The Law week of the Nigerian Bar Association Ile-Ife began today at the Obafemi Awolowo University Conference Center, Ile Ife,Osun State.
OAU Alumna Paul Usoro SAN was invited as a guest speaker at the event, he spoke on the theme of the Law Week – Integrity of the Bar and Bench as a Panacea of Socio-economic Development in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Paul Usoro SAN stated some human and institutional factors that denigrate the integrity of the Bar.
Paul Usoro SAN spoke on the Lack of Integrity of the Bar & Bench stated the following-
According to him, the human factors include personal integrity and indiscipline of Bar men especially as it relates to the way they practice while the Institutional factors include judiciary’s financial dependence on the executive, government’s undue interference and subversion of the rule of law, weak regulatory framework, poor educational system and poor remuneration of judicial officers.
He listed some consequences the lack of Integrity of the Bar & Bench can cause, such as delayed justice, civil unrest and disturbances; subversion of the cause of justice by the government (the recent arrest of judicial officers) loss of confidence in the judiciary/the justice administration system and capital flight as investors prefer climes where they are likely to face less challenges.
According to him all of these problems may not necessarily be the fault of those administering justice as they are institutional.
He gave insightful thoughts aimed at addressing the Integrity Deficit in the System.
1. Bar men must endeavor to keep their personal integrity intact. For instance, stating the truth in affidavits filed in Court and refrain from applying for adjournments on basis of facts that are not true.
2. Continuing Legal Education. Lawyers must keep updating themselves so as so be equipped with sound knowledge of their profession. It is an integrity issue where a lawyer fails to make quality submissions to the Court for whatever reason.
3. The Nigerian Bar as the grand promoter of the rule of law needs to raise its voice when the course of justice is being subverted in line with its motto.
4. Revamping of existing frameworks which includes (I) procedure for the appointment of judicial officers. Judicial officers are as good as the procedures that bring them in. (ii) Procedure for admission of lawyers to the Bar. We need to bar those who should have no business with the Bar.
5. The NBA will be able to lead the charge by electing competent people who can protect the integrity of the Bar.
The event was graced with the presence of notable dignitaries. Prof. S. B Odunsi was the moderator with Prof. Amos Idowu, amongst others as discussants. Other special guests include the Executive Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbosola, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, Senator Babatunde Owoworare, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Jimoh Ibrahim & his Imperial majesty, Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11,the Ooni of Ife who attended the event as the Royal Father of the day.