COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED BY THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION AT THE CLOSE OF HER 56th ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE & GENERAL MEETING HELD FROM AUGUST 21 TO 26, 2016 AT THE CIVIC CENTRE PORT-HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE OF NIGERIA
- 1.0. Introduction
The 56th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with the theme “Democracy and Economic Development” heldat the Civic Centre, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria from August 21 to 26, 2016.
The Annual General Conference of the NBA is a veritable platform for Lawyers, Judges, Academics, and other stakeholders in the legal profession to learn, exchange ideas, retool, reflect upon and proffer solutions to the ceaseless challenges confronting the Legal Profession, Administration of Justice, Rule of Law and Due Process, Constitutionalism and Democracy in Nigeria and beyond.
The 56th conference commenced with Jumat Prayers on Friday, 19th August 2016, the opening of Peter Odili Road, Port Harcourt by the President of the NBA on Saturday 20th August 2016, and church service on Sunday 21st August 2016, was declared open on Sunday 21 August 2015 by the Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osibanjo SAN represented by the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Abubakar Malami SAN. Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Rwanda, Busingye Johnston represented the President of Rwanda. Host Governor Nyesom Wike and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal delivered goodwill messages. In attendance were the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed GCON, through his representative, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as Supreme Court Justices, Court of Appeal Justices, Honourable Chief Judges and Judges, State Governors, Senators, Federal and State Parliamentarians, Clergy, traditional rulers, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Lawyers and Members of the Public, including the 4th estate of the realm.
- Three NBA Showcase Sessions held on the following subjects:
- “Growing Nigeria’s Economy: Beyond Oil and Gas”,
b. “State of Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria: Action
No More Words”
c. “Setting the Standards: The Future of the Legal Profession”
The show case sessions were enriched by the innovative contributions of all lawyers, lawyers in government and Ministers of the Federal Government including other high ranking government functionaries Governors in Nigeria.
- Keynote Addresses
On the first day of conference, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the Republic of Rwanda, Busingye Johnston delivered a thought-provoking, dispassionate and convincing keynote address.
The structure of the 56th Conference of the NBA consisted of an opening ceremony, three showcase sessions aforementioned, twenty-seven (27) Parallel Sessions on different areas and interests anchored by the three major sections of the NBA, namely; the Section on Legal Practice (SLP), the Section on Business Law (SBL) and the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) and other fora and committees. The Annual General Meeting of the NBA also held. There were several receptions, luncheons, dinners, and musical extravaganza.
2.0 Thematic presentations
Inclusive of the welcome address by President of the NBA, Augustine Alegeh SAN, the keynote address and keynote speech aforementioned, and the Annual General Meeting of the Association, woven around the theme of the conference, were a total of thirty (30) commissioned papers and lectures.
3.0. Resolutions and Recommendations
The Annual General Conference, upon due consideration of, and deliberation on, all the issues aforesaid, unanimously observed and resolved as follows:
- Arising out of theOpening Ceremony
- The battle against corruption by the present administration is commendable. However,the battle against corruption must be executed within the ambit of the law to enhance economic development.
- The spate of conflicting judgments emanating from courts of coordinate jurisdiction on cases with similar facts and issues are condemned. Justice must be based on certainty of the law. The National Judicial Council (NJC) is hereby called upon to take a critical look at this anomaly, and apply sanctions where applicable. Furthermore, the NJC is called upon to continue to improve upon the process of appointment of judges in order to ensure that only the best are appointed as judges.
- That the National Human Rights Commission has derailed from her statutory functions in attempting to usurp the function of other governmental agencies; andthe Attorney-General of the Federation. NHRC is called upon to streamline and focus on their primary duties.
- For economic development in Nigeria, determination and self-reliance are key.
- Arising out of theAnnual General Meeting
- NBA Abuja: The resolution of the NBA NEC meeting which held in Benin City on 16 June 2016 and which recognised Messrs Ezenwa Anumnu and Lawrence Erewele respectively as Chairman and Secretary respectively of the NBA Abuja Branch was ratified.
- And for avoidance of doubt, the purported election of Messrs Victor Abasiakan Ekim and Chinedu Obienu as Chairman and Secretary respectively of NBA Abuja Branch stands voided.
- NBA Ikeja: The decision of the Benin NEC voiding the purported election of Adesina Ogunlana as Chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch not being qualified to contest the Chairmanship of thebranch by virtue of Article 6 (3) of the Uniform Byelaws being a person disqualified from running for that office, was ratified. The report of the election of Prince Dele Oloke as Chairman of Ikeja Branch as contained in the President’s Report was upheld.
