The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has urged lawyers to embrace honesty, transparency, and integrity in order to keep the legal profession in high esteem.
Justice Ariwoola gave the charge on Monday in Abuja while declaring open the 2023 Nigerian Bar Association Section on Legal Practise (NBA-SLP) Annual Conference.
The CJN, who was represented by retired Justice Salisu Garba, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, said that lawyers had a key role to play in ensuring effective application of laws and guaranteeing legal certainty in the country.
The CJN implored legal professionals not to sit and watch the country deteriorate but to rise to the occasion as lawyers and ensure law and order in the country.
For his part, the President of the NBA, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, said in his welcome remarks that a new code of conduct for legal practitioners was set to be launched as part of efforts to fight corruption.
Maikyau said that the association’s commitment to the fight against corruption was an inherent responsibility of all lawyers that must be upheld.
He said the new code of conduct for lawyers would be inaugurated on January 1, 2024.
Maikyau decried the situation where senior Advocates were denying junior lawyers access to them.
"It is tyrannical for senior advocates not to allow their juniors access to them.
"They are supposed to be mentored, but if they do not see you, how can you mentor them?
"Stop building barricades around yourselves and allow your juniors access to you," Maikyau said.
Welcoming participants to the conference, the Chairman of NBA-SLP, Mr. Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, said that the age of artificial intelligence had widened the legal space, which lawyers should take advantage of.
The senior lawyer said the theme of the 2023 conference was chosen to engage with global issues of transformation in the legal profession.
"The age of artificial intelligence and the largely unexplored legal spaces interrogate the widening scope of the legal services market and lift the veil of jurisdictional stonewalling."
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee of the 2023 NBA-SLP Annual Conference, Mr. Paul-Harris Ogbole, SAN, urged lawyers to take advantage of the conference to deepen their knowledge of globalisation in the practise of law.
Ogbole said that the conference would, in particular, examine the future of legal services in Nigeria and beyond.
"The conference will also examine topical issues such as exploring the frontiers of dispute resolution in investment matters, organ donation, and transplantation under Nigerian law, among other topics.
The senior lawyer said that the conference would further examine the practise of law in Nigeria in an ever-globalised and internationalised environment.
For his part, the Chairman of NBA, Abuja Branch, Mr. Afam Okeke, said that the conference would afford legal practitioners the opportunity to exchange knowledge, cross-fertilise ideas, and reflect on the evolving nature of the legal profession.
Okeke said that as lawyers saddled with the responsibility of global transformation, addressing cross-border disputes, and tackling transnational legal issues, it was important to come together to rub minds.
He encouraged participants to actively engage in conversations, build new relationships, and seize the opportunity to collaborate on future endeavours.
The theme for the 2023 Conference is "Legal Practise Without Borders".
Nigeria Police, Niger State Command, has announced the recovery of armoured cables belonging to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) at Mawogi village in Lapai Local Government Area of the state, which were vandalised and carted away by criminals.
The command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Wasiu Abiodun, disclosed this in a press release issued and signed by him and made available to Newsmen yesterday in Minna.
According to him, the vehicle used by the criminals for operations was also recovered, along with the stolen armoured cables.
DSP Abiodun said the recovery of the vandalised items was made possible based on credible information that the armoured cables of an electric transformer located at Mawogi village via Lapai were vandalised and stolen by unknown persons.
The PPRO said the police operatives attached to Lapai Division of the Niger State Command, in collaboration with the members of the community, swung into action based on the credible information received and conducted a search around nearby forests, where the following items were found: a Ford Galaxy vehicle with registration plate number KWA 670 AA, a vandalised transformer, armoured cable, industrial bolt cutters, mental bars, bags containing clothes and foodstuffs, while the suspects were however lucky to have escaped from the scene.
DSP Wasiu Abiodun said the recovered items were kept in police custody for safety while the investigation was ongoing with a view to apprehending the vandals.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ogundele Joshua Ayodeji, has commended the efforts of members of the community who partnered with the police by giving them credible information that led to the recovery of the vandalised cables.
He, however, enjoined members of the public to emulate such zeal and be more vigilant on installations and infrastructures in their areas to avoid such vandalism within their areas.