By Innocent Anaba
President Muhammadu Buhari has praised the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, for setting up task forces to help in promoting peace and reconciliation in the North-East and South- South.
He said that his administration would not have succeeded without lawyers’ support.
The President spoke when NBA leadership visited him at the State House in Abuja.
He expressed happiness with the courtesy call and praised NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, who led the delegation, for his fearless disposition in the defence of the rights of Nigerians and the enthronement of the rule of law in the country.
Buhari said his administration remains committed to providing security, recovering looted assets and prosecuting the anti-corruption war.
“In doing this, we require the input of the Bar and Bench. Lawyers have been busy since this administration came in and have played critical roles in the recovery of looted assets. Your support in the current initiatives of government in ensuring judicial integrity is in the best interest of government and Nigerians.
“We must embrace the rule of law for the country to move forward. And I thank the NBA for making huge contributions to the success of this administration,” he said.
The President said several lawyers have been playing key roles in his administration, such as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, Chief of Staff to the Vice-President, Mr. Ade Ipaye, who were all present during the visit.
He thanked lawyers and Nigerians for their prayers when he was ill and for their best wishes when he marked his 75th birthday.
Buhari said his administration remains focused on security, combating insurgency, providing good governance, growing the economy and guaranteeing welfare of citizens.
On his part, Mahmoud restated NBA’s commitment to safeguarding the rule of law.
He said: “Our constitution enjoins us to protect the independence of the judiciary and also the independence of the legal profession, both of which are considered critical components of all democratic societies.
“We salute your steadfast leadership and congratulate men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces for these successes. We are, of course, aware that a lot remains to be done to completely secure the region.
“We are also aware that insurgency is a complex regional problem that requires multifaceted approach. We, therefore, wish to encourage the government to do more to secure the North East region,” he said.
Mahmoud identified other flashpoints of conflict which must be addressed, such as the situation in the Niger Delta, the lingering Biafran agitation in the South East, the various communal conflicts in Southern Kaduna, the Plateau, Taraba, and the recurring feud between the herdsmen and farmers across many states.
“All these remain significant issues and have continued to undermine the peace and security in the country. We want to urge your administration to continue to do more to improve peace and security,” he added.
Mahmoud highlighted NBA’s contribution towards addressing the issues.
He recalled that in October 2016, he set up two task forces: the Niger Delta Task Force and the North-East Task Force.
He said they were charged with coordinating the association’s intervention in the two regions with the ultimate aim of promoting peace, reconciliation rehabilitation, and reconstruction.