- National Human Rrights Ccommission: The Commission was advised to stick to statutory functions and stop usurping or attempting to usurp the statutory functions/duties of other government agencies.
- Nigerian Law Reform Commission: The Commission was advised to urgently attend to its duties as there are many laws that need reforms to improve the economy and justice delivery.
- Corporate Affairs Commission: The Commission was advised to step up its activities to ensure better service delivery and customer satisfaction.
- Nigerian Law School: The Law School was requested to timely publish names of any lawyer caught writing examination for any student at the Law School.
- Federal Government of Nigeria: The Government was advised to ensure proper funding of the agencies.
- Arising out of the Show Case Session On Growing Nigeria’s Economy: Beyond Oil And Gas
- Over reliance on oil has resulted in an economic quagmire and it is not too late for the Federal Government to embark on massive diversification of the economy particularlyin the super abundant solid mineral and agricultural sectors generously bestowed upon this nation by God Almighty.
- The Federal Government take urgent steps to limit itself to a regulator of the business atmosphere and not a participant or trader thereof. Furthermore, the Federal Government shall engage with and encourage the business sector to drive the economy.
- Considering that the private sector, the Manufacturing, Movie and Service Industries in particular, contribute immensely to the GDP the Federal and State Governments create a business-friendly environment for the private sector and in this regard, the current high interest rate fixed by the Central Bank of Nigeria be reviewed downward.
- Taxation: That taxation is an effective tool for growing the economy; therefore government effectively harnesses the potential of taxation, and in this regard, embarks on massive public enlightenment as to the benefits of taxation.
- Impunity: That if Nigeria will fulfill her destiny as a leader in the comity of nations, strict adherence to the rule of law, the building of strong institutions and the shaming and shunning of impunity are a tripod to be enforced by government at all levels.
- Foreign Direct Investment: That whereas the economy needs Foreign Direct Investment to grow; that foreign investment will follow where it is welcome; and that the current legal regime of doing business in Nigeria is hostile to investors. Therefore, a friendlier legal regime in accord with international best practices should be put in place, active promotion of Nigeria as an investment friendly nation. In this regard, the incessant portrayal of Nigeria as a corrupt nation by her own citizens is detrimental to economic development.
- Political Restructure of Nigeria: That the NBA shall canvass for political restructure of the country within the principles of fairness and justice as this will inure greatly to a more clement democracy and economy. In particular, cries of socio-political injustice within the national firmament should be addressed as a matter of national urgency.
- Agriculture: In cognition of the symbiosis between economic growth and a vibrant agricultural sector, the NBA emphasizes as part of her advocacy the following necessities:
o Renewed emphasis on agriculture;
o Eschewing over-reliance on oil;
o Government at various levels meeting the needs of farmers by way of improved technology, rural roads, education, finance and security.
- Terrorism and Agricultural and Economic Growth: That whereas insecurity impacts negatively on economic development; NBA call upon the Federal Government to urgently tackle the incessant killings of farmers and disruption of economic activity by cattle herdsmen being anti-climactic to the much needed agricultural boost which the national economy requires at this critical juncture.
- Education and Economic Growth: That whereas investment in the education of young people is vital to economic development, the three tiers of government be called upon to increase significantly their spending on education.
- Power Sector Infrastructure and Economic Growth: That the power sector being an enabler, power-sector infrastructure should be revamped for the economy to thrive.
- Justice-Delivery and Economic Growth: For the economy to thrive, the legal system must be strong and reliable as every investor wants the assurance of quick and effective resolution of commercial, industrial and other disputes. Current disregard for court orders is harmful to the national economy and is part of the impunity that must be eschewed if Nigeria shall occupy her pride of place in the comity of developed nations.
- Arising out of SHOW CASE SESSION on STATE OF ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: ACTION, NO MORE WORDS.
On the Judiciary:
- That the Federal Government make clear a policy statement on the justice delivery system in Nigeria.
- That the Federal and State governments urgently address the issue of judicial independence as a way of promoting the rule of law and enhancing the administration of justice system.
On the Nigerian Police:
- That the National Assembly speedily enactment of the Nigerian Police Services Bill including the provision for the appointment of the IGP through a transparent, meritocratic and competition-based process with a fixed tenure of office.
