President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigerian lawyers to put national interest and professional ethics above self in their business conduct.
The president stressed that the Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.
President Buhari gave the charge at the opening of the 59th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC), which commenced in Abuja on Sunday.
“Our apex court has had cause to adopt a position on this issue in this regard and it is now a matter of judicial recognition that; where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society,” he said.
The president, who congratulated the in-coming executive of the NBA led by Paul Usoro (SAN), reminded lawyers of their responsibility to work for national cohesion and unity through their speeches and public positions and most importantly in their advocacy in court in the upcoming 2019 General Elections.
He said the country has made appreciable progress and learnt useful lessons on the dynamism of our society in the anti-corruption fight.
“However, elements within every society, including some lawyers, can equally become unduly resistant to change, even where it is proven that such change is to serve the interest of the larger society. At worst, corruption fights back,” he added.
In his speech, the President of NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) gave more insights into the choice of the theme of the conference: “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions,” saying the country is passing through economic and political transition.
He listed some human rights, dispute resolution interventions of the NBA in the North East, Niger Delta, Benue, Southern Kaduna, and Zamfara states and pledged that the NBA “will remain vigilant in the defense of the constitution and the rule of law.”
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to give the keynote address to the conference today.