly, we are going to place emphasis on change of attitude.
“Efficacy of the justice system hinges on ability of lawyers to operate within the scope of the rules of professional conduct”, Mahmoud added.
Besides, the new NBA President said the association under his leadership would engage the Federal Government and all the prosecuting agencies in the country on need for every court order to be obeyed.
He said: “Any administration that is not respecting court orders is undermining the rule of law. Both the government and its agencies are bound to respect court orders.
“The NBA is going to show keen interest on this issue by insisting that all government agencies respect the rule of law.
“That such things even happen remains a deficit on the part of any government. We hope it will be addressed by this administration.
“The EFCC has no right to detain people without charging them to court within the period specified by the law.
“While the NBA commends the current efforts to fight corruption, we note that the present legal and institutional framework which is in place for anti-corruption crusade is defective in structure and substance.
“The current anti-corruption crusade seems to be much more focused on fighting corruption after it has occurred, but not much attention is paid to preventive measures with a view to minimizing the incidence of corruption.
“To successfully and substantially reduce or eradicate corruption, the legal framework, systems and initiatives for investigation and prosecution, education against corruption and above all prevention must be robust and effective.
“To combat corruption, a combination of strong laws and the presence of effective and efficient anti-corruption agencies is required, but this is not all that is required, particularly when corruption has become endemic as is our situation”.
Mahmoud equally dismissed allegation by his major adversary at the election, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, that he was rigged into office as the 28th National President of the NBA.
He commended the incumbent President of the legal body, Mr. Augustine Alegeh, SAN, for innovative reforms he introduced into the NBA electoral process, especially in respect of universal suffrage and e-voting.