- That existing recommendation of presidential police reform committees specifically those related to the review of the conditions of service of the Nigerian Police be implemented.
- An audit of the physical state of all police stations and training institutions of Nigeria be undertaken by the Federal Government.
- That before any police officer is appointed a Divisional Police Officer or position of similar responsibility, s/he should have a diploma in law at the minimum.
On the Nigerian Prison Service:
- That the Prison Service should be removed from the oversight function of Ministry of interior and placed under the Ministry of Justice as prisons form part of the justice delivery system of the country.
- That the Federal Government ensure a review of the Prisons Act Amendment Bill.
- That a Prison Service Commission be established.
- That a Visitor of Prisons be appointed to conduct inspections on a regular basis, respond to complaints, investigate deaths in custody and publish independent findings, and make appropriate recommendation for action to the National Assembly yearly.
- That government undertake an audit of all prison facilities in Nigeria and identify persons who should not be in Prison.
On the Ministry of Justice: That the Federal Attorney General should issue fiats to State Attorneys General so that they can prosecute Federal Crimes committed within their jurisdiction.
- SHOW CASE SESSION on SETTING STANDARD: THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION.
This is as stated in various paragraphs of this communique
- Arising out of Session on One Year Later – Review of Law and Change in Buhari’s Administration (SPIDEL)
- President Buhari’s administration:
The change mantra in President Buhari’s administration should cover the economic life and protection of Nigerian citizens; and must be carried out within the framework of rule of law.
- Human Rights and Anti-Corruption:
That the fight against corruption is on the right track but should be withinthe context of the fundamental rights of citizens, and in this regard, the NBA, particularly, its Human Rights Institute and committees shall remain vigilant.
- Furthermore, that although the fight against corruption is on the right track, there seems to be no corresponding and viable economic policy to reap the gains of the war against corruption.
- The Military and Insurgency:
The Military should be professional and civil in their fight against insurgency. In this regard, the military should continue to respect the rule of law and international rules of engagement in war.
- Arising out of SESSION on MODERN TRENDS IN LEGAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
- That whereas the Nigerian Law School(and Law Faculties) have failed to achieve optimal objectives due to:
o The wrong teaching methodology centred on note-copying and cramming, too many students crammed into one lecture hall, and poor technological infrastructure like high-speed internet, regular electricity supply, and computers.
- That there should be introduction and sustenance of better teaching methods centred on critical thinking, problem solving, organisation, team work, research and advocacy rather than note-copying and cramming.
- There should be increase of funding in legal education and training.
- There should be reduction in the number of years spent in the faculties of law to three years while increasing the Nigerian Law School to between eighteen months and twenty four months wherein the first half are dedicated to theoretical work and the second half to practical instruction.
- That the buildings in the law school be restructured with consideration to persons with disabilities.
- That law school education be outsourced.
- Arising out of SESSION on FAST TRACKING JUSTICE DELIVERY IN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PROCEEDINGS(JUDGES FORUM)
- That sanctions on lawyers who waste the time of the courts by frivolous applications be introduced as is the case under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of the United States. Such lawyers should be reported to the NBA by judges.
- Recommended the appointment of more skilled judges to ease off the delay in the dispensation of justice brought about by the shortage of judicial man power.
- That the example of Lagos State creating divisions of the high court be followed by every state and federal high court for example: criminal, civil, land and property, family divisions etc. so as to promote expertise and boost the speedy dispensation of justice.
- Arising out of SESSION on ACHIEVING POVERTY REDUCTION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH LAND REFORMS
- That land reform be used as a vehicle for transformation, restitution, redistribution and sustainable economic development.
- That in administering land reform, consideration should be given to individual rights, rights of communities, customary law rights, tenure upgrade (registration of title), spatial development and planning for future of small towns, bulk infrastructure and basic municipal services.
- That land legislation should be amended or enacted to ensure restoration of the actual rights in land dispossessed, or provision of alternative land, or the payment of financial compensation and or a combination of these.
- That security of tenure is an important aspect of land reform.
- That the courts quickly dispose of contentious litigation.
- That the Land Use Act 1978 be amended or expunged from the Constitution with land management left to individual federating units to determine what is suitable for each.
- That in respect of land compulsorily acquired for public purposes:
o The original owners should have a continuing interest in the proceeds received from such interest;
o That such lands should be reverted to original owners where such interest no longer subsists.
- Arising out of SESSION on MAXIMIZING THE POTENTIAL OF MULTI-DOOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN NIGERIA.
