Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has called on members of the Nigeria Bar Association to ensure they discharge their duties and obligations in line with the principles of Justice and rule of law.
The Governor made the call at The ADDREX Hotel, Aba while declaring open the 2019 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) with the theme “Lawyering in the public interest.”
He stressed the need for lawyers to practice in line with global best practices saying that public interest lawyers are expected to save lives and protect fundamental rights of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable groups in the society.
The Governor, represented by his Deputy, Sir. Ude Oko Chukwu commended the vision of the NBA in inaugurating SPIDEL, which is an NBA’s commitment to promoting the rule of law and growth of public interest law in Nigeria and said that promoting the idea of pro Bono legal services for those who need them is commendable.
He expressed hope that the Conference would provide an opportunity for the members to brainstorm and share ideas aimed at enhancing their performance in serving the public, adding that the outcome would equip them to contain with the challenges of the profession effectively.
Governor Ikpeazu, who thanked the organizers for choosing Abia as the hosting State reassured the NBA of his commitment in partnering her for the common good of the people and wished them fruitful deliberations.
In his speech, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) represented by his Aide, Biodium Aikomo said that the Conference is a sign that NBA is committed to using the law as an instrument of economic development.
He said the conference is an opportunity for lawyers to reinvigorate themselves in ensuring rule of the law prevails, adding that Nigeria is in dire need for eliminating corruption.
In a Goodwill message, the Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Onuoha Ogwe assured NBA of the continuous cooperation of the Bench with the Bar, describing the event as an epoch making one.
Speaking, President, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) stated that the value NBA – SPIDEL has to offer to lawyers and the public at large cannot be over emphasized. According to him, the theme “Lawyering in the public interest” is appropriate, considering the challenges the nation faces today, which include incessant kidnapping, violation of human rights by security agencies, mismanagement of public funds etc. and described public interest lawyering as a process of legal empowerment aimed at capacity building of people towards using the law and institutions to bring about social change.
He said that Lawyers have key roles to play in matters of public interest , saying it is a core drive of economic development in a nation
He thanked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his magnanimity which made them to host the programme in Abia State as well as appreciated the Governor for appointing their lawyers into his Cabinet.
In their various speeches, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Elder Chibuike Nwokeukwu and Chairman, NBA-Section on Public Interest & Development Law (SPIDEL), Elder (Dr.) Paul Analaba (SAN) the essence of the Conference is to appraise, review, discuss and chart a new cause about how NBA as the leading Civil Society in Nigeria should serve the people.
They thanked the Governor for the opportunity of hosting the programme with short notice and providing adequate security for the participants.
Also, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar, Director, Legal Aid Council and Mr. Olaniyi Omodara, Director Legal Services of the National Human Right Commission said NBA is an important partner in promoting public interest. They assured their sustained collaborations with the NBA, affirming that assisting the poor and indigent Nigerians to get justice is of great national and public interest.
The conference which would last four days has participants drawn from all over Nigeria including the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice of Abia State, Barr. Uche Ihediwa among other lawyers in the State.