ABUJA- The Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, has urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to work on improving the trust and confidence between the private and public bar
Fagbemi made the call during the meeting of the General Council of the Bar on Wednesday in Abuja.
“We must refocus the members of the Nigerian Bar from predisposition towards acquisition of material wealth at the expense of ethical and moral values.
“You will agree with me that the legal profession has continued to face issues of ethics and moral decadence in recent times.
“The legal profession which was once revered and admired for its propensity for discipline and high moral and ethical values, is now often a subject of ridicule in public discourse.
“We must therefore intensify efforts at changing this narrative, especially for the upcoming generation of legal practitioners”.
He observed that since its establishment in 1962, the powers and functions of the Bar Council has continuously been whittled down by nearly every amendment to the Legal Practitioner’s Act.
“Most notably, Article 7(1)(a)-(d) of the NBA Constitution (as amended in 2021), which provides that the powers of the bar council shall not include any control over the finances of NBA or powers to issue any statements purporting to express the views of the Association in any matters of public interest or matters affecting the legal profession generally, among others.
“Consequently, the council has, over the years, been largely unable to effectively address underlying issues affecting both the Public and Private Bar.
“The council has unfortunately been often regarded and treated by members of the association as an extraneous government institution that purports to usurp or interfere with the powers of the elected officials of the association.
“This position does not align with the rationale behind establishing the council”.
He, therefore, charged them to approach issues for deliberation with the seriousness and zeal they deserve.
“We must be prepared to provide the necessary support and cooperate with the Bar Council to carry out its responsibilities of administering the general affairs of NBA.
“Without prejudice to the right of individuals to litigate on matters of interest, | would advise that members of the association refrain from litigating on issues which can appropriately be dealt by the bar council.
“But rather seek administrative resolutions of matters within the administrative competence of the bar council.
“Of course, this can only be achieved by improving the trust and confidence between the private and public bar”. (NAN)