- That the NBA shall take all practical steps for legal practitioners to embrace ADR mechanisms and utilise the Multi-Door Court-House.
- That the NBA shall take all proactive steps for legislative amendments to encourage the use of ADR in the settlement of election matters.
- Arising out of SESSION on THE ROLE OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE IN THE BUDGETING PROCESS IN NIGERIA
- That there must be collaboration between the legislative and executive in budget making to avoid problems because no party is superior in budget-making. Further that absence of collaboration between the legislature
and executive arms of government is responsible for conflict.
- That “Budget padding” is unacceptable and should be discouraged especially in the light of Section 19 of ICPC Act.
- That legislators pursue legislative work strictly in line with laid down legislations. Any corrections to bills must be made before they are passed and not after. Inclusion of items in a budget after it has been approved amounts to an act of illegality.
- The legislature should restrict budgets to the revenue framework as to do otherwise gives the executive the dangerous latitude to pick and choose projects to execute.
- Arising out of SESSION on COST/FUNDING OF LEGAL EDUCATION IN NIGERIA – OBERVATIONS: CONSEQUENCES OF INADEQUATE FUNDING OF LEGAL EDUCATION IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
- That Nigerian Universitiesare inadequately funded andacademic staff often overstretched.For example, an Assistant Lecturer teaching classes from first year to final year.
- That as a deliberate policy, the Federal, State and Local Governments should devote more resources towards education through direct subvention, scholarships, bursaries, grants and loans.
- That the NUC be engaged to carry out its statutory mandate by coordinating the funding and physical development of Federal and State Universities.
- Arising out of SESSION on YOUNGLAWYERS FORUM
- That NBA revive its Capacity Building Committee to assist Young Lawyers identify and explore new and emerging areas of Legal Practice like Anti-Competition Law, Regulation Law, Consumer Protection, Entertainment and Sports Law, Hospitality and Tourism, Taxation Law, etc.
- That in the same vein, the NBA make a conscious effort to create avenues of practical skill transfer to the Young Lawyers, and given the clamour for diversification of the economy, Young Lawyers need to be equipped with the necessary training to offer legal services in the future market and to stay relevant.
- Arising out of SESSION on THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND EDUCATION: TWO CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES AT ODDS IN A SECULAR STATE?
- That Nigeria separate governance from religion in order to focus on sound and sustainable development, and in this regard, NBA calls for the expunging from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all references to specific religions.
- That the Child’s Right Act 2003 be strengthened as a catalyst towards the promotion and sustenance of the Nigerian child’s education and well- being.
- Arising out of Session on LEGAL PRACTICE IN DIFFICULT TIMES: ACHIEVING A BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND FAMILY LIFE(INSTITUTE FORWORK AND FAMILY INTEGRATION)
That an equal balance between work and family life is key as both play a vital role in the development of the national economy.
- Arising out of SESSION onALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR ECONOMIC REFORM AND DEVELOPMENT.
- That the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the draft Arbitration Bill presented to her in in 2006 which has lingered in the Assembly for about a decade.
- That the concept of tenancy matters being first referred to ADR before going to courts if need be, just like it is done in Canada, USA and other developed countries be introduced in Nigeria in order to unclog the court system while ensuring healthy relationships.
- That the NBA look into the cost of ADR training which is often unapproachable for many legal practitioners so as to encourage lawyers should be encouraged to get arbitration training.
- Arising out of SESSION on STRENGTHENING THE JUSTICE SECTOR: ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH RECOMMENDATIONS(LAW OFFICERS OF THE FEDERATION FORUM)
- That recording court proceedings in long hand by judges and magistrates apart from being an ineffectual way of recording court proceedings is totally anachronistic with grave, adverse implications for the national economy.
- That this anachronism should stop totally and be replaced with audio to word converters.
- Arising out of SESSION on ENFORCING LAWS PROTECTING WOMEN AND CHILDREN – ISSUES AND CHALLENGES (FIDA)
- That Sections 220 of the Criminal Code providing that it is a defence to the charge of certain sexual offences to prove that the accused person believed on reasonable grounds that the girl was or above the age of 16 should be repealed.
- That Section 221 of the Criminal Code which prescribes an inconsequential penalty of two years imprisonment for the offences of defilement of a girl aged under sixteen but above thirteen and of idiots or imbeciles be repealed being at variance with the more appropriate punishments of life imprisonment for rape under the s 31(1)(2) Child Rights Act.
