NBA Vows to Hold New Administrations Accountable to Security, Rule of law
Posted: 25/Jun/2019

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has resolved to hold newly sworn in elected government officials to account and constantly remind them of their pact with the Nigerian people. The NEC made the resolution after adopting the address of the president of the association, Paul Usoro (SAN), at the NEC Third Quarter meeting for 2018/2019 Legal Year, which held last week in Abuja.  
Usoro listed two urgent and critical issues – insecurity, including kidnapping and the rule of law. He explained that without the rule of law and security of lives and property, society gradually descends into a state of anarchy and democracy becomes a mere pretension, adding that democracy itself cannot survive without the rule of law. 
“As an association of lawyers, we must constantly rise up to challenge our leaders on these twin fronts. We must hold our leaders accountable for security of lives and property while also defending and promoting the rule of law in our society. Our leaders must also understand that by holding up these two tenets – security of lives and property and the promotion of the rule of law – they secure their own lives and wellbeing as well, for, as we must continue to emphasise, if you take care of the rule of law, the rule of law will take care of you,” Usoro said.  
“To make the point, I will relate to you the events concerning three of our colleagues, Honourable Kennedy Ofuezuem Amin Nwashindi of Asaba branch; Frank Promise Igwe of Port Harcourt branch; and Lowuruga Obadiah Yabura of Wukari branch. Kennedy was kidnapped by armed hoodlums at the gate of his home in Asaba on 16 April 2019 at about 1903 hours. He was kidnapped with his wig and gown which tells one that the kidnappers knew him to be a lawyer but were not deterred howsoever. 
Kennedy’s abductors, in the all-too-familiar practice of kidnappers in our land, named their ransom price in exchange for his life. His family promptly rallied round and paid the ransom in the expectation of receiving back their husband, son, father, uncle and brother. But that was not to be. Kennedy was killed by his abductors after receiving the ransom and his body and his wig, without the gown, were recovered from the scene of the gruesome murder. 
“Kennedy would have turned 54 on 24 July but for his assassination. He had garnered 18 years post-call experience as a lawyer having been called to the Bar on 23 January 2001. In short, Kennedy was at the prime of his life, full of hope and promise for his community, our country and our profession. 
“I spoke with his widow, Omosetemi, our colleague as well, on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 and my heart bled not just for Kennedy’s family but for our society. Temi did not only lose a husband, she lost a friend, a confidant, a brother, a protector, a shield and the father of their four children – the oldest being 15 and the youngest nine. It is difficult for us to imagine the pains and trauma of Kennedy’s immediate family. Temi struggles to understand and decipher why Kennedy was killed by his abductors, despite the payment of the ransom. 
“I personally wonder where our governments – and these include but goes beyond our law enforcement agencies – were while Kennedy was being murdered and the hopes and aspirations of his family and children destroyed. Where were our governments? Why are the governments, complete with their security apparatchik, so helpless in the face of intruding anarchy in our land? 
“I now turn to our colleague, Frank Promise Igwe of Port Harcourt branch, a young man with quite some promise. Promise was born 45 years ago and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2006. On 12 April 2019, Promise was dressed for and on his way to court when his car was intercepted by criminal elements who shot him dead, in broad daylight, in the morning hours, in the city of Port Harcourt. 
“Our third colleague, Lowuruga Obadiah Yabura, was the former Chairman of our Wukari branch. We cannot say whether Yabura is alive or dead. He has not been seen since he was kidnapped along Wukari-Takum Road in Taraba State on 2 April 2019. Not unlike Kennedy’s case, ransom was paid for Yabura’s life. Indeed, so indescribably daring were his abductors, I am told, they set up a bank account where ransom price was paid into, in instalments and drips and the amounts were fully drawn by the criminals. Do you blame the family? No, I cannot. 
“In my function as the president of the NBA, I have so very often spoken with families of our kidnapped colleagues and almost always, there is that dread of fully involving law enforcement agencies for a number of reasons. 
“Where is the responsibility of our governments in securing lives and property?” On the second issue, Usoro said the rule of law lies prostrate in our land in quite some ways and areas. We could, for example, talk about the penchant of our governmental authorities to disobey court orders and also the various bottlenecks and glitches that encumber and inhibit access to justice by the citizens of our country. These, according to the NBA president, “are indeed areas that cry for attention and we would continue to focus on these and other troubling areas.”