Monday Onyekachi Ubani, chairman, Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, is worried by the state of insecurity in Nigeria and wants the federal government to address the issue with the seriousness it deserves
| By Anayo Ezugwu | May 12, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
THE Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has called on the federal government to address the state of insecurity facing the country. Monday Onyekachi Ubani, chairman of the branch, made the call on Friday, April 25, at the opening of the chapter’s law week. Ubani used the opportunity of the law week which ended on Friday, May 2, to speak on other burning national issues including the missing $20 billion oil revenue, the lingering strike of polytechnic lecturers and fee hike at the Lagos State University.
He said the branch was not satisfied with the approach taken by the government in resolving the problems of insecurity. “After about one year of a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, we can sit back and appraise how effective it has been in curbing the violence, killings, bombings and mass murders in that region and elsewhere. Our finding is that the Boko Haram insurgency is clearly on the increase and its apparent potency very deadly.
“The incursion of the insurgents into the states with ease leaving a trail of several murders is now a daily occurrence. What baffles everyone is the ease with which they operate and escape with no arrest and trace and this is despite the fact that the military personnel are everywhere in that region. The government has failed woefully in its primary responsibility of providing protection to lives and properties of the citizens. More absurd is the attempt of the guilty political elite to exonerate themselves as exemplified in the recent letter written by Murtala Nyako, Adamawa State governor, to his fellow northern governors alleging genocide against the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigerians are no longer fools to be deceived by the whipping up of ethnic and religious sentiments whenever it suits the ruling elite,” he said.
On the ongoing national conference, Ubani said it would be retrogressive for the president to subject the outcome of the conference deliberations to the consideration of the National Assembly. He said that the present conference presents the greatest opportunity for Nigeria to be brought back from the brinks of collapse. He noted that the situation in the country indicates that unless a practical solution is proffered now for the survival of the country, it might disintegrate completely. “For the umpteenth time, we echo our opinion that the final outcome of the conference should be subjected to a referendum. On no account should the outcome be taken to the National Assembly for consideration on the so-called amendment of the 1999 Constitution. We will be going back to square one as a nation if we take such a retrogressive step.
“Therefore we feel strongly that the best system that will reduce tension and create competitiveness and healthy rivalry for the purpose of development is a proper federal system of government. If this is not agreeable to all the citizens, then the people should be allowed to go their separate ways.” Ubani said despite his branch’s scepticism about the conference, everyone in the country is urged to overlook all its deficiencies and put up a strong position for its success.
On the missing $20 billion oil revenue, Ubani, on behalf of the branch, called on the House of Representatives to look into the allegations wholly without fear or favour. He said the explanations offered by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Deziani Alison-Madueke, petroleum minister, and the attitude of the federal government toward the issue, have remained shocking, baffling and clearly incomprehensible till date. “The Ikeja branch and Nigerians are watching and we await the outcome of the investigation before we push for further action against “this untouchable minister.” We advise the House to handle it with the same courage with which the committee on aviation handled Stella Oduah’s matter and it must let Nigerians know the truth of the committee’s findings,” he said.
The branch also used the occasion of the law week to honour outstanding individuals for their contributions to the Nigerian judicial system. Those honoured included Justice Ayo Salami, former president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Philips, Lagos State Chief Judge, Olatoyin Adedamola Ayinde, of the Court of Appeal, Professor Akin Oyebode of the University of Lagos, Femi Adesina, president, Nigerian Guild of Editors, and Chima Ubani, late human rights activist.