- That S.335 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 being amended to exclude sexual offences from the complainant’s discretionary withdrawal of the charge from prosecution. Similar provisions under s. 75 of the Criminal code of Rivers State should be amended.
- Arising out of SESSION on REKINDLING FAITH IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS THROUGH A PROPER BAR/BENCH RELATIONSHIP (NBA JUDICIARY COMMITTEE)
That there is a need to strengthen the relationship between Bar and Bench by prioritizing the organizing of Bar and Bench fora in every state of the federation and at the federal level as well.
- Arising out of SESSION on CLASS ACTION AS A TOOL FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION (SLP)
- That the scope of cases that can be instituted via class actions needs expanding especially to include the power, environment, capital market, telecoms and banking sectors among others.
- That the time frame for filing class action suits be widened to avoid the striking out of such suits on the basis of statutes of limitation.
- Arising out of SESSION on CONVERSATION WITH THE IGP ON ENHANCING SECURITY IN NIGERIA(POLICE LAWYERS FORUM)
- That the National Assembly as a matter of national economic imperative urgently amend the Nigeria Police Act of 1943 to bring it into conformity with international best practices, security being symbiotically linked with the economy.
- That government increases the number of Police Officers to a ratio of at least 2000 personnel to 100,000 persons in Nigeria, the ten thousand (10,000) policemen currently being recruited by the Nigeria Police being grossly inadequate.
- That salaries, insurance covers, and other benefits of police officers be increased to help stem corruption and to bring it in tandem with what is paid to Nigeria Armed Force and the Nigerian Customs Services.
- That the Police Force should rank policemen who are lawyers as favourably as they do Police doctors and nurses.
- That the National Assembly legislate on security funds removing their control from the President and Governors and vesting it in the IGP because all police men are accountable to the IGP and not the Governors.
- That the Special Anti-Robbery Squads must be made to follow the laid-down police procedural rules.
- That the police should be models of good behaviour for members of the public rather than breaking laws themselves.
- Arising out of SESSION on A CONVERSATION WITH THE CONTROLLER-GENERAL OF PRISONS
- The Legislative Action Group of the NBA should assiduously work towards the passage of the Nigerian Prison Amendment Bill which has long been pending before the National Assembly. The bill if passed will erase most of the problems inherent in the Nigerian Prison Act 1972.
- There should be creation of more standard rehabilitation centres to cater for inmates.
- More attention should be focused on the reformative and restorative justice system than punishment.
- The welfare of prison officials in terms of prompt payment of benefits should be looked into.
- The prisoners feeding and health needs need to be taken care of, and that a country which cannot look after its prisoners cannot take care of its free citizens.
- Arising out of SESSION on PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN TIMES OF CONFLICTS AND INSURGENCY(Human Rights Institute)
- That no level of conflict can justify human rights violation.
- That the NBA play a practical role in protecting human rights by:
Mandatory documentation and reporting of the incidences of conflict and insurgencies.
b. Constitute itself as an Independent Periodic Review Body.
c. Advocacy and fact-finding and documentation using the existing laws like the FOI Act.
- That in promoting human rights in post-conflict situations, care should be taken in negotiating peace with insurgents so as not to compromise justice and encourage impunity.
- Arising out of SESSION on THE MEDIA, THE LAW AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT(Lawyers in the Media)
- That the media has an integral role to play in the economic development of Nigeria, and since the Social Media generally covers a wider audience than Print Media, therefore, lawyers should take advantage of the many opportunities that abound therein.
- Furthermore, there is a need to take a look at the recently proposed Social Media Bill to ensure good policies while obviating the need for needless internet restrictions and abuses.
- That there is a pressing need for an NBA special session on Modern Trends on Media such as Social Media and General Internet Advantage for the Legal Practice Market.
- Arising out of Session on THE IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN ENHANCING SPEEDY DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE
- That the judiciary be commended and is hereby commended for setting up an e-filing system at the Supreme Court in realization of the benefits of Information Technology – (to enhance the judicial justice system), and we hope that the system will be extended to all courts in Nigeria.
- Arising out of SESSION on PUBLIC DIALOGUE on the ROLE of the MILITARY in ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MILITARY LAWYERS FORUM)
- That the return of the Military to the best traditions and ethics of the profession which started since 1999 be commended, continued and accelerated.
- That there is need for a dramatic paradigm shift in the nature of the relations between the armed forces and members of the public so that military men cease and desist from seeing civilians as idle civilians who must be brutalized at the slightest opportunity to fellow citizens and interdependent sojourners.
