2023 Elections: NBA Warns Judicial Officers, Lawyers against Unethical Practices
President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau Chonoko SAN, has cautioned judicial officers involved in post-2023 election litigations to be wary of the dirty antics of politicians who could compromise the judiciary.
Maikyau gave the warning in Abuja, during a Press Conference at the end of the “State of the Nation” Summit of the NBA.
The NBA President noted that with general elections around the corner, the judiciary must live up to its billing as the bastion of justice and last hope of the common man in the dispensation of justice.
“We are on the verge of another general election. Besides the need to guarantee the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians as they troop out to vote in the 2023 general elections, the ultimate outcome of the election will largely depend on the interface between the Bench, the Bar and the political gladiators. “As members of the legal profession, serving either on the Bench or at the Bar, we owe Nigerians sincere and honest participation in the process.
“We must do all that is legitimately within our abilities, motivated by the desire to serve the course of justice, to ensure that the relevant laws and rules, properly interpreted and applied, remain the guiding principles for our involvement in the process” the NBA President said.
However, he warned judicial officers to be wary of their official conducts while handling post 2023 election litigations.
“While we shall stand with the Courts and do everything legal to protect the integrity of the Bench against any form of intimidation by the political class, any person or group of persons, we will not hesitate to call out and pursue disciplinary action(s) against erring judicial officials.
“Similarly, members of the Bar who misconduct themselves while participating in the resolution of electoral disputes will face disciplinary action at the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) and the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC), where Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) are involved” Maikyau warned.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for all that it is doing to deliver a free, fair, and credible election to Nigerians.
Maikyau charged INEC to maintain its independence, just as he declared the support of the Bar to help ward off any attempt to undermine the integrity of the electoral process and neutrality of INEC.
Meanwhile, the NBA President said his attention was drawn to a social media publication that the Nigerian Bar Association in Akwa Ibom State had endorsed a candidate in the forthcoming election.
“I took time to verify the information and I have confirmation that this indeed took place.
“I want to say in no unclear terms that we condemn the action of the few members who embarked on such despicable and disgraceful conduct using the platform of the NBA” Maikyau stated.
He said the declaration was not made for or with the authority of the NBA.
“It is disgusting and I have already instructed the First Vice President of NBA, who is leading the NBA Election Monitoring Group, to immediately exclude all the branches of the NBA in Akwa Ibom State from participating in the monitoring of the forthcoming election.
“This exclusion will be communicated to INEC forthwith and members involved in this conduct will also face disciplinary action as may be determined by the NBA” Maikyau added.
He warned members that NBA is not partisan; not a political party, but are representatives of the people.
“We remain neutral and must be seen to maintain our neutrality at all times; we belong to everyone and to nobody” the NBA President said.
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