by Adesina Tosin Nathaniel
This is not the best of times for the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Nigerian Bar Association which is the umbrella body of lawyers in Nigeria On Sunday 28th May 2017 through their President Mahmood Abubakar SAN faulted the anti-corruption war of the Buhari led government especially the ones involving judges in the Judiciary arm of government calling for the stoppage of the anti-corruption war and in a related development The NJC also ordered the reinstatement of the suspended Judges few days after the NBA declaration despite the fact that investigations is still on and an appeal already filed against justice Adrmiyu Ademola the NJC went ahead with the implementation of the resumption of duty order.
The action of the Bar no matter what they may think is a disservice to NBA In particular and the Judiciary in its entirety. A wise man once said “He who will come to equity must come with clean hands” in this situation the NBA is lacking the equity expected of it in condemning the federal government anti-corruption war.
The NBA and the Judiciary have constituted a major impediment to the success of the government’s anti-corruption war over the years. Nigerians across all levels have described the Judiciary as a major hindrance to effective justice dispensation in Nigeria with NBA as a major supporter. President Buhari once stated in a forum that his greatest headache in his bid to rid the country of the toga of corruption is the Judiciary It is therefore appalling that the NBA is calling on the presidency to halt the trials of judges and other corruption cases when corruption has dented our image as a country and cant be redeem in four years of the Buhari led government not to talk of ten years. Corruption has made Every Nigerian to be perceived as a thief in other countries of the world including neighboring countries like Ghana and South Africa.
The NBA itself knows that Nigeria as a country is synonymous with corruption as a result any effort made by the government deserves commendation and advise should be given where necessary for proper guidance. The anti-corruption war may not be as perfect as expected but we cannot throw the baby away with the bath water. The determination of President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption even consumed the all-powerful Babachir David Lawal his former SGF a pointer to the fact that no one is a sacred cow in this war.
The NBA at this moment should be at the forefront of the campaign for the anti-corruption war and working for its success and not against it because as it is said the Judiciary is the hope of the common man but with the recent action of NBA that hope has been diminished. The NBA as an association has been riddled with corruption allegations over the years, Even the current NBA executives have been sacked by the Federal high court in Abuja but they are yet to comply with that judgement.
At the osun state election petition tribunal for the 2011 gubernatorial elections the defence lawyer Kunle Kalejaiye was accused of engaging in unwholesome practices with the Tribunal chairman justice Thomas Naron the NBA kept mum on the matter until The National Judicial council was petitioned. They made their findings and Kunle Kalejaiye was de-robed as a lawyer and his SAN award revoked. Justice Naron too was punished for the unprofessional act. The case exposed the actions of Bribe giving lawyers and Bribe taking judges which shows that corruption has eaten deep into our system and it hasn’t since subsided with many lawyers standing trial for corruption related cases. The Panama Papers Investigative release of 2016 indicted some Nigerians including members of the Judiciary but the NBA kept mum on the issue same as the case involving Barrister Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, Mallam Rickey Tarfa among others.High profile criminals in the countries have escaped justice through the actions of lawyers and judges with the accused always carrying the day due to the action of injunction awarding judges . The moment the judges under probe were arrested last year with lots of cash found on them it was the NBA that first cried foul without making its findings on the issue until they later made a U-Turn . The set of people who lauded the effort of the government were civil society organisations and some human right lawyers including Femi Falana SAN, Professor
High profile criminals in the countries have escaped justice through the actions of lawyers and judges with the accused always carrying the day due to the action of injunction awarding judges . The moment the judges under probe were arrested last year with lots of cash found on them it was the NBA that first cried foul without making its findings on the issue until they later made a U-Turn . The set of people who lauded the effort of the government were civil society organisations and some human right lawyers including Femi Falana SAN, Professor itse sagay among others.
Nigeria is a country under construction as a result every action that will lead to the eradication of corruption which is our greatest nightmare must be supported by all and sundry. Nigeria cannot be purged of corruption without cleaning the Augean stable in the Judiciary too. The action of the NBA is a sabotage to the good spirited effort of the President to restore the country to the path of sanity. His performance in other sectors of the country has been abysmally poor but his handling of the insecurity and war against corruption in the country is a step in the right direction.
The NBA should serve as the major supporter of the war against corruption by giving necessary input to the Federal Government where necessary and not by condemning government effort aimed at stamping out corruption.
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Adesina Tosin Nathaniel is a Forward Looking Nigerian Youth. He blogs at donteewrites.blogspot.com; his social medial handle is @Donteewrites