- That the Military should educate younger officers on acts of professionalism through constant training.
- That Military lawyers constantly remind the leadership of the military of the imperative of respecting human rights of citizens in the course of their assignments.
- That government adequately equip the military.
- That there be constant training and re-training of police officers to combat internal security so as to remove the military from regular internal security operations.
- Arising out of SESSION on EFFECTIVE PROSECUTION of TERORRISM, ECONOMIC and OTHER ORGANISED CRIMES in NIGERIA
- That strict adherence to and domestication of the Administration of Criminal Justice Administration Act 2015 in every state of Nigeria is an imperative.
- That inter-agency cooperation and synergy be promoted.
Arising out of the SESSION on ENFORCING THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
- That the Legal Practitioners Action (LPA) be urgently amended to effect the following changes:
o Clear definition of the term “Legal Practice.”
o Automatic stay of execution of directions to be removed.
o Adopting the Law setting up the Law Society of England and Wales so that the association can suo motu discipline her members without a petition.
- That the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) is vague in many respects thus giving room for multiple interpretations, and should therefore be amended to provide for clarity. In this regard, all NEC guidelines on ethics should be harmonised into the document.
- Arising out of SESSION on INCREASING ACCESS to JUSTICE FOR WOMEN, THE POOR AND THE VULNERABLE
- That sensitization, awareness campaigns and education for all stake-holders on justice about extant provisions for non-payment of filing fees for persons in forma pauperis for the vulnerable and women must be undertaken by the NBA.
- That Private practitioners should partner and collaborate with the Legal Aid Council to provide free access to justice for the marginalized groups in line with Section 17 (1)& (2) and Section 18 of the 2011 Act.
- That Law School training should encompass the importance of pro bono services as part of our calling as priests in the temple of justice and in line with United Nations guidelines.
- Arising out of SESSION onBANKING IN A DISTRESSED ECONOMY: IS OUR MONEY SAFE?
- Banks are managers of responsibilities and therefore owe their depositors a fiduciary duty to keep their monies safe.
- Cases involving money borrowed from banks must be adjudicated quickly pretty much in the same way as Election Petitions so as not to encourage depriving depositors of their deposited funds.
- Arising out of SESSION on LAWYERS and 21ST CENTURY WEALTH CREATION POWERED BY TECHNOLOGY (SBL)
- That the first stepping stone into technology and its benefits for the lawyer is to be computer literate and ICT-compliant. This is because lawyers are deal brokers and the clients they service, pressed by exigencies of time, require their deals brokered online. Hence, a lawyer who today is not ICT-complaint is destined to have limited opportunities and income.
- That lawyers should thus reinvent themselves to the technological realities of the 21st century and impact on service delivery to clients to avoid being irrelevant in the radar of modern legal services.
- Arising out of SESSION on CORRUPTIONASA HINDERANCE TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Restructure of the Nigerian federation as an imperative in combating corruption:
o The Nigerian federation be restructured along thecurrent six geopolitical zones to make up six federating regions so that emphasis no longer be at the centre with the tendency for primitive accumulation of wealth in what is often identified as a ‘no man’s land’ centre.
o This will lead to the competitiveness that existed in the country before 1967 state creation, with every section of the Nigerian society benefit from this arrangement.
o Economic development would be pursued vigorously by every regional government to benefit its people.
o The regions will move at their own pace and prioritize the areas of development they wish to pursue.
- Due process has to be followed to fight corruption holistically and whistle blowers should be protected. Federal system of policing has failed there is need for state or regional policing.
- The fight against corruption must be blind to religion, ethnic and political affiliation and we need a total restructuring to be able to curb corruption.
- Non-economic corruption
In the fight against corruption emphasis should not only be laid on economic corruption but non-economic corruption like tribalism, nepotism, favouritism and despotism.
In conclusion, the NBA thanks all participants at the conference, most importantly the key note speakers and discussants for the industry in their presentations; while assuring that the outcome of the conference would be properly documented and duly monitored for implementation. Our gratitude to the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike and the good people of Rivers State knows no bounds. May the Almighty God reward the governor and good people of Rivers State for their boundless generosity and hospitality, and wish all conferees safe journey back to their destinations; and look forward to a much more improved conference in 2017.
Dated this 26th Day of August 2016
Austin Alegeh, SAN Afam Osigwe
(President 2014-2016) (General Secretary 2014-2016)