The Nigerian Bar Association, or NBA, expressed concern that the public’s trust in the judiciary was still very low and demanded an immediate overhaul of the nation’s legal system.
In a statement released to commemorate the conclusion of its 63rd Annual General Conference, the legal organisation also called for an increase in the pay scale for judges throughout the federation.
It was suggested that matters concerning the compensation of judges ought to be kept apart from the public sector and taken out of the jurisdiction of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, or RMAFC.
An independent pay scale for judicial officers was also suggested by the conference. Conference advises that the predicament of magistrates and other subordinate court judges be given urgent attention,” the NBA said in a statement read to reporters by Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, the organization’s national president, yesterday.
According to the NBA, the national association for attorneys, the conference highlighted the need for “fundamental rethinking” of “every aspect of the infrastructure of our justice system, including our approaches to policing, adjudication, bail, sentencing, and imprisonment.”
Additionally, it stated: “There was a call for strengthening ties between the various branches of government, adopting and integrating technological advancements for the judiciary, and adhering to court decisions.”
“Building the ideal judicial system won’t happen overnight. It will take time. To meet Nigerians’ expectations, especially those in the most vulnerable and impoverished areas, change must be expedited. Such a shift needs to be carefully handled and well-planned.
“It was stressed how important it is to have a strong, independent judiciary.”
Regarding the economy, the NBA noted that numerous structural problems, such as poor infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, fundamental investment barriers, ambiguous government policies, and the unwillingness of past administrations to take the drastic measures needed to achieve long-term economic growth, have limited Nigeria’s potential.
Nigeria’s paradoxical predicament of possessing natural resources that are not sufficiently employed for industrial growth has disappointed the legal body, according to their statement.
“The country is still unable to explore gas to achieve adequate electricity generation, despite substantial gas reserves.”
The conference acknowledged Nigeria’s potential in terms of its human resources and natural wealth, highlighting the vast prospects that exist. However, in order to revitalise the economy, strong, long-term economic decisions are required due to issues like power outages, oil theft, kidnapping, instability, and rifts among the populace.
“The conference decided that poverty alleviation and long-term, broad-based economic growth are essential to Nigeria’s stability and economic prosperity.
In particular, the conference urged the federal and state governments to concentrate their efforts on building infrastructure, enhancing electricity production, raising agricultural productivity, and creating jobs in rural areas.
“Youth employment through education and entrepreneurship skills training should also receive more attention.”
The NBA acknowledged the necessity for increased funding for the military even as it bemoaned the nation’s growing wave of insecurity.
The conference suggested doable tactics to deal with security issues. These include media sensitization, comprehensive police reforms, judicial reinforcement, human rights observance, community involvement in policing, youth engagement through job creation, improved regional collaboration, and media sensitization.
In addition, the communiqué recommended “the adoption of state security forces, proper land management, international resource acquisition, and meticulous implementation of approved plans.”