Law News
Insecurity threatens democracy, says NBA

The Nigerian Bar Association on Thursday expressed fear over the doom which the on-going insurgent activities and general insecurity ravaging the country, particularly in the North-East, could spell for the nation’s democracy and economic development.

Speaking for the association, its President, Mr. Austine Alegeh (SAN), said government seemed to have lost the capacity to secure the lives and property of its citizens.

He spoke at the Supreme Court Complex in Abuja, during the valedictory court session held in honour of the retiring Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar.

Mukhtar, the 13th indigenous and first female CJN, retired on Thursday on the attainment of the mandatory retirement age of 70, bringing to an end her 47 years of public service, 37 years of which were spent on the bench.

The event was attended by four former Chief Justices of Nigeria – Justices Mohammed Uwais, Alfa Belgore, Idris Kutigi and Dahiru Musdapher.

Speakers, including the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief ‘Folake Solanke, praised Mukhtar for her commitment and dedication towards the sanitisation of the nation’s judiciary.

Alegeh, who commended Mukhtar for “serving the judiciary creditably well,” urged the Federal Government to urgently address the increasing security challenges in the country, as the 2015 general elections draw near.

“The security challenges confronting us as a nation today threaten our democracy and economic development. As 2015 general elections are fast approaching, it is urgent and important for the Federal Government to address the current security challenges we are facing, as free and credible elections with large turnout of voters can only be achieved in a peaceful and secured environment,” he said.

He said the public was worried if government had lost the capacity to continue to carry out its responsibility of securing the lives and property of Nigerians, as the insurgent group, Boko Haram became audacious in its attacks.

The NBA boss said, “The question agitating our minds now is whether the government charged to protect lives and property of Nigerians no longer has the capacity to do so. This question arises in view of the audacity and temerity with which the Boko Haram insurgents are operating.

“They have recently extended their mode of operations to annexing some cities in the North-East of Nigeria and renaming them as if there is no government in place.

“Yet section 14(2) of the Constitution provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

While commending Mukhtar for the “high level of courage” she brought to bear in her judicial career, Solanke, who spoke on behalf of the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, reiterated the need to ensure a total independence of the judiciary that “is not subservient to government or to any authority on earth but to God and the law.”

In her reaction, Mukhtar, who ascribed her ascendancy to the topmost office of the nation’s judiciary to the grace of God, said every step she took in office, including investigation and sanctioning of judges, “was in the interest of the institution.”

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