THE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onitsha Premier Branch, has decried the state of insecurity of the nation, saying that it has made access to justice difficult for litigants, security agents, legal practitioners and the citizens.
“’Access to Justice in the face of Insecurity: the Citizens dilemma’ was the subject matter of the 2021 Bar Week which held at Sir. Louis Mbanefo Bar Center, High Court Complex, Onitsha.
In his opening remarks, the Anambra State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Onochie Anyachebelu encouraged both members of the bar and bench to uphold the tenets of the legal profession despite security challenges, saying that the theme was timely.
” There are many factors causing insecurity in the country hence the need for more sensitisation. Sensitisation is an important tool for curbing insecurity. Every sector in the society needs security education,” said Anyachebelu.
Justice Anyachebelu further advised younger lawyers in the state to toe the line and principles of older ones in the legal profession in order to succeed.
Earlier in his welcome address, the branch chairman, Steve Onyechi Ononye, lamented that both federal and state governments have failed in their primary duty of providing security for her citizens.
“Save for the Nigerian civil war, never before has our security system been challenged. Various institutions in the state are at the verge of collapse because government has failed in providing security.
“In the North, we have security challenges emanating from insurgents groups, herdsmen and bandits. Kidnapping and killing have become the order of the day and people are living in fear of the unknown.
” In the Southern Nigeria, we are besieged by crises emanating from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitating for an independent nation which has led to shutdown of various key institutions including our courts on Mondays.
“Another group described as ‘Unknown gunmen’ have continuously attacked and killed security operatives. Sometimes, accused persons on the awaiting trial list at correctional facilities could not be brought to court do to fear.
Ononye urged those in the corridors of power to be sensitive to the plight of the citizens and salvage the near state of anarchy Nigeria was relapsing into and live up to their responsibilities.
One of the keynote speakers, Associate Professor Kenneth Ikenga- Oraegbunam, identified corruption in the police, bad governance, lack of training, underfunding, lack of credible election as some of the reasons for insecurity.
Ikenga-Oraegbunam urged citizens to start from electing credible people into political offices, stop aiding and abating corruption from the least offices to highest. He urged political office holders to be retrained and shun corruption.
Highlights of the Bar Week include bar dinner at CJ Patterson Hall, All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha.