The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Wednesday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his fight against corruption is conducted within the ambit of the law. NBA which is the umbrella body of legal practitioners in the country, decried what it termed over-zealousness by security agencies currently engaged in the prosecution of alleged corrupt persons, who it said had by their conduct, exhibited little regard for the due process of the law. 

The National President of the association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh, SAN, who spoke at a valedictory court session that was held in honour of Justice Muhammad Muntaka-Coomassie who bowed out of the Supreme Court bench upon clocking the 70 years mandatory retirement age, bemoaned that recently, “security operatives moved inside a court room to arrest a suspect”. 

“We wondered why they could not wait for the person to step out of the court before executing the arrest. While we commend the ongoing effort to rid the nation of corruption, what we are saying is that the fight must be conducted within the law. 

”The NBA does not condone corruption, our point is that the war can be conducted within the armbit of the law and civility. “Certainly, it can be won without breaching the principles of rule of law upon which our democracy is built”, the NBA President added. 

On the issue of corruption within the Judiciary, the NBA, acknowledged that there are “bad eggs” within the bar and the bench, saying it will henceforth, “petition any Judicial Officer involved in or suspected to be involved in any Corrupt or fraudulent transaction to the appropriate quarters for action”. Alegeh said: “The NBA condemns in its entirety the generalisation and/or categorization of the Judiciary as being corrupt and an impediment to the zero corruption policy of the present administration. 

“While acknowledging that there may be a few bad eggs in the system, the NBA restates unequivocally that the categorization of the entire Judiciary as corrupt is a misconception and will stand solidly behind the Judiciary in any attempt to intimidate or harrass its personnel. Besides, the legal body used the opportunity to call for an increase of Supreme Court Justices to 21, in line with the provisions of section 230(2)(b) of the 1999 constitution, as amended. It noted that the retirement of Justice Muntaka-Coomassie Wednesday has further reduced the number of Justices of the apex court to 15. 

In his valedictory speech, Justice Muntaka-Coomassie, called for more funding for the Judiciary, even as he advocated for more respect for the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria during government functions. On his part, the CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, extolled the virtues of Justice Muntaka-Coomassie who he said rendered thirty-eight years of meritorious service to the Judiciary.

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Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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