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Amnesty: Lawyers express mixed reactions over Sultan’s call

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BY BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE

Following last week demand by the Sultan of Sokoto, A lhaji Muhammed Abubakar, and some Northern leaders, that amnesty be granted to armed groups in the north, some Senior Advocates of Nigeria and lawyer, who spoke with Vanguard Law and Human Rights on the issue, said the daily orgy of violence and killings by armed groups makes nonsense of amnesty, if granted.

According to Prof. Itse Sagay SAN, “honestly, I do not believe in it because if the armed groups have not murdered or destroyed properties, it is a different issue. What happens to the families of those victims who were murdered? Are they to be given the consideration that the killings should be set aside? That is a very important issue.

“Those who have said that there should be total amnesty, can they tell us how many relations, children, parents, wives and daughters that they have lost to bomb blast? We have to think of the people who have been victims of Boko Haram insurgency.”

Speaking on the same vein, Lagos State Solicitor General Mr Lawal Pedro SAN said: “won’t you know who you want to give amnesty to before you start giving it? If the Federal Government is to give amnesty to people, such people have to be identified first. For instance, no group has come out to say ‘we are the Boko Haram’. So on what basis is the amnesty?  Give amnesty to one set of people today and tomorrow another set of people will come up for another amnesty, saying that they are the real group.”

A Human Rights lawyer, Chief Morah Ekwunoh, in his own view, pointed out that granting total amnesty to armed groups does not deserve that greeted the call by a section of the public, particularly the Ohaneze Ndigbo,the Afenifere and the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN),among others.

While supporting the Presidency on this issue, he said “these bodies, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Afenifere and CAN, also vociferously threatened to frustrate any move to grant any amnesty, on the ground of, inter alia,the Boko Haram sect being faceless.

“With utmost deference to the Presidency and the equally respected bodies in its strong support,solemn examination of the Sultan’s request reveals the imperative of its due consideration and application, only, however, in relation to Boko Haram and its off-shoot,  Ansaru, and not to all armed groups in the country.

“The government should leave ego and break eggs for Nigeria to enjoy the omelet inherent in the suggestions by the Sultan and the Northern elders. Anything to the contrary can only find justification in politics, sentiments and emotions, which should not come in when the blood of thousands of innocent Nigerians are involved.”

Law is the best profession in the world  — Olanipekun

Former president Nigeria Bar Association Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, has described the legal profession as the best in the world because lawyers set standards for other professionals to emulate. Chief Olanipekun stated this in Lagos at the office dedication of Pastor Dele Adesina SAN, who was his NBA national secretary. Commenting on the law office edifice situated on Opebi Street in Ikeja , he stated that gone were the days when lawyers struggle with other people before they could have assess to their offices. According to him “The legal profession is the best profession in the world. Gone were the days when lawyers struggle amongst tenants and traders to get to their offices, the days when lawyers were poor are over”. He therefore challenged other senior lawyers to emulate Adesina.

Chairman of the occasion and former minister of health, Prince Julius Adeluyi who is also a lawyer described Adesina’s office complex as  “a pride to the legal profession” adding that  he (Adesina) had braved all odds to become what he is today.

The occasion which was attended by  Lagos state solicitor-general  Mr Lawal Pedro SAN, who represented Governor Babatunde Fashola, and his Ekiti state counterpart Dr Kayode Fayemi was represented by the state Attorney -general Mr Wale Fapohunda was also graced by several senior advocates and other lawyers. Among them were Mrs Funke Adekoya SAN, Mr Rikky Tarfa SAN, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, Mr Kemi Pinherio and Mr Biodun Owonikoko SAN.

Speaking on his experience in the legal profession  in the last 27years, Mr Adesina recalled the humble beginning of his law chamber in the kitchen of his apartment.

Saying that he got to where he was today because he had a vision which was driven by hard work and determination.

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