The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly who was also the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary and the legislator who sponsored the highest number of bills in the 7th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali Ahmad said it is high time the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) rescued the nation’s judiciary, which he described as being on ‘trial’.
In achieving this, Ahmad added that leadership of the NBA must rise to the occasion and speak up on various bothering issues affecting judiciary with a view of protecting the arm of government and save the nation.
A statement issued by the speaker’s Media Aide, Shuaib Abdulkadir in Ilorin on Thursday said Ahmad made the remarks while addressing the executives of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ilorin Branch who were on a courtesy visit to the Speaker in his office.
He lamented situations where judges were falsely accused, hoodwinked, blackmailed and threatened before giving judgements, arguing that it posed serious threat to the judiciary independent as enshrined in the constitution.
Ahmad who commended the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria for airing their views on some political trials in the country maintained that the NBA must also continue to speak on the side of law without taking side particularly as it concerns administration of justice.
He said, “The 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 knew 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.
The Speaker however appreciated the NBA’s support, saying that the House would be willing to listen to them anytime, especially on issues that would improve the state legislative arm.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, 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.